Furniture company Bernhardt has told Furniture Today that in the first year of implementing its sustainability program it reduced fresh water consumption by almost 15 percent, landfill waste by 26 percent and increased the volume of recycling to more than 228 tons, from 58 tons in 2006. The furniture company enrolled its domestic facilities in the American Home Furnishings Alliance’s Enhancing Furniture’s Environmental Culture, which aims to green operations.
One of its first steps towards cutting energy use was installing energy-efficient, low-wattage bulbs at its corporate headquarters. The project cost $20,000 but reduced energy use by more than 189,000 kilowatt hours. The company expects to recoup the costs within 18 months.
The company also found that at one facility, a leak was wasting about 800 gallons of water a week.
Since 2006, the company has reported cutting its hourly consumption of electricity from 7.8 kilowatts to 6.9 kilowatts, and of water from 5.8 gallons to 4.9 gallons. The company’s generation of solid waste has also dropped from 1.5 gallons to 1.2 gallons.
In October, the American Home Furnishings Alliance announced that seven more of its members have implemented the organization’s EFEC program.
A new national sustainability standard for office furniture makers, developed jointly by NSF and the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association, may be finalized by early October.