Approximately 6,500 SKUs are produced at National Office Furniture’s Santa Claus, IN, sustainable plant. Sustainability is a culture at National Office Furniture. Not only is the contract furniture manufacturer registered with an ISO 14001 Environmental Management System, certified under the BIFMA level® standard for product sustainability, as well as Chain-of-Custody certified under the Forest Stewardship Council, but its casegoods and table manufacturing facility in Santa Claus, IN, was recently named Indiana’s first LEED®-certified office furniture plant.
Headquartered in Jasper, IN, National Office Furniture is a brand unit of Kimball International Inc. The Santa Claus location is the seventh National Office Furniture facility to earn a LEED green building rating. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the green building rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.
According to Mendy Claridge, director of Sustainability, LEED AP ID+C, the company’s environmental commitment is part of its corporate framework. It includes: Product Stewardship, Environmental Preservation, Green Building Development, Regulatory Compliance, Social Accountability and Economic Responsibility. “Within the Green Building Development focus, we have committed to adhering to LEED standards throughout our facility network including new construction, major renovations and existing buildings. As the Santa Claus facility progressed in its sustainability performance, we were ready to take the next step and apply for a LEED-Certification. Our continuous improvement culture and having a strategy in place that has corporate responsibility woven throughout the initiatives led us to pursuing implementations at Santa Claus that would help us achieve a LEED building rating,” she says.
After an 18-month period during which National’s Santa Claus plant implemented new processes, Claridge now says, “Santa Claus is a near-zero waste facility as it recycles or reuses 97.2 percent of its waste.” As an example, she cites more than 5.5 million pounds of materials recycled by the facility in 2011, resulting in a landfill cost avoidance of $330,000; National Office Furniture as a whole last year recycled more than 13.5 million pounds of material — saving the company more than $810,000 through landfill cost avoidance.