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Solar Decathlon 2007

Podcasts: Sponsor HON's Mindy Billingsley Discusses Environmental Responsibility (Text Version)

Below is the text version of the podcast recorded by Mindy Billingsley, Environmental Marketing Manager for the HON Company. Visit the Solar Decathlon Podcasts section to subscribe to the podcast or download individual audio files.

Male Speaker (MS):

This is a special 2007 Solar Decathlon edition of Energy Buzz, the podcast series produced by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. Energy Buzz brings you expert information about renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Mindy Billingsley (MB):

Hi, I'm Mindy Billingsley, Environmental Marketing Manager for the HON Company. We are very proud to be a part of the 2007 Solar Decathlon and all of the excitement that surrounds this event. We believe that environmental responsibility is a journey, not a destination, and we look forward to working with the promising solar decathletes, tomorrow's engineers, architects and designers to work together to chart a course for a greener world.

In case you haven't heard of the HON Company, we are the leading manufacturer of office furniture. We are no strangers to the architectural community or to environmentalism. In fact, HON embarked on its environmental journey more than sixty years ago when we crafted one of our first product lines out of recycled scrap metal. We've continued our environmental mindset through the years, respecting the finite nature of the earth's resources, through our manufacturing processes and the products that we develop and produce.

Last year, in 2006, HON made significant strides in our journey as we became the world's first office furniture manufacturer to have products certified by scientific certification systems, or SES for short, Indoor Advantage Program. As you may know, virtually all manufactured products emit chemicals into the air. Indoor advantage evaluates these products to help improve air quality. These tests put products to the most rigorous indoor air quality standards in the United States, evaluating individual components, as well as overall assemblies.

And, we are happy to report that a number of our products now have the highest level of certification, Indoor Advantage Gold, meeting the most rigorous criteria in the USA and demonstrating compliance with both lead CI and collaborative for high performing schools indoor air requirements. Some of HON's products that meet SES Indoor Advantage Gold certification include our initiate panel systems, or cubes as they are better known, several lines of office chairs and seating, classroom furniture, desks, tables and metal filing cabinets and other storage pieces. One of our most exciting recent achievements is our initiate panel system with Nature Core.

To better explain, the insides of cubicle walls require filler to provide acoustic control and tackability [phonetic]. Instead of using synthetic materials typically used in cubicles, we use Nature Core, which is offered exclusively from HON and is made from kenaf, a sustainable, naturally grown fiber that is second only to cotton in the volume grown around the world. And because we don't add any irritating chemicals, such as formaldehyde, we reduce the off gassing of chemicals that furniture can often create.

So now offices can feel good about their furniture choices, all without an increase in cost. We really feel it's the best green story in the furniture market. We are very excited at HON about our strides in our environmental journey, which prompted us to become even more involved with other great organizations that share in our quest for sustainability and environmental responsibility.

The Solar Decathlon is aligned well with the HON Company's long-term aspirations to improve the earth's well-being. That's why as an event sponsor, we are donating furnishings to a number of the Solar Decathlon homes, furnishing several common areas with our newest products, like initiate panel system with Nature Core, and RF3 chairs, while also hosting educational presentations to attendees.

We will do what it takes to help spread the word about sustainability, because we feel a responsibility to preserve the environment and our planet for generations to come. While teams of students of building environmentally friendly homes at the Solar Decathlon are a start, we feel that educating these young minds is the key to instilling a sense of environmental responsibility to the many generations that follow.

We look forward to being a part of this year's Solar Decathlon and hope that many of you can visit this amazing event in Washington, D.C. For more information about the HON company, visit our website at That's h-o-n Thank you for listening to our podcast.


This has been a special edition of Energy Buzz. To learn more about the Solar Decathlon, go to For more about the world of energy efficiency and renewable energy, log on to the Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website at Thank you for listening.