Held each November, the Greenbuild Conference & Expo is the largest annual gathering of green-minded architects, engineers, developers, contractors and builders. With more than 150 educational sessions, 2,000 exhibitors and a whopping 35,000 attendees, it's no surprise that Greenbuild can feel overwhelming and exhausting. But given the amount of information and inspiration available, it can feel exhilarating, too.
This year, Greenbuild uncovered the latest green building products, materials and trends for the home, and despite the enormous size of the event, there were some clear kitchen contenders that stood out from the rest. Read on for the top five green trends for the kitchen.
TREND #1: Textured Walls
To spice up ho-hum kitchen walls, think about using a textured feature instead of paint or flat wallpaper. A new wave of innovative wall finishes made from environmentally-friendly and healthy sources can transform any blank wall into an instant conversation piece. Companies like FriendlyWall and PlyBoo offer wood-paneling products made from sustainably-harvested materials, such as palm, bamboo and American woods like walnut and maple.
TREND #2: Bio-Based Materials
Biomimicry, or the study of nature's design process, was another hot topic at this year's Greenbuild. Companies like Kirei, Kokoboard and TorZo Surfaces are offering consumers bio-based kitchen finishes made from farm waste, such as wheat, rice straw and sunflower seeds. The result? Unique finishing materials that are also super strong and durable, and can be used for everything from cabinets to table tops.
Dewpointe by Atmospheric Water Systems
TREND #3: Reusing Water & Recycled Plumbing
Water is our most precious resource, so it's no surprise Greenbuild showcased some intriguing new approaches to conserving water in our kitchens. For example, instead of buying bottled water, several new appliances, such as the Dewpointe are able to extract pure, clean drinking water from the humidity in the air. And why stop there? By installing eco-friendly plumbing, such as the AquaTherm Green Pipe, you can better protect yourself from water chemicals while achieving a higher level of water conservation in your home.
TREND #4: Healthy Cabinet Cores
Traditional cabinets are typically constructed from particle board held together with formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. So why not finish off your kitchen space with a safe and healthy alternative? PureBond, a formaldehyde-free hardwood plywood technology, is a smart choice for your kitchen's cabinets, drawers and finishes. Another new product for your kitchen cabinets: ECOR. Made from 100% recycled and bio-based cellulose found in plants, ECOR can be formed into cabinets, displays and shelving elements for your kitchen.
TREND #5: Manufacturer Transparency
"Transparency" was the big buzzword at this year's Greenbuild, and it's easy to see why. Fueled by more stringent building codes, rising healthcare concerns and increased consumer demand, many manufacturers are opening up about what really goes into the making of their products. This movement toward transparency is leading toward healthier choices, greater accountability from manufacturers and lower prices for home products. Check out sites like UL Environment and SCS Certified that provide manufacturers with an Environmental Product Declaration, or EPD, which states exactly what goes into each product they stand behind.