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, Ontario, CA. “For each tree harvested, at least six more are planted.”
Wood shutters also 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.
Customers also are interested in keeping their shutters looking their best, and most find wood shutters are not labor intensive. Painted and stained wood shutters should be cleaned often with a clean dry cloth or feather duster. Vacuum shutters with a soft-brush upholstery attachment can be used. If necessary, use a lightly damp cloth to remove any spots. Harsh cleaning fluids are not needed and should not be used. For stained-wood shutters, periodic treatment with a mild wood preservative will keep the shutters looking like fine furniture.
GREEN ALL AROUND
Not only are wood shutters eco-friendly, but even manufacturing them can be a sustainable process. Some shutter companies have adopted a few green practices, while others 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 to 15 percent,” 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.”
The company 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, the 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.