Tuesday, December 29, 2009

CRI Green Label Plus Program New Standard For Indoor Air Quality

CRI Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality Standard

Green Label Program Takes Its Final Bow in 2009


Original Indoor Air Quality Standard is Replaced by Stricter CRI Green Label Plus



As the bells ring out on the year 2009, something else will be making its exit as well – the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label Standard. Developed in 1992, the Green Label standard set the first limits on carpet’s emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds. After its planned 5-year transition period, it is time for Green Label to conclude, replaced by the stronger and more comprehensive Green Label Plus standard that was adopted in July, 2004.

Beginning January 1, 2010, there will no longer be any listings on the CRI web site for carpet certified to the Green Label standard. The good news is: all U.S. manufacturers have upgraded their products to meet the GLP program, so no one will be affected by the change. More than anything else, it gives us here at CRI an opportunity to look back briefly on the challenges involved in getting to this milestone in the history of the carpet industry.

The Green Label program developed out of consumer and governmental concerns about carpet’s effect on Indoor Air Quality. The original standard, developed in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, measured four compounds against an established criterion, as well as total volatile organic compounds, or TVOC. As you might expect, the work that went into developing the standard was significant, and interestingly, long before Werner Braun became president of CRI, he was involved in the dialog with the EPA in his role as a toxicologist with the The Dow Chemical Company. (For more on Werner Braun, see this earlier blog.)

Green Label Plus came about as the carpet industry worked to meet the requirements of the California Indoor Air Quality regulation known as CA 01350. (Coincidentally, the California regulation is currently being updated, and the CRI is involved in the process.) Compared to Green Label, Green Label Plus measures 13 compounds against a standard criteria, plus TVOC. Carpets certified under GLP earn credit toward project totals under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED program and are approved for the California Collaborative for High Performance Schools.

Congratulations and thanks to the CRI member companies and others who worked so hard over a decade ago to ensure that carpet is a low-emitting floor covering. Your efforts paid off for all of us.

~Bethany

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays! From the Carpet and Rug Institute

holly leaves and holly berries - _MG_5338 by sean dreilinger

wish
everyone

a

Joyous Holiday!



Werner Braun, Frank Hurd, Ken McIntosh, James Beach, Louise Dobbs, Jennifer Mendez, Bethany Richmond, Susan Newberry, Jeff Carrier, Pat Jennings, Linda Harrington, Pat Stovall, Jason Porter, Joy Dillingham, Ryan Williams,
and
Georgina Sikorski and Jeremy Stroop from CARE!




Image credit:
holly leaves and holly berries - _MG_5338 originally uploaded by
sean dreilinger.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Carpet, Like Insulation, Increases R Value of Carpeted Areas

Samsara from Masland Carpet & Rugs

If Home Insulation is Sexy, Carpet Should be “R Rated”


Carpet Increases R-Value of Carpeted Areas



The word is out: according to our president, home insulation is “sexy”. In a speech he gave December 15 at a Home Depot in Alexandria, Virginia, President Obama talked about how many jobs would be created if Americans retrofitted their homes with more energy-efficient building materials, like additional insulation and energy-efficient windows and doors. It was part of his so-called “cash-for-caulkers” plan to offer incentives to citizens who tighten their energy leaks at home.

"The simple act of retrofitting these buildings to make them more energy-efficient -- installing new windows and doors, insulation, roofing, sealing leaks, modernizing heating and cooling equipment -- is one of the fastest, easiest and cheapest things we can do to put Americans back to work while saving families money and reducing harmful emissions," said Obama.

While he didn’t mention it by name, I contend that carpet belongs on the list of energy-saving products. Carpet has long been recognized for decreasing the energy loss from a room and making the room feel warmer to the people inside. Here is an excerpt from an article that appeared in Educational Facility Planner, the professional journal of CEFPI, the Council of Educational Facility Planners International. The article was written by CRI vice-president Frank Hurd, and is discussed in an earlier blog post titled "Carpet Aids Learning in Schools" in CEFPI Journal.

Thermal Comfort

Research conducted over the past two years at the Georgia Institute of Technology, as well as independent scientific studies, demonstrates that carpet increases the R-value, or insulation level, of the carpeted area. The R-value (thermal resistance) measures how much a material resists the movement of heat through a ceiling, wall, or floor in a building. The higher the number, the more effective the insulation.

This research confirms carpet and pad significantly increase R-value compared to other flooring materials. Results varied according to the carpet’s construction, with heavier products generally providing higher R-value. Carpets were tested with and without cushion, and the combination maximized the R-value.

The enhanced R-value realized with the use of carpet can actually contribute to energy savings and lower utility costs.

Moreover, Dr. Alan Hedge, professor of Department of Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University, cites another aspect of thermal comfort as one of carpet’s advantages. “Carpet feels warmer to the touch than other floor coverings because the air at room temperature is trapped by the carpet fibers which acts as an insulator, and carpet has a low thermal diffusivity compared to other floor materials that have higher thermal diffusivities and that conduct heat away from the body more rapidly, resulting in a lower skin temperature, cooler sensation, and greater thermal discomfort.”

So, if the President’s pulse races (and whose doesn’t?) at the idea of creating jobs through improved home energy efficiency, how might he feel about the proposed HIRE Act legislation that would provide tax incentives for individuals and some businesses to make other home improvements, like new carpet and other flooring, and appliances? (For more on the HIRE Act, see these earlier CRI blog posts Proposed HIRE Act Would Mean More Jobs in Home Furnishings and CRI President Featured On Japanese National Television.)

~Bethany


Pictured: Samsara courtesy of Masland Carpets and Rugs

Thursday, December 17, 2009

CRI Participates in Facilities Management Summit

Facilities Management Summit

CRI's James Beach Participates in December 7, 2009 Facilities Management Summit, Dallas, TX


Carpet and Rug Institute Offers Facility Managers Proper Carpet Maintenance and Cleaning Solutions



Typically, the last month of the year tends to be mostly about getting ready to hit the ground running for the New Year. This means closing end of the year accounting books, finalizing market plans for the future, and best of all, time in the office to get it all done.

One of the things I most relish about the month (other than the excitement of Santa Claus coming to visit) is that I rarely, if ever, hop on an airplane and roll the dice as to whether or not my luggage is going to end up at the same place that my body is. After flying across the country for most of the year, December is usually my lone refuge.

I say all of this because I got talked into participating in a Facilities Management Summit in Dallas last week and it turned out to be one of the best events I attended all year. Much like the BuildingsXchange event we did in Utah earlier that I raved about [see CRI Finds Success at BuildingsXchange], this was a similar “speed-dating” kind of event.

Instead of one-hour meetings, though, the organizers matched you up with interested parties in 30-minute meetings, so it was all business. One of the great things about CRI attending these types of events is that CRI, unlike everyone else that these facility managers will meet, doesn’t have anything we are trying to sell them. As you can imagine, companies send their slickest sales people to close deals with these facility managers so it has to be refreshing to not get hit over the head with the “my product is the greatest” hammer at every turn.

And it’s true. The thing that CRI offers to these folks are solutions; a better way to do business; a way to be most satisfied with their carpet investment. Typically, these type events are set up for the vendors to request meetings with delegates and vice versa and if everyone has an interest in conducting the meeting, well, it happens. My philosophy is to meet with people who want to meet with us, so I tell the organizers I’ll meet with anyone who wants to meet. The good news there is that my calendar is always full.

I had 10 formal meetings and several other side meetings where people tracked me down for carpet information between the formal meetings, and I have to say, I like the things I am hearing in the marketplace.

All of these people love their carpet and recognize the place it has in their facilities. They are anxious to find the best way to clean and maintain it and are eager for any kind of help CRI can provide. This was especially true on the education market side of it. [See CRI's Carpet in Schools; Creating a Learning-Friendly Environment.]

I had two great meetings with two of the country’s larger school district: Albuquerque Public Schools and Dallas Independent School District. I was able to show them the value of what we call the four-legged maintenance stool: Using the right carpet cleaning products (Seal of Approval), using the right carpet cleaning equipment (SOA), having the right carpet cleaning service provider manning the equipment and solutions and finally having a proper carpet maintenance plan in place.

And I knew I had made an impression when I had three other school districts find me during lunch and networking opportunities away from the formal meetings and tell me one of their colleagues I had met with told them they needed to get my CRI information.

And as always, I learned some things as well. Or rather I came away with some new ideas and opportunities. One, in particular, sprung from a meeting with Glazers Distributors, one the nation’s top wine and spirits distributors. The gentlemen who heads up their facilities told me that they have a grand showroom at their headquarters, and as you can imagine in such a business, have some pretty big get-togethers where the spirits flow. Unfortunately, these spirits, especially the wine, often times flows onto the carpet and they have a devil of a time returning the showroom to pristine condition for the next big foray.

My plan is to follow up with the gentleman and put together a plan with one of the local SOA service providers in his area that utilizes SOA equipment and chemicals and can solve his wine problem.

When I offer up such services, I always get this look and sometimes even the question: “So what do you get out of it?” And the answer is really quite simple: if you are happy with your carpet purchase, you’ll continue to utilize carpet.

~ James

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

10 Carpet Cleaning Tips For The Holidays

CRI's Carpet Spot Solver with Carpet Cleaning Tips

Top 1o Tips for Cleaning Up Carpet


Handle Seasonal Carpet Spills the CRI Seal of Approval Way



This is the time of year when stories appear in newspapers and the Web about “Tips for Handling Stains This Holiday Season” – often with a link to a local carpet cleaning company. It’s good marketing – when people gather for the holiday, they generally make messes, and we all need a little help with the clean-up.

This year, I’m joining the festivities with my own “Top Ten Tips for Cleaning Up Carpet”, and I don’t have to look any farther than the Carpet and Rug Institute website for my information. Here goes…

Top Ten Carpet Cleaning Tips for a Spotless Holiday:


1. Act Quickly! Don’t wait for your guests to leave or for the area to clear before you tackle the spill. Time will not fade the memory of red wine in your carpet – only give the stain time to set. So push everyone out of the way and get to work fast.

2. Blotting is good, Scrubbing is bad! Scrubbing a liquid spill can damage the carpet pile and mar its appearance. Blot liquid spills with a dry, white, absorbent cloth or white (no printing) paper towels. You could also use a wet/dry vacuum to lift out larger liquid spills.

3. Get a positive ID – If you can, identify the carpet staining agent and then look it up on CRI’s extensive online spot removal database. Then, follow the directions carefully.

4. Pre-test your carpet spot remover! Even though Seal of Approval certified spot removers are tested to make sure they do not change the color or the texture of carpet, it is always a good idea to test any product on an inconspicuous area of your carpet first just to be on the safe side.

5. Easy does it! Apply a small amount of the selected cleaning solution to a white cloth and allow it to set for about 10 minutes before working it gently into the carpet.

6. Work from the outside in! – Always work from the edges of the spill to the center to prevent spreading. Allow the spot cleaning solution to remain on the carpet spill a few minutes. Be patient. Blot, absorbing as much as possible, and repeat if necessary.

NOTES:

Never use laundry detergent to remove a carpet stain, because laundry detergents may contain optical brighteners (fluorescent dyes) that dye the fiber.

Do not select an automatic dishwashing detergent because many contain bleaching agents that destroy carpet dyes and some carpet fibers.

7. One step at a time! Even if the directions for removing your carpet stain call for several steps and/or types of spot removers, continue using the first cleaning solution as long as some of the spill transfers to the cloth. If the first step removes the spill you do not have to move on to the other recommended cleaning solutions.

8. Be patient! You might have to repeat the same step several times to remove the carpet stain completely.

9. Rinse! After the spill has been completely removed, rinse the affected carpet area thoroughly with cold water, and blot with a dry cloth until all of the solution has been removed. Some cleaning solutions will cause rapid re-soiling if the solution is not completely removed from the carpet.

10. Get down! Apply a one-half inch-thick layer of white paper towels to the affected carpet area, and weigh it down with a flat, heavy object. Continue to change paper towels as needed.

10 ½. If all else fails! Many carpet fiber manufacturers provide toll-free cleaning assistance and advice (consult your warranty).

Merry, Merry!

~ Bethany

Thursday, December 10, 2009

CRI's Carpet In Schools Portal For School Designers, Administrators

CRI's Carpet In Schools web portal for school designers, administrators

Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Offers Two New Web Portals - Resources Offer Insight into Carpet in Schools and Carpet, Allergy, and Asthma



Portal Number Two: A New Tool for School Designers, Administrators:


CRI has created a pair of simple-to-use web portals designed to offer an online digest of information about carpet to two vital audiences: school designers and administrators and the healthcare community.

Last post [titled CRI's Carpet, Allergy, Asthma Portal for Healthcare Providers], we looked at CRI’s new web portal for healthcare providers located at http://www.carpet-rug.org/health/. This time, we look at the new web portal for school designers, facility managers, and administrators that talks about carpet in schools.

It’s located on the CRI web site at http://www.carpet-rug.org/education/ and it talks about the benefits carpet offers to a school environment, including:

Safety - Because it affords more traction, carpet helps prevent slips and falls. When falls do happen, chances of injury are greatly reduced on soft flooring.

Increased Comfort - For teachers and other staff, a cushioned walking and standing surface reduces leg fatigue. Plus, carpet provides a non-glare surface that reduces reflection and eyestrain.

Better insulation - Carpet is warmer to sit on or work on, extending the learning area to space on the floor, especially with younger children. Thermal comfort exists because carpet retains inside ambient temperatures longer.

Costs less over time - Carpet that is properly selected, installed and maintained lasts up to 10 year or longer. When product, installation and maintenance supplies and labor costs are considered over a 15-to 20-year period, carpet delivers lower life cycle costs than other floor coverings. Read the entire study titled "A Life-Cycle Cost Analysis For Floor Coverings In School Facilities."

Reduced noise - Based on a study by the American Society of Interior Designers, carpet is deemed to be 10 times more efficient in reducing noise compared with other flooring options. Also with carpet, less acoustic protection is needed on the ceiling and elsewhere. This quieter environment provides a better learning atmosphere with fewer distractions.

Improved IAQ - Carpet can improve the indoor air quality (IAQ) by trapping allergens in its fiber which prevents them from circulating back into the air. The allergens can then be removed through proper vacuuming. Additionally, carpet has lower chemical emissions than most indoor furnishings and may be the lowest emitter of all floor covering choices.

The page also contains information about proper installation, and how to specify the right carpet in any commercial situation. Finally, there is an entire section on cleaning and maintenance, including research comparing the costs of maintaining hard surface floors versus carpet over time, and links to information about CRI’s Seal of Approval testing and certification program for cleaning products and equipment.

We worked hard to put these portals together. I hope the school design community – and anyone else who needs them - finds them helpful.

~Bethany


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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

CRI's Carpet, Allergy, Asthma Portal For Healthcare Providers

Studies Show No Links between Carpet, Asthma and Allergies

Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Offers Two New Web Portals: Resources Offer Insight into Carpet in Schools and Carpet, Allergy, and Asthma


Portal Number One: A New Tool for Healthcare Providers and Carpet, Allergy and Asthma


CRI has created a pair of simple-to-use web portals designed to offer information about carpet to two vital audiences: school designers and administrators and the healthcare community.

The first specialized web site provides doctors and other health care providers science-based information on the purported link between carpet use and an increase in asthma and allergy symptoms. Located at http://www.carpet-rug.org/health/, the portal welcomes visitors with this paragraph:

Carpet acts like a trap, keeping dust and allergens out of the air we breathe. Simply put, what falls to the carpet (dust, pet dander and many other particulates that we breathe in) tends to stay trapped in the carpet until it is removed through vacuuming or extraction cleaning. Unlike smooth floor surfaces that allow dust and other allergens to re-circulate into the breathing zone, properly maintained carpet actually contributes to improved air quality.

There is no relationship between carpet and asthma and allergy symptoms.Additional resources are listed along the left-hand side of the web page, including links to CRI’s so-called “Swedish chart” that shows how asthma rates increased in Sweden at the same time the country drastically reduced carpet use, and Dr. Mitch Sauerhoff’s international literature review article, Carpet, Allergy, and Asthma – Myth or Reality? That concludes that carpet does not cause or aggravate asthma or allergies.

There’s more information about carpet in schools, and a powerful statement from a joint study from 1993 titled "Global Strategy for Asthma Management and Prevention". Published collaboratively by the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the World Health Organization, the 2007 update to the original report states that there is no evidence that replacing carpet with hard surface flooring has a health benefit.

All this information has always been available on the CRI web site, but the new portals pull disparate resources together for increased visibility and greater impact.

Next, a new CRI web portal for school designer and administrators…

~Bethany

Note: click this link for the brochure pictured above, titled "Clearing The Air About Clean Carpet."

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

CRI's Mendez Chairs SGAC's Leaders' Policy Conference

Jennifer Mendez

CRI Shines at the State Government Affairs Council’s Leaders’ Policy Conference


Government Affairs Director Jennifer Mendez Chairs an Important Event for Legislators and Issues Professionals


As Director of Government Relations for the Carpet and Rug Institute, one way I carry our members’ messages out to the states is through membership in a variety of state legislative groups. One such group is the State Government Affairs Council, or SGAC. CRI is a member of the SCAC and I am privileged to sit on the board of directors for the group.

SGAC is the premier national association for multi-state government affairs professionals like me, providing us with opportunities for networking and professional development. SGAC conducts educational activities that strengthen the interaction and understanding between SGAC members and state government officials.

Every fall during the weekend prior to Thanksgiving, state legislative leaders and members of SGAC assemble. (I know, it’s not the best time of the year for a conference, but amazingly enough, it’s always well-attended!) In fact, this year record numbers of state legislative leaders were present!

SGACThey come for a meeting called the Leaders' Policy Conference, or LPC. The LPC is an annual meeting of the states' legislative leadership and state government affairs professionals from America's leading businesses, associations and service providers. The conference is designed to encourage dialogue on issues of importance between state legislative leaders and private sector representatives. Attendance is by invitation only, but included on the list of invitees are: the legislative leadership of all 50 states, the Executive Committees of the National Council of State Legislators and the Council of State Governments; the board of directors of the American Legislative Exchange Council, SGAC members and representatives from the private sector.

This year CRI was in the forefront, as I was the chairperson for the conference. When I sat down with the planning committee in early 2009 to begin preparing the agenda, I was impressed with the sheer number of issues affecting the states. It was hard to know where to start.

We chose the theme, "Innovation: The Path to Recovery", and the conference focused on pressing issues facing state legislatures due to current economic and world events. The program also included a range of critical skill-building sessions on such topics as, Hot Topics in State Legislatures, Current Economic Climate, Digital Communications, Healthcare, Innovations in Technology, Leadership and Political Analyses.

Several well-known speakers attended, including a kick-off speech from popular Florida-based author and columnist Carl Hiaasen. (For those of you who have read his books, you know he’s a little twisted, but thoroughly entertaining). He didn’t disappoint.

The session on the state of the economy across the US painted a bleak forecast. California Assemblywoman Fiona Ma was one of the panelists – not surprisingly, she shared that the economy in California is a mess.

The session on healthcare in the states generated some lively discussion. We heard from Sen. Richard Rosen from Maine on the failure of his state’s “public option” plan, Dirigo Health. We also heard about innovations in healthcare from former Congressman Dick Gephardt.

In the age of Facebook and Twitter, the panel discussion on digital communication was particularly interesting. Legislators from Ohio and Alabama shared how they maximized social media in their offices, and a representative from Facebook talked about the uses and popularity of that social media platform.

One of my favorite sessions was led by Peter Post (Grandson of Emily Post), who talked about business etiquette. His comments were particularly appropriate following the session on digital communication. Post addressed manners in relation to cell phones and Blackberries (funny how common sense can be such an interesting topic). The piƩce de resistance was the closing presentation by former Arkansas Governor and current TV personality, Mike Huckabee. No matter what direction your political leanings run, he is always an engaging presenter!

I haven’t seen the official evaluation forms from the conference yet, but from the verbal comments I received, the feedback was positive and encouraging, particularly from legislators. I have to say, chairing the conference was fun, but a challenge nonetheless. I was glad to wrap up a successful meeting and head home to friends and family for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Jennifer

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

CRI Participates in Asthma, Allergy Event

CRI participates in ACAAI asthma, allergy event

CRI Participates in Asthma, Allergy Event


One often-quoted item here at CRI is that Americans are currently spending about 90% of their time indoors. That fact was painfully apparent to me several weeks ago when I attended the annual meeting of the American College of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology, held November 5-10 in Miami, Florida. I could see the beach from my hotel window, but I spent the vast majority of my time in the Carpet and Rug Institute booth at the Miami Convention Center and never got as much as a big toe in the water. Ah well…

The ACAAI event was attended by more than three thousand allergy and asthma physicians from the U.S. and all over the world. CRI was there to promote the benefits of proper care and maintenance for carpet and to assert carpet’s role as an appropriate floor covering choice for allergy and asthma patients. This was the third medical group meeting CRI attended this year, beginning with the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology in March and the American Academy of Pediatrics in October.

Through a national survey of allergy physicians and general medicine practitioners conducted earlier this year on behalf of CRI, we knew that, while many doctors are still recommending carpet removal to their allergy and asthma patients, they were very open to information about proper carpet care and maintenance as a viable alternative to taking carpet out. For an earlier blog post about the survey, go to CRI Survey of Asthma & Allergy Doctors.

My own impressions from three days of talking to asthma doctors was that they were genuinely interested in CRI’s carpet care information. I gave out so many copies of CRI’s booklet, Carpet Cleaning Tips for Dummies that I ran out on the first day. I had so many requests for the books that I shipped out almost 500 of them to 49 different doctors the day I got back to my office. Doctors are aware they practice in the real world, where, for multiple reasons, patients either can’t or don’t want to remove their carpets. One practitioner from Manhattan told me her patients’ condo agreements required carpet for sound reduction between floors, so removal was not an option. Another doctor from Miami told me he recommended changes in patients’ bedding materials, but not their floor coverings. “Very few of my patients sleep on their floors,” he said.

Toxicologist Dr. Mitch Sauerhoff attended the meeting on behalf of CRI, to speak on the details of his international literature review article, Carpet, Asthma and Allergy – Myth or Reality?

CRI also introduced plans for a pilot carpet cleaning program for physicians’ offices designed to promote the CRI Seal of Approval testing and certification program for carpet cleaning products, equipment, and Service Providers. More on that later…

~Bethany


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