Surveying the Latest in Green Technology
Numerous companies are making strides to becoming greener with the use of updated technology to produce low or no VOCs. Additionally, to be sustainable, many of these products now feature packaging and characteristics designed to lessen their environmental impact.
Indoor Air Quality
Many indoor air quality certifications for flooring and installation products are available. Some of the most well known include GreenGuard, FloorScore and Green Label Plus. All of these programs are aimed at ensuring that the products are environmentally friendly and can contribute to points for LEED, the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) for K-12 school construction, and other systems.
Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) Green Label Plus.Green Label Plus-certified products meet or exceed the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) testing protocols, according to CRI.
GreenGuard.GreenGuard Certification signifies that a product has met stringent requirements for good air quality and a low level of VOC emissions. For even further stringency when used in schools, GreenGuard also offers GreenGuard Children and Schools. This program complies with California’s Section 01350 standard for testing chemical emissions.
FloorScore.A collaboration between the Resilient Floor Covering Institute and Scientific Certification Systems, FloorScore also complies with emissions criteria for California Section 01350.
Another way manufacturers are making their products more green is by reducing waste. MAPEI, for example, has introduced ecological refill packaging for their adhesives. The company made the switch after discovering the majority of plastic gallon buckets goes right to the landfill. The new packaging for the Ultrabond ECO Refill pouches can be used “as-is”; installers simply need to make a seam-edge cut and empty the adhesive out onto the desired substrate.
“The concept of refill packaging is not new and has been used successfully in many consumer products, including laundry detergent and various cleaning solutions,” said Jeff Johnson, Business Manager for Floor Covering Installation Systems at MAPEI. “We feel we have overcome contractors’ typical objections to using plastic refills by providing our products in smaller, cost-saving 1-gallon [3,79-L] pouches and by using a very robust co-extruded film that is extremely durable and impact-resistant.”
Manufacturers are also combining the functionality of products, a move that they say also reduces waste. DriTac has introduced Moisture Block 3-in-1, a wood flooring adhesive to control and block moisture and also acts like a crack suppressant. DriTac Moisture Block 3-In-1 is certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) Green Label Plus Program for Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). It contains zero VOCs and zero solvents.
MP Global Products’ VersaWalk acoustic underlayment also offers multi-use, with its sound reduction impact isolation and insulation designed specifically for nail-down or glue-down wood flooring, luxury vinyl tile, floating engineered wood, and laminate flooring. VersaWalk was created to be odorless, with no VOCs, and non-allergenic. It is made using at least 94% post-industrial/pre-consumer textile fibers.
Taylor’s Meta-Tec MS-Plus Resilient moisture barrier adhesive for resilient flooring is designed to replace two part urethanes and epoxies. Meta-Tec MS-Plus Resilient MBA is made from Bio-Renewable raw materials and according to the company is also GreenGuardcertified to ensure a low VOC content.
The Business Side of Green
At the recent Floor Installation Association of North America (FIANA) convention in Orlando, Fla., FCIspoke with showgoers about the importance of green in their businesses. Doug Mayeux, regional sales manager for Futura Industries, Clearfield, Utah, said he could not imagine his business without green as a focus. “The environment is very important to our business because we produce the products and it starts with us. If we let it go, the product can become tainted and then it gets down to the marketplace.”
Heidi Cronin Mandell, vp operations of Portland, Ore.-based The Cronin Co, added, “It is really important in our area. We are based out of Oregon and all of our 8 branches are FSC [Forest Stewardship Council] certified, and we follow all of their rules and regulations. It is becoming more important in the market and we’ve jumped on board.”
However, not all businesses have green as a top-of-mind concern. According to Rob Weber of Calgary-based distributor Shamrock Flooring Accessories Ltd., “We buy the manufacturer’s product and then we resell it. Whether [green] is important or not important, it doesn’t matter to us as much as to the manufacturer, because we have to buy [their] products either way.”
Whether or not green is the most importance consideration for every business, it is hard to argue that green is definitely a consideration. With more builders looking to achieve LEED certification for their projects and create a more healthy living and working environment, green is set to be a topic of conversation for many years to come.