Dealers Discuss Internal Eco-Friendly Practices

by WOHe

Kitchen & Bath Design News recently posed the question to dealers and designers in the kitchen and bath industry: “Does your firm implement any green-oriented practices into your showroom to ensure it is as eco-friendly as possible?”

“We moved into a new showroom about four months ago. One of the green practices we’re doing is converting to LED lights for undercabinet lighting. We’ve noticed a lot of our customers are doing that, too.

LED lighting uses less energy and bulbs can last up to 18 years without having to change them. We’re also getting ready to change to LED bulbs for spotlights on several of our displays. Even though the bulbs are more expensive initially, we don’t have to worry about heat and energy use. We can leave the lights on all night and it won’t affect anything. Plus, the additional heat from traditional bulbs affects our air conditioning, causing the air to cycle on more frequently. With LED lights we won’t have the excess heat generation so it will help reduce our air conditioning bill, too.

We are also showing a lot of new energy-efficient appliances on the showroom floor. This is important to customers who are looking for Eenergy Star-rated appliances.

With a new showroom there’s so much to do. We’ve discovered what many of our customers have discovered, too. There is a price difference to do green. And in some cases, we found we just couldn’t justify the extra dollars.

Darla Short, kitchen designer
Florida Kitchen & Bath Designs
Lakeland, FL

“We just opened our showroom in April. [During the remodel] we tried to use a lot of materials that were here from the previous store, such as repairing and reusing the tile flooring.

We have all LED or fluorescent lighting for our displays, which has proven worthwhile because some of the lights are on 24 hours a day. However, since we have a corner showroom with windows on two walls, we don’t have to turn on all of the lights during the day.

We’re also planning to replace our toilet with a more energy-efficient model that uses less water than our current model, and we’re advocates for recycling and provide recycling bins for our employees and customers.

Will Gowdy, owner
Sunday Kitchen & Bath
Rockville, MD

“Here in the Northwest, ‘green’ is not a new subject. It’s been such a way of life for us for so long that it’s difficult to single out [specific] practices. However, some things we do that could be considered green include e-mailing or calling clients with quotes and e-mailing brochures to prospective clients rather than mailing hard copies to them. We also don’t print out e-mails unless it’s necessary.

We also turn off most of the lights at the end of the day rather than leave them on all night. The only ones we leave on are those in front of the showroom so potential customers who come after hours can see some of the displays through the windows.

Many of the practices we engage in to be ‘green’ – including rotating display accessories rather than purchasing all new and creating efficient delivery routes – are also cost-effective, so we’re actually benefiting in a couple of different ways.

Leslie O’Conner, CKD
International Kitchens
Bellevue, WA

“We built our showroom eight years ago but I feel we were ahead of our time a little bit even then as far as ‘green.’ For one thing, our building is designed to take advantage of natural light. Light floods in from the east so we can benefit from it for most of the day. And although it might not be considered cutting edge, we have a vestibule at the entrance. Since we’re in a climate where it can get very hot and very cold, the vestibule limits the amount of [excessively hot or cold] outside air that comes into the building.

We also have motion detection lights in the hallway, bathrooms and break room. We use LED undercabinet lighting to showcase the advantages of LED lighting to our clients. Its primary benefit is that it uses significantly less energy. And based on calculations I’ve done, a typical halogen undercabinet light bulb left on for eight hours a day will last about two years, whereas an LED bulb could last 17 years. LED lights also aren’t hot to the touch so they don’t work against our air conditioning. Plus, they’re low profile so they can fit in the recess under the cabinet without any additional moldings so there’s added savings for the customer.

In additional to several green products we have on display, such as those made from bamboo and Lyptus wood, we also show a number of regional granites from within 500 miles of our location. So, if someone wants to use granite, we can show them regional products which can gain LEED points.

Dondi Szombatfalvy, CKD
Belle Domicile
Madison, WI

“We recycle as much as possible and most of the cabinet manufacturers we showcase offer environmentally friendly options, including bamboo. We have a few doors that have raw wood with linseed oil. We have Vetrazzo recycled glass in one of our displays, and we have samples of IceStone products available for clients to look at.

We’ve been at our current location since 1994, with a major remodel about three years ago. In the new showroom we use a lot more LED lighting to benefit from lower energy consumption.

Steve Abreu, designer
KDC Kitchen & Bath Gallery
Pleasanton, CA

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