Tag Archives: carbon footprint

Carbon Footprint… Size DOES Matter

chris moline, LEED AP alexandria carpet one
There are many ways to look at the carbon footprint of a project or lifestyle.
A little humor can often help start a conversation.
Well, if my graphic above doesn’t make you at least chuckle, you probably won’t
like my blog…
The LEED ratings system even considers point of manufacture/assembly (500 mile radius) as well as extraction, and awards credit to a project if other factors are met. This is just one example of reducing the size of a project’s overall carbon footprint.

The LEED system also considers a building’s continued use relative to its carbon footprint in terms of the use of public transportation. Proximity to subway stations and bus stops, as well as bike racks and preferred parking for carpoolers or alternative-fuel vehicles all receive consideration in the calculation of credits.

Want to weigh in? Use comments for dialogue and let’s have fun with it…


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Carpet & Sustainability… A LEED AP’s perspective on a particular product

Smartstrand vs. Nylon? Triexta – Smartstrand Sorona PTT fiber.
Is it green?
SmartStrand-Rhino-Challenge

The following points give a glimpse as to why this may be the fiber to watch. Though not as green as wool or PET, it appears to strike a balance that has been resonating with our client base. If I were to give it a “Moline Greenwashing Index” shades of green color, I’d put it squarely in the middle (good) and endorse it. Click here to learn more about the LEED rating system.
Here are your green factoids:

– The production of Sorona® polymer requires 30 percent less energy than the production of an equal amount of nylon.
– Greenhouse gas emissions from the production of Sorona® are 63 percent lower than nylon manufacturing.
– Every seven yards of SmartStrand with DuPont Sorona saves enough energy and resources to equal one gallon of gasoline—that’s ten million gallons of gasoline a year!
– Factor in the lifecycle cost of a more robust floorcovering and you’ve got something worth a look.
That said, LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) is just a small portion of what I consider and not worth hanging a “green” label on. But it plays a role.

I have had great success with this newest of fibers and have not had one complaint. In fact, it is installed in our showroom and gets more use than your average residential application… and it is holding up beautifully. The softness itself is reason alone to spark interest. But it is the cleanability that customers have shown to be the biggest draw.

Following is a testimonial from a rarely-heard segment of our industry, the independent testing agency:

Independent Textile Testing Service, Inc.

“Over the past 10 years we have been involved in extensive testing of the PTT fiber pertaining to carpet usage. Testing has included everything from pedestrian traffic, soiling, staining, static, colorfastness to atmospheric contaminants, flammability and many others. Based on our experience with the PTT fiber, it would seem that the test results consistently show a marked difference when compared to PET in regards to performance…It is of our opinion that the differences shown do indeed indicate that a need for a separate classification is a good idea. It would be very difficult to continue to try and let the marketplace separate these on its own. PTT indeed performs much better in general than PET in traffic ratings and it would benefit the consumer to know that there were distinct differences, thereby eliminating PET from being confused with PTT. We think a separate class of fiber generic name would be in good order and an overall benefit to end users.”

 

We look forward to seeing this fiber gain in popularity as it has over the past 4 years. I believe that if it were going to fail, it would have fallen by the wayside quickly. It looks like that just isn’t the case and as a LEED Accredited Professional dedicated to sustainability in the flooring industry I couldn’t be more satisfied.
Here is more information straight from Mohawk’s website regarding specific results:

Wear (Walk test)

SmartStrand fibers bend easily, rebound quickly and are amazingly durable. A test with over 20,000 foot traffics proved SmartStrand’s superior resiliency and crush resistance. In durability comparisons, nylon performed well, but SmartStrand with DuPont Sorona Polymer performed better.

Wear (Hexapod Test)

SmartStrand also underwent rigorous mechanical testing designed to simulate actual walk tests, but in a much shorter time period. Results confirmed…SmartStrand is the best.

Stain Protection

This is where Mohawk SmartStrand really excels. The SmartStrand fiber has engineered-in stain protection. Most stains (even the really stubborn ones such as hot coffee, mustard, red wine, tea, juice, shoe polish and more) are easily lifted with water and mild detergent or Floor Care Essentials. Even more impressive, SmartStrand fiber is resistant to discoloration from bleach. The leading nylon brands contain topically applied protection on the surface of the fiber that can wash and wear off.  SmartStrand stain protection does not contain any topically applied protection (it’s built-in) and it will never wash or wear off. NEVER!

Soiling

SmartStrand’s unbeatable built-in stain protection also works against soiling, providing significantly better resistance and removal compared to nylon.

Static

For eliminating uncomfortable static, SmartStrand gets another “excellent” rating versus nylon’s “poor” rating. SmartStrand with DuPont Sorona Polymer is the clear choice in static protection.

Colorfastness

Customers that choose beautiful SmartStrand carpets in any style or color will be pleased by the long-term protection from fading, UV light and ozone discolorations. Color fastness is just one more “excellent” rating for SmartStrand.

Exceptional Comfort & Confidence

Every day, SmartStrand carpet pass another important test for consumers; the softness test. SmartStrand carpets are installed in thousands of homes and Mohawk customers have praised the elegant looks, gentle feel and supreme comfort.  Free of harsh topically applied chemicals, SmartStrand’s fresh, pure and soft fibers provide a cleaner, healthier interior environment for consumers.

about Chris Moline, LEED AP

Chris is our Residential Group Manager & a US Green Building Council LEED Accredited Professional

Chris Moline, LEED AP
703-856-4929
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Top 10 Environmentally-Friendly Things You Can Do

Note – keep reading for an EXTREME example of what NOT to do to be environmentally friendly…

Ten Eco-Friendly/Earth-Friendly Things Everyone can do Today.
Advice from a US Green Building Council LEED Accredited Professional…

I’m surrounded by green products in my showroom and office.
It’s great!
But how can you show a green habit or best practice?
Well, it’s not easy, but there are some listed here… and they can save you money and time.

Use efficient lighting: Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) use 70% less energy and last 10 times longer than standard bulbs. We use these in our showroom exclusively and save over 34 million watts per year! But your choice is not limited to CFL’s. We also use LED spots in our “green” area for even greater cost savings (with 0ver 90% energy savings)  and to add to the  overall lighting temperature to show how colors change under different light sources.

Adjust your thermostat:
Set your programmable thermostat two degrees warmer than usual in summer and two degrees cooler in winter—then watch your energy use drop.
  While you’re at it – insulate and seal your home. Windows, doors, trim… all can be sources of air infiltration that reduce the efficiency of your HVAC system. Double check your attic access if you have one, and make sure it’s insulated and weather-stripped.

Reduce phantom load:
Home electronics draw 40% of the electricty they use while turned off—unplug chargers and home entertainment systems when not in use. In my home, we use power strips with  on/off switches for equipment. When not watching or listening, we hit the switch and save energy. You can automate this by setting a timer to turn off the juice during times you know you won’t be using the appliance.

Conserve water in- and outdoors:
Treating and pumping water takes a huge amount of electricity—saving water saves money and power too. You can also go so far as to capture rainwater from your downspouts in a drum and use that for watering flowerbeds and gardens. There are also a variety of solar-powered pumps that can be integrated as well.

Plant a tree at home:
Carefully chosen and planted trees soak up CO2 and shade your home for lower summer utility bills. If you plan in advance, as the tree grows it can shade the south-facing wall of your home and reduce what is called the “heat island” effect. This effect refers to how certain building materials absorb, then radiate heat back into the atmosphere, raising temperatures in the vicinity by as much as 10 degrees.

More great tips below, but check out this video for the extreme example of what NOT to do. Of course, these three shameless examples are from commercial retailers, but the idea is universal. This mini-activism on my part came about when my son and I were visiting the local Bowie Town Center in Maryland on a very-hot day and got quite the “eco shock.”



Drive less:
Walk, ride a bike, carpool, take the bus, and combine trips when possible.

Keep your car in tune:
A poorly tuned engine wastes 10 to 20% of its fuel; a clogged air filter risks a 10% increase in fuel consumption; and low tire pressure means another 5% drop in efficiency.

Reduce, reuse, recycle:
Create less waste by reusing or recycling items.

Buy local: Most food is shipped more than 1,500 miles to get to your plate—locally grown food saves fuel and tastes better.

Talk
: Raise awareness among your friends, family, and coworkers, and tell government leaders you want meaningful climate protection planning and policies now. In that spirit, do you know what the following logo’s represent? I copied them from a green convention brochure and they show that the publishers really had the environment in mind when producing their materials.
eco-brochure-logos
Make “green” home-improvement choices: Earth-friendly flooring can have a major impact on your home’s carbon footprint. Find a sales person who knows the green side of the flooring business and do your research. Our blog is a great place to start and our sales staff is on the cutting edge of green flooring choices. Better yet, deal with a LEED AP and you’ll know you’re working with someone who has a breadth of knowledge far beyond your average sales person.
Check out your contractor!
Our entire facility is ZERO-Landfill (we recycle all waste or convert it to energy) and we mean “green” when it comes to business.
We use all compact flourescent lights in our showroom at a savings of over 34 MILLION watts per year.
carbon-footprint

So, email, call or stop in. Click this link for directions.
Web article.
We’re experts and we’re ready to work with you!
For more information on LEED certification, click here.

about Chris Moline, LEED AP

Chris is our Residential Group Manager & a US Green Building Council LEED Accredited Professional

 

Christopher Moline, LEED AP
Residential Group Manager
Alexandria Carpet One Floor & Home
Commercial Carpets of America
703-370-0000
Email
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Since you’re reading beyond the main content, I’ll throw in a few more things:
Tell the cashiers you don’t want a receipt.
Opt for no bags as often as possible instead of paper or plastic, if you don’t have a lot to carry and you can handle it.
Let your lawn grow a little bit longer and don’t try to keep up with your neighbors by watering and fertilizing… survival of the fittest, I always say!
Or, opt for a no-cut lawn by xeriscaping (no-water landscaping using stones, natural plants, etc…)

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
Email
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Zero-Landfill Company? Yes We Are!

by Chris Moline, LEED AP
Had to post these stats. Commercial Carpets of America is a zero-landfill company.
Here is a calculation from a recent project…

Number of square yards reclaimed 18,440
Environmental Impacts
Equivalent # of pounds reclaimed 82,980
Cubic Yards of landfill saved 410
Average Equivalent BTU’s saved 829,800,000
# of avg. US homes that could supply for 1 Yr. = 5
Global warming potential averted (CO2 Equivalent lbs.) 580,196
Gallons of water saved 253,089

Note: This information is based on some life cycle analysis work done by
DuPont along with some assumptions developed through experience handling used carpet.
Some of these assumption are:
1) An average pile of mixed used commercial broadloom carpet weighs about 4.5 lbs per SQYD
and takes up approximately one cubic yard of space per 45 SQYD of carpet.
2) About one half the weight of used carpet is plastic face fiber versus backing adhesives and dirt.
3) The average US home uses 179,893,777 BTUs per year.

This is how seriously we take our commitment to the environment.
I  sincerely enjoy discussing all matters “green” up to, and including, home-based production of biodiesel! Of course, we are a flooring company and biodiesel is my hobby. That said, if we can post and comment something that can help lower the overall carbon footprint we leave behind, then this blog will have served its purpose.
Not ashamed to be a tree-hugger!
Not ashamed to be a tree-hugger!

Chris
Chris Moline, LEED AP

703-370-0000
Email

LEED Credits – MR4, MR6, MR7 and EQ4.4

The following can affect the above specs:

Mixed-sourcing;
Presence or absence of added urea-formaldehyde;
Recycled post-industrial content
Recycled Wood – wood that is a by-product of other manufacturing processes, such as sawdust, veneer backer boards, and peeler cores, etc…
Reclaimed Wood – All manufactured wood products that are reused or remanufactured into new products. For example, Relaimed wood can be reused flooring or reclaimed from old construction – barns, textile mills, factories, beer casks, etc…

Final finish – low- or no-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds); unfinished floors can also be site-finished with water-based top-coat urethane, or waxed/oiled, depending on final use.
Salvaged Industrial Forestry – percentages matter;
Rapidly-Renewable – Bamboo – It’s hard to beat a 5-year re-growth curve. Cork, as well, is rapidly renewable and does not kill the tree when harvested. Cork comes from the bark of the Cork Oak tree which grows on the Portuguese and Spanish coastlines. It’s harvested about every 7 – 9 years and one tree can be harvested over 20 times.
Non-wood – Bamboo, cork.
Salvaged Post-Agricultural – again, percentages of content apply;
Salvaged Logs – Waterway, Forest Deadwood, Urban Forest, Industrial Forest, Post-Agricultural.
Sustainable Forestry – Wood harvested from well-managed natural forests or plantations. FSC-Certified – either mixed sources or 100%.
Low-Energy – certain manufacturing facilities save energy various ways. The goal is to reduce their overall carbon footprint.

Consider, for example, LEED MR6. MR stands for Materials and Resources. This classification considers the following:
Use rapidly renewable materials and products for 2.5% of total value of all building materials and products used (based on cost)
Harvesting is to be within a 10-year cycle or shorter. For flooring, look into these:
bamboo flooring
wool
cork flooring
linoleum flooring

MR7
Use minimum of 50% of wood materials and products certified in accordance with FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Principles and Criteria for wood building components:
framing
flooring and sub-flooring
wood doors
etc.
Based on Cost of FSC wood products compared to total wood material cost.
Contractor doesn’t need the FSC number, but the supplier does.

As you can see, there is a wealth of information regarding LEED specs. We can help guide you to the proper flooring choice to maximize your LEED compliance, and minimize your carbon footprint!

Not ashamed to be a tree-hugger!

Not ashamed to be a tree-hugger!

Chris

Chris Moline
Residential Group Manager
Commercial Carpets of America
Alexandria Carpet One
703-370-0000
Email