Full marks for desk and chair in new sustainability and design accolade
The International Living Futures Institute (ILFI) has awarded the first full certifications for its Living Product Challenge standard to a desk chair and a sit/stand desk. The scheme recognizes products that are sustainably produced, improve our quality of life, are beautifully designed and functional.
The Living Product Challenge, launched last year, is aimed at encouraging organizations to create products that "function as elegantly and efficiently as anything found in the natural world" and that don't just limit the harm they may do, but have a holistically beneficial effect on the world. The ILFI also runs the Living Building Challenge, which is regarded as one of the most stringent standards for building sustainability and that counts among its awardees the Bullitt Center and the Phipps' Center for Sustainable Landscapes.
Like the Living Building Challenge, the Living Product Challenge has 20 measures (or "Imperatives") split across the seven categories (or "Petals") of Place, Water, Energy, Health and Happiness, Materials, Equity and Beauty. All the measures must be met for full Living Product certification, but the ILFI will also partially certify products for achieving individual Petals or Imperatives.
The two full certifications, awarded at the second annual Living Product Expo, went to ergonomic design firm Humanscale for its Diffrient Smart desk chair and Float table. Both achieved each of the 20 imperatives required for full certification, with net positive water and energy manufacturing contributing to their awards.
The chair, which is said to have required a significant redesign in order to achieve full certification, is designed to provide lumbar support and for ease-of-use. Among the contributions to its certification was Humanscale's elimination of the toxic perfluorinated compounds that are often found in office chair fabrics.
The Float table, meanwhile, is a sit/stand desk that can be easily adjusted using a small lever. Humanscale has eliminated PVC from the product and is seeking to optimize the other materials used for its manufacture.
Also at the expo, three other products were certified for Petals or Imperatives. Petal certification for Water and Materials was awarded to the Garden Tower Project's composting Garden Tower, which allows users to grow a large variety of food in a very small space. The same Petals were awarded to Bureo for its Net+Positiva Plastic, which is plastic resin and pellets made from recycled fishing nets.
Finally, Imperative certification was awarded to Owens Corning for its EcoTouch unfaced fiberglass residential and commercial insulation. The Imperative recognizes the company's long-term commitment to sustainability, with the product certified to be 65 percent recycled and formaldehyde free.
The Living Product Expo ran from September 13-15.