Herman Miller's commitment to building facilities that celebrate the surrounding environment can be traced back to our company founder, D.J. De Pree. Among his many visionary environmental (and humanistic) directives, he stated that all employees should be able to look out from a window from no more than 75 feet. Today, more than 50 years later, this is known as harvesting natural daylight to cut energy bills and eliminate the pollution caused by the production of the electricity.
D.J. also declared that any new properties the company developed would dedicate 50 percent or more to green space to promote a healthy environment. Both of these mandates are still followed by the company today.
It makes sense, then, that a company dedicated to creating people-centered architecture was also a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and helped formulate LEED Certification guidelines.
Herman Miller and the U.S. Green Building Council
In 1993, Herman Miller helped fund the start-up of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). This non-profit organization is dedicated to understanding and promoting sound environmental building practices. We supported this new organization because during a time of incredible growth and construction, we knew we wanted to continue the legacy of our founder with current and future building projects. We determined that this new organization would enable Herman Miller's Facilities Group to learn from experts in the field.
At the same time the USGBC was launching, Herman Miller hired renowned environmental architect William McDonough to design our next manufacturing facility, to be located next to an existing HMI warehouse on more than 45 acres of rolling prairie. In 1995, the USGBC selected the building, which we named the "GreenHouse," as a pilot for the development of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification process.
The USGBC cited the GreenHouse as a model of what was possible, and awarded it "Pioneer" status. The building today stands as proof that using green design not only can be aesthetically pleasing but also environmentally sound and financially beneficial to a company. Further confirmation came from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which funded a study that validated the GreenHouse's financial and environmental performance. In addition, the GreenHouse has received numerous awards for its attractive appearance.
Today, Herman Miller is committed to building or renovating its facilities to meet the highest standards of independent certifying bodies, including LEED, ISO 14001, and BREEAM (Building Research Establishment's Environmental Assessment Method), a UK assessment method for sustainable buildings. As an environmentally progressive company for more than half a century now, Herman Miller is pledged to continue exploring new and innovative approaches to creating green buildings.