Green, Green, Green… A LEED AP’s Perspective

Greenwashing or green flooring… where does it start and where does it end?
eco-brochure-logos
The above logos were printed on a brochure for a Bio Diesel conference I was invited to attend. Yep, I’m a biodiesel geek in the flooring business. These logos tell a great story that I hope you can appreciate. Soy ink, windpower, FSC certification, Recycled content, waterless printing and full recyclability were all wrapped up in one brochure. And it was only a brochure! But what a brochure it was…
And I’m not alone.
72% of our flooring customers are concerned about environmental issues.
88% are interested in learning about eco-friendly products.
78% want to make a conscious effort to recycle in their homes.
It only makes good business sense to meet our customers where they are.

From our perspective in the flooring business, green flooring products range from “this fiber is recyclable”… not really that impressive, to “we’re a zero-landfill facility and we mean green!”
We are, by the way, a zero-landfill business. That said, the products we carry cover the entire spectrum.

Reclaimed hardwood – started as a tree, turned into a building, beer cask, railroad car, or something else… now it’s a floor. It’s the “third-life” principle that really takes going green to the next level.
Undyed wool carpet with natural latex backing –  very green. Wool is already renewable since it just keeps growing and I’m sure the sheep are happy to contribute, especially in the summer.
Cork flooring – If you’ve read my posts about cork, and how happy I am to have it in my own kitchen and sunroom, you know it’s a renewable resource from the bark of the cork oak tree. It’s waterproof (cork bobbers, anyone?) and won’t encourage microbial growth. It’s also the best insulator and amazingly quiet and warm.
No- or Low-VOC adhesives – we have adhesives that will not emit harmful VOC’s upon install. VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. If you are sensitive to them, you already know what they are.
Recycled pad – often called rebond, this pad is made from scraps from the cushions used in the furniture industry, or from recycled carpet cushion.
missionzero_withcopycopynew
Carbon Footprint consideration in manufacturing – some suppliers can provide information regarding the carbon footprint of their products. They, in a word, rock! Bamboo flooring is great… but if it takes twice as much energy to transport it from China, it’s not really a truly-green product. That said, bamboo is technically a grass, hence it’s a renewable resource par excellence.

And Carpet One offers our exclusive Green Select program.

Here are the Green Select Product Definitions and Criteria
GRN 1 = Recycled Content: CCA Global requires a minimum percentage of recycled content to be classified as Green Select based on specific criteria for each category. Suppliers must identify the specific materials and percentage of recycled (pre or post consumer) content.

Criteria:
Carpet – Minimum of 10% face fiber
Anso Green Edge
PET polyester 80% Recycled Bottles
Laminate – Minimum of 70% core board
Mannington

GRN 2 = Recyclable: CCA Global requires that carpet products are Fiber-to-Fiber recyclable, NOT Down-Cycled to be classified as green. At this time, CCA Global does not classify any hard surface products as recyclable.

Criteria:
Carpet – Fiber-to-Fiber Recyclable
Anso Green Edge
Nylon Type 6 from manufacturers who are making extra efforts to recycle (Shaw, Natiq/Nylene Fiber, etc.)

GRN 3 = Natural or Sustained: CCA Global requires minimum percentages of natural, sustainable, quickly renewable product content by category to be classified as green. Suppliers must identify these materials and their percentage of the product.

Criteria:
Carpet – Minimum of 35% of face fiber
Natural fibers such as Wool, Sisal, Seagrass, Cotton, Silk
Sorona – 38% corn-based
Linoleum
Armstrong and Forbo
Bamboo
US Floors, Teragren, Mannington, Columbia, Anderson
Cork
Wicanders, Natural Cork, Montado

As you can see, there is a lot to consider and I am purposely cutting this post short because I would love to get the comments rolling.

So, comment away!

Christopher Moline, Residential Group Manager, Commercial Carpets of America 703-370-0000 <a href=
Christopher Moline, LEED AP
Residential Group Manager
Commercial Carpets of America
703-370-0000
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2 responses to “Green, Green, Green… A LEED AP’s Perspective

  1. very interesting. Going green is the new cool thing to do!

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