Options are getting easier to find. An online search reveals a variety of manufacturers that produce eco-friendly furniture – from work benches to cubicles to workstations.
Environmentally friendly furniture comes from a variety of resources.
One of the simplest renewable materials is wheatboard, a by-product made from wheat straw. This material has no formaldehyde and can be used to create, among other things, quality furniture and cabinets. Produced in sheets, this durable substance can be filled, sealed, painted, stained or varnished. It can also be shaped in a wide variety of designs.
This “waste product” traditionally has been burned or added to landfills. As wheatboard, however, it benefits the environment by reducing deforestation (as a viable substitute for wood), and lessens both air pollution and landfill use. Along with its versatility, using wheatboard can help a building project earn crucial LEED credits for rapidly renewable materials.
Wheatboard has been used in cabinetry for Sierra Nevada College’s Tahoe Center laboratory-classroom, in desks at Chicago’s Center for \Neighborhood Technology, and as part of Lawrence University’s Campus Center in Wisconsin. All three of these facilities have been LEED certified.
A few manufacturers produce wheatboard – both in the U.S. and Canada. The Eco Business Links Environmental Directory is a good resource. The Kirei company and Humabuilt Cabinets are two other good sources.
As options for environmentally-friendly offices grow, perhaps, as in the case of “recycled” wheat straw, it’s useful to look for the simplest solutions nature has to offer.
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