When you are thinking of furnishings, ongoing performance is important. A cheap office chair may be off to a landfill in only 3 or 4 years, where a well designed and built office chair can last for decades. While it is lasting longer it is also likely to be better for a worker’s posture, which may lead to happier employees and savings in sick time. If you have employees, a $800 office chair may be way less costly to you than a $150 office chair.
Right from the beginning, develop and fund an ongoing maintenance regime that plans for the obsolescence and replacement of your new building’s various components (most components in a building, save the base structure, will have to be replaced within 40-50 years). We can help you with this.
Just because it contains recycled content doesn’t always make it better. New can be the best choice. Just be informed about choices that are being made. It’s hard for anyone to keep on top of the origin and nature of primary resources used in building materials, the health aspects, embodied energy, manufacturing processes,
recyclability, durability, cost and ease of installation. Also novel technologies may not live up to promises. Tried and true can be easier. At this point though tried and true is just not sustainable.
> A note about LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a points-based standard of ranking buildings, for their design and assembly but also for things like how close they are to transit. LEED is great, constantly being improved, but it is a lot of work for your consultants, and you will have to pay for the work involved in getting LEED certification. If you do go this route, pay attention to what you are getting points for.