All hail Allsteel!

It’s been a good month for Allsteel Inc. For its first ever venture into Architectural Products, the company walked away with a Best of NeoCon Gold honour in the category. Its win was for Beyond frameless glass movable walls. This year’s competition drew 325 entries in 40 product and furnishings categories and was sponsored by Contract magazine, Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc., the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), the International Facility Management Association (IFMA), and McMorrow

Designed in partnership with Eberhard von Huene, the wall system features a built-in scissor lift leveling mechanism that levels the glass within the floor channel, functioning much like a pneumatic jack, and allows for fast and easy installation. Differentiating Beyond is that it’s a unitized frameless glass system; it features ½-inch thick glass that is exceptionally soundproof, earning one of the highest STC acoustics ratings; and, it is highly structural, allowing for an optional privacy tile system with components that hang directly on the glass.

“2012 is a milestone year for Allsteel, marking its 100th anniversary and a product launch into a new architectural products category,” said Kris Yates, vice president architectural products. And another feather in the company’s hat came earlier this month when Allsteel received an ISO 50001 Energy Management System certification — the first furniture manufacturer in the world to be certified to this new global energy management standard and only the third company in the U.S. to receive the rating. Additionally, the company earned Superior Energy Performance (SEP) Gold certification, achieving more than 10 per cent in energy reductions since its 2008 energy baseline.

“These are the current pinnacles of sustainability, and it’s a proud moment for Allsteel to have achieved this,” said Jeff Lorenger, Allsteel president. “We congratulate and thank all those on the Allsteel team who have been so relentlessly vigilant in leading us to this moment. But, in all of its 100 years, Allsteel has always steadied its focus on the future, and we will continue to raise the bar on our own performance so that we progressively decrease our own energy footprint.”

According to Keri Luly, Allsteel’s manager of sustainability programs, the company’s 650,000-square-foot manufacturing facility qualified for these latest certifications by committing to incorporate energy saving systems that will yield a 25 per cent reduction in energy intensity over 10 years. To this end, several initiatives have already been completed, such as the installation of a 21,200 kWh rooftop solar array. Other energy efficiency accomplishments contributing to the certifications include annual average reductions over the past two years on its air compressor system by 2,359,837 kWh and on its VFD dust collection system by 696,428.571 kWh.

ISO 50001 and SEP are, respectively, the top international standard and top U.S. certification program for driving continuous improvements in energy efficiency.