Within its sphere of influence, Herman Miller works hard to stay true to its ethos of environmental stewardship and to fulfill its commitment to zero waste by 2020. But whether it’s environmentally friendly facilities or responsible manufacturing processes, companies like Herman Miller can only move ahead as fast as the science that undergirds these techniques and processes.
One place where research is happening on a large scale is Biosphere2 in the desert north of Tucson, Arizona. Biosphere1 is our Earth.
Managed by the University of Arizona, Biosphere2 is a scientist’s dream. It’s a 3-acre Star Trek-like greenhouse of glass and steel completely sealed from the surrounding desert. Within this sealed environment, five mini-biomes, such as mangrove wetlands, a savannah grassland, and a coral reef, have been created. Because these environments can be minutely controlled, science can proceed on a large scale.
Studies are underway, for example, to compare the effect of drought on native grasses like tanglehead versus invasive species like buffelgrass. Or to examine how fast carbon dioxide is absorbed in a rain forest.
Ultimately, the kind of research that’s happening at Biosphere2 should result in a better understanding of how our planet works, as well as nuts-and-bolts ways to preserve and protect our fragile biosystems. That’s the kind of research that companies like Herman Miller might find useful in the future.