Office Furniture Manufacturer Announces Sponsorship in 2007 Solar Decathlon

Oct. 9, 2007

Muscatine, IA - As part of a continued commitment to reduce its impact on the environment, The HON Company announced that it has become a sponsor of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) 2007 Solar Decathlon. This unique event showcases the environmental visions of aspiring architects, engineers and interior designers.

This year, 20 teams from colleges and universities across the globe will converge upon Washington, D.C., Oct. 12-20 to test their skills in an unparalleled competition to design, build and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar house using environmentally preferential building products and furnishings.

This year marks The HON Company's sponsorship debut. As a contributing sponsor, HON is donating furnishings to two homes and also providing several common areas with its newest products, including the Initiate® panel systems with Nature Core and its popular F3 seating line. The company will also host educational presentations during the course of the competition.

"We're proud to be part of all of the excitement that surrounds this important event," says Don Mead, HON's vice president of marketing. "We look forward to working with the promising Solar Decathletes-tomorrow's engineers, architects and designers-in the shared quest to chart a greener course for our world."

During the event, the 20 teams participate in 10 contests to determine an overall winner. Using only solar energy, the teams generate enough electricity to run a modern household. With an eye on energy efficiency, the students carefully choose the systems, products and appliances used in their houses.

The HON Company donated furnishings to two teams: the University of Missouri-Rolla, and the University of Illinois. Students from these schools used laminate tables and chairs certified by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) Indoor Advantage program, which tests to the most rigorous standards of air quality in the United States. They also used the company's Park Avenue Collection® lounge seating made with 100 percent recycled fabrics.

In late September, the homes will be transported from the various campuses where they were designed, to be constructed on the National Mall in Washington where they will form a "solar village." Houses are open for public tours over the week-long contest period.

HON donated furniture for common areas on the Mall. The main event tent's greeter stations and desk areas feature Initiate with the sustainable Nature Core, the company's premiere panel system and F3 task chairs, along with the student lounge area. Local HON employees will be working as volunteers throughout the week long event.

Additionally, on October 15 and 16, Mindy Billingsley, HON's environmental marketing manager, will present a 30-minute educational seminar, "Empowering You: Environmental Solutions for Office Interiors." She will discuss SCS Indoor Advantage certification and the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) LEED® for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) rating system.

Billingsley also presents a podcast that can be downloaded from at the Solar Decathlon's My Space page at or

"Sixty years ago, HON embarked upon its enduring environmental journey, and the company has no intention of slowing down along that path," says Mead. "We've continued our green mindset throughout the years and have sought new and better ways to preserve the environment. The Solar Decathlon is well aligned with The HON Company's long-term aspirations to improve the Earth's well being. We want to do what it takes to spread the word about environmental responsibility. Educating young minds is key to instilling this to the many generations that follow."

About the Solar Decathlon
The Solar Decathlon is a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in partnership with its National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The American Institute of Architects (AIA) American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), BP and Sprint are partnering with DOE as title sponsors.

About The HON Company
The HON Company is a leader in the design and manufacturing of workplace furniture including chairs, storage, panel systems, tables and desks. Headquartered in Muscatine, IA, The HON Company has numerous manufacturing facilities strategically located throughout the United States, and markets its products through a nationwide network of dealers and retailers. The HON Company is an operating company of HNI Corporation (formerly HON INDUSTRIES). For more information, visit

For more information about HON's participation in the 2007 Solar Decathlon, contact Betsy Hoye, advertising & public relations manager: [email protected].

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