We’ve been working with quality wood since 1979 and have learned a lot about the process by which it gets from the forest to your home or business. The benefits of sourcing wood from sustainable forests retains the tried and true ways of Vermonters who have a reputation for being resourceful and keeps to the long standing traditions of New England.
Trees are a Renewable Resource
As long as you have sun and rain, trees will grow. This makes wood the best raw material from an environmental viewpoint. Wood is renewable, recyclable, biodegradable and usually organically grown. The growing acres, both before and after harvesting, support wildlife habitat, recreational opportunity, clean air and water, and jobs for American families. Wood from well managed forests provides the greatest benefits to people, wildlife and the ecosystem and is proven to use less energy and creates less pollution than any other natural resource.
Most of the eastern forests have re-grown from abandoned pastureland creating more forested acres in the U.S. today than 50 to 100 years ago. Harvesting in every state is below the growth rate, so there is more timber in today’s forest than last year or the year before. Here in the beautiful green mountains of Vermont, harvesting is currently less than 50% of growth, which means that harvest levels could double and still be sustainable.
Contrary to popular belief, wood is a sustainable and environmentally friendly resource. Wood products reduce greenhouse gas emissions because of unharvested wood rots, which releases the carbon dioxide it stored up during its lifetime. Except for Southern Yellow Pine and Heart Pine from Southern forests, we source all of our wood from North American regulated forests, which have been increasing in size due to proper management of forest stewards.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are harmful when introduced into the atmosphere. Traditional stains, paints, and washes thin enough to apply by brushing or spraying contain VOCs that evaporate as the product dries.
We decided to offer some of the New Traditions finishes once the technology of water-based lacquers suitable for wood finishing was fairly mature by the early- to mid-2000s. All of our painted and stained finishes are water-based, which is good not only for the environment but our employees as well.
The tung oils that we use penetrate the wood pores deeply and quickly, creating a remarkably durable luster in minutes. Applying by hand will allow for a more controlled application, reducing the VOC’s released as compared to brushing and especially spraying.
Our facilities are cleaned a couple times a week using Norwex products which has eliminated 99% of chemicals typically found in cleaning products creating a much healthier work environment.
The 3R’s and Responsibility
Here at Vermont Hardwoods we take protecting and leaving the smallest possible footprint on the environment seriously. Rippings, edgings and cutoffs are sold for kindling. We’re set up to recycle all paper, cardboard, cans, bottles and batteries and also work with a local environmental company to dispose of waste, such as oil and coolant, from manufacturing.
Except for our Honduran Mahogany, all of our wood comes from Appalachian and New England forests reducing energy and transportation costs.
Our manufacturing facility has been reviewed by Efficiency Vermont and we’ve made adjustments to maximize efficiency. We have installed energy efficient lighting throughout our facility including a number of solar tubes which provide natural illumination as well as motion sensored lights in our warehouse that turn off when not in use. Our road sign is solar powered during early morning and evening hours.
Sawdust and chips are blown into a trailer and trucked to a wood processing center that turns them into pellets, some of which we then purchase back as a supplemental heating source for our business. Air from our dust collection system is recirculated back into the building, reducing energy consumption year round. We also burn waste oil from our forklift, saws, and vehicles in our waste oil furnace.