These days, it’s hard to pick up any publication and not be inundated with references to “green” products, services and companies. Indeed, “green” has become the main buzzword in the flooring industry, used everywhere from advertisements to corporate logos and Web sites. Among all the hype and buzz however, the green message often becomes diluted, watered down to nothing more than a marketing catch phrase.  Despite all the exposure in print and online, it is still not clear to many what the word “green” actually means. Some companies use the word to refer to products made using recycled materials, while others use it to refer to the manufacturing process or installation process. With this in mind, we at Floor Covering Installer decided to make “green” the special theme of this issue, highlighting the latest environmentally friendly products and techniques. In this issue, you will find several feature articles by our FCI columnists, as well as other industry experts, on the “green” movement and how it affects the floor covering installation industry.

One key factor driving the “green” movement is the increasing importance of LEED certification and environmental legislation, particularly in the commercial sector. For many projects, such as government bids, attention to the environmental impact of every aspect of a project, from the adhesives to the floor coverings, is quickly becoming the norm. All the attention being paid to VOCs and indoor air quality has a direct benefit for installers as well, as companies push to develop installation products that are both safer and easier to use. This was especially evident at the recent Surfaces trade show, where there were numerous installation demonstrations throughout the show intended to help installers save time and protect their health.  A good example of this is the new dust-free technology recently introduced by several major companies. On the surface, this might seem more like a convenience than a necessity, but the implications for installers are significant. Not only are these products easier to use and less messy, which reduces clean-up time, they are also much better from a health standpoint. Installers routinely face a variety of substances that can negatively affect their health, including solvents, adhesives and dust from a variety of sources, especially sanded wood and polished concrete. Some of these substances, such as certain types of wood dust, are proven carcinogens; others are merely irritants that affect the skin and lungs. By using these new dust-free products, as well as dust containment systems, installers can significantly reduce their risk of developing respiratory problems or cancer.

We hope that you will enjoy the “green” focus of this issue of Floor Covering Installer, and that it will help you to work smarter, and safer. If you have any comments or suggestions on how to improve this magazine, feel free to email: moorej@bnpmedia.com or call: (818) 224-8035, ext. 2208.