Furniture, Walls and
Natural or Recycled- Provide furniture systems that are recycled
components. There is no natural material more durable, strong, flexible, or widely used
The most widely used softwood and hardwood species come from tropical rainforests and
old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest- these resources are exponentially
significant, yet are disappearing at an even faster rate. Architects should discuss
sustainable management with their wood suppliers and encourage building practices that use
wood more efficiently.
Raw Materials Acquisition- Recyclability and recycling of materials is
essential and provisions should be made for the disassembly and reuse of all products by
Raw Materials Processing and Manufacturing- Avoid using
furnishings that require high amount of embodied energy to build and create a potential
environmental desecration through the mining, refining, and transportation of them.
Criteria for materials should be set to conserve resources. Questions such as: Is it
needed? Is there a substitute with lower mass and/or lower embodied energy?
Product Distribution- Use furnishings that have been
manufactured locally in an "sustaining" manner, to avoid environmental impacts
of transportation. It reduces the embodied energy use because materials do not need
to be transported over long distances; it helps support local economies; it ensures
climatically appropriate solutions for that region; and it expresses the culture of the
No / Low Emissions- Look for products that do not pollute
the air inside the building, or at least produce less pollution than conventional
products. Toxicity of materials should be carefully reviewed to protect indoor air
quality and the employees from suffering from off-gassing effects. Consult all MSDS
sheets in order to determine presence of harmful chemicals in products, paying particular
attention to exposure limits and known medical hazards.
Products cannot contribute more than 500 g/m3 of total volatile organic compound (TVOC)
50 mg/m3 of particulate 60 g/m3 of formaldehyde (HCHO)
Furnishings must test against standard environmental chamber protocol
Complete workstation emissions should not exceed:
- 5.68 mg/WS/hr TVOC
0.68 mg/WS/hr HCHO
Disposal & Renewability- Attempts should be made to use recyclable
or biodegradable materials.
Consult IAQ Spec List for manufacturers and product test results
Air Quality Sciences, Inc. Atlanta, GA
Consult MSDS sheets for all materials
Case Studies to Research:
Herman Miller- Miller SQA Facility
William McDonough + Partners
-Primer on Sustainable Building
Rocky Mountain Institute
-The Green Pages: The Contract Interior Designer's Guide to Environmentally
Responsible Products and Materials.
Kim Nadel, C.I.D. & Andrew Fuston, Co-Authors
399 4th St., Brooklyn, NY 11215
-Interior Concerns Resource Guide
131 W. Blithedale, Mill Valley, CA 94941
-Sourcebook for Sustainable Design
Boston Society of Architects
52 Broad St., Boston, MA. 02109
-The Natural Home, Bierman-Lytle, Paul and Marinelli, Janet
-Oikos: Green Building Source
-Global Environmental Options
-Environlink's Internet Green Marketplace
-Energy Efficient Environments, Inc.
-Real Goods Trading Company: Real Goods Catalog
Green Market. Sutton, Katherine Day. Interiors Vol. 157, No. 1. January
1998, p. 38.