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Bay area green building pioneer… hoping one day to make both our work and our lives carbon neutral.
When looking for a cabinetmaker committed to green practices, you’d be hard pressed to find a company more dedicated than Coldicott Woodworks, Inc. Based in the Bay Area, just southeast of San Francisco, Coldicott utilizes no or low VOC materials and finishes, as well as local and/or sustainably sourced materials whenever possible. But this was not enough for Steve Coldicott. He took this thinking a step farther by offering year end bonuses to employees who ride their bikes to work! Coldicott’s commitment to the health of the planet and their employees is a benchmark others strive for.
According to owner Steve, “Coldicott was green before we even knew what that meant.” The epiphany occurred shortly after the arrival of his first child. “We are a family operated business. This means that my family spends most of the day at the shop.” explains Coldicott. “My wife and I are both experienced woodworkers. When our first child was born we would bring them to work and we wanted to make sure we weren’t exposing our child to environmental toxins. We also have a number of award winning wood workers in the shop who care about their own health. This is how we began to learn about the chemistry involved with products.”
Coldicott was the first shop in this region to ask for PureBond® plywood made formaldehyde-free technology. “It wasn’t difficult to tell that imported plywood was made with a lot of toxic adhesive. You could smell it! I didn’t want to use anything like that so we began to hound the vendors in our area to carry PureBond. Now we buy it exclusively.” Explains Steve. “PureBond was a catalyst for us to then look into other areas where we could be sustainable. This process of looking deeper has turned into a strong sense of social responsibility for us: we believe we are personally responsible for our impact on the world.
We are continually researching new green products to find the superior product at the most competitive price. We have put a lot of research and development into using non-toxic materials and finishes. Because of this we now have a second business; Eco-Friendly Finishes, and we are the only environmental and IAQ focused finishing company in the bay area. Now other shops ask us how to use many of the new wave green products!”
Coldicott has taken environmental thinking to a level farther than most shops. “We hope one day to make both our work and our lives carbon neutral,” says Steve. “One of the ways we are moving in this direction is by having a bike to work program. We offer a twice a year mileage payback for employees who ride their bikes to work, paying a set amount per mile. If someone does not have a bike we help them get one and if they have mass-transit we supplement that. I want to reward everyone using alternative energy.”
Coldicott is one of the few cabinet shops in the country that is also a member of the US Green Building Council.