local sourcing

How To Source Sustainable Furniture Materials For Residence Hall Furniture

In Blog, GreenCertification, Local Sourcing, solid wood, Wood is Good by Morgan Dix

At DCI, we strive to use sustainable furniture materials. We believe that making world-class furniture that lasts for decades doesn’t give us the right to pollute the planet.

On the contrary, like humans have done since the dawn of civilization, we make furniture from solid hardwood. And we leave as light a footprint as possible.

Through our sustainable vertical integration process, we ensure that our wood is sustainably harvested and nothing is wasted.

This unique process allows us to create green residence hall furniture that is climate friendly while generating zero waste.

Sustainable Furniture Materials

But what about the parts of our furniture that we don’t control?

In addition to wood, we need metal, foam, fabrics, laminates, and wood core materials. We turn to our partners for these materials.

And we don’t compromise our high sustainability standards in the process.

Sustainable Sourcing

how to source Sustainable Furniture MaterialsWe forge partnerships with suppliers who share our commitment to reducing dependence on fossil fuels. Partners who, like DCI, develop innovative products with minimal impact on the environment and public health.

In fact, we hold DCI’s suppliers to the same standards our higher education customers expect from us.

When sourcing laminates, foam, fabrics, and wood core materials, we look for products that carry green certifications from industry specific, third-party organizations.

This is one reason why you can earn multiple LEED credits for your building by choosing DCI furniture.

Upholstery Foams

When sourcing foam for cushioning in our upholstered products, we minimize petroleum-based foam in lieu of more sustainable alternatives.

The third-party certifications we require from our foam suppliers include CertiPUR-US, MAS Green, or GreenGuard.

Ensuring that our foam and fabric is green certified is more crucial than ever after Harvard University published a recent study on the effects of indoor air quality on student cognition.

CARB Compliant Wood Core Materials

Sustainable Furniture MaterialsOccasionally we have to use hardwood plywood, particleboard, and medium density fiberboard products.

In these instances, we source products that use either no-added formaldehyde (NAF) based resins or ultra-low-emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) resins.

These materials exceed requirements set forth by the most stringent standard setter in the industry, the California Air Resources Board (CARB).

We can also incorporate sheet goods that meet the Eco-Certified Composite (ECC) into any of our product lines.

Finally, we require that our wood core suppliers adhere to the ECC Sustainability Standard. This is an industry standard developed by the Composite Panel Association (CPA) for manufacturers of composite wood or agrifiber-based panels.

In order to meet this standard, our supplier must demonstrate the following:

  1. Carbon offset: The panel’s carbon store offsets its cradle-to-gate carbon footprint as determined in KG—CO2 equivalents of greenhouse gas emissions. The plant must use the CPA Carbon Calculator to determine if a panel performs as a carbon sink resulting in overall net carbon storage.
  2. Locally Sourced: At least 85% of total annual wood fiber used is sourced within 250 miles (402 km) of the manufacturing plant.
  3. Recycled: Use a minimum of 75% recycled or recovered fiber; OR at least 50% recycled or recovered fiber AND a minimum of 5% post-consumer fiber.
  4. FSC or SFI: The plant must hold a valid assessment and certificate from a certifying agency recognized by CPA such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC—Controlled Wood Standard or Chain of Custody Standard) or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI—Fiber Sourcing Standard).

If you’re interested in learning more about our partners, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly at [email protected].

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To set up an order today or to talk with one of our representatives, you can write to us here or call: (800) 552-8286.

You can also learn more about our industry-leading FSC CoC certification, our MAS certification, and our green materials sourcing, sustainable manufacturing, and our unique zero waste Vertical Integration Process (VIP).

Download the DCI Sustainability Pledge here.