Winners represent the greenest materials, most sustainable methods of manufacturing, highest energy efficiency, greatest innovation, smallest carbon footprint, and best looking design in each category.
Submissions poured in from around the world and varied widely, from artisans and craftspeople in the Hudson Valley to major American manufacturers, an Australian fireplace maker, Southeast Asian weavers, and European appliance companies.
Esteemed judges debated the sustainability of importing and shipping very large pieces of furniture or appliances, but weighed those aspects against the environmental impact of the materials and manufacturing processes.
The variety of entries proved challenging for the judges.
“While all of the categories showed impressive and innovative talent, the furniture category was particularly difficult to judge due to the abundance of submissions,” judge Chris Madden says, adding, “It was inspiring to see how far we have advanced in green design and to see the growing number of participants in the field.”
The solution was to create separate furniture categories: hard goods, soft goods, outdoor, and kitchen “furniture.”
Below is a list of all the winners of this year's Innovative Green Design Awards. Please join New York House and the honorees at a cocktail reception at GreenBuildingsNY on June 16 at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. Check back for more information.
THE WINNERS BY CATEGORY:Bedding The Terra OrganicPedic Organic Mattresses, Inc. The Terra OrganicPedic mattress took top honors because it embodies all aspects of innovative green design, the judges noted. The 12-inch mattress has a removable sculpted-surface pillow top, a 3-inch firm, 100-percent natural rubber latex core with 2-inch layers of softer latex on top and bottom, joined to the core using a vegetable-based adhesive. The mattress cores are made in the U.S. from sustainably harvested rubber-tree sap; the latex is naturally anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and biodegradable, and is certified to contain no harmful substances, while domestic Eco-Wool and certified organic cotton are used in the quilting. OMI’s mattresses are eligible for LEED credits and the judges found the designs appealing. omifactory.com Flooring/Floor Coverings ReFresh Fiber Universal Fibers, Inc. Universal Fibers has made reuse and recycling an art form in its innovative ReFresh Fiber carpet fiber, the winner in the flooring/floor coverings category. Universal diverts literally tons of post-consumer Nylon-66 carpet from landfills, separates the face fiber and conducts multi-step cleaning processes, making the fluff suitable for making more than 70 designer shades of carpet yarn. No toxic or heavy metals are involved; no effluent streams are created from traditional dyeing; all polymeric manufacturing waste is recovered and reused. This domestically-made product reduces oil consumption, clearly saves energy, and won over the panel of judges for its solving of a real environmental problem. universalfibers.com Furniture/Kitchen Gaia Kitchen Bazzeo by NY Loft Among kitchen cabinet or “furniture” entries, Bazzeo by NY Loft’s Gaia kitchen was the clear winner, singled out for being completely made of recycled and recyclable materials, and non-toxic resins and laminates in a “zero-waste” factory in New Jersey. The product can contribute LEED points to a project. The “clean, sleek” designs caught judge Kate Dayton’s eye, while fellow panelist Jorge S. Arango said, “For me, it’s about the reuse of materials. And I think aesthetically it’s a beautiful, beautiful kitchen.” bazzeo.com Furniture/Outdoor Outdoor Furniture Loll Designs In outdoor furniture, entries varied from upstate New York craftspeople with an innovative lounge chair made from local wood, to several high-end design firms with imported Asian wood pieces and luxury quarried stone benches, to the category winner, Loll Designs. Loll Designs’ modern Adirondack chairs, rockers, and swings are crafted from 100-percent recycled plastic made in Georgia, primarily from recycled milk jugs. Loll was founded by a desire to utilize unused scrap from a sister company that made skate parks, but its eco initiatives include recycled packaging, recycling manufacturing and office waste, working in a green building, and participating in 1% For the Planet (an alliance of companies that donate at least one percent of annual revenues to environmental causes) by returning one percent of its gross sales to local environmental groups. The judges felt the repurposing of materials and the “fun, family-friendly designs” helped Loll win them over. lolldesigns.com Furniture/Hard Goods Bamboo Credenza with Doors and Drawers Stylo Furniture & Design By segmenting the furniture category so much, the judges narrowed the field in hard goods, thus giving Stylo Furniture & Design, a Hudson Valley custom design firm, an edge for its innovative use of sustainable materials, low-impact manufacturing, and minimal waste production. The panel appreciated that Stylo’s bamboo credenza, designed by company owner Randy Hornman and architect Richard Librizzi, is a versatile and functional, stylish piece whose bamboo carries two LEED credits and also contributes to LEED EQ Credit 4: Low-emitting materials. “It’s a really good execution,” Dayton remarked. stylo-fd.com Furniture/Soft Goods Lulan Artisans Manufacturing Program Lulan Artisans In the soft goods category, including upholstery, the judges eliminated companies whose ecofriendly cushions were optional, because they felt this didn’t demonstrate a true commitment to green. Aesthetics were discussed, as were various materials and manufacturing processes, including preserving ancient techniques. All this led the panel to select Lulan Artisans, a partnership between architect/designer Eve Blossom, consulting designers Laura Guido-Clark and Michael Koch, and a group of gifted artisans in five Southeast Asian countries. More than 650 spinners, twisters, dyers, weavers, and finishers produce high-end fabrics, decorative accents, and other soft goods in a holistic design approach using only natural materials. But Lulan’s sustainability also encompasses the local communities, as it celebrates the villages’ centuries-old weaving techniques, opens new markets, and enhances free trade. lulan.com Household Appliances Hybrid Water Heater GE Consumer & Industrial ecause there were so many varied appliance entries that didn’t fit into the kitchen category, judges created the household appliance category and grouped non-kitchen items in it. Within this household appliance group, panelists judged not only the products, but considered some heavy issues, including GE’s past pollution of the Hudson River and its current corporate-wide, innovative Ecomagination efforts. “It does beg the issue of: in order to make the change, don’t you need a major company to do some major work, to have the most impact in the movement forward?” Dayton asked. In the end, judges found GE’s Hybrid Electric Water Heater stood out from competing appliances because it uses less than half the energy of similar products, thanks to its hybrid technology that absorbs heat in ambient air and transfers it into the water. This Energy Star-rated water heater is designed to fit the same electrical and water connections and occupy the same footprint of a traditional water heater, thereby making upgrades and replacements seamless. geconsumerandindustrial.com Kitchen Appliances CS 2062, 36” Refrigerator Liebherr When it came to kitchen appliances, it was Liebherr, the judges’ pick for best-in-class, which did the ultimate job of combining all aspects of sustainable, innovative, beautiful design. After some debate over domestic versus imported products, the judges even felt Liebherr’s ecofriendly product features and sustainable manufacturing processes far outweigh the carbon footprint of importing from Germany. This new 36-inch refrigerator, introduced after four years of research and development, consumes just 452 kWh per year (far less than others in its class); maximizes space and food preservation; and incorporates smart features such as LED lighting and improved water filtration. The panel loved its functionality and design and was impressed by Liebherr’s long list of responsible manufacturing practices. Liebherr says it is the only manufacturer whose line is 100-percent Energy Star rated; the only manufacturer to be RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) compliant worldwide; and the only company to make LED lighting standard, even though that has no bearing on the Energy Star rating. Among other things, Liebherr recovers and reuses energy released in production to heat its facilities, and uses recyclable packaging materials and ecofriendly, solvent-free coatings on it sheet metals. liebherr-appliances.com Lighting Meteor Lighting ILOS Corporation While there were numerous fluorescent and LED lighting entries, many of them quite innovative or aesthetically pleasing, the judges found ILOS Corporation’s Meteor solar ground and paver lights to combine cutting-edge technology with functionality and design aesthetics. The lights use the latest in solar cell, LED lighting, and EDLC ultracapacitor technology (which gives them a seven- to 10-year lifespan) to be as sturdy and reliant as conventionally powered equivalents, the company says. Because they’re self-contained, they require no external power and no wiring, thereby reducing environmental impact. “For driveways and building lighting, it really solves a lot of problems,” judge Carol Kurth said. “With digging, you’re disrupting trees and shrubs and grass or habitat. I think this is just a great solution.” meteor-lighting.com Window Treatments Duette Architella Honeycomb Shades Hunter Douglas, Inc. When it comes to window treatments, the panelists considered entries with organic fibers and ecofriendly processes, but ultimately concluded that Hunter Douglas’ new double-honeycomb Duette Architella shades stood out for their innovation and superior insulating capacity, which translates to energy efficiency. The honeycomb-in-a-honeycomb construction dramatically increases R-values in colder months and significantly reduces solar heat gain to save consumers energy. Offered in a wide color palette, they’re visually appealing as well, the judges found. “I think this product is great,” Arango said. “I think this company is amazing. And their product is excellent; their quality is excellent.” Related Dayton: “I’ll never forget the first time I experienced that. The heat from the sun will come through the window and you’re feeling it when it’s open. You close that thing and it’s gone. And now this is double-honeycomb.” Added Arango: “It’s really amazing technology.” hunterdouglas.com
SPECIAL MENTIONS:Major American Furniture Manufacturer The EcoComfort Collection La-Z-Boy Among major American manufacturers, La-Z-Boy earned praise for using its huge presence in the industry to offer the EcoComfort Collection, a line using ecofriendly fabrics. While it’s hard for such a large, established company to convert to green standards, La-Z-Boy is “raising the consciousness on a wide scale, on a national scale,” says Arango. la-z-boy.com “Coolest” Product Q fireplace Ecosmart Fire Another special mention goes to a very hot product the judges named the “coolest.” While they admit this may not be the greenest product, they agreed the Q by Ecosmart Fire is worth noting for its innovation and design. This free-standing fireplace, situated in a round-shaped dome and free to move to any room, is 90 percent thermal efficient and perfect for small living spaces. ecosmartfire.com Philanthropic Mission K-Light Solar Lantern PiSAT Solar Finally, the judges stripped away all the remarkably green features of the K-Light Solar Lantern by PiSat Solar, like the 16 energy-efficient LEDs and 1.5-watt solar panel, and praised a company whose mission statement outshines its product. PiSat Solar donates a portion of its sales proceeds to its own Light for Africa program, which supports the not-for-profit Koinonia Foundation to provide start-up grants for local women in business who sell the K-Light. pisatsolar.com
JORGE S. ARANGO has nearly 20 years of publishing experience as a design writer, editor, and producer, having appeared in such publications as Metropolitan Home, House & Garden, Time Out New York, and Elle Décor. He has also co-authored two books: Harlem Style: Designing for the New Urban Aesthetic and Ex Arte. Arango’s work includes residential design photography as well as commercial projects like the Four Seasons Hotels in Washington, D.C., Liberia, and Costa Rica.
KATE DAYTON is the founder of Green Courage, LLC., in New Paltz, which provides environmentally safe and healthy finish materials for remodeling and renovation projects. She founded the company in 2004. Green Courage LLC is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Northeast Sustainable Energy Association (NESEA), Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), and Sustainable Hudson Valley (SHV).
CAROL J.W. KURTH, AIA, LEED AP, is principal of Carol J.W. Kurth AIA Architects and founder of OOCK green design boutique in Bedford. Kurth, a graduate of the City College of New York, is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. She is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers, as well as the founder of the American Institute of Architects’ Women in Architecture Committee, Westchester Mid-Hudson chapter.
CHRIS MADDEN founded her multimillion-dollar company, Chris Madden, Inc., in 1977 and has since produced 16 books, Your Good House magazine, and a home furnishings partnership with JC Penney. She was the first design correspondent for “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and is the founder and former editor-in-chief of Showhouse magazine. Madden just signed on to publish her 17th book and continues her partnership with JC Penney as well as her philanthropic ventures like Project Katrina, furnishing homes on the devastated Gulf Coast since 2007.
Entries were evaluated on the following criteria:
To be eligible, the product must:
• Have a defining green or sustainable attribute (in design, material, increased energy efficiency, reduced embodied energy, etc.)
• Be made in a sustainable way
• Be new, but available, to consumers (on the market less than two years)