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The future of furniture is closer than we think

Let’s take a trip together to 2050. For those living in the Netherlands, the day begins with a tasty cup of organic, locally sourced, zero-carbon coffee. Grown just down the road in one of our country’s many vertical farms, and home-delivered by solar-powered drone. After a slice of toast – baked in our very own hydrogen cell oven using biotechnology enabled supergrains – we kiss our loved ones goodbye and set off to work. After a pleasant 90-second journey, we arrive by hyperloop to our renewables-powered smart office building, located downtown in the now vehicle- and emissions-free city centre.

A sustainable home away from home
Sounds good, right? But I like to think it’s more than just make-believe. Look around, and you’ll see that a sustainable future is already taking shape… And, by looking, I mean paying a visit to the Green Elephant Hostel in the Dutch city of Maastricht. The innovator behind the hostel, our partner LBG Hotels, has been using paints, lacquers and primers made with DSM’s plant-based, toxin-free Decovery®coating resin for different parts of the hostel – including the walls, doors, window frames and wooden panels. Parts of the building are also fitted with fully recyclable carpets made with DSM’s Niaga® technology.

Another exciting innovation in my view is the hostel’s ‘Ultra’ cribs: comfortable baby cribs coated with DSM’s special sustainable Uralac® Ultra powder-coating solution. Because our coating solution is made without the use of toxic materials, Ultra cribs are much safer and healthier for the infants that sleep in them. And, with no volatile organic compounds released during the coating process, they’re also better for the environment. That’s the scientific explanation; among the hostel’s younger guests – and their parents – the Ultra cribs are simply known as a good night’s sleep. 

A solution that will leave you sleeping soundly
The hostel is a real-world example of sustainable living in action. In 2019, it offers a glimpse of how, going forward, the right products and solutions can help ordinary people reduce their carbon footprint through small but important changes in their daily lives. A baby’s crib, or any item of furniture for that matter, isn’t something that necessarily comes up in discussions about sustainable lifestyle changes, but it certainly should. Did you know, for example, that 25% of the carbon footprint of a typical home or office is created simply by manufacturing the furniture inside the building?

What if the Green Elephant Hostel was the norm rather than the exception? I hope that, with continued innovation at product development and manufacturing level, this reality might not be as far off as we think. We may not be talking hyperloops and delivery drones anytime soon (though, how fun would that be?), but we have solutions available right now that significantly reduce the impact of everyday consumer products such as furniture and furnishings. The technology is increasingly available – now we must embrace it. 

Feel free to reach out to me to discuss our innovation efforts within coating resins for the furniture segment! And stay tuned for our next blog. 

Brigitte Jacobs, Marketing Manager Furniture

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