Giving New Life to Old Office Furniture

Corporate Interiors' Renewed Environments refurbishes, rejuvenates, reconfigures and remanufactures old office furnitureFifteen years ago, Janice Leone (WBE), Principal of Corporate Interiors, became aware of the many tons of workstation components being dumped directly into landfills as businesses purchased new office furniture. Envisioning an alternative that extended the life of office furniture and kept functional material out of the waste stream, she was inspired to create Renewed Environments, a division of Corporate Interiors that combines remanufactured components of existing furniture with sustainable new components to provide eco-friendly, cost-effective office furniture. She lists the investment in this environmentally friendly initiative as one of her best business decisions.
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Furnishings Supplier Achieves Zero-Waste-to-Landfill Status

Adjustable height workstations at Glaxo Smith Kline's new office at the Philadelphia Navy YardBig players in the global workplace interior manufacturing game have the potential to create big waste. Not so for Haworth, a family-owned interior furnishings supplier known for a commitment to sustainability that has included a  goal of achieving zero-waste-to-landfill (ZWTL) status globally, meaning no byproducts from production processes would end up in a landfill. By 2009, Haworth had attained ZWTL in North America and Asia-Pacific, and by 2012, when the company’s Portuguese facilities successfully diverted all waste from landfill, they declared company-wide success.

Haworth also works with their manufacturers to test and improve the Health Product Declaration (HPD) Open Standard, a voluntary format for disclosing product content and related health concerns that are typically not reported even when a product, or a building, is certified "green." Haworth strives to use materials that contain zero chemicals on the HPD list of hazardous chemicals that would negatively affect a building’s environment or occupants.

“Haworth changed the way products are sourced so that only materials with non-harmful ingredients make the cut,” says Nicole Carville, Philadelphia-based Architecture and Design Market Manager at Haworth. “Hayworth... demanded product manufacturing transparency and sustainability, and changed design for the better.”

An example of Haworth’s product facilitation work can be seen at the new Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) office building (LEED Double Platinum) in the Navy Yard. Each GSK employee works at a custom height-adjustable bench desk, now the company’s global standard, designed by Francis Kauffman and facilitated by Haworth. Currently located at 1315 Walnut St. Suite 800, Haworth’s brand new Philadelphia showroom will open at 1700 Market Street in January.  


by Julianne Mesaric

Bench Press: Landmark Philadelphia law makes building energy usage public knowledge

If knowledge is power, the City of Philadelphia is about to become super-powered. In June 2012, Philadelphia City Council enacted a law that requires owners of non-residential buildings of more than 50,000 square feet to track data on energy and water consumption and make those benchmarks publicly available. 

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Power Couple: Husband and wife team shine a light on sustainability

The Lighting Practice was responsible for the sculptural and environmental lighting of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.In 1981, when now husband-and-wife Rob and Helen Diemer graduated from Pennsylvania State University with degrees in architectural engineering, they were entering an industry that wasn’t all that concerned with energy conservation. But about a decade ago, things started to change, and both paid attention to the murmurs about “green building.”
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Dumpster Diverters: Company keeps construction debris out of landfills for more than 40 years

If you’ve ever passed by a renovation or construction site, you’ve probably noticed the dumpsters crammed full of drywall, two-by-fours, metal, glass, plastic and other waste materials. But have you ever wondered where those materials go? Too often, it’s the landfill. For the past 40 years, Richard S. Burns and Company has made it their mission to change that. Founded as a one-man operation in the 1960s, the company now operates a 10-acre state-of-the-art processing facility in Northeast Philadelphia, transforming demolition and renovation waste into reusable materials. 
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Air Patrol: City agency is on the front lines of the fight for clean air

photo courtesy of Flickr user techfunIf there’s a strange odor on your block, unidentified smoke billowing out of an industrial area, or a diesel truck idling for hours and filling the air with exhaust, who are you going to call? The city’s Air Management Services, that’s who. As the enforcers of city, state and federal air quality criteria, they will send a representative to inspect the situation and respond accordingly. Calls are confidential.
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Clearing the Air: Council uses the law to defend clean air

Clean Air Council Executive Director Joseph Otis Minott, Esq.Ever since the Clean Air Act came into being in 1963, there have been forces trying to subvert it. Since 1967, the Clean Air Council (CAC) has been fighting back, relentlessly defending the tenets of the act on behalf of the citizens of Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. 

In 1982, Joseph Otis Minott, Esq. was hired by CAC as a staff attorney, fresh out of Villanova Law School. One of only a handful of employees, his first major project was successfully suing the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to implement an auto emissions inspection program. That case was the first step in Minott’s career in environmental justice and legal activism in the name of clean air. By 1986, Minott had become both executive director and chief counsel. Under his leadership, CAC has grown into a robust organization with 7,000 members, 36 employees and offices in Harrisburg, Erie, Wilmington and Philadelphia. 

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Fresh Air: Parents protect clean air through nap-time activism

Moms and dads show up in force for a climate rally at Love ParkKeeping families healthy, safe and strong is a big part of being a parent. Moms Clean Air Force (MCAF), a nonprofit with local chapters in eight states, is a powerful parental ally, harnessing the energy of parental love and directing it toward fighting corporate polluters, politicians trying to dismantle the Clean Air Act and the many types of toxins that affect the air we breathe.
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Fluid Dynamics: Designer’s integrated approach keeps everyone happy


Andropogon renderings for Lower Venice Island integrated use project.The fate of Lower Venice Island, a five-acre stretch of land between the Schuylkill River and the Manayunk Canal, was hanging in the balance. It was destined to become either home to a sewer overflow tank for the Philadelphia Water Department, or a recreational space for the community. Then Andropogon came to the rescue, conceiving of a fluid design that integrated both uses of the area.

This is just one example of the work that this landscape architecture and ecological planning and des

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Fresh Water: Stormwater engineers mix disciplines by design

Meliora Design’s multidisciplinary team of engineers works with clients ranging from the Philadelphia Zoo to the City of Chattanooga, Tennessee, harnessing a range of technologies like rain gardens and porous asphalt to manage stormwater. “You don’t get to sustainable design with one discipline — it’s an integrated process,” says Meliora founder Michele Adams. “We’re engineers and scientists focusing on water issues, but it’s never just about the water.

It’s about the community, the clients and making cities more resilient.” The Phoenixville-based Meliora (“always better” in Latin) was part of a winning team in the recent Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up! design competition for the “Leveraging Plants + Water on Zero Lots Sites” presentation, which displayed their mastery of the intersections of landscape, design, urban renewal and stormwater management.

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Story by Emily Kovach

At Mannington Mills, Sustainability Runs in the Family

Flooring product being recycled at Mannington's facility in New JerseyFlooring can make a huge impact on the design of a room. But the materials floors are made from - wood, tile, or vinyl – can impact the planet, as well, and often not in a good way. There can be a lot of toxic stuff in flooring materials, but Salem, New Jersey’s Mannington Mills, owned by the Campbell family for four generations, is proof that this doesn’t have to be the case.
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Back to the Future

Virtually indestructible, beautiful and sustainable to boot. In the world of building materials, that’s a powerful combination of traits, something you would expect from something cutting edge, like ...linoleum. Once considered passé and now marking its 150 anniversary, linoleum is finding new popularity as a natural flooring product made from the renewable materials like solidified linseed oil (linoxyn), pine rosin, ground cork dust, wood flour and minerals. The recipe has scarcely changed since its invention in 1863 by Sir Frederick Walton.

“Ingredients matter and sustainability is not an optional extra,” says Denise Waida-Scanish, a LEED Green Associate Account Executive at Forbo, the world leader in linoleum flooring, whose North American headquarters are in Hazelton. Forbo’s brands Marmoleum and Artoleum are known for ease of maintenance, hygienic properties, extreme durability, environmentally friendly properties and lowest life cycle costs. Waida-Scanish is a passionate advocate for the product that’s been made the same way for over a century, and she has been selling it to architects, designers, general contractors and flooring contractors for 19 years.

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Still Waters: Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug changes the way we think about water

Mayor Michael Nutter (left) and Howard Neukrug (right) share a light moment with some local youths

Howard Neukrug has been called a visionary, a great thinker and a national leader in sustainability. But back in 1978, he was just a mild-mannered engineer, fresh out of the University of Pennsylvania and looking for a job. “There was only one place willing to bring me in at a management level,” Neukrug says. “And that was the Philadelphia Water Department.” Neukrug became project manager for a $3 million advanced drinking water treatment process. “I worked on that for four or five years, and became somewhat of a national expert on drinking water quality, drinking water treatment,” he says. “And my fascination with the PWD really stuck.

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