The Arlington, VA-based Alliance for Flexible Polyurethane Foam (AFPF) released a report on March 21, 2005, outlining the environmental benefits of commercial bonded polyurethane carpet cushion. Green Buildings: Recyclability and Sustainability of Commercial Bonded Polyurethane Carpet Cushion evaluates the “green” quotient of this recyclable cushioning product, which contains a high recycle content of pre-consumer and post-consumer polyurethane and is recyclable in many locations.
Commercial bonded polyurethane foam represents more than just a great recycle story. In a recent independent study, cushion was shown to improve the appearance retention and durability of carpet by 17 to 50 percent compared to an installation of the same carpets without cushion. In fact, the lowest grade of carpet tested retained a better appearance when installed over cushion – even with 1.5-times more traffic than the non-cushioned carpet. Longer carpet life means less frequent carpet replacement and less carpet requiring disposal. Extending the life of carpet also reduces the amount of raw material needed.
According to the report, bonded polyurethane carpet cushion also improves thermal insulation, thereby saving energy costs – an added environmental benefit. With an increasing number of facility managers and building managers concerned about the environment and life-cycle costing, carpet cushion is increasingly considered a component in a “systems” approach to achieving sustainability.
Specifiers may be able to use bonded polyurethane carpet cushion to obtain credit with several environmental rating systems or programs, including the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating certification, the voluntary program run by the U.S. Green Building Council that rates a building’s environmental friendliness based on industry-wide standards of best practices; Green Globes, an online building and management environmental audit that helps property owners and managers measure the environmental performance of their buildings against best practices in areas such as energy, water, hazardous materials, waste management, and indoor environment; BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability), software developed to measure the environmental performance of building products by using the life-cycle assessment approach specified in ISO 14000 standards, developed by the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) Building and Fire Research Laboratory with support from the U.S. EPA Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program; and several others.
Green Buildings: Recyclability and Sustainability of Commercial Bonded Polyurethane Carpet Cushion, may be downloaded at (www.afpf.com), along with case studies, testimonials, installation guidelines, and numerous technical and research reports on the favorable impact of carpet cushion on appearance retention, durability, sound absorption, ease of maintenance, thermal insulation, and ergonomics.