Bernhardt Design | Environmental
Bernhardt Design is a family-owned business operating in the foothills of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, a location endowed with earthly riches – clean air, pure water, and an abundance of natural resources. In order to protect and preserve these natural treasures, Bernhardt Design is committed to environmental excellence in all business activities – from the design of products to the manufacturing facilities and processes – and is dedicated to instilling high environmental values in its employees. In addition to complying with all state, federal, and local regulations, Bernhardt Design has long-standing corporate policies to provide a safe and healthful workplace while conserving energy and natural resources. These policies cover the reduction of emissions, water, energy, waste and packaging materials, use of renewable and sustainable materials, employee training and involvement, supply chain management and the pursuit of environmental certifications.
Life-cycle thinking not only impacts how furniture is designed and produced, but also how daily business is conducted. In addition to in-house environmental policies, Bernhardt Design communicates and partners with suppliers, governmental agencies, and BIFMA to assist in achieving results consistent with environmental leadership.
As a sign of this commitment, a company-wide environmental management system has been instated. The Bernhardt Design facilities are monitored and inspected, and annual audits are conducted to measure the progress in the reduction of electricity, water, solid and hazardous waste. A significant reduction in greenhouse gases was recorded recently as a result of eliminating coal as a fuel source, substituting wood waste from the manufacturing process.
Protecting the forests, which capture carbon dioxide and protect against global warming, is a company goal. Raw materials are chosen to preserve natural resources. Lumber and veneers are sourced only from sustainably harvested woodlands. FSC chain-of-custody materials are available for case goods and table collections. Rapidly renewable resources – materials harvested within ten-year or shorter life cycle – are considered first in the designing process. Partnering with suppliers for developing applications for these materials resulted in the innovative use of natural fibres in a moulded shell for the award-winning Cardan chair.
Bernhardt Design attempts to protect both employees and customers from emissions derived from adhesives, foams and finishing materials. Glues are polyvinyl acetate (PVA) and contain no harmful fumes. Foams contain no chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and are applied using water based adhesives. Plywood with a phenol-based resin (no urea formaldehyde) is used for frames assembled with PVA glue for lounge seating.
Seating finishes contain low VOC’s and formaldehyde; water-borne finishes are used when possible for product lines. Case goods receive an ultraviolet top sealer coat which contains low VOC’s and HAPS and no formaldehyde. Most Bernhardt Design seating and table products are GREENGUARD certified, and all of the case goods collections are available with a special GREENGUARD finish.
Recycling of materials and reduction of waste are monitored. In order to reduce landfill use, employees recycle cardboard, plastic, leather scraps, paper and Styrofoam. Wood dust is collected and used to fuel heat for the manufacturing process. Suppliers are encouraged to reduce packaging. Reusable blankets are used whenever possible to wrap product shipments to minimize cardboard and packing materials.
Clean burning, ultra-low sulfur fuel is purchased for company trucks. Newer tractors are equipped with the DPF exhaust system which re-circulates the exhaust through a burner to remove the sulfur in the fuel.
Community outreach is an essential feature of the environmental management program. Working with a local high school to increase its recycling efforts, representatives of Bernhardt Design met with students in a special assembly and challenged them to double the quantities of materials recycled during a five-month period. Bernhardt Design contributed special recycling containers and offered rewards to the students leading the recycling effort. As a result of this program, the recycling of paper and plastics at the school increased 114%.
Bernhardt Design corporately pledges to promote sound and sustainable business practices for the benefit of all for now and for years to come. This pledge includes strict adherence to set policies to reduce water and energy consumption; improve air quality and emissions; increase the use of renewable, sustainable and recycled materials while decreasing overall solid waste; project a positive influence on our supply chain; and create employee and community awareness and participation in environmental issues.
The GREENGUARD certification program is a third party testing program for low emitting products and materials. GREENGUARD certification provides architects and designers the ability to find low emitting products for indoor environments.
Bernhardt Design has a wide assortment of seating, table, and casegoods products that have achieved GREENGUARD certification. For GREENGUARD certificates of each product, please go to the environmental section of the appropriate product page or visit greenguard.org
The Leadership and Energy Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by the US Green Building Council, is a third party certification program designed to support the world wide adoption of sustainable green building. LEED approaches sustainability with recognizing performance in five areas of sustainability: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiencies, material selection and environmental quality.
Bernhardt supports the U.S. Green Building Council and the LEED standards. By achieving a number of certifications, such as GREENGUARD and FSC, Bernhardt offers its customers the ability to work toward achieving LEED credits.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) was established to promote the responsible management of the world's forests which are crucial to the protection of biodiversity and to limiting global warming.
Products carrying the FSC label are from forests that meet the ecological needs for the present and the future; FSC is the mark of responsible forestry.
In 2007, Bernhardt Design achieved the FSC Chain of Custody designation certifying that our casegoods and table products can be purchased with FSC materials and the appropriate chain of custody.
Bernhardt is committed to environmental excellence in all of its business activities. As one of the oldest family-owned and operated furniture companies in the United States, we maintain a long-standing corporate tradition of stewardship toward our environment, and we will continue to preserve and protect its resources.
We will adhere to good environmental business practices: to reduce water and energy consumption; to improve air quality and emissions; to increase the use of renewable, sustainable and recycled materials while decreasing overall solid waste; to project a positive influence on our supply chain; and to create employee and community awareness and participation in environmental issues.
We believe that protecting our environment is the right thing to do. Our concern for the health and welfare of our employees, our customers, our suppliers, our community and our planet is manifest in our pledge to promote sound and sustainable business practices for the benefit of all those who depend upon us now and for those who will depend upon us in years to come.