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LEED certification drives sustainability in printing

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The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification has driven a lot of companies to the path of sustainability, not only for altruistic reasons, but also for governmental incentives.

“Right now, everything seems to be environmentally friendly—from the types of fabric, how it’s produced, to the glue that applies the fabric to the printing process,” says Peter Smith of Digital Imaging Resources. “There are more and more firms that are requiring that everything we do is done in an eco-friendly way.”

Deborah Beckett of Gensler architects says her firm always tries to use sustainable materials and processes. Client Bacardi was after gold LEED certification for its Miami offices. Digital Imaging Resources printed Gensler’s designs with non-VOC-emitting UV ink on DreamScape matte canvas on a Durst Rho flatbed printer.

The Herman Miller MarketPlace was also a LEED Gold building. “Part of our thinking in terms of way finding in the space was to use as little traditional signage as possible,” says Mark VanderKlipp of Corbin Design. “We used scrims and water-based inks, which are more environmentally friendly than painted aluminum.”

For its new offices, Fabric Images used both water-based ink with a Mimaki printer and solvent inks on an HP printer. “The Mimaki has a different color gamut than HP,” Marco Alvarez says. “It helps us communicate that, but also shows the options of printing technologies that are more green than others.”

Janice Kleinschmidt is a freelance writer based in Palm Springs, Calif.

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