Haworth Merchandise Mart Showroom Sets a LEED-CI Gold Certification Standard

Thursday, June 4th, 2009
Haworth Entrance

Haworth Entrance

By Sharon Hoyer

Haworth, an office furniture and interiors company, takes an environmentally conscious approach when designing its products and showrooms.  The design team hired to create Haworth’s 29,000 sq. ft. Merchandise Mart showroom was required to produce a design to meet, at minimum, LEED Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) certification. The architects at Perkins & Will took that requirement two steps further, designing the space to meet LEED-CI Gold certification standards, in order to demonstrate the versatility, utility and beauty of sustainably constructed interiors and Haworth’s products.

Haworth Reflective Pool

Haworth Reflective Pool

Entering the Haworth showroom, one is immediately struck by the open, expansive layout. The few interior walls sectioning off the showroom floor are transparent from floor-to-ceiling and are fronted by sleek, minimalist benches. With the exception of a few support columns, all interior walls and flooring in the showroom are modular and easily reconfigured to display new products while minimizing waste. The most striking feature of the showroom is the variable-height raised-floor system; the modular, elevated floor panels improve air circulation naturally by increasing the efficiency of the sub-floor HVAC system while adding visual interest. The floor panels—on display in stone, glass, carpet and cork with wheat-board substrate —may be installed at any height from three to 18 inches in one-inch increments to accommodate sub-floor wiring and ductwork. The HVAC system also allows customized climate control at individual workstations while encouraging imaginative design features, such as a broad but shallow reflecting pool in the showroom entryway.

Haworth Glow Wall

Haworth Glow Wall

The 23,000 square-foot showroom is illuminated by a low-voltage, light- and motion-sensitive lighting system. The current display features soft, diffusive “glow walls” that create the sensation of natural light being pulled into a cavernous space with few windows. All of the Haworth showroom’s electrical systems are powered entirely by wind, which the company purchased in the form of “green tags,” through Renewable Choice Energy of Boulder, Co.

During the construction phase, Haworth reused many materials left by previous tenants and diverted more than 50% of all construction materials from landfills. Most of the showroom’s new fixtures and architectural elements were manufactured in Michigan, Wisconsin or Illinois—all within a 500-mile radius of the Merchandise Mart.

Haworth Products

Haworth Products

Furthermore, many of the products Haworth sells are GREENGAURD Indoor Air Quality and Forest Stewardship Council Certified. Haworth’s fabrics are made of 100% recycled fibers and products made of post-consumer or post-industrial recycled content.

The Haworth Merchandise Mart showroom was chosen as one of 104 projects to participate in the U.S. Green Building Council’s nationwide LEED-CI pilot program. In 2005, the showroom became the first LEED project for Haworth and the first LEED-CI certified showroom in the Merchandise Mart. This project set the bar for at least eight other showrooms that have recieved or are currently seeking LEED-CI or LEED-EB Gold certification within the Merchandise Mart.

Since 2005, Haworth has gone on to achieve LEED-CI Gold certification in four more showrooms, and is awaiting LEED-CI Gold certification in its fifth.  Haworth’s headquarters, located in Holland, Michigan, is also LEED registered and is expected to receive LEED-NC Gold certification later this year.

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