Environmental SustainabilityEnvironmental Sustainability

Celebrate Earth Day Every Day

Fri, 2011-04-22 08:35

We can make a difference!Its been 41 years since United States Senator Gaylord Nelson called for an environmental teach-in on April 22, 1970, and we’ve seen a lot of progress since that first “Earth Day”. 

The establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) later that year has lead to cleaner water, air, and land as well as the conservation of natural resources. International initiatives, such as the Kyoto Protocol and the Alliance for Global Sustainability, have spread the sustainability message around the world. Since becoming an international holiday in 1990, Earth Day is now celebrated in more than 175 countries every year and by more than 10% of the world’s population.
 
In the four decades since it’s inception, we've realized that Earth Day is not something to for one day in April and then forget until next year. Although contributing to the health of our planet doesn’t have to be complicated, it IS something we have to consider each day. Here are a few steps you can easily take to reduce your impact on the environment today:
 
Specify Low or No VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) Paints
Indoor air quality is considered one of the top 5 leading health risks in the US by the EPA. Because low or no VOC paints have less odor and less impact on air quality than higher VOC content paints, they are an excellent choice to maintain good indoor air quality in the home and the workplace. Our ColourWeave Collection is hand painted using low or no VOC paints that meet or exceed LEED specifications, making it a perfect choice when considering indoor air quality.
 
Use High Quality Products With Longer Useful Lives
A timeless heirloom that is passed down from generation to generation is inherently more sustainable than a piece that merely lasts a few years. In addition, each year that the piece is cherished results in one less item in a landfill.
 
Return Used Shades Through our Take-Back™ Initiative
When ordering new shades, we encourage you to send us those you’re replacing. We will refurbish any we can and help them find new homes, and recycle those we can’t.
 
Store or Return Memos
Once you’ve placed an order, store memos in a notebook for reference on your next project instead of throwing them away. You can also drop them off at the showroom on your next visit – we will gladly reuse or recycle them.
 
Quick Ideas for the Office
  • Use task lighting and take full advantage of natural light to cut energy costs
  • Collect paper printed on one side only to use as a scratch pad (Good On One Side or GOOS paper)
  • Pack your lunch in a reusable bag along with washable dishes and flatware
  • Replace disposable water bottles with a steel or glass container
  • Purchase products that use reduced packaging or are packaged in paper, glass, or number 1 or 2 plastic
A Billion Acts of Green
Looking for more ideas? Visit http://act.earthday.org to learn what hundreds of thousand of everyday people are doing to become more green. Besides, if everyone makes a little change, it adds up to a world of difference.
 
Help us make it Earth Day everyday!
 
 

 

Celebrating Sustainability

Thu, 2011-03-31 09:36

In February of 2006, we became the first company in our industry to close the loop in the fabrication process. Driven by a belief that environmental responsibility extends beyond how sustainable materials are grown, harvested, and processed, we felt compelled to consider their life cycle and how shades are managed at the end of their useful life. This ultimately led us to launch the Take-Back Initiative to reclaim used shades. 

The initiative was originally designed to keep shades out of landfills: we would disassemble old shades and recycle each component in the most environmentally responsible manner – turning natural fibers into compost, and recycling metal and plastic componentry.
 
What we discovered is that the majority of reclaimed shades are still in fine working condition, and with a tune up could be reused – so we evolved the program to reflect this. In partnership with the ReBuilding Center of Portland Oregon, we now refurbish used shades whenever possible and the ReBuilding Center helps find them proud new homes.
 
Take-Back is just one component of our Project-Green™ Program, an initiative that dedicates time and resources to reducing our corporate environmental footprint.  In the coming weeks and months, look for the launch of a blog series detailing our journey to sustainability through Project Green.  In the mean time, you can learn more about our commitment to sustainability and transparency by visiting our sustainability page.

What Makes a Product Truly Sustainable?

Tue, 2011-02-15 09:26

Local Farmer Harvesting Bamboo

We have noticed that many designers now view sustainability as an essential design consideration rather than just a marketplace trend. As a result, the popularity of some building materials and textiles have skyrocketed. Some swear by the beauty and longevity of materials such as bamboo, assuming it’s sustainable: after all, it grows voraciously around half of the globe. With this in mind, we think it’s important to explore what it actually takes to make a product sustainable.
 
Green construction & design rely on materials that are categorized as rapidly renewable materials, or those which have a harvest cycle of 10 years or less. Plants such as jute, arrowroot, palm, ramie, abaca and yes bamboo, are all able to regenerate in this short cycle.
 
But there is much more to sustainability than merely being rapidly renewable. Sustainability also includes farming and forestry practices, manufacturing and labor practices as well as measuring impact on local economies. All these concerns need to be addressed, monitored and standardized in order to justify a material’s sustainability.
 
ColourWeave 29 Quartz InstallationSo is it possible to make a product like bamboo truly sustainable? Absolutely. But it takes a commitment to not only to using rapidly renewing materials but also to ensuring that these materials are grown in well-managed, diverse ecosystems that justify their sustainability. At Hartmann&Forbes, we strongly support these practices. In addition, we partner with local artisans to fashion these materials using generations-old techniques, facilitating a sustainable indigenous marketplace that supports the communities from which the raw materials  and weaves are produced.
 
So as you specify our products, whether it be Handwoven Classic Collection Roman Shade, our Bamboo edge binding or a drapery from the ColourWeave Collection, you can stand behind our commitment to sustainability.

 

Healthy Home 2010's Top Products

Mon, 2010-11-15 17:04
Recently Jill Salisbury and Victoria Di Iorio, the project team leaders of Healthy Home 2010, sat down with Annette Stelmack of GreenBuildingAdvisor.com. Their conversation detailed how Healthy Home 2010 bridged the gap between green construction and healthy interiors. Salisbury and Di Iorio took the opportunity to highlight their favorite products from the house for the Design Matters blog, including Hartmann & Forbes. We would like to thank them for endorsing our natural window coverings as a leading product that supports healthy indoor air quality.
 
The idea for the Healthy Home project was born to encourage the adoption of a new interior design protocol: creating a healthier indoor environment for children and their families through the integration of green building and healthy interiors. It is the first housHealthy Home 2010 Nurserye in the nation incorporating the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute’s Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Management Plan for Residential Construction.
 
“In the master bedroom, the shade fabric is made of 100% natural fibers that are sustainably grown and harvested. Hartmann & Forbes is GREENGUARD certified and GreenSpec listed for being rapidly renewable, reducing heating and cooling loads, and incorporating minimally processed, natural materials. Plus, H&F takes back and recycles used shades” says Stelmack.
 
The Healthy Home 2010 tour kicked off in late September and is currently on display in Chicago at Greenbuild 2010.  If you are in the Chicago area, you can visit the Healthy Home 2010 as part of Greenbuild for a CEU on either Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010 or Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2010 from 10:30 am–1:30 pm. Email rsvphealthyhome@cambriausa.com for more information or to reserve a spot.

 

The End of Green Washing

Tue, 2010-11-09 15:07

We applaud the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) for the October 6th release of the highly anticipated update to the "Green Guides, " a proposed revision to the "Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims". We believe that these revisions will help protect consumers against the growing "Green Washing" trend.

Download Green Guides 

As a group of individuals who are passionate about sustainability, we find it frustrating to watch companies earn business by making unsubstantiated environmental claims. It is our hope that these updated guidelines will make it easier for people to identify and support the companies that are legitimately dedicated to environmentally responsible products and services.  

 

Companies on a Mission

Tue, 2010-11-02 10:12

 Our efforts towards sustainability have always been a genuine effort to minimize our impact on the planet. We believe that everyone must do their part to ensure that future generations will inherit a planet with resources remaining.  While receiving recognition is appreciated, it is not what motivates our efforts.

That said, we were humbled to discover that Michael Russo made an example of our Take-Back Initiative in his new book, Companies on a Mission.
 
Michael wrote:
 
"For other companies, closing the loop means taking the product back in its entirety. Consider Hartmann&Forbes, a seller of handwoven window coverings. The products are made of jute, bamboo and other fast-growing plants. The dyes are made from traditional vegetable bases. The fasteners that hold the covers are steel. All together, the entire product can be either returned to nature (the fabric) or recycled (the steel fasteners). Armed with this information, Hartmann & Forbes was the first in its industry to take back its window coverings in 2005. Its timing was perfect, coinciding with a surge in interest in green home design. Its customer, less so the homeowners than their interior decorators and architects, found its differentiation attractive."
 
We want to thank Michael for his kind words, and encourage you to read his book that explores entrepreneurial strategies for growing sustainably, responsibly and profitably. You can purchase a copy of Michael Russo's Book, Companies on a Mission at amazon.com.

 

Healthychild.org's Healthy Home 2010

Thu, 2010-08-12 14:06

Countless organizations do admirable work to teach people how to live healthier and more sustainably. We are driven to partner with these organizations when their values align with ours and our clients. That is why we are proud to announce our partnership with Healthy Child to make natural window coverings for the Healthy Home 2010 project. A project of Healthy Child Healthy World (healthychild.org), Healthy Home 2010 is a groundbreaking designer showhouse dedicated to healthy indoor air quality. They created a video to explain their goal, and we think you will find it inspiring and educational.

A Wake-Up Story from Healthy Child Healthy World on Vimeo.

Why Hartmann&Forbes' handcrafted natural window coverings fit in Healthy Home 2010

The focus of the showhouse and the tours is to educate the public on how to create healthier living environments, free from chemicals, pesticides or other noxious materials. This is one of the reasons that we initially chose to handcraft our window coverings from natural fibers which are intrinsically more healthful for those that live with them. The sustainable natural fibers we use are cultivated in nature, not created in a laboratory. They are made from bamboos, grasses, silks, cottons and wood grown in well managed eco systems. We are proud to contribute these shades to their home that showcases a healthier lifestyle.

About Healthy Child Healthy World

Healthy Child Healthy World is a national, nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization that inspires parents to protect young children from harmful chemicals. The organization exists because more than 125 million Americans, predominantly children, now face a historically unprecedented rise in chronic diseases and illnesses such as cancer, autism, asthma, allergies, birth defects, ADHD, obesity, diabetes, and learning and developmental disabilities. Credible scientific evidence increasingly points to environmental hazards and household chemicals as causing and contributing to many of these diseases. Healthy Child Healthy World aims to educate parents, support protective policies and engage communities to make responsible decisions, simple everyday choices and well-informed lifestyle improvements to create healthy environments where children and families can flourish. Please visit www.healthychild.org for more information.

Timeless Design + Superior Craftsmanship = Environmental Sustainability

Fri, 2010-01-22 18:11

There is a lot of talk about sustainability, and it surprises us that no one is talking about a products useful life (or the longevity of a products design and quality) as being key elements of sustainability. Most folks talk about where their materials come from or what they are being made from (i.e. rapidly renewable resources close to its source), or the ability to recycle the products’ components at the end of their useful life. We talk about these things too. But the phrase “useful life” that got us thinking.

How long are products designed to be used? If a lounge chair, table or shade is designed to be timeless, an heirloom to be passed down from generation to generation, isn’t that inherently more sustainable? Isn’t a product that wears in and not out a more sustainable product than a product that needs to be replaced in a few years? We sure think so.

We are a disposable society with aspirations of being a sustainable one. Before we can get there, we need to consider the whole perspective of the products we use, including how long they are designed to last.

Why Portland, Oregon?

Thu, 2009-11-05 11:31

Designers have asked us for years why we choose to finish our shades in the USA instead of overseas. Once they understand it allows us greater quality control with a smaller carbon footprint and provides them greater customization flexibility at shorter lead times, they then ask "Why Portland? Why not New York, Los Angeles or even San Francisco?"

Simply put, we chose Portland because we share common principles, values and interests with the community. A community that is as dedicated to preserving the great outdoors as it is about enjoying it. A community that is passionate about organic foods, artisan craftsmanship and cultural diversity. A community that is both nostalgic and progressive, creative and disciplined, luxurious and casual.  And ultimately, as much as we have loved the places we've traveled all around the world, we sincerely agree that there is no place like home.

Our friends at Travel Portland summed it up beautifully in their latest video.

That's why Portland, Oregon.

Green Glossary

Fri, 2009-08-28 08:12

Kermit may have once been right: It’s not easy being green. But that was in a simpler time. Today it’s almost too easy. Almost everyone claims one form of green or another. The problem is, many companies make inaccurate claims simply because they don’t understand what terms they use mean. They say “Organic” when they mean “Sustainable.” They say “renewable” when they mean “recyclable.” They sound the same, but they mean very different things.

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