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Try A 'Greener' Approach To Office Furniture

July 09, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 202

If you are looking for ways to make your office more enviro-friendly, consider the myriad sustainable options available in the marketplace today. 'Green' office furniture is available for almost all budgets, but will vary in terms of its sustainability factor. Here are some tips when looking for the most suitable furnishings for your office.

What is Green Office Furniture Anyway?

When recyclable or renewable materials are used to construct office furnishings, the furniture may be regarded as Green since the manufacturing process has a reduced impact on the environment. Of course the degree to which the furniture can be considered enviro-friendly depends on the percentage of renewable substances used; the greater the percentage of recycled or renewable materials, the Greener it is.

Choosing Truly Green Products

Since the substances used determine whether particular furnishings can be called Green, always look for furniture containing the highest percentage of recyclable, renewable or rapidly renewable materials. It is also important to consider the durability of the furniture. Avoid buying wood products whenever possible, since these may have been painted or stained using non-environmentally safe products. If your preference is to buy wood, research the forestry practices of the manufacturer and look for those that produce Green products or used recycled materials. Companies like Knoll are considered to be industry leaders in sustainable practices.

Another thing to look out for is whether the products were manufactured to meet indoor air quality standards. Try to find furniture with the official GREENGUARD certification. Products that are certified by the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) are rated in terms of their ability to meet indoor air quality standards. For example, products that are free of toxic chemicals and other pollutants, or products that are mold-free may be considered certifiable. The GEI is a non-profit agency recognized by the American National Standards Institute. You can find out more about their rating system and recommended products by visiting greenguard.org.

Taking Cost into Consideration

Once you've looked into the materials used, manufacturing process and the enviro-friendly certification level of your office furniture, you will need to consider cost. Green office furniture is available for a range of budgets, although generally speaking the more you spend on a product, the more sustainable it is. Prices will vary from supplier to supplier and will also depend on certification levels. Ergonomic chairs can be found for under $200 or can run upwards of $800. Shop around and do your research before making any decision. In the end you may prefer to pay a higher price if you know the product is truly Green. Of course there is always the option to buy previously-loved furniture if you have little wiggle room in your budget. Purchasing refurbished and used products is always an excellent Green alternative - you help use less resources, keep furniture out of the landfills and it's easy on your wallet.

Get Informed

Websites like treehugger.com are a great resource on the topic and provide valuable information about how to make environmentally sustainable purchases. Another great resource is the EPA's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing program. Although it was originally developed to encourage the federal government to increase their enviro-friendly purchasing habits, it is a great resource for the general public to help in making informed decisions.

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Source: EzineArticles
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