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Green Flooring In Northern Virginia and Washington DC – Where Do You Turn For The Most Accurate Information & No “Green-Washing”

I can say without a doubt that a zero-landfill, local, dedicated flooring business with 4 LEED AP’s and a LEED GA on-staff in Alexandria, Virginia just outside Washington DC would be your best bet.
Of course, I’m a bit biased, but the facts speak for themselves.
Are you looking for natural floors with no VOC’s?
How about un-dyed wool carpet with no added chemicals?
In fact, I’ve gone so far as to “put my money where my mouth is” so to speak and eat a piece of natural Marmoleum flooring, posting the video on YouTube!
Here it is

We’ll be at the DC Green Festival at the Washington Convention Center in a couple weeks, so come on out and let’s talk green floors!
Or, we can talk about biodiesel and solar energy since those are two of my hobbies as well.

All the best,


Chris Moline, LEED AP


A bright, US-made, light in the LED industry… an eco-geek’s hot spot

In this video, Robert Scoble interviews the CEO of BridgeLux, the only US-based manufacturer of LED lighting.


Image by EasyEcoBlog via Flickr

If you’re familiar with LED’s, you’ll know how cool this is.
If not, let me help with your education curve.
LED is an acronym that stands for Light Emitting Diode, and it represents the most efficient way to generate artificial light.
CFL’s (Compact Flourescent Lights) are the more widely-known counterpart to energy-hogging incandescent bulbs and are a fanstastic way to reduce energy use.
For instance, a typical 100-watt incandescent bulb can be replaced by a CFL that uses only 20-30 watts yet still produces the same amount of light (lumens).
An LED can produce the same amount of light using less than 10 watts… now THAT’S cool!
Add to this the lower overall carbon footprint of the product by not having to ship them across the Pacific Ocean.
I truly believe, as many others in my field do, that every light in the near future will be LED. It’s just a matter of time.
All the best,


Carpet and Asthma – IAQ Myths and Facts

Carpet and Asthma and Allergy – Crucial Knowledge For Health Care Administrators and Facility Managers 
Why? Scientific research and data from independent sources helps professionals and the public make educated flooring choices.  

Carpet is perceived as a potential contributor to asthma and allergy. 
What You Should Know 
There is no scientific study linking the rise of allergy and asthma to the use of carpet. Indeed, several studies actually disprove any correlation. 

A 15-year Swedish study found no link between carpet usage and the incidence
of allergy or asthma. In fact, even when carpet usage in Sweden decreased by
70 percent, allergy reactions in the general population increased by 30 percent. 
   Carpet may even be helpful to people with asthma: an 18-nation study of nearly
20,000 people found a statistical relationship between carpeted bedrooms and
reduced asthma symptoms and bronchial responsiveness. 
 A possible explanation: carpet acts like a filter, trapping allergens away from the
breathing zone so they can be removed through proper vacuuming and deep
cleaning extraction.

Studies have measured the distribution of airborne dust associated with
normal activities on smooth surfaces and carpeted floors. The findings
show that walking on hard surfaces disturbs more particles, which
become airborne and enter the breathing zone. In contrast, carpeted
surfaces trap more particles so that walking disturbs fewer particles,
resulting in fewer particles in the breathing zone.

For best results removing pollutants trapped in carpet, use CRI Green Label
vacuums and CRI Seal of Approval cleaning products. Details on these
certification and testing programs can be found at carpet-rug.org

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

When selling or renting – don’t underestimate the value of “green” for your property

Click on the image below to read an article from Nation’s Building News regarding the value-added by having a “green” property.

“Professionals with expertise in green building sales and marketing attending the National Green Building Conference in Dallas on May 8-10 reported that they are seeing steady progress in educating real estate appraisers and sales agents to recognize the added value of homes that can save energy, promote comfort and indoor air quality and go easy on the environment.”

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

LEED AP contributes to Washington Post article on energy wasters in DC area retail

“Close the door!”
I can still hear it, ringing in my ears.
Although my father doesn’t have to tell me that anymore, I’m sure my kids hear it when they visit.
He was always energy-conscious, and we had a compost pile and recycling bins nearly 40 years ago.
Maybe that’s why seeing retail stores with exterior doors irked me so badly… especially when temperatures ranged from 90-102 with heat indices over 105.
Or maybe it’s because I am now a US Green Building Council LEED AP and I live for going green.
Add to that, I am a former Marine with a heart for national security through energy independence.
Here is a link to the Washington Post piece by Leslie Tamura.
If this has piqued your curiousity, check out the YouTube video she references below.

I asked various local business questions while holding my BlackBerry Curve in plain sight to record the reasons as a teaching tool.
I made the video out of frustration and it really got some results!
Now all I have to do is email some friends at the USGBC and we’ll watch it go viral… wish I’d spent time editing it!
All the best,


LEED AP green flooring professional in Northern Virgina and DC Metro area

Christopher Moline, LEED AP

Perhaps the most insightful YouTube video outlining LEED ratings and the vital importance of green building… and a bit on China.

The web is full of videos explaining LEED and other green building systems. Some are good, some… not so good. But this one from Gensler’s Andy Cohen has my “LEED AP” vote as a winner.
As Executive Director of the worlds largest global architecture, design and consulting firm Andy is a champion of sustainable design excellence and innovative solutions.
And he speaks from experience having led significant sustainable projects such as the recently completed CityCenter project in Las Vegas, the largest LEED Gold certified project in the world.
In addition, Gensler just completed the 60-story Ritz Carlton Hotel & Residences at LA Live and is designing the LEED Platinum headquarters building at the Port of Long Beach, and Shanghai Tower, the second tallest building in the world, which will be one of the worlds most sustainably advanced buildings.
Once you’ve watched Andy’s TEDTalks presentation, keep going to see a perfect example of what NOT to do… filmed with a Blackberry Curve in my hometown of Bowie, Maryland.

Stay green, for whatever reason you choose.
All the best,


LEED AP green flooring professional in Northern Virgina and DC Metro area

Christopher Moline, LEED AP

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Green building efforts trampled by end-users – the reason operations are a part of the USGBC LEED rating system

The following case study from my experience at the Bowie Town Center in Bowie, Maryland, shows the absolute necessity for end-user education in order to maximize efficiency and effectiveness of any building system. The following article was printed in the Bowie Blade newspaper after I had an eye-opening experience on a very hot, humid day…

“Taking the LEED

My son and I were recently at the Bowie Town Center on a 90-degree day and noticed several stores with their front doors locked open. The cool breeze was nice for a moment until I asked someone at each location why this was happening and if they knew how much energy was being wasted. I received responses ranging from “that’s what we do” (as the thermostat behind the cash register remained set at 72), to “we do that to attract customers” (and let the pleasant scent of candles waft over the sidewalk).

As a U.S. Green Building Council LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Accredited Professional, I was appalled. As a former Marine whose brothers are in harm’s way for various reasons, I’m more than a bit ticked at some of the wretched excess I see.

And it’s not a strictly emotional issue.

According to the EPA, the built environment accounts for over 40 percent of the energy consumption in this country. There are many thousands of dedicated professionals who do all they can to improve efficiency and be better stewards of the environment; and I’m sure many would love to chat with the few retailers at the Bowie Town Center, and anyone who walked by without saying anything.
It would be my pleasure to address this issue in detail with anyone interested. This wasted energy doesn’t just waste the store owner’s capital by increasing operating costs, it contributes to poor outdoor air quality issues on hot and humid days (from increased electricity production). Add to that the increased maintenance costs and shorter life-span of cooling equipment, and mix in some really bad PR (at least with green beans like me) and it’s a losing proposition in more ways than one.
Think about the oil spill in the Gulf and maybe this won’t seem quite so harmless.
Drill, baby, drill … into the facts.


Here is a short video I took with my phone when I just had to ask someone at one of the stores why they were doing this. The response floored me.

Now that you and about 30,000 people have read this (based on the response I got after its publication), let me know if you see it the same way I do.  This is a perfect example of how an uneducated end-user can completely undermine an efficient system and waste far more energy than any project planner could have imagined.

To get specific as to how this relates to my specialty, LEED-CI, consider the following:
Several credits and prerequisites within the various LEED ratings systems come to mind whose merit are undermined in this example.
LEED for Retail 2009: Commercial Interiors has the following sections.
  Sustainable Sites
  Water Efficiency
  Energy & Atmosphere
  Materials & Resources
  Indoor Environmental Quality
  Innovation & Design Process
  Regional Priority
It’s obvious which section gets undermined by what’s happening in this video – Energy & Atmosphere – when you look at the credit categories:
Energy & Atmosphere breakdown of credits:
Prerequisite 1 – Fundamental Commissioning of Building Energy Systems
Prerequisite 2 – Minimum Energy Performance
Prerequisite 3 – Fundamental Refrigerant Management
Credit 1.1 – Optimize Energy Performance – Lighting Power
Credit 1.2 – Optimize Energy Performance – Lighting Controls
Credit 1.3 – Optimize Energy Performance – HVAC
Credit 1.4 – Optimize Energy Performance – Equipment and Appliances
Credit 1.5 – Optimize Energy Performance – Envelope
Credit 2 – Enhanced Commissioning
Credit 3 – Measurement and Verification
Credit 4 – Green Power
Credit 5 – On-site Renewable Energy
It’s easy to see how most of these count for nothing when the end-users completely undermine the intent of even the first prerequisite, that is, “To verify that the project’s energy-related systems are installed and calibrated to perform according to the owner’s project requirements, baseis of design and construction documents.” The benefits of commissioning include:
Reduced energy use
Lower operating costs
Fewer contractor callbacks
Better building documentation
Improved occupant productivity
& Verification that the systems perform as expected by the owner.

Please comment and let’s talk!
All the best,


Christopher Moline, LEED AP

about Chris Moline, LEED AP

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

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,


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

Being green and reasons why… start with “The Secret Life of Paper” and learn more.

I sincerely hope this helps foment understanding. And I can’t wait until “The Secret Life of Carpet” comes out… I’ll be first in line! 

As a LEED AP working in the flooring industry, I often find myself teaching other professionals about sustainable flooring, LEED certification and renewable resources. Videos like this are a great teaching tool and you will find many such examples throughout this blog.

All the best, 

about Chris Moline, LEED AP

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

LCA, Invista and greenwashing on the carpet side…

I love green.
In fact, I have to work hard to take off my rose-colored glasses and be objective when someone makes a green claim with what even appears to be sincere effort. 
This one, however, is worth digging into because I agree with the spirit and conviction, but remain on the fence because of the logic (yes, I’m being diplomatic). 

Let me build a case for you.
As a LEED AP, speaker, green blogger, and the leader of a team of sales professionals with a track record of achievement,  I’m hounded by manufacturer’s reps. Once they find out my penchant for all things green, they’ll rightly do their best to put a green spin on everything.
If they are open, I help them understand everything from “don’t say this product will ‘get you LEED points”, to “did you think about this?” 

The latest in the long line of “claims to investigate” is Invista/Stainmaster’s push to emphasize longevity or LCA – Life Cycle Analysis (how long the product will last) and recyclability,  over production energy or sustainable/renewable content among other factors. 

Visual device to communicate the concept of greenwashing
Note how the above diagram shows where the burden is to realize the green benefit of a product – the lighter the green, the lower the GBI (Green Benefit Index).

   Doesn’t the burden belong with invested professionals, trained to know true green?
This reminds me of a pair of reading glasses I’d noticed in CVS the other day.
There were leaves pictured around a recycling logo… and I got excited.
Until, that is, I noticed the “raison d’vert” was the fact that the packaging was recyclable.
   That, my friends, is enough to tick off anyone looking for green truth… and willing to pay a premium for it, as many of our clients are.
In my opinion, this is why anyone focusing on LCA and recyclability is missing the mark, although LCA and recyclable content have their place.
My contention is that the end-user may or may not be concerned or capable of extracting the benefit.
And that is unacceptable.
   This is a fashion industry and we are in a highly-transient market (I only want to speak from my perspective in the DC area) and many folks change floors based on trends and color preferences, or they get transferred and have to move.
I can’t tell you how many times one of our over 40 crews have torn out perfectly-sound flooring just to replace it with a different color or style. At times, I’ve taken that old carpet (sometimes not even one year old) and installed it in a rental property for myself or a friend. In other cases, I’ve taken it to drop zones where I skydive and it finds a new home in the parachute packing loft. 
   We routinely, much to my chagrin, tear up, cover over, or otherwise destroy flooring with plenty of life left to cycle through.
In a sense, we kick it off its life cycle, a fact I’m not proud of.
But I will not shame a client who just purchased a home into keeping the former owner’s 1-year-old chocolate-colored cut-pile carpet, made of high-twist, premium branded nylon that would last another 20 years if properly cared for.
   Let me put some meat on this “thought” bone. It’s a sad fact that the general population has a lot to learn about sustainability and can’t tell greenwashing from truly-sustainable practices. Given the end-user factor, it’s up to those at the top of the food chain (so to speak) to make the changes less dependant on the end-user. Here is why I so firmly believe this.

   As a LEED AP, I’ve been trained to look at the whole building and how occupants affect its energy use and longevity. If it’s left to the users, the efficiency of a project will be drastically reduced. This is why automation and education are key, and the operations professionals must be trained to maintain systems. The occupants really just need to show up and, taken a step further, have a basic knowledge of what’s been done (to be candid).

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I’ve got video of what an uneducated end-user can do to undermine product, process or project sustainability. Note, this video (albeit hastily prepared and not too professional) was seen by the Washington Post and led to an article to which I contributed:

Now, I’m not saying end-users/consumers are not intelligent. Far from it.
I am saying they may not control certain factors on the back end of a deal and the major burden should be on the manufacturers and suppliers who have a vested interest and professional knowledge.

 Given this, I’ve chosen to focus on products with balance since folks who are truly green are generally going to be better stewards of their floors any way. I also want to ensure the greenest process and whole-project picture (associated cleaning products as in Anderson’s enSurance package with product, adhesive and cleaners wrapped into one forward-thinking offering).

 While I agree LCA has its place, I believe that place is institutional and more property management-focused where a business model is engaged in managing choices and longevity. And, just because a product is recyclable, that places the “benefit burden” on the end-user who may or may not have a green mindset. Since I’m sure this will engender discussion, let’s start here with some comments…  


about Chris Moline, LEED AP

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