8 min read

Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc., Explained

Written by:

Christi Farrell, RA, Leed GA


June 7, 2023

Image source:

Studio Marlowe

The significance of material selection in interior design ascends beyond aesthetics, encompassing the health and environmental impact of the products used within our living spaces.

Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc. (AHMI) plays a pivotal role in assuring that the hardwood products we incorporate into our homes meet a stringent criterion of quality, sustainability, and health.

This comprehensive exploration delves into the essence of AHMI, its contribution to healthy interior design, and addresses frequently asked questions on the matter.

What Is Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc.?

Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc. is an association that represents the hardwood lumber industry in the Appalachian region of the United States, which spans 12 states from New York to Mississippi.

AHMI endorses sustainable forestry practices and ensures the preservation of hardwood forests for future generations.

The Appalachian Margin of Excellence

The “Appalachian Hardwood Verified Sustainable” program is a testament to the region's commitment to responsible forest management and wood production.

Products bearing this certification are guaranteed to originate from well-managed forests, assuring consumers that their interior choices are contributing positively to the environment.

AHMI's Role in Healthy Interior Design

The intersection of AHMI's mission with healthy interior design is critical; it signifies a bridge between natural resources and our home environments.

By preferring AHMI certified wood, designers and homeowners are selecting materials that:

  • Emit low levels of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), ensuring better indoor air quality.
  • Support a sustainable supply chain from well-maintained forests.
  • Uphold biodiversity and soil health due to responsible forest management.
  • Contribute to the emotional and physical well-being by incorporating natural elements into interiors.

Therapeutic Nature of Appalachian Hardwood in Interiors

Harmonizing with Biophilic Design

Biophilic design is an approach in interior design that aims to connect the occupants more closely to nature.

Appalachian hardwoods, with their inherent beauty and organic properties, are superb elements for creating spaces that echo the calmness and restorative effects of the natural world.

Health Benefits

Hardwood surfaces are known for their durability and ease of cleaning, thus reducing the presence of allergens and bacteria.

The psychological impact is equally important; wood has a calming effect on the psyche, making it a preferred choice for creating rejuvenating spaces.

The Impact of Certified Hardwood on Indoor Air Quality

Indoor air quality is a paramount concern in healthy home design.

Appalachian hardwoods certified by AHMI are less likely to have been treated with harmful chemicals, thus minimizing the off-gassing of VOCs and other pollutants.

This results in a healthier living environment with fewer risks associated with respiratory problems and skin irritations.

Case Study: Room and Board's Commitment to Quality

Room and Board, a prominent furniture brand, claims to offer AHMI certified products.

This not only validates the brand’s dedication to quality and sustainable sources but also gives customers peace of mind when making health-conscious choices for their interior spaces.

Eco-friendly Practices in Action

By aligning with AHMI’s standards, Room and Board demonstrates an eco-friendly practice called 'chain of custody' that ensures each step of the production process meets sustainability benchmarks—from the forest to the finished product within your home.

A Stamp of Trust

For consumers, the presence of an AHMI certification on Room and Board products is a badge of environmental and health responsibility.

When browsing through furniture options, customers can look for the AHMI certification as an indicator of eco-conscious manufacturing.

Incorporating Appalachian Hardwood into Your Home

Aesthetic Versatility

The variety of species available in Appalachian hardwood provides ample selection for matching different design themes, from traditional to contemporary.

Each species of wood offers unique grain patterns and tones, allowing designers the flexibility to introduce natural warmth and character into any space.

Practical Considerations

Hardwood is renowned for its strength and durability. Yet, to maintain its integrity and appearance, care must be taken to protect it from excessive moisture and sharp impacts.

Regular cleaning with appropriate wood-safe products will preserve the natural beauty of Appalachian hardwood furniture.

The Environmental Angle

Selecting AHMI certified hardwood for your home not only uplifts the aesthetic qualities of the interior design but constitutes an environmentally conscious decision, contributing to the conservation of forests.

Ensuring Certification Authenticity

How to Verify AHMI Certification

When selecting hardwood products, it is advisable to verify the authenticity of AHMI certification directly with the manufacturer or by checking on AHMI's official website.

This ensures the product's certification status is accurate and current.

Understanding the Certification Labels

The labels associated with Appalachian hardwood products comprise valuable information that certifies the sustainable management of the forests from which the wood has been harvested, including information on the chain of custody that Room and Board and other companies must follow to be certified.

FAQs about Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc. and Healthy Interior Design

Q: How does AHMI certification contribute to a healthy home environment?
A: AHMI certification ensures the hardwood used in your interior design comes from sustainably managed forests and is processed without harmful chemicals that could compromise indoor air quality.

Q: Can I find a wide range of furniture styles with AHMI certified hardwood?
A: Yes, the Appalachian region yields a diverse range of wood species which is utilized by furniture manufacturers like Room and Board to create a variety of styles suitable for many decor preferences.

Q: How does the use of hardwood fit into the biophilic design principle?
A: Hardwood naturally fits into biophilic design due to its organic quality and the inherent comfort it brings through its connection to nature.

Q: Is Appalachian hardwood a sustainable choice even if I live outside the region?
A: Appalachian hardwood is a sustainable choice due to the certified responsible forestry practices.

While transportation considerations are essential, the overall sustainability and health benefits of the product often offset these concerns.

By embracing the harmony between interior design and environmental stewardship, Appalachian Hardwood Manufacturers Inc. fosters an ethos of well-being and ecological balance.

Its presence within the home translates to an endorsement of health, a celebration of natural beauty, and a commitment to protecting nature's priceless resources.

Choosing AHMI certified products from brands like Room and Board extends this vision into the very fabric of our living environments, emphasizing that decisions of design can have profound, lasting effects on both our personal health and the world at large.

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Christi Farrell

Christi is a licensed architect and interior designer specializing in sustainability. She enjoys teaching design and bringing transparency to the impact that furniture has on our planet.

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