Question from G&G client: Any green suggestions/vendors that do closet organization? Brandy, Encino, CA

Hey Brandy,

Off the top of my head here is the low-down.

When thinking about doing “green” closets there are two things to consider since most closets are made from wood or wood products. 1) Is the wood/wood product harvested sustainably and 2) will the wood/wood product “off-gas” (emit harmful chemical odors into your breathing space). Another option would be to not go with wood (go with metal instead…) in which case you have other issues to think about…but I’m assuming wood given the aesthetic of your home [Note to other readers: I’ve been inside Brandy’s home.]

The first issue is (relatively) easily solved. Make sure that your wood and wood products either be made from reclaimed/recovered/recycled wood or, if they are from new wood, that they have FSC (forest stewardship council) certification. In order to prove all the issues above you would ask for a “Chain of Custody” or third party certification documentation to prove that the wood is reclaimed/recovered/recycled/FSC certified, etc.

Secondly, to make sure your product doesn’t offgas you want to look for wood products (MDF or plywood) that are formaldehyde free and/or that are GreenGuard certified. Harmful chemicals that offgas can either be located inside the composite wood itself (the glue that holds the wood particles together) or on the finish (the paint or sealant used.) Let’s say you find wood/wood products that meet the first criterion but not the second. Another option would be to seal your surfaces with a formaldehyde free sealant that seals in the harmful gases (I try to reserve this for already existing furniture, not new installations because I think that personally, the less formaldehyde in my house the better.)

California Closets is now working with a particleboard called Skyblend that meets both of the considerations above. If you wanted to DIY you’d have to find particleboard or MDF that meets both of the considerations above and then drill holes, etc. and put it all together which is completely possible. I could work with you to design the closets and am also in touch with vendors who sell woods or particle boards that meet both the standards above. Also, IKEA is committed to only using FSC compliant wood, however I couldn’t find anything about their stance on limiting VOCs (volatile organic compound) emissions from glues, etc.

That’s it for now!

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