Sustainable Furniture to Help Earn LEED
Be it the rarely emptied recycle bins, semi-paperless filing system or newly installed LED lighting, in many contemporary office spaces these days, you’ll see at least a few attempts at being eco-friendly.
In fact, there are a host of things green-minded businesses can do to minimize their company’s carbon footprint. And any attempt to make your business an all-around better part of your community is better than no action at all.
Some business leaders aren’t satisfied with the minimum, however. They’re no longer comfortable just saying they’re green; they want to be held accountable with LEED certification.
LEED (or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council and is designed to recognize building and design efforts that are exceptionally ecologically friendly. When seeking LEED certification, businesses must satisfy a series of prerequisites and also earn points to achieve their desired level of certification.
There are several ways to earn points; one of the easiest–particularly if you already have a free-standing building in place–is the purchase of sustainable furniture.
The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association established the level system to quantify the ecological friendliness of office furniture. This system takes four factors into consideration in assigning a rating. These factors are:
- material use
- energy and atmosphere impacts
- human and ecosystem health
- social responsibility
Under the level program, all furniture is assigned a rating from one to three to represent its ecological friendliness, with furniture earning a one the least ecologically friendly and furniture earning a three the most.
The Pilot Credit 80 program, an element of the LEED program, specifically stipulates requirements for earning a LEED certification through installation of office furnishings that are level rated. To earn a LEED certification under this program, a project must use at least five different certified products and these products must make up at least 50 percent of the interior finishes or furnishings.
By selecting furniture that’s level rated, businesses can easily create workplaces with less negative environmental impact and earn the coveted LEED certification.
Fortunately, one company alone doesn’t have the market on level certified office furniture. There are actually many companies that offer furniture bearing these ratings, providing business owners a wide array of choices for outfitting their offices in a socially responsible way.
Instead of outfitting your office piece-by-piece, take a one-step approach with the selection of an office system. Systems are especially effective for use in wide open offices as the system provides all you need to give your space division and definition.
AIS offers an assortment of systems featuring level-two and three certifications. Define your open space with the Calibrate system. The clean lines and modern hues of this system makes it as cool and contemporary as it is eco-friendly.
To create a cubicle feel without eliminating sight lines, select Divi. This level-two product features an impressive 54.1 percent recycled content. The tiled system,Matrix, allows for flexible configuration, letting you define your furniture footprint. Also a level-two product, this piece contains 45.9 percent recycled content.
Containing 59.1 percent recycled content, the level-two MWall offers convenient cubicle configurations at a budget-friendly price.
If you’re seeking an exceptionally minimalist design, consider STAKS, a First Office offering. This system provides work space with low partitions, making it an extraordinary option for open-concept spaces.
For an even more open feel, banish the partitions and select the Eleven system by OFS. This Swiss designed system is level-two certified and features cool whites and starkly contrasting wood tones that create an attention getting juxtaposition.
If you seek more customization than some systems allow, but still don’t want to have to match your furnishings, consider casegoods. These themed sets allow you to select from an assortment of perfect-for-pairing pieces to fit your workplace needs.
Global Total Office offers several casegoods collections that have earned level certifications. The Zira collection, a sleek and contemporary array of furnishings featuring finishes ranging from laminate to fabric, earned a level three rating. If you’re trying to create a truly unique workspace, select the Adaptabilitiescollection. As the name suggests, the pieces in this level-three collection are designed to be adaptable. The collection contains 370 components available in 324 color combinations so, while the options aren’t endless, they’re pretty close.
If you’re looking for a modern yet sophisticated veneer wood line, consider theRift collection by DARRAN. Incorporating the elegance of veneer with modern options, this level-two collection offers visually pleasing contrast. Or, for a progressive laminate line, consider the Hyde Park collection, also by DARRAN. This level-two collection is designed with space maximization in mind, meaning you don’t have to have a sprawling office space to find eco-friendly furnishings that fit. Curves abound in the DARRAN Aero Park collection. This level-two collection offers classic pieces with small tweaks to better suit them to the contemporary workplace.
Jasper Desk Company offers an assortment of level-one rated collections, all featuring a decidedly different aesthetic. For a crisp and modern feel, select theA La Carte collection, which features sharp corners and clean lines. For a curvier take on modern, consider the aptly named A La Curve collection.
If you prefer a more distinctive wood finish, try the Serengeti collection, which features an array of African mahogany veneers that add a touch of the exotic to your workplace.
Swapping your office chairs out often is a wise choice for many reasons. Not only do they start to look shabby after a while, the padding and springs break down, making them less comfortable for your dedicated workers. Replace your office chairs with something ergonomic and eco-friendly to work your way to a LEED certification.
SitOnIt Seating offers a wide variety of seating options, making it easy to choose a collection of perches that match your office feel. The Focus collection includes an array of level-one chairs ranging in design from Sport to Executive. The collection also includes side chairs, giving you the option of adding extra complementary seating to your workspaces. To quiet down a workforce that has long complained about uncomfortable seating, select the level-one rated Glovecollection. Just looking at this plushly appointed chair makes aches and pains hurt a little less.
If you’re only seeking extra seating, try the Freelance collection. These level-one chairs don’t feature the bells and whistles of an ergonomic desk chair and come at a lower price to reflect this
Izzy+ features seating designed to encourage movement, allowing your workers and guests more freedom to shift and squirm to counteract the effects of sitting all day. For a conference room chair that is comfortable yet allows for movement, select the level-two Conventio. If improving posture is your aim, fill your workspace with chairs that look profoundly different from the norm. Purchase the level-two rated Capisco, a saddle chair that is designed to allow sitters to adopt the same active movement posture they would when riding a horse.
When seeking to replace more than just the task chairs in your office, select Allseating, a one stop shop for all things seating. For eco-friendly and attractive reception seating, try the Foster collection, a level-one certified option. The swooping back and oversized cushion on these pieces will allow them to fit right in with modern designs. To save the world, and your workers’ spines simultaneously, select the Therapod chair. The design of this level one chair incorporates an assortment of bands running down the back of the chair, making it fully adjustable.
If you want a level certified product, but none of these strike your fancy, you’ve still got lots to choose from. The catalog of level certified products is so large creating an extensive listing would seem tantamount to impossible. However, like for you, level has done just that. Use the level product search to narrow down your options into a manageable collection of candidates.