Declare Label: An Ingredient List for Building Materials

The Neil Kelly Cabinet Company was the first US cabinet manufacturer to join the Declare program.

Nutritional labels may tell us what ingredients are in the food that we eat, but what’s in the building materials in our home? Where do they come from, what are they made of, and what happens to them at the end of their life? While those questions may seem difficult to answer—the answer is actually already here—and it’s called Declare.

Designed by the International Living Future Institute, Declare is an ingredient label for building materials.  It’s a world-wide program that requires participants to disclose the full chemical composition for each “Declared” product.  It calls out any chemicals of concern and notes when an ingredient is listed in the Living Building Challenge’s Red List.

“For Neil Kelly Cabinets, Declare is a natural progression for producing healthiest, most eco-friendly cabinets for consumers,” says Mark Smith, President of Neil Kelly Cabinets. “What really excites me about the Declare program is the transparency. With good information, I believe people can make healthier decisions for themselves and the environment,” he says.

Neil Kelly cabinet customer and former Chair of the US Green Building Council, Beth Heider, says she appreciates Neil Kelly’s dedication to making safe, sustainably-sourced cabinets. “Neil Kelly uses certified woods, no-added formaldehyde plywood binders and glues, responsibly sourced wood veneers and ultra-low VOC, no added formaldehyde adhesives and finishes,” she says.

Neil Kelly Cabinets joined the Oregon Natural Step network in 1997.  In 2002, the company became a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and started making LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) compliant products for LEED certified buildings.

Basically, Neil Kelly is no newcomer to the sustainability movement. Mark Smith probably says it best: “We were green when it was still a color”.