Counter Intelligence: What's the Right Choice for a Kitchen Counter?

Kitchen with custom white cabinets and stone counters
credit: Granite counters

This is a series where I take my lectures presented as adjunct professor teaching sustainable design at Ryerson University School of Interior Design in Toronto, and distill them down to a sort ofPecha Kuchaof options.

When people buy a home or apartment, they don't have a lot of options. That's why kitchen counters are so interesting; it's one of the few places where people do have a lot of choice. These days, they all seem to pick one of the hundreds of stones and granites that are available today. How did this happen? What are the alternatives? What is the greenest and most sustainable choice?

1
of 18

Plastic Laminate

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credit:X射线三角洲

五十或六十年前,几乎每个厨房柜台都是塑料层压板。它是最初发明的奇迹材料,以替换云母作为绝缘(FOR-MICA),由浸渍有热固性树脂的纸层(胶木,第一商业成功塑料)的层组成。第二次世界大战后,他们加入了装饰板并密封在三聚氰胺上。它便宜,多彩,更耐用,易于清洁,而不是以前使用的瓷砖或油毡。他们可以形成它来制作反弹,并使风险停止滴在前面。但如果你不小心,它很容易被划伤,烧毁,并污染。

2
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预花岗岩

信贷:霍华德罗克切割花岗岩/源头

没有人用花岗岩进行台面。所有定制切割的大块的工匠被工匠被争吵和切割。它来自佛蒙特州和魁北克在几种颜色中,就是这样。世界各地都花岗岩,但发货它真的很贵,在许多国家都没有训练有素的人,他们可以使用这些东西。那是什么改变了?

3.
of 18

It got containerized

信用:运输容器中的花岗岩

The biggest development in the granite business was the shipping container, which dramatically dropped the cost of shipping anything around the world. If it could fit in a box then it could go anywhere. But what would they ship in that box?

4.
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It got commodified

credit: Slices of granite in showroom.

一个关键的洞察力是,定制花岗岩可能需要很多技能,但是将其切成了很多方法,所以3/4“花岗岩板块基本上成为国际标准。这真的很好地工作,因为你真的很好可以将其切成采石场,确保碎片不会破裂或有缺陷,架起它们并运送它们。

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它得到了全球化的

credit: Granite slices

With commodification and containerization, granite could be sourced and shipped and manufactured anywhere. So today it comes from India, Brazil, China, almost anywhere. Add in the fact thatit got computerized,with giant tools that cut out granite like a CNC cutter cuts out plywood, and you have an international market in a thin veneer of granite. A builder in Houston might order a Brazilian granite, and send the plans to China where they cut it to size and then ship it to America. They can do this and install it for a couple of bucks per square foot because back in Brazil or India, it costs a couple of pennies.

6.
of 18

Veneer of Granite

credit: installing granite via Youtube

And when you finish installing your veneer of granite, what do you have? In fact the stuff is full of fissures and microscopic cracks that have to be filled and sealed.研究表明了that these can become breeding areas for bacteria. To top it all off, some of it is seriously radioactive. One consultant noted in theNew York Times:

“It’s not that all granite is dangerous,” said Stanley Liebert, the quality assurance director at CMT Laboratories in Clifton Park, N.Y. “But I’ve seen a few that might heat up your Cheerios a little.”

我指出的那样

真的,这些东西让一个糟糕的柜台受到污染的影响,提取它的工人被剥削,它在世界各地发货,追逐最便宜的劳动力,然后切割它,甚至可能是放射性的。我无法想象为什么有人想要它。

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替代品:Corian.

信用:杜邦Corian

Corian是多个“实体表面”中的第一个,其中各种材料与丙烯酸树脂混合。Corian作为一种绿色和可持续材料的销售,适用于大量利益点,耐用,低VOC和无毒。设计师一直在做出精彩的事情,而且比花岗岩更容易。但即使它自7月以来一直在周围,直到最近,它真的很难实际上发现它是由它的制造;杜邦网站肯定没有太多透明度。现在他们注意到“DupontTMCORIAN®是由天然材料制成(Duponttmcorian®的2/3由铝土矿制成);组装粘合剂由PMMA(聚甲基丙烯酸甲基丙烯酸甲酯)树脂制成。“右。实际上它们将氢氧化铝从铝土矿中脱离,其采矿威胁wild rivers in Australiaand massivedevastation in Jamaica。它出来的红泥摧毁了匈牙利的一个镇。但它很自然!和绿色!

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of 18

仿芝士

credit: LG- Eden

但没有人比LG-Eden的制造商更加令人惊讶和热闹的热带,这是在杜邦专利跑出来市场之后的众多仿糖。从2007年看那个广告,(他们将不得不永存这​​个悬浮的嬉皮士一个实际拥抱树的人以及所有那种花卉电影和声明:When we go green, we go all the way.What do they do that's different? They note that "the Eden Collection is created from a minimum of 12% pre-consumer recycled material." And where do they get that? "During the manufacturing process, LG takes an environmentally responsible approach to handling imperfect sheets by utilizing them as regrind material to be used in standard line colors versus sending them to a landfill." In other words, they grind up their own mistakes and manufacturing inefficiencies that should not have been made in the first place, and call that green.

9.
of 18

石英固体表面

信用:Lloyd Alter / Caesarstone柜台与jasper在床上

各种材料可以混合到树脂中以制造固体表面。Caesarstone在凯瑟里亚境外的以色列在以色列的一个Kibbutz开始,因此名称。它是93%石英和树脂的混合物;杜邦制作版本,Zodiaq,with Quebec quartz. Like most solid surfaces, it's VOC free and totally inert and solid. I used it for my sink in the hall in my recent renovation, and find it easy to maintain. Caesarstone says that its quartz is "a common waste product of other mining industries that Caesarstone utilizes for production, thus eliminating environmental waste. The collected material is then processed, crushed, washed and sifted prior to the manufacturing process."

10.
of 18

纸固体表面

credit: Sustain Minihome

Richlite and Paperstone are two manufacturers of a solid surfaces built up out of paper and resin. Both claim to be terrific eco-products. Richlite is made from 65% paper and 35% resin. They do not use recycled paper (they claim it is not good enough) and they do not use water based resin, claiming theirmethanol/ethanol processis better. They burn the fumes off to run their processes. They call it Eco-Bind.Richlite声称他们的材料是色的,适合户外使用,但Andy Thomson Prad Thefirst Sustain Minihomein the stuff and after three years it was faded and looked like old cardboard. It had to be reclad at great expense. Needless to say, I am not a fan.Paperstonecalls itself "the countertop with a conscience. It is made from " from post-consumer recycled paper that has been saturated with our proprietary PetroFreeTM phenolic resins."

We develop the greenest, most natural and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes that are economically possible. We intend to tread lightly on the earth by being both innovative and environmentally aware. We believe that economic and environmental health is ultimately interdependent.

They trademark their "PetroFreeTM" phenolic resin but nowhere can I find out what it actually is, it's proprietary. They definitely lose points for transparency here.

11.
of 18

alkemi固体表面

信用:ALKEMI.

alkemi.是84%至97%的金属刨花,最初是铝,现在的铜,混合成丙烯酸树脂。看看并获得所有LEED使用回收材料的LEED积分,以及其设计师和开发商Demir Hamami,这是一个迷人的男人,他们来到所有的绿色博弈和其他节目。我一直在询问为什么将这个废料放入台面而不是回收它是一件好事;在2008 Demir told methat " flake aluminum milling scrap burns before it melts, and has to be expensively compressed before it can be recycled, so it usually goes into landfills." That doesn't explain making it with copper though. Lovely stuff to look at, but I remain not entirely convinced that it is the highest and best use of the metal.

12.
of 18

不锈钢

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credit:Abimis

不锈钢台面几乎是餐馆标准的;易于清洁,耐用,几乎不可抗性和可回收的。它也嘈杂,昂贵,很容易被划伤,并显示靠近它的每个指纹。这几乎是所有定制的,虽然商业厨房供应商确实有一些可以作为岛屿的标准单位。有些人让它是绿色的because it is recyclable and so durable, but it takes a lot of energy to make steel. Butthe manufacturers claimthat "Taking into account its recyclability, reuse, long life, low maintenance and product safety, the emissions from the production and use of stainless steels are minimal when compared to any other alternative material."

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Porcelain

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credit:Neolith

街区的一个新孩子是瓷砖。Neolith, a Spanish company makes giant porcelain sheets that are an eighth of an inch thick, in sheets up to four feet by twelve feet. They claim it is scratch resistant, flexible, easy to clean, all natural and 100% recyclable. I suspect we are going to be seeing a lot more of this in the future; Visiting the Broad Sustainable Building factory in China last year, I saw miles of the stuff being used on floors, walls, exteriors of buildings and yes, kitchens. I have never actually seen a kitchen made with it so cannot comment on what it is like to work on.

NeoLith是一种高性能的材料,适用于厨房覆盖物等应用。NeoLith不划伤,不会染色,是热和耐火,并且由于技术瓷器的极低吸收率,非常适合食品接触和加工。
14.
of 18

具体的

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credit:具体的Elegance

"Concrete" and "green" are two words that I have never used together. However Alla Linetsky of具体的Elegance是多伦多地区公司,相信我有优点。这是一家本地业务;你无法运送它。它比普通混凝土更少的水泥;您不需要结构台面。她混合了一个特殊的混合物,可回收77%,局部92%和30%打火机。也可以自己这样做;有赋予指标and videos with the how-to information. That would probably make it the cheapest solid surface counter you can get. There are a lot of horror stories out there about shrinking, staining, cracking, repetitive need for sealing. Some have noted that the rougher surfaces can trap food and dirt and become "food banks for bacteria." But the具体台面研究所(是的,有一个研究所)声称,“如果您正在考虑在厨房中使用混凝土台面并担心清洁和卫生,您需要理解,尽管如此,您需要明白的混凝土台面是非常可清洁和卫生的可能已经听过。“

15.
of 18

木头和屠夫块

Modified IKEA butcher block countertop" data-caption="" data-expand="300" id="mntl-sc-block-image_2-0-49" data-tracking-container="true">
credit:Modified IKEA butcher block countertop

这看起来很棒,但木和水混合sn't always work out so well. I did plywood counters at my cottage fifteen years ago and it is getting pretty black and horrible around the sink these days. On the island with the stove, it's just fine. Butcher block is a great top to work on, easy on the knives. It is naturally anti-microbial, but don't cut meat and fish on it, any more than you would right on any other counter. And watch out if it ever starts opening up at the joints. But they are actually not hard to maintain, and if you do cut meat on it, follow the advice of a writer toChowhound:Salt.

Butchers for centuries, when done cutting meat spread their soapy or simply water moistened butcher blocks with coarse salt and let it set... Salt causes the membranes of all critters large and small to explode and die. so do it periodically, and especially after chicken and you'll never have a problem.
16.
of 18

软木

credit: Lloyd Alter at ICFF

我们在Treehugger上爱软木塞。它是一个完全可再生的产品,并使用它实际上保护环境,使房地产开发商保持过度运行葡萄牙软木林,并保护栖息地为您所令人难过的yabo88 Subterra, maker of the cork shown above, takes the remaining material after the cork wine stoppers are cut out, and recycles it into ultra high density building materials. Like wood, it isantimicrobial and hypo-allergenic. The surface is impermeable and non-porous. What's not to love?

17.
of 18

Terrazo / Icestone.

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credit:克莱蒙斯

像混凝土计数器一样,有些东西可以用克里斯通等地下柜台抱怨。它们是用波特兰水泥制造的,这是温室气体的重要贡献者。他们很沉重,所以它应该真正被认为是本地产品。它们需要一点维护和重新密封和打蜡。但是,有Icestone,这与我所看到的任何其他公司不同。它们位于布鲁克林海军院子里,使他们的预制柜台出局部破碎的玻璃。但这真的只是开始。他们让他们的产品摇篮给摇篮认证;他们认真对待他们的环境和社会责任。他们是“B公司的创始成员,这是一群公司,致力于通过智能,可持续的商业实践提高社会和环境问题。” They teach their employees english and they feed them healthy food. Dig deeply enough into their website and you can probably find the menus. I am still not crazy about concrete counters, but I am totally crazy about the company for their transparency and their commitment.

18.
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So what's the greenest countertop?

credit: Formica

我要来满圈子并称之为Formica.。我没有检查另一种塑料层压板公司,但Formica在辛辛那提工厂做了所有正确的东西。它采用FSC纸张库存,生物质能量管理,水基酚醛树脂。有三聚氰胺,一种用甲醛制成的塑料,但它化学结合到它中并没有脱脂。但这不是我非常喜欢的主要原因。它是所有逆材料中最小的最小型材,薄塑料层可连接到基板上。它可以模制,使其易于清洁。如果你伤害它,那是最便宜的台面,所以更换它不会杀了你。(当我在预制柜台工作时,我在花岗岩计数器上进行了设计错误,需要数千美元来取代。)除了可能的不锈钢,其他柜台都没有任何真正的性能优势,并且所有这些都有很多次成本每平方英尺更多。 People want granite and stone because they have been sold a bill of goods, paying more for a lousy counter because its all the fashion. They may look good, but they aren't practical, they aren't light and they certainly aren't green. But laminate is the economical, minimalist, and I believe the green solution. And did I say it was cheap?