Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Herman Miller Company Convia Invents Electrical Evolution

Convia, Inc., a new Herman Miller Company, Electrifies Greenbuild 2006 with Programmable Power and Data Infrastructure for Sustainable Spaces and Design Freedom

Gone are the days of power outlets limiting space and confining building design. Convia, a new Herman Miller Company, is rewiring thinking about traditional electricity with the debut of its signature product, Convia Programmable Infrastructure, at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo held in Denver's Colorado Convention Center (Booth #1201) from November 14-17.

Convia Inc. seeks to change the way people design, build, personalize, and manage space. Convia Programmable Infrastructure is a modular and programmable electrical infrastructure that delivers "plug-and-play" power virtually anywhere within a commercial space without requiring hardwiring of devices or switches. Eliminating the constraints of traditional electrical systems, this next-generation infrastructure invites architects, interior designers, electrical contractors, building owners and tenants to "go reconfigure" and create flexible, sustainable environments that can be easily--and instantly--modified or upgraded. Convia allows users to accomplish all of this with installation costs that are at or below standard wiring, and life cycle costs that are a fraction of the cost of traditional electric.

"In today's fast-paced marketplace, companies are constantly up- or downsizing," said Randy Storch, president of Convia. "Renovating space can be a headache for all parties involved, from tenants and building owners to operators and contractors. With Convia, electrical reconfigurations that could take days or even weeks to complete with traditional hardwiring can be performed within minutes at no cost."

"Go Reconfigure"
Recognizing that change is constant and buildings are rigid, Convia tears down the barriers of hardwiring systems to accommodate dramatic changes in space. Using infrared technology via a secure, remote control "wand" designed by Grimshaw Industrial Design, the leader in industrial design, Convia offers programmable electricity and allows all users--trained and untrained alike--to install, upgrade or relocate any electrical device (e.g. lighting fixtures, security cameras, electronic displays, thermostats, speakers, etc.), switch or sensor in moments. Using the wand, any off-the-shelf electrical, or electronic devices that are plugged into Convia's system connectors can be "programmed" and grouped with each other via a communication and control network, regardless of what electrical circuit they are connected to. To personalize space, users simply "point and click" a two-button wand to change the power connection. In addition, Convia delivers High Speed Ethernet capabilities to any IP appliance such as digital displays, VOIP or wireless hubs that receive power from the system. "Electrical systems have not changed in more than 60 years, but the ways in which we work have--dramatically," said Storch.

"Convia offers the next generation in electrical to accommodate the advances we've made in the past six decades. The beauty of Convia is that this 'next-generation' functionality is delivered at a fraction of the cost of today's alternatives."

Glowing Green
In a nation defined by its infatuation with cars, the auto industry is often presumed to be the greatest contributor to global warming. While vehicles account for 27 percent of all energy consumed in the United States, commercial buildings' energy demand towers above this number, at approximately 36 percent of energy consumed. Recognizing the importance of sustainable environments, more companies are "going green" in their facilities' design, yet roughly half of all of today's available conservation methods are never put in place because buildings' electrical systems can't effectively support them and modifications are cost prohibitive. Convia is designed to accommodate the sophisticated devices and complex electrical configurations required to achieve optimum energy efficiency, at a fraction of the cost of traditional electric.

On average, lighting represents approximately 40 to 60 percent of energy consumption in a building. By allowing for unlimited modifications in positioning and configuring energy-efficiency components, and optimizing occupancy, daylight, time, and temperature sensors, Convia provides personalized and cost-efficient control of power, data, HVAC and lighting systems. By reducing energy consumption, it can help qualify for federal and some municipal tax energy credits of up to $1.80 per square foot of a building, of which $.60 is associated with reduced lighting.

The system also may contribute points to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System (TM), the national benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, by enabling more cost-effective adoption of efficient devices and components. In addition, Convia eliminates the landfill waste that often is created when buildings using traditional electric infrastructure are modified because 100 percent of Convia components are reusable. On average, the renovation of a 20,000-square-foot space would yield waste of approximately 10,000 feet of branch conduit, all associated fittings and supports, 600 backboxes for branch wiring, 40,000 feet of branch circuit wire and 62,000 feet of telephone and data wires.

Breaking Barriers, Not the Bank
Reconfiguring and remodeling commercial space can be expensive. In many cases it can mean delayed occupancy, or putting an existing business at a standstill as costly renovations are performed. While the initial cost of installing Convia falls at or even below that of traditional hardwire electric, it can save enormous time and expense throughout the lifecycle of a building.

With Convia the need for expensive and time-consuming electrical modifications, construction and labor is dramatically reduced. Since tenants can easily customize space themselves to meet their changing needs, productivity is enhanced and their overall satisfaction is improved, thereby reducing tenant churn.

One Solution, Two Ways
Convia is available in two configurations: an open ceiling grid system and a customizable, plenum-rated system for use in conjunction with traditional, finished ceilings incorporating air-handling systems. The grid is best suited for open ceilings and is ideal for people who seek the ultimate in flexibility. In addition to the strengths of the programmable power and data infrastructure, it also enables place making with wall and ceiling products, to easily and economically reconfigure physical space as needs change.

The plenum-rated compatible version is designed for closed or drop ceilings. While this version doesn't offer as much place-making capability as the open ceiling grid system, it delivers superior performance and value compared to traditional wiring solutions. All components on this system utilize Convia's smart connectors enabling rapid movement of devices, and are fully programmable. The open ceiling grid system and plenum-rated system are compatible and can both be used in a space to get maximum benefit. With Convia, new or renovated interior spaces become programmable environments, responsive to the ever-changing needs of the modern commercial space.

About Convia, Inc.
Convia, a Herman Miller company, seeks to change the way people design, build, personalize and manage space. Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Chicago, Convia is dedicated to offering customers agile and programmable environments, which allow for radically flexible spaces. For more information about Convia Programmable Infrastructure, visit www.hmconvia.com.

About Herman Miller, Inc.
Herman Miller designs products and provides services that enhance the performance of people and their environments worldwide, making life more productive, rewarding, intelligent, and delightful. The company's award-winning products and services generated over $1.7 billion in revenue during fiscal 2006. Recognized both for its innovative designs and business practices, Herman Miller is a recipient of the prestigious National Design Award for product design from the Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. In 2006, the company was again cited by Fortune magazine as the "Most Admired" company in its industry and was included among Business Ethics magazine's "100 Best Corporate Citizens." The company trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol MLHR.

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