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Eco-Friendly Terms and What They Mean

| Eco-Friendly, Industry News

Apr 22 2014

At NBF, taking part in sustainable business practices and offering eco-friendly products are two priorities. In an effort to not only do our part to help the environment, but to also provide our customers with the products they demand, we offer thousands of eco-friendly products. However, the meanings of the terms used can often be a bit unclear when it comes to eco-friendly furnishings. In honor of Earth Day, here is a guide to some of the different eco-friendly furniture options available.

GreenGuard Certification

Greenguard certified: A product that is Greenguard certified has been tested to ensure that it contributes to and supports better indoor air quality by meeting acceptable pollutant standards. Indoor air pollution has been shown to have an adverse effect on health. Therefore, selecting furniture that betters the indoor air quality and limits various pollutants is important for healthcare settings, schools, homes and office environments. NBF features many Greenguard certified products in an effort to best serve our customers with environmentally friendly options.


Intertek Green Leaf VOC Certified: Products with the Green Leaf VOC certification have met the furniture emission standards set by Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association, (BIFMA) and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). This means that the furniture has been tested for volatile organic compound, or VOC, emissions. These emissions have high vapor pressure at room temperature and can be both man-made and natural. As indoor VOC emissions can pose long term health threats to humans and the environment, they are closely regulated by BIFMA and LEED standards to keep them at a safe level. Certifications such as Interek Green Leaf VOC Certified assure customers that the VOC levels are at a safe and environmentally acceptable level.

Level certification

Level: Level is a distinction difficult for products to earn. However, it stands as an easily recognizable symbol of a company’s commitment to sustainability. It is a standard that was specifically created for the furniture industry. In order to achieve Level certification, an independent third party body must be contacted. These third party certification bodies then evaluate the products using the ANSI/BIFMA Furniture Sustainability Standards to determine compliance and an appropriate level certification. Level certification includes level 1 (silver), level 2 (gold) and level 3 (platinum). ANSI/BIFMA Furniture Sustainability Standards evaluate three categories; product, facility, and organization. Four major impact areas are considered within each category; materials, energy and atmosphere, human & ecosystem health, and social responsibility. NBF carries Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 products.

NSF Protocol 391

NSF Protocol P391: General Sustainability Assessment Criteria for Services and Service Providers Certification: NBF is the first furniture service provider to earn this distinguished certification. This certification is similar to LEED in that it is based on a point-based system. Three key areas are evaluated; these include the environmental impact of the service provider, the labor impact/the health, safety and employment practices of the service provider, and the community assessment/social responsibility impact of the service provider. NSF certification shows a dedication to sustainability and shows consumers that the service provider meets substantial and rigorous sustainability requirements.

Sustainable practices: Many furniture manufacturers have begun to make sustainability a top priority. These manufacturers have made great efforts to ensure that their furniture is crafted from raw materials from carefully managed farms or plantations. With managed farms and plantations, the raw materials are taken in an environmentally friendly way without any fear of deforestation. Managed farms and plantations also avoid using slow growing woods like teak, mahogany and redwood. Their slow growing nature makes them much less renewable than other types of trees. Martin, one of NBF’s most popular brands, implements these sustainable business practices.

SCS Certified

SCS Indoor Advantage: This certification is an ANSI accredited program and showcases which products support a healthy indoor environment. Products must meet stringent indoor air quality standards to quality for certification. SCS Indoor Advantage certification is not specific to furniture products and even applies to flooring.

Going green doesn’t have to be difficult when it comes to your office furniture. At NBF, we aim to make it easy by dealing with manufacturers and offering brands that are as committed to sustainability as we are.

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