Tag Archives: green flooring

DC Green Festival and green flooring

The DC Green Festival is winding down as I type this from our booth. We’ve had many conversations about cork flooring, sustainable harvesting of wood and FSC certification, and our zero-landfill facility… yes, we are zero-landfill!

If you were there and saw our booth, check out this link for some of the videos I’d mentioned – AlexandriaGreen.com
At the festival I mentioned eating a piece of Marmoleum to prove how green it is (a link to the video is there), my 75-lb German Shepherd on our cork floor (I have over 500 square feet of cork flooring installed in my home, and a tour of the Portuguese Cork Association mobile showroom.

All the best,

Chris

Gulf of Mexico oil spill and Kevin Costner’s centrifuge solution

Actor Kevin Costner may have the answer to the BP oil spill and Gulf Coast resident’s petrochemical woes – a centrifuge made by his company that separates oil from water at the rate of 200 gallons per minute… with 97% effectiveness. And now it’s been confirmed that BP has agreed to purchase and begin using the machines. What does this have to do with green flooring? Well, given that many flooring products contain petroleum derivatives and all use energy to produce and for transport, it makes sense to include this story here.

If you’re not familiar with how a centrifuge works, you may not be aware that you probably own one – the washing machine in your laundry room. By spinning your clothes at high speeds, it forces the wet clothes against the perforated walls of the tub. Then, since the perforations are too small for the clothes to exit, only water gets through. It’s basic, but it can help you understand. For more information on Costner’s amazing, hopefully gulf-saving device, click here.

Many of the flooring products I recommend use less energy in production or are not made from petroleum derivatives. The environmental disaster in the gulf is one reason it’s better to “drill, baby, drill” into the facts about green flooring.

All the best,

Chris

about Chris Moline, LEED AP

Chris is Residential Group Manager for CCA; a US Green Building Council LEED Accredited Professional & Judge for Floor Covering Weekly's GreenStep Awards

A day in the life… being a judge for Floor Covering Weekly’s GreenStep Awards

Green Step award logo for green initiatives in the flooring industry.

It was a surprise, pleasure and honor to be asked to participate on the panel of judge’s for the 2010 GreenStep Awards by Floor Covering Weekly’s Executive Editor, Kimberly Gavin. Even before earning the LEED Accredited Professional designation, I’d made it a goal to emphasize green flooring options whenever possible, and participating in initiatives like this is what I live for (in business, anyway).
After reviewing the four award classifications, I was glad to see consideration given to more than just materials in a product. In fact, without giving away my choices, I was looking for forward-thinking, risk-taking and systematization while going over the entries. Of course, my “greenwashing antennae” were on full alert, but only one entry made that list (and I’ll keep that one to myself).
Here are the categories:

Product
Green product attributes – This included products with recycled content (both post- and pre-consumer), as well as some whose production required less energy.
Process
Sustainable practices or process – Some manufacturers highlighted their use of renewable energy at their facility while others found innovative ways to incorporate previously non-recyclable material into products even outside of the flooring industry.
Promotion/communication
Educational, marketing or promotional activities that foster sustainable efforts – This included examples of advertising and PR materials.
Pinnacle
A person or company that has gone beyond the norm to embrace sustainable concepts – The flooring industry can be a tough audience to play to at times, and anyone who steps beyond the curve can take a few shots. This deserves some recognition.

Once the awards are announced, I’ll reveal my choices and the reasoning behind each and we’ll see how I measured up to the rest of the distinguished panel.

All the best,

Chris

picture of chris moline, leed ap, green flooring expert in northern virginia and the dc metro area

RePower America and renewable energy

 What is RePower America and why should anyone with an eco-conscious mindset be aware of what the organization is doing?  As a US Green Building Council LEED AP and flooring industry professional, I’m intimately acquainted with some of the latest data on carbon footprints, on-site renewable power, bio-diesel, and “albedo” (solar reflective properties of surfaces). Since buildings use more energy in the US than automobiles, it makes sense to pay attention and take action. I’ve chosen the field of flooring since it deals with both residential, commercial and government buildings in a unique “cross-over” way. I say this because some residential flooring products can be found in commercial and government buildings. The same can be said for commercial and government-oriented products being found at times in residences.

That said, let’s get back to the “why RePower America?” question.
Here is the neutral WikiPedia reference.
And here is an excerpt from the RePowerAmerica.org site:
“Launched in 2008 in a pioneering speech by Al Gore that hit the reset button on America’s clean energy goals, Repower America was first introduced as a bold plan to “repower” our country with 100% clean electricity and revitalize our national energy infrastructure. At its core, Repower America stands for the importance of investing in energy efficiency; clean, renewable and diversified energy sources; a unified national smart energy grid that connects these renewable energy sources to every part of the country; and clean car technology.

In his Repower America speech, Vice President Gore linked America’s current national security, economic and environmental crises to our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels. Reducing this dependence on foreign oil by investing in renewable energy sources here at home presents a solution common to all three problems. New clean energy jobs in a new clean energy future will repower America – creating millions of new jobs, hastening our economic recovery, strengthening our national security and preserving our planet for future generations. With a clean energy economy, everybody wins.

Building on this momentum, the Alliance for Climate Protection launched the Repower America campaign to galvanize the American public around a bold new clean energy plan and a revitalized national energy infrastructure that will:

  • Jumpstart our economy and create millions of jobs;
  • Help end our dependence on foreign oil;
  • Reward innovation and job creation, not polluters; and
  • Help solve the climate crisis.

Efforts to secure passage of comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation that supports Repower America’s objectives are conducted by the Alliance’s sister nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, the Climate Protection Action Fund.”

If you’ve caught Mr. Gore’s TED Talks sessions, you know what he’s about. If not, it’s worth a look and here are the links:

Al Gore’s TED Talks presentation on the latest climate trends.
Al Gore’s new thinking on the climate crisis.
“Averting the climate crisis”
For further information, this list is a sign that renewable energy is worth paying attention to.
List of groups and people who support 100% renewable energy

All the best,

Chris
chris moline is a US Green Building Council leed accredited professional

Christopher Moline, LEED AP
Residential Group Manager
Commercial Carpets of America / Alexandria Carpet One
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Forbo Linoleum & Custom Designs With Water Jet Method

Water Jet Cut linoleum for a Texas end-user. We can do this for your commercial application as well.

Water Jet Cut linoleum for a Texas end-user. We can do this for your commercial application as well.

Click here for the full story.

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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Mohawk’s Sorona Smartstrand Carpet Fiber

Sorona Smartstrand Fiber For Carpet – The Next Best Thing…

Below you’ll find information about this fascinating, soft and extremely-durable carpet fiber we’ve installed in our showroom for you to try out. Whatever your flooring needs, give us a call at 703-370-0000 or send an email. You’ll be glad you did!
Contact Chris Moline, LEED AP, our Residential Group Manager, for any flooring-related questions.
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From the Mohawk site –
“Mohawk leads innovation in sustainable flooring with SmartStrand® carpet with DuPont™ Sorona® renewably sourced polymer.
In a partnership withDuPont, this carpet exclusively offers fiber made with Bio-PDO™ (the key Sorona® ingredient), which is produced from corn sugar.
By utilizing this new ingredient, 37 percent of Sorona® is being made from renewable resources. This marks the first time that a luxuriously soft carpet offers durability and stain protection, while also making less of an environmental impact.

Why is this carpet environmentally smart?

For every 3.2 square yards of SmartStrand® with DuPont™ Sorona® sold, the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline is saved. If only 20 percent of the residential carpet sold in the United States were made with DuPont™ Sorona®, the energy equivalent of approximately 50 million gallons of gasoline per year could be saved.

DuPont™ Sorona® plays a major role in the worldwide objective of a renewable economy and represents a new frontier in sustainability. This carpet is environmentally smart because:
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.
This energy reduction results in approximately one gallon of gasoline saved per every seven square yards of carpet.
The superior stain resistance of SmartStrand® carpet is engineered into the fiber and will never wear or wash off, meaning consumers will never need to retreat the carpet with stain protectors after steam cleaning. And this engineered-in stain resistance reaches new levels of protection, allowing tough stains such as mustard, red wine, and cherry Kool-Aid® to be removed simply with warm water and a mild detergent, or with Mohawk FloorCare™ Essentials. The fiber even resists discoloration from bleach.”
At Alexandria Carpet One, we provide our customers with thousands of square feet of this wonderfully-soft, durable carpet each month. In fact, it’s on our showroom floor with 5 different types of cushion underneath to give you a real-world idea of what it will feel like with different cushions… and how it will hold up. That’s because our showroom is extremely busy and we chose to put it to the test.
It’s performing flawlessly!
Contact Chris Moline, LEED AP,

Not ashamed to be a tree-hugger!

Not ashamed to be a tree-hugger!

our Residential Group Manager,
for any questions about
Sorona Smartstrand fiber
in your home or office!
Email

Cork Flooring – Warm, Resilient & Easy On The Planet.

 

by Chris Moline, LEED AP


Are you looking for a warm, comfortable, eco-friendly floor? I’ve had cork flooring in my sun room and kitchen for almost two years now. What’s the verdict?


Well, my wife and I, along with our children ages 9, 10 and 13… and our 75-lb German shepherd… absolutely love it. In fact, we recently installed it in her home-based physical therapy office as well.
We’re active (to say the least) and there is so much about this type of flooring that goes with our lifestyle. In fact, cork has been used for flooring since the mid-1800’s. Stop by some of Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes and you’ll see cork everywhere from the kitchen to the bathrooms.
Cork is well-suited to commercial applications, too. Chicago’s First Congregational Church, the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, and Lafayette College in Easton, PA, are just a few of the places you’ll find it.

Click HERE
for a Free Estimate!

Here are some great reasons to look into cork for your flooring choice:

It’s warm
– Our 300 s.f. sunroom is built over a crawl space. It’s also got a 12-foot cathedral ceiling and I didn’t want to run ductwork for heat. So I installed R-45 insulation, radiant subfloor heat and the cork.  We do not have a problem staying warm, even though the three sides of the sunroom are all glass (triple-pane, Low-E).
Here is a picture of our sunroom:

It’s quiet
– Cork is the most efficient insulating material. Humans have tried, and failed, to make something better. But cork’s bajillion-cell-per-cubic-inch structure (ok, so I’m not a numbers guy) insulates wonderfully well against the sound of 3 kids and a dog when the adults are trying to relax.

It’s great camoflauge!
– Ever notice how hotels and restaurants always have patterned carpet and other types of flooring? It’s really quite simple to explain. Every floor will get dirty, but if you can’t see it, the time-lag to cleaning doesn’t bother you as much. Cork definitely offers that hands-down.
The natural appearance of cork is very, well, varied. Heaven forbid that I drop something small on the floor… it’ll be hard to find! And that, my friend, is just what I need given our hectic lifestyle.
But even though it’s great for hiding spills and other household ills, it also cleans up very easily. Personally, I use Windex for spot-cleaning, and Alba, our cleaning person, for weekly cleaning. Alba, however, uses Mr. Clean for hardwood floors. Cork, after all, is made from the the bark of the Cork Oak tree.

Cork is very green
– Cork comes from the bark of the cork oak tree. It is a renewable and sustainable resource with a very small carbon footprint. In cork oak plantations the first cork bark is not harvested from a tree until it is 25-30 years old.  The process of stripping off the bark in sections is traditionally done by hand, the way it’s been done for hundreds of years. The tree is not damaged and the bark regrows completely. The bark is harvested every nine years and a cork oak can live for 150-200 years, so it can be safely harvested up to 20 times during its life cycle.
According to Natural Cork, “Cork’s structure is very similar to that of a honeycomb: each square centimetre is composed of 40 million cells (a more accurate figure than a bajillion). These cells, as well as the spaces between them, are filled with a gaseous mixture similar to air. That is what makes cork so remarkable. The unique structure of cork creates the three most important characteristics in its application as flooring: Thermal Insulation, Sound Reduction and Elasticity.”
That’s why you can place a grand piano on your cork floor and it will bounce back when you move it.  Also, if you do happen to gouge it, repairs are much more easy to conceal since the finish is so varied in color and texture.

We’ve just installed a hundred square feet of cork in our showroom in Alexandria, Virginia. Come on by and give it a walk. Go ahead, take your shoes off!

Chris

cork flooring northern virginia, greenfloors.com, greenfloors, green flooring, eco friendly floors

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

Christopher Moline, LEED AP
Residential Group Manager
Commercial Carpets of America
703-370-0000
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Introducing our new line of NO-VOC Environmentally-Friendly Hardwood Flooring By Catalina.

In the Northern Virginia area we are the exclusive source for this exciting product – Catalina Engineered Hardwood. Why is it so special?
It’s PEFC certified – on par with FSC and GBC certification (not LEED-compliant, but a good certification to have.)
Vegetable-based finish – very green.
Color-through stain process means the coloration goes below the top “skin” for amazing durability and appearance retention.
We’ve got some on the way to install in our showroom, but I recorded our representative talking about the product so you can learn more.
Give us a call or email if you’d like some more information.
<br>Christopher Moline, LEED AP<hr><br>Residential Group Manager<br>Commercial Carpets of America <br>703-370-0000 <br><a href=
Christopher Moline, LEED AP
Residential Group Manager
Commercial Carpets of America
703-370-0000
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Installation of Marmoleum Click floating flooring into our Alexandria, Virginia showroom.

Marmoleum is the only flooring certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation.
We have a section installed in our Alexandria showroom at 430 S. Pickett Street (right next to the Home Depot).

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Chris Moline, LEED AP, Residential Group Manager for Commercial Carpets of America

 

Christopher Moline, LEED AP

Residential Group Manager

Commercial Carpets of America

703-370-0000

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