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Attaining indoor environmental quality was not a large, difficult task; it merely consisted of many more simplistic changes and processes. Air monitor systems monitored were installed the air for carbon dioxide to ensure adequate air consistency and regularity. Large intake fans were put throughout the plant to circulate fresh air, and all of the paintings, sealants, primers and pipe joints that were used were low VOC emission products.(^10) These few simple steps helped provide indoor quality and ensure that it stayed that way.

Site Planning, which encapsulates the little extra things that can be done around the plant to aid the environment and what can be added to the plant to aid the environment, is a very important aspect of maintaining environmental efficiency. Steelcase planted over 900 trees on its ground (^11), which, of course aids the air we breathe and the production of oxygen. More than half of the degraded habitat areas on the site were completely restored and reserved, all the topsoil used was preserved, and the retention ponds that were previously discussed are placed so that they help in the prevention of erosion and help control water flow.

Although it does not fit into any LEED category specifically, the most important advancement that has made this Steelcase factory more environmentally efficient is its new finishing lines. These new finishing lines boast environmental benefits of a 70% reduction in VOC release and save 327 million tons of VOC emissions annually (See Figure 2).(^12) Research for the water-based process began in 1998, finally coming to fruition in 2001, when the building was constructed. It is by far the most aggressive push by Steelcase to reduce its emissions and show that it is conscious of the environmental obligation it has to society.

In 2001, while the building was being constructed with all of its environmentally efficient details and processes, it attained LEEP bronze certification. The first manufacturing plant to do so, Steelcase reached it goal and again became a forerunner in environmentally sound processes amongst all companies that manufacture products.

Figure 2

Source: Wood & Wood Products


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