At Chicago Booth, we believe that a sustainable approach to furniture starts in the design stage. Products that are designed to use fewer materials and consume less energy in the manufacturing process, that are built to endure, and that can be easily re-used or recycled, are inherently more sustainable than others.
Whenever possible, we design our booth products with modular, replacable components that can be recovered, refinished or replaced. This extends the life of the furniture and helps the operator keep it in top condition. We also regularly evaluate our materials and their environmental impact.
However these guidelines do not always lead to the obvious answer. While evaluating protective finishes for our wood tabletops, we strongly considered a water-based finish. But the perfomance was worse than the 2 part polyurethane finish that we ultimately selected. Refinishing tabletops 2-3 times with an inferior finish consumes many more resources and inconvenience for the end user vs the polyurethane.
We do act in an eviromentally-friendly and sustainable way whenever possible, sourcing our framing and finish woods domestically, reducing waste, and focusing on maintanable products that provide a low cost of ownership.