With all the talk about going green, lots of small shops are bewildered by the conflicting claims for new products and blizzard of new regulations coming out.  CIDA distributors and suppliers have been caught up in the storm, too, and are working hard to help shops weather it.

New products  

Distributors and suppliers are scrambling to meet demands for environmentally responsible products. Pat Carrico at  Rev-A-Shelf notes the popular line of new bamboo accessories they have introduced. He sees most of the demand for green products coming from end users.

"The customer drives what they want," he says. "If they drive it, then the shops will look to use it."

Jon Minnaert of  Aetna Plywood Inc. says the company is steadily stocking more green products, and it is printing its first green catalog.

To better help put potential green customers together with shops,  Columbia Forest Products has recruited a charter group of manufacturers who fabricate cabinets, furniture, fixtures and millwork into the PureBond Fabricator Network, which is designed to connect the dots between consumers and commercial project managers seeking qualified sources of green finished products.

"We seek to inform and train today's fabrication shops in the simple ways they can alter their material choices and in turn, begin offering their customers 'clean and green' finished goods that don't carry the risk of formaldehyde off-gassing," says Todd Vogelsinger, director of marketing for Columbia Forest Products.

New regulations  

Shops trying to go green face both government regulations such as California's CARB legislation affecting formaldehyde emissions and industry standards such as the LEED program for green construction.

Carrico says Rev-A-Shelf has been working with the  KCMA to get LEED points for new products. They've also made sure all the wood products Rev-A-Shelf sells are certified to CARB standards.

That's a real issue with many distributors, who get caught between suppliers and customers trying to make sure the products they sell comply with rules and regulations. Tom Mauss, president and CEO of  Louis and Company, says they work closely with suppliers to do that and then work to keep shops informed. His company is working on a brochure on green products to better educate shop owners about their options.

Elizabeth Huhn, senior marketing manager at  C.H. Briggs Hardware Co., says they are taking a similar approach, working diligently to provide more materials for sales reps to broaden their product knowledge.

"Shops should know we are here as a resource," she says.

They can help shops working on a green project to consider what materials to use, how to manage expenses, what materials can be swapped out to meet specs, how to save clients money, and how to make sure the paperwork is done for  FSC and LEED certifications.

Minnaert says Aetna Plywood has taken steps to re-label and separate inventory to meet CARB requirements.

Tracy Sianta, director of marketing, sales, and business operations for  Klise Manufacturing, is proud to announce that Klise has achieved FSC certification, a first for a linear moulding manufacturer. Klise also works with customers to help them qualify for LEED points.

Green from the inside  

At Cabinetparts.com, Pat Abbe says their efforts are mostly focused internally; making sure everything they do includes environmental considerations. "I like to think instead of going green it's just being responsible."

One might not think environmental issues affect suppliers dealing mostly in metal products, but they do. Bill Albertson at  Deerwood Fasteners notes the company has to meet the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive, which has to do with lead content, among other things. Internally, the company is taking basic steps to be more environmentally responsible, such as recycling boxes.

Sianta says Klise has long been green from the inside. They have been using their own wood waste for fuel for decades. They also work hard to use local suppliers and vendors, minimizing fuel and freight costs.

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