As environmental concerns rise among consumers and manufacturers, the push towards sustainable hotel furniture manufacturing has become a significant trend in the industry. In addition to creating more eco-friendly products, sustainable processes reduce manufacturing’s environmental impact, lower costs, and minimize waste.
75% of consumers worry about the environmental impact of the products they purchase. It’s inevitable they start asking, “where do hotels buy furniture and how sustainable is it?” Here is a look at four specific ways to make hotel furniture manufacturing more sustainable.
1. Choose Sustainable Materials
Choosing sustainable materials reduces the environmental impact of building hotel furniture. Natural materials offer the significant advantage of being easy to grow and biodegradable.
Sustainable materials suitable for hotel furniture include:
Organic fabrics like cotton, wool, silk, and hemp must be certified through governmental organic farming standards. They are grown without GMO seeds and contain no harmful chemicals or non-biodegradable coats, minimizing environmental impact before and after use.
Bamboo is a grass with greater tensile strength than steel. It is abundant, grows fast, and self-regenerates. It’s durable, versatile, long-lasting, and biodegradable. Bamboo can be processed to be used for boards, panels, and even fabric.
Wood harvested sustainably from managed forests is authenticated through third-party certification programs. Pine, oak, white ash, and maple are the most common wood grown in sustainable forests.
Sometimes it is considered more sustainable to use wood veneers than solid wood, which is also more cost-effective in the short term. However, another line of thought promotes solid wood furniture as reusable. It can easily be repaired and refinished to look brand new. If built with long-term use and reuse in mind, solid wood can be more sustainable than hotel furniture and casegoods made with wood veneers.
Cork is a carefully harvested bark that is durable, lightweight, soft, and durable. It is an effective natural insulator against heat and sound. In hotel room furniture, it is most commonly found in headboards, nightstands, chairs, end tables, and benches.
Stone is technically unsustainable because once it is removed and shaped, it cannot return to its native form. However, the Natural Stone Council (NSC) in the U.S. examines and verifies stone production to help manufacturers identify the most sustainable sources. Stone materials often used in hotel furniture include marble, granite, quartz, and limestone.
2. Optimize Production Processes
When it comes to sustainability, production process optimization requires a focus on increasing operational efficiency by reducing costs, waste, and emissions. Sometimes new technology facilitates a greener manufacturing process, while other times, simply tracking usage can reveal ways to save.
The goal is to reduce the impact of technology on people and the environment. In this case, people include employees as well as end users.
Common ways to optimize production processes in hotel furniture manufacturing include:
- Reducing waste and water usage
- Adjusting energy loads
- Tapping into renewable resources
- Using green cleaning products
- Utilize machines that recover energy instead of emitting excess heat
3. Reduce Transportation Emissions
On the local level, within a factory or company, it’s simple enough to phase toward more efficient vehicles, whether electric, human-powered, or gas efficient.
When it comes to making deliveries in today’s international marketplace, reducing transportation emissions is a challenge. An effective way to reduce transportation emissions in the short term is to ship to the nearest port and minimize land transport. Shipping by sea produces about 100 times less emissions than a land vehicle covering the same distance with the same load.
4. Choose Energy-Efficient Finishing Processes
Surface finishing processes are often the most energy-consuming step of the manufacturing process. Tracking and assessing these processes is the first and most important step in identifying ways to conserve energy and improve the process.
Effective ways to make finishing processes more efficient include:
- Minimizing high-temperature operations
- Containing heated air
- Using the right-sized equipment to match the job
- Optimize time, concentration, and temperature
- Maintain equipment, replacing inefficient equipment
- Insulate and minimize piping and duct runs
- Minimize rework
Sustainability in Manufacturing is a Win-Win
Sustainability in manufacturing is good for the environment, the company’s employees, and the end-user. It also helps reduce costs and boosts a brand’s reputation. Implemented systematically using a holistic approach, minimizing energy consumption and carbon footprint benefits everyone.
If you have any questions about how we make our furniture manufacturing processes more sustainable or about using sustainable materials in your next hospitality project, connect with our team. We are happy to help.