Environmental Timeline

Knoll Environmental Timeline

1978

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.

1979

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

1982

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

1984

Sets goal to eliminate VOCs from all manufacturing operations.

1985

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

1986

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.

1987

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

1988

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.

1992

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

1993

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.

1994

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.

1995

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.

1996

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).

1997

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.

1998

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.

1999

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.

2001

Receives Environmental Excellence Award from North York Chamber of Commerce, Toronto, Canada.

Receives Excellence in Achievement Award from the National Safety Council.

2002

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.

2003

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.

2005

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.

2006

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.

2007

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.

2008

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.

2009

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.

2010

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.

2011

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. 

2012

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.

2014

Our East Greenville facility goes landfill-free.

Retail and corporate facilities in New York and San Francisco achieve LEED certification, bringing total Knoll LEED certified spaces to 14.

Knoll Houston & NYC Showrooms host 2014 BIFMA level road show.

2015

Our Grand Rapids operations achieve a landfill diversion rate greater than 98%, joining our East Greenville facility in its pursuit of landfill-free manufacturing.

2016

Knoll Toronto achieve a greater than 98% diversion rate, joining the Grand Rapids and East Greenville manufacturing sites in the pursuit of Landfill Free status.

2017

Knoll Toronto receives Toronto Hydro’s Energy Conservation Leadership Award.

Knoll Office systems and storage products achieve third-party verified Environmental Product Declarations.

2018

We prioritize emerging standards such as the International Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge and the International WELL Building Institute’s WELL Building Standard™.