You don't have to convince me that wood is the greenest of construction materials. I subscribe to former Green Peace leader Patrick Moore's view to grow more trees and use more wood.

That said, how wood is processed and manufactured into products involves a whole different set of parameters of what it means to be green. No wonder we are seeing an increasingly number of wood products companies doing more and more to reduce their carbon footprint.

I could dig deeper or expand my ring, but I offer the following three recent company pronouncements as shining examples of going green.

Kimball Office's Eco Finishes
Kimball Office’s manufacturing facilities in Post Falls, ID, and Jasper, IN, recently were recognized for implementing environmental strategies that strive to eliminate or minimize pollutants before they are generated.

Wood & Wood Products' June issue chronicled environmental initiatives taken by Kimball Office's headquarters plant in Jasper in June. Kimball developed a proprietary UV-cured finish it calls PURA that is not only environmentally friendly, but allows it to assemble fully-finished components immeidaly after they exit the flat-line finishing system.

Steve Brewster, corporate sustainability manager, notes that Kimball achieves virtually 100 percent usage from its roll coating operations, adding, "When we spray, we reclaim the overspray from the reciprocating sprayer.” for reuse.

Steelcase's Green Edge
A few years ago, Steelcase Inc. of Grand Rapids, MI, announced that one of its top items on its environmental agenda was to eliminate polyurethane edgebanding materials from its product line. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) has become a source of global environmental concern in recent years, as a growing body of scientific evidence points to the potential long-term human and environmental health dangers.

Earlier this year, Steelcase, the world's largest office furniture maker, reported that all 17 of its active solid colors and seven wood grain 3mm and 1mm edgebands are PVC-free on 12 of its domestic systems furniture product lines.

OFM Raising Solar Power
OFM, a manufacturer and distributor of office and school furniture manufacturer, just completed a 250-kilowatt rooftop solar farm project at its headquarters in Holly Springs, NC.

“We have a responsibility as a company to avoid harming the environment whenever possible," said Abel Zalcberg, chief executive officer of OFM. “When we act more responsibly, we are happier, our employees are happier and, most importantly, our customers are happier.”

The solar farm consists of 1,042 solar panels and have the capacity to generate 322,500 kilowatts of energy each year.
 
Best Practices to Star at 3rd Green Conference
How wood products manufacturers can be better stewards of the planet is at the heart of the 3rd Dollars & Sense of Going Green Conference planned for March 17-18, 2011 in Indianapolis.

The program, being organized by Wood & Wood Products and the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University, has the support of more than one dozen trade associations and organizations.

Additional details and early-bird registration will be available soon at GreenWoodSeminar.com.

To get on the mailing list, email info@greenseminar.com.

Read more of Rich Christianson's blogs.


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