Sustainability…Just Hype?


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We recently moved within the Merchandise Mart, and our suite, well, couldn’t be any sweeter!  As an employee, it is great to be able to work in an environment that is sustainable, so much so that the space recently received LEED Gold certification from the USGBC. As you can see in some of the photographs, we have a beautiful design that allows for an open work environment. What makes our office so sustainable?

· Over 90% of construction, demolition, and packaging debris from the construction of the new space has been diverted to uses other than a landfill.

· 25% of the materials specified for the project are made with post-consumer and post-industrial recycled materials including carpet, upholstered wall panels, gypsum board, ceiling tiles, millwork, steel framing, and office furniture.

· Over 70% of the furniture and products specified in the construction were manufactured within a 500-mile radius of the site. Over 25% of the furniture and materials used for the construction we re manufactured from materials extracted within a 500-mile radius of the site.

· Over 5% of the products specified are made with rapidly renewable materials such as cork flooring, wool area rugs, and agrifiber core panels for millwork.

If you are ever in Chicago, stop by the Merchandise Mart and see our suite for yourself!

The above video is of Tricycle Inc.’s office space. If you have a keen eye, you should be able to spot some interesting interior design choices in Tricycle’s refurbished industrial office. See if you can spot: more recycle bins than trash bins, old tradeshow exhibits re-purposed as office furniture and interesting use of open workspaces.

Since 2003, Tricycle products have prevented 306,000 lbs. of carpet from going to landfills, saved 51,000 gallons of oil and created a positive economic effect of over $42 million. You can learn more about Tricycle here.

So what do you think? Is sustainability more than just a buzz word at your schools and firms?  Post your comment below!

Upcoming Post: “Unsung heroes” nominate outstanding mentors, professors or IIDA Members, and you could receive a free IIDA Student Membership. Look for this post on Monday!


7 responses to “Sustainability…Just Hype?

  1. this looks great!!!

  2. This blog is fabulous so far! I can’t wait for more posts!

  3. christakoskosky

    From a marketing perspective, I found this article interesting:

    It ran in the magazine Advertising Age Daily, and I think it will be interesting to see how consumer products change in the coming year. I liked the author’s reference to Wal-Mart. It has often been said that Wal-Mart may hold the key to changing how products are manufactured (making them more green). I would keep my eye on them this year…love Wal-Mart or hate it…it could use its consumer power for good.

  4. I’m so jealous of your workspace. Sleek AND sustainable!?

  5. Greeeat Blog!

  6. As you can see from the weblink, here at Arlington, we are really serious about climate change. The County imposed a tax to help fund sustainability efforts throughout the County. Part of my effort as a librarian and designer has been to bridge the gap between the environmental folks and the programming and education we do here in libraries. I made it a priority to earn accreditation in LEED for Existing Buildings because it brought an expertise that was needed for us to look at our library facilties critically, as well as supplementing the other LEED accredited professionals’ expertise here in the County.

    The bottom line is that sustainable buildings cost less to operate, and occupants have higher rates of productivity and satisfaction in sustainable buildings. Whatever we call it, I think that this unbeatable combination will keep the “green” movement around for quite awhile.

  7. christakoskosky

    Even McDonald’s is cashing in on the sustainability “movement.” They have a corporate blog dedicated to it. Thanks to LoinesFurnival’s blog ( I am now able to share McD’s link with you:

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