The Most Eco-Friendly Window Treatments Available

For generations, interior wood shutters have added value to a home, provided privacy and helped control temperatures. Today, wood shutters are one of the most eco-friendly window treatments available.

"Most wood shutters today are made out of Basswood, a lightweight, sustainably-harvested hardwood that does not warp, is naturally low in sap content and is recyclable, biodegradable and renewable," says Doug Serbin, CEO of Avalon Shutters. "For each tree harvested, at least six more are planted."

Wood shutters are an energy-efficient window treatment that provides insulation during hot and cold weather as well as UV protection, which shields furniture from the damaging sun. Even odd-shaped, over-sized windows and French and sliding doors can be custom-fitted with shutters. Because of their durability, it's not uncommon to have shutters on a home for decades.

Some shutter companies have adopted a few green practices, while others, such as Avalon Shutters, have wholeheartedly created an underlying sustainability platform. For example, to eliminate the dangerous indoor off-gassing that comes from lacquer-based paints, Avalon Shutters finishes its painted and stained shutters with a water-based, environmentally-friendly coating that contains zero and ultra-low volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

"We've virtually eliminated hazardous air pollutants without sacrificing the durability and performance of solvent-based coatings," says Serbin. "It's not only good for our customers but also for our employees."

"We also made a substantial investment in very sophisticated manufacturing equipment which maximizes the yield from each board and has allowed us to reduce waste by 10%-15%," adds Serbin. "Unusable wood knots and end cuts are ground up and recycled along with all sawdust and wood shavings. Even metal paint, stain cans and shipping straps are recycled."

Avalon also participates in Edison's "Critical Peak Program." Production schedules are adjusted to allow more energy to be transferred to the grid during critical peak usage hours during summer months. To reduce energy usage, Avalon's factory uses high-efficiency lighting and computer-controlled systems that come on only when needed. For example, its dust collection, air compressors and blower systems cycle only as needed.

What to look for when shopping for an eco-friendly, high-quality wood shutter:

  • Made from sustainably harvested Basswood or bamboo. Ask the manufacturer about its sustainable forestry policy.
  • Horizontal rails that are notch-cut to block out more light and provide more insulation.
  • Water-based coatings that have ultra-low or zero VOCs.
  • A USA manufacturer, because the environmental regulations are more stringent. Many shutter companies manufacture in China. This creates a significant carbon footprint during transportation.
  • The manufacturer's statement of environmental practices. The company's Web site is a good place to look.

Avalon Shutters Inc. is America's largest manufacturer of fine custom natural wood shutters and blinds. Avalon Shutters produces custom wood shutters using the finest sustainably-harvested Basswood and materials that are hand-selected and milled onsite for superior quality control. An environmentally responsible company, Avalon Shutters guarantees product installation in 28 days or less and provides a limited lifetime warranty on its wood window coverings.

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