Monthly Archives: February 2010

CRI Green Label standard exits the scene

… to be replaced by the more stringent Green Label Plus (GLP).

Original Indoor Air Quality Standard is Replaced by Stricter CRI Green Label Plus

CRI

Now that 2009 is history, something else follows it into the “once was” realm – the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label Standard. Developed in 1992, the Green Label standard set the first limits on carpet’s emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds. After its planned 5-year transition period, it is time for Green Label to conclude, replaced by the stronger and more comprehensive Green Label Plus standard that was adopted in July, 2004.

Beginning January 1, 2010, there will no longer be any listings on the CRI web site for carpet certified to the Green Label standard. The good news is: all U.S. manufacturers have upgraded their products to meet the GLP program, so no one will be affected by the change. More than anything else, it gives us here at CRI an opportunity to look back briefly on the challenges involved in getting to this milestone in the history of the carpet industry.

The Green Label program developed out of consumer and governmental concerns about carpet’s effect on Indoor Air Quality. The original standard, developed in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, measured four compounds against an established criterion, as well as total volatile organic compounds, or TVOC. As you might expect, the work that went into developing the standard was significant, and interestingly, long before Werner Braun became president of CRI, he was involved in the dialog with the EPA in his role as a toxicologist with the The Dow Chemical Company.

Green Label Plus came about as the carpet industry worked to meet the requirements of the California Indoor Air Quality regulation known as CA 01350. (Coincidentally, the California regulation is currently being updated, and the CRI is involved in the process.) Compared to Green Label, Green Label Plus measures 13 compounds against a standard criteria, plus TVOC. Carpets certified under GLP earn credit toward project totals under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED program and are approved for the California Collaborative for High Performance Schools.

For more information on this and other “green” ratings, email us.

All the best,

Chris

Chris Moline, LEED AP

Free Axez – raised access flooring system contributes to LEED points/credits

Following is a breakdown of our Free Axez raised access flooring system relative to the USGBC LEED rating system.

LEED Credit Contributions

(email a LEED AP for more information)

MR Credit 1 – Building Reuse
MR Credit 2 – Construction Waste Management
MR Credit 3 – Materials Reuse
MR Credit 4 – Recycled Content

MR Credit 1 Breakdown:
Excerpts from Green Building Rating System For New Construction & Major Renovations (LEED-NC) Version 2.1
Intent
Extend the life cycle of existing building stock, conserve resources,
retain cultural resources, reduce waste and reduce environmental
impacts of new buildings as they relate to materials manufacturing and transport.

Requirements
Maintain at least 75% of existing building structure and shell (exterior skin
and framing, excluding window assemblies and non-structural roofing material.)

Potential Technologies & Strategies
Consider reuse of existing buildings, including structure, shell and
non-shell elements. Remove elements that pose contamination risk to
building occupants and upgrade outdated components such as windows,
mechanical systems and plumbing fixtures. Quantify the extent of building reuse.
_
How FreeAxez All Steel Low-Profile Flooring System Contributes to Building Reuse:
FreeAxez provides significant benefits for the retrofit and renovation of existing
structures. Today’s demand for hi-tech space requires significant power/voice/data cabling.
Oftentimes existing buildings are considered completely obsolete due to the difficulty
in running these cables. Raised flooring solves this problem, and the FreeAxez
design is optimal since it does not attach to the building at the sub floor or walls.

The FreeAxez low profile wire management system accommodates
power/voice/data cables to allow older buildings to meet the current
and future technology requirements of the modern office environment.

Historic structures are a perfect application for FreeAxez. As a result of its unique design, the gravity-held FreeAxez floors can lay on top of existing terrazzo, marble or wood floors without any destruction to the floor. Since the floor is not screwed or connected to the walls, FreeAxez does not damage the fine woodwork on the walls.
As the lowest profile access floor on the market (at 1.6” in height), the freeaxez floor allows for complete wire management with negligible impact to the vertical dimension. In lower existing floor-to-ceiling space, the addition of drop ceilings or tall floors to run wires often compresses the space to such an extent as to make reuse of the space impractical. FreeAxez extends the life cycle of existing building stock.
FreeAxez installation results in negligible invasive / destructive impact to the existing floor and walls, as the system is gravity-held and assembled without glues, screws or fasteners. Core-drilling for wires is virtually eliminated, thus preserving the existing floor/wall structure and facades. FreeAxez conserves resources, conserves cultural resources and reduces waste.
Once FreeAxez is installed, the space can be reconfigured continually for new occupants or changes in intended use without impacting the existing structure.

raised access floor

MR Credit 2 – Construction Waste Management

Excerpts from Green Building Rating System For New Construction & Major Renovations (LEED-NC) Version 2.1

Intent
Divert construction, demolition and land clearing debris from landfill disposal. Redirect recyclable recovered resources back to the manufacturing process. Redirect reusable materials to appropriate sites.

Requirements
Recycle and/or salvage at least 50% of construction, demolition and land clearing waste.

Potential Technologies & Strategies
Consider recycling land debris, cardboard, metal, brick, concrete, plastic, clean wood, glass, gypsum wall-board, carpet and insulation.
_
How FreeAxez All Steel Low-Profile Flooring System Contributes to Construction Waste Management:
FreeAxez minimizes construction waste at both initial construction and in the future when the space is vacated or planned for demolition. Moves, adds and changes are handled easily and efficiently without frustration or feelings of obsolescence for the occupants. FreeAxez prolongs the lifecycle of useful space for any given project by 2 or 3 times.
FreeAxez is gravity-held and is assembled without glues, screws or fasteners. The FreeAxez array of intelligent border components allows any space to fitted without the need for cutting metal and producing waste. A FreeAxez installation produces negligible construction waste and therefore diverts material from landfill disposal.
When a space is vacated or planned for demolition, the portability attribute of FreeAxez allows for the redirection and reuse of material to the next application. The durable FreeAxez all steel floor can be disassembled, transported and reassembled / reused many times without degradation. If there is no planned follow-on space requirement, the manufacturer will buy back the material for up to 10 years from purchase. Also, the FreeAxez floor is 100% recyclable. A FreeAxez installation diverts material from landfill disposal.

raised access flooring in washington dc, northern virginia, maryland

MR Credit 3 – Materials Reuse

Excerpts from Green Building Rating System For New Construction & Major Renovations (LEED-NC) Version 2.1

Intent
Reuse building materials and products in order to reduce demand for virgin materials and to reduce waste, thereby reducing impacts associated with the extraction and processing of virgin resources.

Requirements
Use salvaged, refurbished or reused materials such that the sum of these materials constitutes at least 5%, based on cost, of the total value of material on the project.

Potential Technologies & Strategies
Identify opportunities to incorporate salvaged materials into building design and research potential material suppliers. Consider salvaged materials such as beams and posts, flooring, paneling, doors and frames, cabinetry, brick and decorative items.
_
How FreeAxez All Steel Low-Profile Flooring System Contributes to Materials Reuse:

When a space is vacated or planned for demolition, the portability attribute of FreeAxez allows for the redirection and reuse of material to the next application. The durable FreeAxez all steel floor can be disassembled, transported and reassembled / reused many times without degradation. If there is no planned follow-on space requirement, the manufacturer will buy back the material for up to 10 years from purchase. Also, the FreeAxez floor is 100% recyclable. A FreeAxez installation diverts material from landfill disposal.

Materials & Resources Credit 4: Recycled Content

Materials & Resources Credit 4: Recycled Content intends to increase demand for building products that incorporate recycled content materials, therefore reducing impacts resulting from extraction and processing of new virgin materials. As discussed and demonstrated below, steel building products contribute positively toward earning points under Credit 4.1 and Credit 4.2. The following is required by LEED Version 2.2:

Credit 4.1 (1 point) “Use materials with recycled content such that the sum of post-consumer recycled content plus one-half of the pre-consumer content constitutes at least 10% of the total value of the materials in the project.”

Credit 4.2 (1 point) “Use materials with recycled content such that the sum of post-consumer recycled content plus one-half of the pre-consumer content constitutes at least 20% of the total value of the materials in the project.”

The value of the recycled content portion of a material or furnishing shall be determined by dividing the weight of recycled content in the item by the total weight of all material in the item, then multiplying the resulting percentage by the total value of the item.” Since steel (the material) and steel (the building product) are the same, the value of the steel building product is directly multiplied by steel’s recycled content, or: Steel Recycled Content Value = (Value of Steel Product) x (Post-Consumer % + ½ Pre-Consumer %)

The formula above calculates the post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled content percentages for steel building products. These percentages and values are easily entered into the LEED Letter Template spreadsheet for calculation. The following shows the computation and results for FreeAxez recycled content:

FreeAxez 40 & FreeAxez 70 All Steel Low-Profile Access Floor Recycled Content Value:

Steel Recycled Content Value = ($10,000) x (35% + ½ 10%) = ($10,000) x (40%) = $4,000

$4000/$10,000 = 40% (Exceeds 10% and 20% goals)

For more information on Free Axez, call Ralph Grove, LEED AP at 703-370-0000 or email.

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From green floors to a green workout that produces electricity

Check out the following video showcasing ReRev.com’s new system to produce power while working out. As a LEED AP, it’s apparent that the USGBC will surely give this weight in the LEED rating system.

For the greenest home gym, go for green flooring, low- or no-voc paint, and lots of natural light.
Consider recycled rubber flooring, or cork for a quiet, comfortable floor.

Here is how I’d envision the ReRev system integrated into a LEED-oriented project:
First – I love the concept and want one for my home. It’s that simple.
Now, on to LEED.
There are various rating systems:
              New Construction
              Commercial Interiors
              Existing Building
              Core & Shell
              Schools

              Etc…

Copywrite 2009 Chris Moline, LEED AP

Each ratings system has 6 main categories with points in each –
SS = Sustainable Sites
WE = Water Efficiency
EA = Energy & Atmosphere
MR = Materials & Resources
EQ = Indoor Environmental Quality
ID = Innovation in Design

At first blush, I can say credits under the SS or ID categories (Sustainable Sites or Innovation in Design) that reward a project for onsite renewable energy either through PV, wind, hydro or, in this case… gym power, would be points for focus.
Each project is unique and credits are awarded on a case-by-case basis relative to the overall project scope… in this case again, this would be percentage of power generated. A key point to remember is there are no LEED-approved or LEED-endorsed products. It’s the effect, output or makeup of a product that gets considered.
I’m sure we could all agree that this maintains impartiality for the USGBC and keeps it “real” as it were.
That said, I’ve got to stress that someone could submit a proposed credit using this system that would combine an onsite workout facility, an education plan and onsite renewable energy and get consideration.
LEED is incredibly complex, but if you are planning on aiming for the precious metal of a LEED-certified project, this is something worth looking into.

Go green, stay green!

 Email Chris Moline, LEED AP

Green home-heating option saves the day… or evening

The link to this video will show why I am so glad we go green in the office AND at home. I use a catalytic wood-burning stove to heat my entire home and it works quite well.

Well, on the way home during this last blizzard, I saw something I’d never seen… power lines exploding and the pole that supports them actually on fire.

Then, I realized that the scene before me involved the lines leading to my home. That’s where going green saved us because it was very cold outside and we had plenty of firewood to keep the home warm.

Click on this link to see the video and enjoy:

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-9964-DC-Green-Building-Examiner~y2010m2d11-Ecofriendly-home-heating-option-saves-the-day

Wool woven, axeminster, wilton broadloom carpet remnants in Northern Virginia, Washington DC and Maryland



You can save hundreds, even thousands of dollars on wools by Nourison, Stanton, Couristan, Karastan, Godfrey Hirst and more by shopping the largest selection of in-stock, high-end remnants and roll goods in the Washington DC metro area.
Every other week a new shipment arrives and the savings and selection are without par.
For example, we just received two large rolls of Karastan woven wool berbers in neutral tones available for $3.99 per square foot. This is down from our standard price of $10.49/ft, and there is much more.
Stop by and see what we have for you… you’ll be glad you did!

All the best,

Chris

natural flooring, in-stock wools, wool broadloom remnants

Winter and your floors

Oh the weather outside is frightful… or at least it can be.

Last winter I was looking outside at nearly 30 inches of snow with another 8-10 on the way and it made me shiver at the thought of what snow melt chemicals can do to a floor. Salt and calcium chloride do wonders melting ice and improving safety. But they can put an early end to a good floor. Calcium chloride is both alkaline and hydroscopic (it actually pulls moisture from the air). It can weaken carpet backings and discolor vinyl flooring. Couple that with often low humidity (my office reading at one point last winter was 24% instead of the recomended 30-50%) and winter weather can put a damper on an otherwise beautiful floor.
Even hardwood flooring can be affected in that these chemicals can damage, even strip, the protective urethane coating, leaving the wood exposed to damage and discoloration.

So, what can you do?

Specify flooring that can handle the abuse in two ways – construction and camouflage. Hard surface flooring at entry ways that has varied patterns will resist damage and conceal spots until they can be cleaned.
Walk off mats are a must, as well as keeping a Swiffer mop handy to clean residue immediately.  Not only will the damp Swiffer mop remove salt or calcium chloride, it will trap particulates as well that can act abrasively on the wear layer of your floor, or work their way into the fiber of nearby carpets.
Vacuum carpet quickly and consider a good cleaning when the season is over.

You can also consider a special heating element for your sidewalk or the area immediately in front of your door. You’ll not need salt in that case and it could save a costly lawsuit and hours of labor picking up and spreading snow melt chemicals. Of course, you can also heat your driveway, but that can get pricey. We offer Warmly Yours and NuHeat systems designed specifically for this purpose.

The bottom line is – stay on top of the mess and be proactive. The longer harsh chemicals are allowed to stay in contact with flooring, the more likely it is that damage will occur.