Q: How do your products impact the LEED-certification process?
All Shaw carpet meets or exceeds the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) Green Label Indoor Air Quality Test program, which offers a LEED credit point, says Steve Bradfield, vice president of environmental development at Shaw Industries Inc. in Dalton, GA.
“Shaw carpet also can help contribute to LEED credit for recycled content,” Bradfield adds. “Products using our Eco Solution Q fiber system and EcoWorx or EcoLogix backing systems all contribute to the recycled content credit. Most of our products qualify for Green Label IAQ certification, and certainly when clients’ facilities are within 500 miles of our manufacturing plants, they can qualify for the regional materials credit.”
“We have LEED credits for cool roofs, vegetated roofs, and solar roofs,” notes Brian Lambert, director of marketing for The Garland Co. Inc. in Cleveland. “In addition, we contribute to the recycled material requirement for LEED.”
“All EcoTimber products qualify for at least one credit under LEED,” says Dan Harrington, director of architectural sales and marketing at the San Rafael, CA-based company. “Some products qualify for more than one LEED credit. For example, we have engineered flooring that is 100-percent FSC-certified wood, low-emitting, with no added formaldehyde.”
“Our products may help contribute to achieving up to seven potential LEED points when evaluated under the Project Checklist,” says Graeme Hendry, environmental specialist at Tarkett Commercial in Houston. “The LEED system gives our homogeneous vinyl up to seven potential LEED points and our vinyl composition tile contributes up to five potential LEED points.”
Q: What efforts toward sustainability do you make in your manufacturing process?
“We consider it our mission to make prudent use of available natural resources and to develop new ways to become even more environmentally responsible and proactive,” says Graeme Hendry, environmental specialist at Tarkett Commercial, a Houston-based manufacturer of commercial and industrial flooring.
Tarkett purchases raw materials in large quantities to avoid “wasteful” bagged materials. Throughout the production cycle, products are created from industrial recycled content in a closed-loop process. During tile production, workers recycle and filter in-plant generated cooling water to conserve energy and avoid water waste. And, some of Tarkett’s plants are partially fueled by scrapped wood, which is burned in a contained area and, as a result, is discharge-free. “Nothing is ever wasted,” Hendry says. “At every stage of every product’s life-cycle, we make sure we’re doing all we can to eliminate or minimize any potential impact on the environment. We are dedicated to creating beautiful products that are both ecologically and economically sound.”
Q: What are the potential energy savings when using window film? The installation of solar control window film can play a critical role in energy savings for commercial buildings, says Virginia L. Kubler, director of sales and marketing, Window Films, at Martinsville, VA-based CPFilms Inc.
“Heating and cooling energy demands can be reduced by up to 10 percent annually with the installation of window film, thereby earning two points toward LEED certification,” Kubler says.
Window films, a retrofit product installed directly to the interior side of the glass, can reject up to 79 percent of incoming solar energy and 99.9 percent of ultraviolet rays. They also provide a comfortable environment by correcting temperature imbalances between sunny and shady areas and reduce harsh glare.
Q: What initiatives are you taking to get your material suppliers involved in sustainable manufacturing? Have questions about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Lean & Clean Process Review? Why not ask some of Allsteel Inc.’s suppliers for the scoop?
The Muscatine, IA-based workplace furniture manufacturer is not only encouraging its suppliers to take part in the program – they’ll even help pay for it.
The process review is offered by the Green Supplier Network, a partnership between the EPA and the National Institute for Standards and Technology. It helps suppliers uncover opportunities to lessen environmental impacts and streamline their organizational practices.
The review has a $7,000 base fee. The EPA contributes $2,500 to the cost. To stimulate interest in the program, Allsteel is offering an additional $4,500 credit to each supplier who commits to the program. More than 70 Allsteel component suppliers learned about the program in January, and according to Jim Klotz, Allsteel's vice president of strategic procurement, a significant number immediately opted to participate.
“The establishment of the Allsteel Green Supplier Network is a critical tool for our suppliers to eliminate waste and implement lean principles in their operations,” Klotz says, adding that Allsteel is convinced of the environmental gains and long-term cost effectiveness of undergoing the review and implemention of “lean & clean” practices.
Allsteel rolled out its environmental objectives in early 2003. The company was among the first to sign the Office Furniture Industry Council’s Sustainability Principles, a public commitment to annual expansion of sustainable initiatives in its business.
Q: What qualifies as sustainable wood flooring?
EcoTimber promotes forest conservation by providing wood flooring products that either relieve pressure on today’s forests or promote sustainable forestry practices, says Dan Harrington, director of architectural sales and marketing for the San Rafael, CA-based manufacturer of “ecologically sound” wood flooring.
“We encourage the use of engineered flooring that makes the most efficient use of the forests’ resources,” Harrington says. “All raw wood materials that go into EcoTimber flooring are either FSC-certified, reclaimed, or bamboo.”
EcoTimber also is “phasing out the use of urea-formaldehyde adhesives” in its manufacturing process and offers a solvent-free, VOC-free glue for flooring installation.
Q: What is cradle-to-cradle recycling? Shaw Industries Inc. recently adopted a new environmental policy committing the company’s carpet manufacturing process to follow nature’s organic cycle of renewal, explains Steve Bradfield, vice president of environmental initiatives at Shaw’s Commercial Business Unit in Dalton, GA.
“The policy commits Shaw to develop sustainable carpet products that can be continually broken down and re-used again – returning carpet to carpet through closed-loop or ‘cradle-to-cradle’ recycling,” Bradfield says. “Shaw Industries has gone beyond ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’ and has taken the next step – redesign. We have begun developing products that can virtually eliminate the need for raw materials and post-consumer waste. Shaw EcoSolution Q carpet fiber and EcoWorx carpet backing meet Cradle-to-Cradle Design Protocol, meaning they can be continually broken down and re-used again through closed-loop or ‘cradle-to-cradle’ recycling. Cradle-to-cradle means all materials in the product get used again and again, forever.”
Q: Which HVAC system factors most influence building sustainability?
Carol Marriott, applications manager for McQuay International in Verona, VA, says she gets many calls from people who want to know about green HVAC products.
“For a building to be truly sustainable, or green, we recommend looking at the whole system rather than a single factor,” Marriott advises. “For example, high-efficiency HVAC products by themselves do not necessarily result in a green system. If the system is not commissioned properly for optimum efficiency, does not bring in enough fresh outdoor air, or it uses an ozone-depleting refrigerant, it can have a detrimental effect on building sustainability.”
The key, according to Marriott, is to look at the requirements of the building – starting with the individual spaces and taking into account all other aspects of sustainable design that impact the HVAC system – to arrive at the most appropriate system solution. Then, the system itself must be designed to best meet the requirements of the building.
“Each aspect of the building (i.e. lighting, building envelope, landscape, HVAC, etc.) is interrelated. That’s why it is important to take a ‘whole system’ approach when considering HVAC systems and building sustainability,” Marriott says. “By doing so, you can design a building that is comfortable, efficient, economical, and sustainable. The system must address all of these factors as a whole to achieve the desired result within the desired budget.”
Q: What goals has your company set in terms of striving for product and manufacturing sustainability?
“Antron® nylon is the first and only carpet manufacturer to be certified by an independent third party as an Environmentally Preferable Product. This means Antron nylon has a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services as defined by Executive Order (EO) 13101,” explains Mark Ryan, manager of environmental initiatives at INVISTA™ Antron Carpet Fibers, Kennesaw, GA. “A critical focus of this certification was product performance, total environmental impact of product manufacturing, and end-of-life responsibility.”
At Philips Lighting Co., sustainability begins within, says Erik Bouts, president and CEO of Somerset, NJ-based Philips Lighting Co. North America. “Philips is leading the industry in employing the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ design throughout the product life-cycle, and continues to be the trailblazer in low-mercury product innovations that contribute to initial source reduction. We also support the industry in its quest to implement a more extensive infrastructure to regulate recycling.”
Q: Do any of your products qualify for an EPA Energy Star rating?
“Nine of our roofing panels are Energy Star qualified, based on their reflectance when manufactured from Calvalume® Plus,” says James E. Bush, vice president of sales for ATAS International Inc. in Allentown, PA. “The range of profiles includes Bermuda style, field-locked standing seam, batten seam, and snap-seam panels. Submission of various painted metal products is pending. All of our products also contribute to achievement of a point for Recycled content in the LEED certification process.”
Q: Are you offering any sort of reclamation program to end-users?
The INVISTA™ Reclamation® Program has maintained steady operation since its introduction in 1991 and has reclaimed 100 million pounds of carpet, saving over 200,000 cubic yards of landfill space, says Mark Ryan, manager of environmental initiatives at INVISTA Antron Carpet Fibers in Kennesaw, GA.
“While the program recycles both nylon 6 and nylon 6,6 fiber into high-grade engineering resins, we have found there is greater demand for nylon 6,6 because it holds its value better through the recycling process,” Ryan says. “The INVISTA Reclamation Program is the only comprehensive carpet reclamation program that offers both ‘Chain of Custody’ along with third-party certification as a viable carpet reclamation program.”
Q: Do any of your products contribute to the improvement of indoor environmental quality?
“Because it contains no VOCs and is very low in odor, Sherwin-Williams’ Harmony product line minimizes negative impact on indoor air quality. In fact, the product is so unobtrusive that it can be applied in occupied spaces without disrupting those who are living or working in those spaces,” says Glenn Renner, vice president of Architectural Marketing at The Sherwin-Williams Co., Cleveland. “This year, we introduced E-Barrier Reflective Coating, which helps reduce energy consumption by deflecting radiant heat in a home or in a commercial building.”
“We have introduced anti-microbial coatings in our 39M air-handlers, and were one of the first with anti-microbial in our 40RM packaged air-handlers,” says Thomas J. Kelly, senior product manager at Carrier Corp., Syracuse, NY. “We also offer UV-c germicidal lamps in our air-handlers, rooftops, and for our residential coils and fan coils.”
“Shaw offers solvent-free sealers and adhesives that are VOC-free and CRI Green Label- certified,” says Steve Bradfield, vice president of environmental initiatives at Shaw Industries Inc.’s Shaw Commercial Business Unit in Dalton, GA. “Carpet also dramatically impacts acoustics in facilities, producing superior working, learning, and healing environments.”
Q: What purpose do humidification systems serve in commercial building settings? A humidification system that is properly designed, maintained, and controlled improves indoor air quality (IAQ) and increases energy efficiency, says Lynne Wasner, a technical marketing writer at DRI-STEEM Corp. in Eden Prairie, MN. “Maintaining a 40- to 60-percent relative humidity (RH) improves indoor air quality by decreasing bacteria and viruses in the air (a factor when humidity levels are below 40-percent RH),” Wasner notes. “Low humidity causes nasal and throat membranes to dry and increases susceptibility to colds and viral infections. When relative humidity is above 60 percent, micro-organisms and fungi can develop.”
The key to a well-designed humidification system is proper absorption control. Humidification vapor is created by boiling water into steam or by introducing unheated mist into the air. This vapor must be introduced at a point where there is sufficient length of straight, unimpeded duct downstream of the humidifier to permit absorption before wetness producing impingement can take place. It is essential that absorption occur before humidification vapor hits the elbows, fans, or filters in a duct or air-handling unit. If vapor is not absorbed prior to reaching these objects, it will condense and cause dripping, which can cause microbial growth – resulting in foul-smelling, unhealthy air.
Humidification systems also can help provide energy savings, Wasner points out. Gas-to-steam humidifiers can help reduce energy costs compared to electric humidifiers. The reduced operating costs of a gas-powered system often offset the conversion costs in as little as two humidification seasons. Plus, shifting some of your facility’s load to gas-fired equipment can help reduce electrical demand charges and manage your overall energy consumption. Some manufacturers, such as DRI-STEEM, offer energy analyzers which help calculate your potential energy savings.