Steelcase Canada Receives
Pollution Prevention Award

Oct. 7, 2008

MARKHAM, Ontario /GLOBE NEWSWIRE/ - Steelcase Canada Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Steelcase Inc., a global office environments manufacturer, announced it has received the prestigious Pollution Prevention Award from the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME).

The Steelcase Markham facility—which designs and manufactures architectural wall and furniture products—received the award for its four-year initiative to reduce its emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and to lower its energy consumption. To achieve these dual goals, the company introduced an energy conservation program in

2004 targeting lighting and heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems and, in 2005, switched to a 100 percent solvent-free powder paint. These two measures resulted in an annual emission reduction of 9.3 tons of VOCs and an energy consumption reduction of just more than 15 percent-while at the same time production levels increased by more than 20 percent.

"At Steelcase, we strive to balance the way we do business with our environmental stewardship, and as a company founded with sustainability as a core value, we are committed to developing lasting solutions that will reduce our overall footprint," says David Rinard, director of Global Environmental Performance at Steelcase. "To be recognized by the CCME for the efforts in our Ontario facility reinforces that we are on the right track, and we are so pleased to accept this honor."

The steps to reduce VOCs and cut electrical consumption began in late 2004, when Steelcase Canada became the first facility to participate in Ontario's Environmental Leaders Program. At that time, Steelcase's electricity costs were its highest overhead cost, topping out at more than $1 million per year. Now, that cost is approximately $150,000 less. In addition, the elimination of flammable solvent materials—result of switching to powder paint—reduced the facility's insurance premiums and reduction of VOC emissions improved indoor air quality for employees.

Additional energy-conserving measures the company took to reduce energy consumption include:

  • The replacement of two inefficient water-cooled air conditioning units with two air-cooled units with timers
  • The replacement of T12 fluorescent lights with T8 super lamps, which yield greater energy savings and provide better lighting
  • Occupancy sensors installed into offices
  • Awareness programs for employees encouraging them to turn off all equipment when it was not required to support production and to reduce air conditioning use during off-hours

Steelcase Canada won the CCME Pollution Prevention Award in the category of Medium business—50 to 500 employees. Each year, CCME presents up to a maximum of seven awards in different categories, with each award focusing on projects that achieve real gains on environmental issues.

About Steelcase Inc.
Steelcase, a global leader in the office furniture industry, helps people have a better work experience by providing products, services and insights into the ways people work. The company designs and manufactures architecture, furniture and technology products. Founded in 1912 and headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, Steelcase serves customers through a network of more than 600 independent dealers and approximately 13,000 employees worldwide. Learn more at

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