Tech Valley Office Interiors, a Colonie business, has begun to offer a new type of green office panel. These Nature Core panels, which are used for cubicles, are made from the kenaf plant and claim to offer a safe, cost-effective way to cut dangerous emissions out of the workplace.
According to Tech Valley Office Interiors President Rod Dion, every living thing gives off formaldehyde. The kenaf plant, however, gives off very little of the dangerous substance, allowing the Nature Core panels to cut emissions by 60 to 80 percent.
Now the HON Co., which manufactures the kenaf-based panels, is removing replacing the tradition fiberglass interior with the plant, which grows in Bangladesh and replenishes itself within four to five months after being harvested.
`These panels provide better air quality using a renewable resource at the same price as the old panels,` said Dion.
`Going ‘green’ has never made more sense to anyone buying office furniture.`
The panels are made by HON, the second largest maker of office products in North America, based in Muscatine, Iowa. The hemp-based plant is especially useful for office furniture because of its durability and regenerative properties.
`Its fiber becomes more useful as it dries,` says Dion.
Recent projects for Tech Valley Office Interiors include contracting two floors of cubicle workspaces at the state Department of Parks and Recreation in the Empire State Plaza. `We’re very proud of that,` says Dion, `They’re the first state agency to make a purchase of this sort.`
Additionally, local businesses, such as Glenville-based Applied Robotics, have found the new panels to be a vital asset to staying on the cutting edge of new technology in the workplace.
`We are a cutting-edge company concerned about the environment so the panels from Tech Valley Office Interiors are a perfect fit for us,` said Tom Petronis, CEO of Applied Robotics.
`It’s something we’ve all been concerned with,` adds Joanne Brown, marketing communications manager for Applied Robotics.
Following the standards of the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) mandates, Applied Robotics sees the Nature Core panels as part of their responsibility to the environment.
`It’s something we like to do to be good global citizens,` said Brown, `It was such an easy decision to make ` it didn’t cost any more. How could you not do it?`
Dion started the company after working in the office furniture industry for several years. Feeling that there was good room for an alternative, he created his company.
`Our total focus has been the zero-to-15-employee firms,` he said. `We’re very excited about our future.“