Green Washington 2011: Manufacturing


Winner: Watson Furniture Group
Manufacturer of office furniture using locally sourced, environmentally friendly materials.

GREEN ACTIONS Watson Furniture Group uses water-based wood stain and a contact adhesive with an ultra-low VOC (volatile organic compound) rating. Its manufacturing facility has no floor drains and was designed to facilitate environmentally friendly ways of building furniture. A recent lighting fixture upgrade replaced 426 fixtures on the manufacturing floor and within the administrative offices with LED and induction lighting fixtures. Instead of following the industry standard of chemical dip tanks to clean steel, Watson uses a steam-cleaning system, eliminating discharge to stream waters. Outside storm drains with catch basins channel rainwater to a retention pond. An on-site septic system centralizes waste disposal.

RESULTS The lighting upgrade reduced annual electricity usage by 49 percent and total power consumption by 11 percent—enough to run 15 average homes per year. The steel-cleaning system results in just one self-contained tote of gray water pulled every 60 to 90 days for filtration and disposal.

Runner Up: Nichols Brothers Boat Builders
A leader in the fabrication of steel- and aluminum-hulled vessels.

GREEN ACTIONS Since 2007, the Whidbey Island-based company has spent more than $1 million on storm-water system upgrades.

RESULTS The upgrades resulted in a 99 percent reduction in copper and zinc levels, and storm water discharged from the Nichols Brothers shipyard is now cleaner than water discharged from any shipbuilder in the state. It is the only shipbuilder in Washington to achieve state marine water criteria. One hundred percent of storm-water runoff is directed to a shoreline wetland that is hydraulically connected to Holmes Harbor. Storm water from the site contains less copper than local native groundwater..

Related Content

StormSensor uses sensors inside sewer lines to monitor rainfall.

Startup encourages markets for green energy, matching buyers with sellers.


Collaboration between public and private sectors is changing Seattle's environmental future


The future of urban engineering starts at the top.