The American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA) announced its 2009 Environmental Award winners during its December Sustainability Summit in Greensboro, N.C.

Recipient of the Environmental Leadership Award was Lewis Herman, environmental engineer for Kincaid Furniture, Hudson, N.C., a La-Z-Boy company. This award is presented each year to an individual who demonstrates leadership within the AHFA environmental committee, takes an active role in task groups, participates in committee projects and demonstrates proficiency in the skills required to manage their company’s environmental programs. 

Kincaid also received the Environmental Excellence Award for corporate environmental performance. This award recognizes an AHFA member company that embraces the AHFA message of excellence and, as a company, is on the leading edge of environmental compliance and performance. 

Kincaid Furniture was the first case goods manufacturer to achieve Sustainable by Design registration from AHFA, which it completed in March 2009. Among the first steps in Kincaid’s registration process was to have its case goods operation in Lenoir, N.C, and its upholstery operation in Taylorsville, N.C., complete AHFA’s environmental management system, called EFEC for “Enhancing Furniture’s Environmental Culture.” Both locations completed EFEC in September 2008.

Kincaid has been making measurable environmental improvements for several years, which helped facilitate its completion of the EFEC and Sustainable by Design programs. Approximately 13,000 tons of wood dust are recycled annually for use as boiler fuel. Energy use has been reduced about 18 percent per year since 2005. From 2007 to 2008, natural gas consumption was reduced by 50 percent.

In addition, 87 percent of the company’s domestic lumber is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and another 10 percent is from forests within the Appalachian Hardwood Verified Sustainable Program. Of the company’s imported lumber for components, panels and dimension stock, 82 percent is FSC certified.

To pass its Sustainable by Design audit, Kincaid was required to look beyond its domestic operations and conduct a rigorous evaluation of its corporate environmental footprint, as well as its global climate impact. For each key area on a checklist, Kincaid established numerical goals and a system for evaluating annual achievement and establishing new goals. These key areas included:

assisting suppliers worldwide in the development and implementation of sustainability programs; 
improving energy conservation, water conservation, recycling and solid/hazardous waste minimization;
using low VOC/low HAP coatings, certified lumber, and low-emitting UF resins;
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint.

The American Home Furnishings Alliance – located in High Point, N.C., – is the largest association of home furnishings companies in the world and represents more than 200 leading furniture manufacturers and distributors, as well as 225 suppliers to the furniture industry worldwide.

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