New Sustainability Certification for Furniture Launches with Products from Steelcase, Herman Miller

New Sustainability Certification for Furniture Launches with Products from Steelcase, Herman Miller

The new Level certification for furniture has launched, identifying products that meet the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer's Association (BIFMA) E3 sustainability standard.

The e3 standard is BIFMA's first multi-attribute sustainability standard developed specifically for furniture, and its criteria includes materials, energy and atmosphere, human and ecosystem health, and social responsibility.

Some material attributes include recycled content, efficient material use, rapidly renewable materials and life cycle assessments. Energy and atmosphere covers corporate sustainability polices, manufacturing facilities and finished products, looking at greenhouse gases, lighting and transportation impacts. The human and environment health section looks at if companies are using any of the 500+ chemicals of concern the standard lists, and it also covers hazardous waste and air emissions. Social responsibility includes labor and human rights and safety management.

The standard was modeled after the LEED certification for buildings, with specific prerequisites and optional credits. Products can receive Level 1, 2 or 3 certification, with 3 being the highest. The standard applies to all business and institutional furniture, including chairs, desk systems, tables, moveable walls, and materials and components manufactured by suppliers to furniture manufacturers.

Certification is provided by independent third parties, and the only two that can provide Level certification currently are Scientific Certification Systems and NSF International.

Companies with products already certified to Level certification are Herman Miller, Steelcase, Allsteel, Gunlocke, HON Company, Kimball Office and National Office Furniture.

Level 3 certification was given to Steelcase's Think chair, which weighs 32 pounds, can be disassembled easily with common tools, contains 37 percent recycled content and is up to 98 percent recyclable. Steelcase also received Level certification for its Leap, Move, Amia and Siento seating; Answer system; and Universal storage products.

Herman Miller also had a number of products certified. Its Level 2 certified product lines include Aeron, Mirra, Celle, Embody, Caper stacking, Foray seating, and Tu and Meridian storage. Level 1 certified product lines include Equa, Ergon, Reaction, and Ambi seating; Action Office, Ethospace, Vivo Interiors, My Studio Environments, Resolve, Passage, Series 5000 and Abak furniture systems; and Eames and Avive tables.

Herman Miller also recently received Cradle to Cradle Gold certification for two adjustable keyboard supports, which are made of fully recyclable materials, from The Be Collection line of accessories.

Think chair - courtesy Steelcase