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Knoll Environmental Timeline


  • Knoll hires full-time environmental engineer and redesigns waste water treatment plant at East Greenville facility, reducing harmful effluents.
  • Introduces powder coating technology with no heavy metal pigments on Bertoia Chair and other seating.


  • Initiates Clean Technology approach. Partners with vendors to eliminate contaminants at the source.


  • Introduces water-saving counter-float system for power washes.


  • Sets goal to eliminate VOCs from all manufacturing operations.


  • Initiates use of water-based glues to replace VOC-emitting, solvent-based glues in systems production.


  • Develops resins and processes for converting solvent-based paint spraying to powder coating for all metal products. Reduces material waste by up to 80% and eliminates 99% of metal-coating VOCs.


  • Replaces emission-producing adhesives with non-polluting hot melt glues in seating manufacturing.


  • Becomes first OEM in Pennsylvania to adopt HVLP (high volume/low pressure) equipment for spraying water-based paints, which is now an industry and EPA standard.
  • Hires consulting firm to begin testing office furniture emissions.


  • Eliminates use of ODM’s (ozone depleting materials) from all manufacturing processes worldwide.


  • Joins Green Lights initiative, replaces large portion of existing lighting in facilities with energy-efficient solutions.
  • Bulldog chair developed and manufactured for clean technology from start to finish, including returnable and reusable packaging.


  • Invests $3.5 million in UV-cured curing systems used in Toronto and East Greenville facilities for clear-coating veneer panels
  • Awarded Pennsylvania Governor’s Waste Minimization Award.


  • East Greenville facility 65.5% below Pennsylvania state standards for VOC emissions. Grand Rapids facility so far below EPA standards it doesn’t have to report.
  • Gehry Seating introduced: product offered with an option of maple grown by the Menominee Tribal Enterprise, a sustained yield wood source.
  • Reclaimed red birch obtained from logs sunk in 19th century Midwest logging operations added to wood veneer options, as available.
  • Westinghouse Corporate Award for Excellence in Health, Safety and Environmental Practices.


  • Virtually all scrap metals, cardboard and paper in all manufacturing facilities recycled.
  • Sponsors art contests in Pennsylvania and Michigan to raise environmental awareness among grade school children.
  • Reclaimed red birch obtained from logs sunk in 19th century Midwest logging operations added to wood veneer options, as available.
  • First major OEM to make panel fabrics from 100% producer-colored polyester fibers (completely recyclable, benign pigments, no effluents).


  • Adds Terratex™ fabrics to textile line, made of 100% recycled PEP from soda bottles.
  • Knoll featured in study and report on American Green Companies published by the Swedish Office of Science and Technology.
  • KnollStudio offers sustainable wood and veneers as option on selected products.
  • Use of returnable packaging expanded to all United States manufacturing facilities.


  • Knoll the first U.S. OEM to receive ISO14000 Standard for Environmental Management Systems certification.
  • Knoll the seventh company in the state and first major OEM to win designation as a Michigan Clean Corporate Citizen.
  • All hardwoods used in Knoll products harvested from North American managed forests.
  • Established minimums for recycled content in manufacture. Steel: weighted average 25%; Particleboard: 30% (averages 50% today, 100% in Reff, Equity and Dividends).
  • Award of Merit, National Safety Council.
  • World Class Innovations in Ergonomic Safety Award, American Society of Safety Engineers.


  • After four years of development and an investment of $2 million, Knoll introduces powder-on-wood finishing technology, reducing material waste and further reducing VOC emissions.
  • EPA publishes case study on Knoll environmental initiatives.


  • Receives Environmental Excellence Award from North York Chamber of Commerce, Toronto, Canada.
  • Receives Excellence in Achievement Award from the National Safety Council.


  • Knoll becomes a founding sponsor of Green Design Education Initiative. GDEI provides information and education on green/sustainable design to the profession.
  • Receives IIDEX/Neocon Canada Sustainable Design Gold Award for Life chair.
  • Knoll REFF included in Hewlett Foundation project-only the fifth in the nation to receive a USGBC Gold level LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Enviornmental Design) 2.0 certification.
  • ISO 14001 certification awarded for all Knoll manufacturing facilities worldwide.
  • LEED® Gold certification in Existing Building Pilot Program awarded to Knoll Lubin manufacturing facility in East Greenville, PA.
  • GREENGUARD™ certification achieved for all Knoll North America systems, seating, KnollStudio seating and KnollTextiles.
  • Knoll Environment launched as link on the website for info on Knoll environmental action.
  • Knoll U.S. manufacturing facilities more than 90% HAP and VOC free.
  • Knoll FSC-certified Reff furniture chosen by NRDC for its LEED® Platinum Santa Monica Regional Office.


  • Receives Chain of Custody certification for FSC-certified wood products.
  • All KnollTextiles GREENGUARD™ certified.
  • All Knoll systems, office seating and Knoll Studio seating GREENGUARD™ certified.
  • Knoll’s San Francisco showroom currently under renovation as pilot project for LEED® Commercial Interiors certification.
  • Knoll Lubin facility in East Greenville accepted into pilot program for LEED® Existing Building certification.


  • ISO 14001 audit approval for all Knoll manufacturing facilities worldwide under revised 2004 standard.
  • LEED® Slver certification awarded to the Knoll San Francisco showroom in the Commercial Interiors Pilot Program.
  • Core office in LEED® Gold Lubin manufacturing facility upgraded, following LEED® criteria for Commercial Interiors.
  • Knoll East Greenville facility designated an OSHA VPP Star site in recognition of exceptional health and safety programs for employees.
  • Knoll participates in development of the MTS Sustainable Textile Standard, which sets the international benchmark for sustainable textiles.
  • More than 90% of wood used to make composite board products contained an average of 93% post-industrial material.


  • Environmental data bases for Knoll systems and seating completed; help clients plan sustainable projects and achieve LEED® credits.
  • Knoll participates in Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, joins Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX®) and successfully meets Phase I (2003-2006) requirements.
  • Knoll establishes an Energy Management Program.
  • Knoll partners with non-profit International Design Center for the Environment (IDCE) to begin development of an affordable, universal computer-based Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) tool to support sustainability in product design and manufacture.
  • Knoll partners with Market Transformation to Sustainability (MTS) and BIFMA to establish sustainability standards for the Contract Furniture Industry.


  • In its commitment to the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), Knoll exceeds required reductions in CO2 emissions.
  • Knoll initiates projects designed to achieve energy efficiencies in lighting, power wash processes and HVAC in all facilities, projecting CO2 reductions of 500 - 600 tons by the end of the year.
  • Knoll converts 45% of lighting in its manufacturing space to high efficiency fluorescent lighting.
  • Knoll achieves GREENGUARD® indoor air quality certification for KnollStudio Conference Tables. All KnollStudio products are now GREENGUARD-certified.
  • Knoll creates a new Energy Manager position to develop a systematic plan for implementing ongoing energy reductions throughout all company facilities and operations.
  • LEED® Silver certification (Commercial Interiors) for Knoll Philadelphia showroom and offices.


  • In its commitment to the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), Knoll exceeds required reductions in CO2 emissions.
  • Life and Chadwick chairs receive SMaRT Gold Certification.
  • Knoll partners with The Rainforest Alliance to audit and administer its FSC chain-of-custody certifications and leverage the Company's power with suppliers to increase the long-term supply of FSC certified wood.
  • Knoll Chicago Sales Office certified LEED® Gold.
  • Knoll Miami Showroom certified LEED® Silver.


  • Generation by Knoll® introduced: a lightweight, high-performance chair that is the first in the industry to be rated SMaRT Sustainable Platinum.
  • Clinton Global Initiative Commitment continues with capital investments of more than $2,000,000, increasing CO2 reductions beyond the 10% goal to 10.41% over the baseline.
  • Knoll East Greenville facility a beta testing site for the Intu! Wireless Control System, a technology innovation that utilizes lighting fixtures as a vector for energy saving command and control.
  • Leadership in Clean Technology advanced with Plaforization, an innovative process for the pre-treatment of metal parts that utilizes a non-VOC, non-evaporating liquid polymer, eliminating toxic sludge and saving one million gallons of water per year.
  • 15th anniversary of The Knoll 8: the principles at the heart of the Environmental Management Program that continues to move the Company toward a sustainable future.
  • Knoll establishes FSC® certified wood as the standard for general office open plan systems, casegoods and tables.
  • Knoll Toronto Showroom receives LEED® Platinum certification, the first in Canada’s cultural and financial capital to earn that rating.
  • Knoll Washington D.C., Phoenix and Seattle Showrooms certified LEED® Gold.


  • Knoll Dividends Horizon® the first systems product in the contract furniture industry to earn BIFMA level™3 certification.
  • Antenna and Autostrada systems, Generation and MultiGeneration chairs, Calibre storage and Reff wood casegoods certified level 3, making Knoll the first contract company to earn level 3 in multiple product categories.
  • Knoll FSC certified furniture named one of the “Top 10 Green Products” for 2010 by Building Green, Inc., publisher of The Green Spec Directory and Environmental Building News.
  • All Knoll Office Seating products achieve GREENGUARD for Children and Schools(SM) certification, a more stringent indoor air quality standard for sensitive populations.
  • Knoll works with Capital Markets Partnership, a coalition of investment banks, investors, governments and NGOs to develop a Sustainable Manufacturing Standard/Green Value Score© for capital investment.
  • Pilot projects conducted for Full Circle, a program developed with non-profit ANEW and the first in the contract furniture industry to provide comprehensive, integrated services for surplus furniture, fixtures and equipment: reselling, repurposing, recycling and avoiding landfill through Energy to Waste conversion.


  • Knoll exceeds CO2 reduction targets of 10% over baseline in final audit by Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) and joins the Carbon Disclosure project (CDP), which commits the company to further reductions and public disclosure of results.
  • Knoll creates a new energy metric for measuring CO2 reductions that provides emissions data for lbs. of CO2/lbs. of steel produced/wood processed/units assembled, establishing a robust baseline for identifying energy reduction opportunities.
  • Reff Profile, Morrison Systems Products and Series 2 Files and Storage are BIFMA level 3 certified.
  • LCAs (Life Cycle Assessments) using new energy metrics performed on all products under development to identify areas where energy can be taken out of a process or a change in material might contribute to a more sustainable product.
  • MultiGeneration chair awarded SMaRT© Gold certification; Life, Generation, Moment and Chadwick chairs earn SMaRT 3-year recertification.
  • Full Circle Program completes first full year in operation, diverts 326.1 tons of decommissioned furniture, fixtures and equipment from landfill. 


  • Under CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) commitments Knoll achieves a 15% reduction in CO2 emissions, based on production ratios of lbs./CO2 per product manufactured.
  • ReGeneration Chair earns SMaRT Platinum certification. Knoll creates an HPD (Health Product Declaration) for Regeneration under a voluntary standard that provides more detailed information on the toxicity of individual components in products.
  • ReGeneration Chair and Graham Collection earn BIFMA level 3 certification.
  • Knoll Full Circle Program diverts 393 tons of office surplus furniture, fixtures and equipment from landfill.
  • Knoll Boston Showroom awarded LEED® Platinum certification.
  • East Greenville facility earns Corporate Environmental Award from the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy, a non-profit organization that combats pollution in the 362-mile watershed that impacts water quality in hundreds of surrounding communities, including the city of Philadelphia.