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10 Green Kitchen Construction Materials

Wheatboard Cabinets

Wheatboard cabinets are essentially a hardened combination of plant fibers. Plant fibers such as wheat, cornstalk, hemp, rice hulls, rye grass, straw, seed husks and palm trees can be mixed together in a mash -- not unlike a beer mash -- and hardened to create a wood-like construction material.

The plant fibers that compose this material are taken from what would have been unusable portions of already-harvested fiber products, so there is little environmental impact on the planet in addition to the impact from the initial harvest. The biggest environmental footprint probably comes from the fuel consumption to deliver the product to your home.

The fibers' biggest drawback is their looks, which to some might appear a lot like cork, in that there are very definable grains. If you like the idea of wheatboard, but not necessarily the appearance, choose some that have been finished with a sleek veneer, shellac or stain; these can make the cabinets more closely resemble wood, and the effect can be impressive.

Wheatboard is often sold in sheets, and as with many other cabinet construction materials, getting a price quote generally means consulting a local distributor. The U.S. Green Building Council lists plenty of wheatboard manufacturers, so its Web site is a good starting point. Because of the abundance of fiber scraps, wheatboard is readily available and an extremely affordable material for cabinet construction.