Shaw Industries Commits to More Sustainable Recycling Practices

Feb. 4, 2004
Dalton, GA-based Shaw Industries Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company, has adopted an unprecedented new environmental policy, committing the company’s carpet manufacturing processes to follow nature’s organic cycle of renewal.The policy, unparalleled in the floorcovering industry, commits Shaw to developing sustainable carpet products that can be continually broken down and reused again – returning carpet to carpet through closed-loop or “cradle-to-cradle” recycling. Rather than using traditional approaches that recycle used carpet into other products that could eventually end up in a landfill, the company will utilize this progressive approach to maintain continuous responsibility for its product material.Through its unique (e.g. Environmental Guarantee) program, Shaw will collect, transport, and recycle any carpet tile made with EcoWorx®, its popular environmentally sustainable carpet backing. “We believe our new environmental policy is the most progressive policy in American industry,” says Julian Saul, president of Shaw Industries. “We are committed to being an industry leader in creating eco-effective ways to produce carpet – it’s the right thing to do for our business and the environment.”Shaw’s environmental policy includes the following provisions:“Environmental sustainability is our destination and ‘cradle-to-cradle’ is our path. Our entire corporation and all stakeholders will value and share this vision.“Through eco-effective technology, we will continuously redesign our products, our processes, and our corporation.“We will take responsibility for all that we do and strive to return our products to technical nutrient cycles that virtually eliminate the concept of waste.“We look forward to a solar-powered future utilizing the current solar income of the earth, anticipating declining solar costs and rising fuel costs as technology and resource depletion accelerate.“We will lead our industry in developing and delivering profitable cradle-to-cradle solutions to our free-market economy. Economy, equity, and ecology will be continually optimized.“We will continue to deliver unsurpassed safety, quality, beauty, performance, and value to our customers.”“Our previous statements of environmental policy described our efforts toward sustainability as a journey,” notes Saul. “This new statement gives us a well-defined destination, a clear path ahead, and a purposeful stride. We see sustainability as an essential business practice for our corporation, our suppliers, and our customers.”Outsourcing Q & AMike McGee, director of Operations, Fluor Corp. (, Aliso Viejo, CA, takes a few minutes to share answers to some basic questions on outsourcing. Q: What are the benefits of outsourcing facilities management?A: The primary benefit of outsourcing facility management is that it allows the owner to focus on its core business while having a partner whose core business is facility management. Secondly, outsourcing facility management allows the owner to turn the fixed cost and overhead of a facility management organization into variable cost that can be rapidly adjusted to changing business demands and market conditions.Q: Give me an example of how outsourcing facilities management can help a company save money and increase efficiency.A: First, the provider spreads the cost of specific expertise across the entire volume of business; this provides more breadth and depth of expertise then an individual company can provide cost effectively. Second, the provider can leverage sub-suppliers across more facilities than the individual company, resulting in more consistent higher-quality services at lower total cost. Third, the facility owner eliminates both direct costs and indirect costs associated with performing the work, such as office space, tools, equipment, insurance, etc. Fourth, providing quality service at the lowest cost requires an investment to investigate, develop, and maintain processes and techniques. When these investments are spread across multiple clients by the service provider, all facility owners benefit by receiving a higher-quality service at lower cost.Q: What words of caution do you have for building owners looking to partner with an outsource provider?A: Market share and price are not necessarily differentiating factors if you are looking for a long-term sustainable relationship that yields the lowest total cost. Identify an outsource provider you can work with, one that has a proven track record of staying in relationships and making them work. The provider should be willing to learn and understand the owner’s needs and manage to them. Overall building reliability and integrity can be compromised by taking the lowest price and not receiving the level of service required to maintain the facility. Lowest price from a service provider does not necessarily equate to lowest total cost. Establish a solid scope of work with defined performance levels and be clear about what you want.Jana J. Madsen, Managing EditorSmithsonian 2.0The Smithsonian Institution, the world’s largest museum complex and research organization, has selected Johnson Controls, headquartered in Milwaukee, to upgrade the security and fire systems at two of its Suitland, MD, support facilities: the Museum Support Center and the Cultural Resource Center. As part of the contract, Johnson Controls will design, install, and integrate security and fire alarm systems. Once complete, these improvements will establish solid security and fire alarm infrastructures at both facilities.
The Smithsonian Institution selected Johnson Controls for this project due to the company’s expertise in managing the security of complex facilities and artifacts. Serving as the single point of responsibility for the project, the security integrator can ensure that sensitive buildings are handled with care.
“Complex facilities require security upgrades that will not infringe upon vulnerable building materials or valuable artifacts,” says Pat Young, vice president and general manager, Fire & Security Solutions, Johnson Controls, Milwaukee. “Johnson Controls has the security specialists and expertise essential to work in this sensitive environment.”
This contract builds on a three-year relationship between the Smithsonian and Johnson Controls. In addition to performing security upgrades, Johnson Controls also performs operations and maintenance for the security systems in most Smithsonian facilities. Composed of 16 museums and the National Zoo in Washington, D.C. and New York City, the Smithsonian’s exhibitions offer visitors a glimpse into its vast collection, which numbers over 142 million objects.Johnson Controls Inc. (, is a global market leader in facility management and control and automotive systems. ER Systems Raises A New RoofElastomeric Roofing Systems (ER Systems), Loretto, MN, has broken ground on an approximately 50,000-square-foot facility. This facility will house production, warehousing, and R&D in Rockford, MN, for the commercial roofing system firm. The new manufacturing warehouse will consolidate warehousing that is currently in two separate locations and triple the square footage dedicated to coatings production. Construction started in November and will continue through the winter, with estimated completion in June 2004.New Study Confirms EPDM’s Low Maintenance CostsRecently, the Alexandria, VA-based EPDM Roofing Association (ERA) released the results of a study comparing the warranty performance and costs of ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) roof systems over the past 20 years. The study was initiated to determine the extent to which the EPDM rubber roofing membrane has improved its long-term life-cycle costs. The rubber membrane’s historical performance reflected in the statistics of the study gives new assurance that EPDM single-ply membranes are a leading choice for low-maintenance, high-performance roofs. This study is available online at (
). “Because warranty service records also identify when a roof was installed and when maintenance was performed, they can provide an accurate chronology of roof performance,” says Jim Hoff, vice president of marketing and technology, Firestone Building Products, Carmel, IN. “Based on the maintenance records assessed during this study, the improvement in performance of EPDM over the past 20 years makes the costs of maintaining an EPDM roof for 10 years almost negligible.”The study examined the warranty records of two major EPDM manufacturers in the United States, Firestone Building Products and Carlisle SynTec, which provided a statistically reliable analysis of roofs covering millions of square feet. The study revealed that the performance improvement was most significant for EPDM systems used as recovers over existing roofs. Given the escalating costs associated with roof tear-off, and the ever-present financial constraints on building owners, a roofing designer can take comfort knowing that a properly selected EPDM recover system may provide service life at an acceptable and predictable cost.ERA, which was formed earlier this year to educate the construction marketplace about the value proposition of EPDM roofing, decided to release this study to assist building owners and facilities managers in long-term product performance assessment. “ERA is working with the decision-makers in the building and roofing communities to enhance their knowledge of the roofing system options that provide both durability and low-cost, long-term performance,” says Nick Shears, ERA’s chairman and vice president of sales and marketing at Carlisle SynTec, Carlisle, PA.Annually, EPDM accounts for over 1 billion square feet of new roof coverings in the United States, and is the most frequently used roofing material in the marketplace. The EPDM Roofing Association is the first trade association solely representing the manufacturers of EPDM single-ply roofing products and their leading suppliers. GreenquartersThe Joe Serna Jr. Cal/EPA Headquarters Building, Sacramento, CA, was based on leading-edge green design and engineering principles that conserve energy and natural resources. Every aspect of its forward-thinking design and construction methodologies incorporate sustainable, yet economically competitive, technologies, materials, methods, and processes.As operators of this 950,000-square-foot project, Thomas Properties Group (TPG) has incorporated state-of-the-art green building practices. Janitorial, maintenance, tenant improvements, and equipment replacements are carried out, incorporating practices and materials that improve air quality; reduce energy usage; and maximize resource reutilization, reduction, and recycling/recyclables.Cal/EPA employees, and the public they serve, enjoy many amenities that conserve resources and help protect our planet. The building includes:Up to 25 charging stations for electric vehicles and a dedicated indoors bike room for 150 bikes ridden by Cal/EPA bicycle commuters.736 Solar (photovoltaic) panels that generate up to 55,180 kWh at peak exposures.An aggressive building-wide waste collection, recycling, and compost program.An indoor air quality plan that involves janitorial, landscape, and maintenance practices that use non-toxic, non-odor, and biodegradable cleaning products.An integrated pest management plan also reduces chemical use.A waterless urinal pilot program in partnership with the State of California.Construction rules and regulations that require contractors to use green materials whenever possible.The Joe Serna Jr. Cal/EPA Headquarters Building project represents the successful teamwork of a public-private partnership and TPG’s ability to develop and operate financially successful and environmentally friendly buildings.Mark Your Calendars!The Buildings Show® @ NeoCon® West and NeoCon® West, the West Coast’s largest exposition and conference for commercial interiors and the built environment, premier in a new venue in 2004: the L.A. Mart, March 25-26, 2004. In addition to more than 150 exhibitors displaying their products and services within a 200,000-square-foot show space, the two-day conference and exposition will feature a broad array of educational seminars and association forums, keynote addresses, and several special networking opportunities to attendees.Included in The Buildings Show educational offerings of particular interest to facilities professionals are: Facilitated Brainstorming: A Pre-Design Programming Tool; Measuring Building Performance; Power Panel: Security Risks – Assessing and Planning for Your Building; What Do You Do When There Are No More Costs to Cut?; Specifications for Interiors; and Translating Human-Centered Research to Innovative Design.More information, including registration access, can be viewed at (
Security Professionals Say Extinguishers are Essential
At the National Summit on Security in Washington, D.C., 90 percent of security professionals polled stated that they feel safer when they see fire extinguishers in public places, much of which is based on personal experience. Seventy-five (75) percent of security professionals had used a fire extinguisher to put out a fire.However, many of those respondents believed additional fire extinguisher safety measures were needed: 70 percent of respondents were not confident that the fire extinguishers in their places of work undergo required 30-day inspections, and 80 percent would feel safer if those extinguishers were being electronically monitored, according to the first annual fire extinguisher survey released by MIJA Inc., Rockland, MA.“These survey results demonstrate that people look to fire extinguishers as their first line of defense against fire,” says Jack McSheffrey, co-founder, chief executive officer, and owner, MIJA Inc. “All the more reason why they want to be absolutely certain that extinguishers will be where they’re supposed to be and in full working order, a certainty that continuous electronic monitoring can provide.”Respondents’ doubts in the ability of physical inspections alone to ensure safety are justified. A 1999 report published by the National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors (NAFED) showed that less than 10 percent of mandatory monthly physical inspections of fire extinguishers are performed, and during annual inspections, three in four extinguishers were not in the proper location and one in four was depressurized and therefore rendered completely inoperable.The need for easily accessible, fully charged fire extinguishers was clear to survey respondents: 90 percent agreed that fire extinguishers should be required in all nightclubs and restaurants, regardless of the size of the facility.Additional significant findings from this survey include:Eighty-five (85) percent felt that all public buildings, including places of employment, should be required by law to have their fire extinguishers prominently displayed.Eighty (80) percent were aware of the location of the fire extinguishers in their office and/or home.Sixty-three (63) percent almost immediately notice where the nearest fire extinguishers are when checking into a hotel room.Keeping Germs at BayIn a recent survey conducted by Opinion Research Corp. for Kimberly-Clark Professional (, Roswell, GA, the flu and common cold ranked highest on a list of germ concerns for 2004. In fact, the survey found that 66 percent of people feared the flu most and 14 percent worried about getting the common cold.SARS and the Norwalk virus – last year’s big health news stories – barely registered.
While it’s sometimes hard to avoid getting sick in the winter months, there are ways to help protect against these infections. Following are some suggestions from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other sources to help keep flu and cold germs at bay:
Avoid close contact. Try to avoid people who are sick. It’s that simple. Remember your mother’s advice – wash your hands. Frequent hand washing with soap and water will help protect you from germs. Wash hands for 15 to 20 seconds. Alcohol-based gels or hand rubs may also be used. Six in 10 people in the Kimberly-Clark germ survey agreed, choosing frequent hand washing as the most important way to reduce the spread of germs. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Illnesses can be spread when someone touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth. Wash up after touching surfaces touched by others. Some viruses and bacteria can live from 20 minutes to two hours or more on surfaces like telephones, doorknobs, and desks. In fact, telephones led the list of germ-harboring office surfaces in another Kimberly-Clark survey. Doorknobs, door handles, and the restroom followed. Make sure to wash after using the bathroom and before you eat.Use a towel to shut faucets and grab bathroom door handles after hand washing. That way you won’t be touching potentially contaminated surfaces with clean hands.Don’t share food and drinks. This is a great way to spread germs. Unless you want to share someone’s illness, too, drink from your own cup. Get plenty of sleep and rest. The more rested you are, the better your ability to fight off infections.While protecting yourself from germs is important, it’s also considerate to think of others especially when you are sick. Among some “respiratory etiquette” tips from the CDC are:Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.After you use a tissue, throw it out. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not your hands. That way you won’t spread germs when you touch things with your hands.Clean your hands after coughing or sneezing.  Lastly, if you can, stay home when you’re sick.Sometimes despite everyone’s best efforts, illness still strikes. If it does, get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Isn’t that what Mom would say?

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