Thursday, September 30, 2010

Carpet Makes Schools Safer, Cleaner, Healthier: Werner Braun

CRI’s Seal of Approval Program Helps Keep Schools Cleaner

CRI’s Seal of Approval Program Helps Keep Schools Cleaner.  Cleaner schools enhance students' school experience, says Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun.

Here are excerpts from Werner Braun’s column titled "Carpet makes schools safer, cleaner, healthier" that appeared on July 23, 2010, in the Dalton, Georgia, Daily Citizen. The article begins, “I am happy to share a positive step in how schools are working toward advancing the classroom environment for our children.”

Braun then describes how Georgia Schools Superintendent Kathy Cox recommended implementing the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval (SOA) testing program for carpet cleaning products in all of the state’s 190 school districts, as a way to “improve the cleanliness of local school districts and stretch public funds.” She noted that using SOA products and service providers “could help districts maximize cleaning and maintenance budgets by guiding them to the most effective products. This, in turn, would save money by reducing labor costs and extending the useful life of carpet.” That’s good news for schools, carpet manufacturers, and carpet cleaners.

The SOA program independently tests both residential and commercial market vacuums, extractors, cleaning solutions like spot removers and in-tank solutions, and posts lists of qualifying products on the CRI website.  In addition, carpet cleaning professionals certified as Seal of Approval Service Providers are listed on the website by ZIP code and geographic area

The article continues by describing how Dalton Public Schools implemented the Seal of Approval program.

“At one time, carpets were maintained by school personnel. But as the school system grew, the district hired a local Seal of Approval-certified Service Provider and invested in SOA-approved vacuums. On-site “spotting teams” respond to spills and stains immediately, using SOA-approved spot cleaning solutions. ‘Clean, safe schools enhance teaching and learning,’ says Belinda Parrish, the Dalton Public Schools maintenance chief. ‘A clean environment is as important to a student’s success as a good breakfast.’

With the approval of CRI’s SOA program for districts around the state, proper cleaning on a budget will come to life. We can provide school systems with certified cleaning tools that will keep classrooms cleaner and healthier, and we all can send our children out of our doors with a little less worry. Well, at least during the eight hours they are in school.”

Thank you, Werner.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

CleanLink Minute Spotlights CRI SOA, Valuable Carpet Resources

CleanLink Minute Spotlights CRI SOA, Valuable Carpet Resources

Got a Minute? Cleaning Industry Web Publication Spotlights Seal of Approval.

CleanLink Minute examines green certifications, vacuums, extractors, pet stain and pet odor removers, among other topics.

Do you get CleanLink Minute? It pops into my inbox every week or so. As a marketing tool, I think it’s pretty cool – in these days of overcrowded inboxes, CleanLink Minute delivers what it promises – informative, well-written news items that time out at just about a minute long.

CleanLink Minute is sponsored by, an online community that represents cleaning industry professionals and audiences from Contracting ProfitsSanitary Maintenance, and Housekeeping Solutions magazines.

CleanLink Minute scripts are read by members of these publications editorial staff - in other words, real people, not professional announcers. They aren’t slick productions – in some of them you can hear the reader’s paper rattling, but that’s one of the things I like about them. They seem to be purely editorial, without hidden agendas or behind-the-scenes ad dollars driving content – that’s my take, anyhow.

A few weeks ago I opened my CleanLink Minute and found several topics read by Dan Weltin, Editor-in-Chief of Contracting Profits magazine that mentioned the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval testing and certification program for carpet cleaning solutions and equipment. Here are the topics with excerpts from each:

Sifting Your Way through Green Carpet Chemical Certifications.

The Carpet and Rug Institutes Seal of Approval program is developed from the EPA’s Design for the Environment (or DfE) partership that approves products made with the safest ingredients. The Seal of Approval takes DfE one step further and makes sure the products work. Chemicals are tested against the performance of water for cleaning effectiveness, rate of resoiling, pH, surface texture change, optical brighteners and colorfastness.

Green Solutions for Pet Stains

When it comes to removing stains and odors in carpets caused by animals, cleaning professionals can turn to the Carpet and Rug Institute for a green solution. CRI recently created a new product category as part of its Seal of Approval certification that tests a product’s ability to remove tracked-in dirt, urine, feces and vomit stains.

What It Means To Be A Green Carpet Extractor

The easiest way to determine if a carpet extractor is green is to look for the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval. Machines bearing this seal remove significant amounts of soil from the carpeting, leading to better indoor air quality. Machines earn one of four ratings — Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum — based on how much soil is removed. Platinum rated extractors remove at least 90 percent of soil.

In addition, Seal of Approval machines remove most of the water from the carpet, resulting from the wet cleaning process.

The article also mentions other green attributes for extractors not covered under SOA: those that use less water and chemicals, and those that clean using energy-saving cold water.

Identifying Green Vacuums

To locate a green vacuum, the easiest method is to consult the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval program. Vacuums bearing the seal will have met strict guidelines for soil removal, dust containment and carpet fiber retention.

The Seal is further broken down into three ratings: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Vacuums earning the Bronze rating will capture between 40 and 49 percent of soil from the carpets and not release more than 100 micrograms of dust particles per cubic meter of air (meaning that dust is contained within the unit).

This article also mentions the SOA’s new energy-efficiency rating, and adds that green vacuums should also be durable, with cost-efficient replacement parts.

LEED Carpet Care Requirement

For facilities striving to earn the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings, Operations and Maintenance…green cleaning is a requirement. The guidelines for certification outline specific green carpet care criteria.

Vacuums must be certified by the Carpet and Rug Institutes Seal of Approval or older Green Label testing program…Carpet extractors used for deep cleaning must also achieve CRI’s Seal of Approval certification.

The article also points out that vacuums must operate at 70 decibels or less, and cleaning chemicals must carry either the Green Seal or EcoLogo environmental certifications .

Check out some other CleanLink Minutes next time you have…a minute. Duh.

And thanks to the industry professionals behind this innovative information source.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Carpet Safety and Ergonomic Benefits: Werner Braun

Carpet Safety and Ergonomic Benefits: Werner Braun

Werner Braun: Research Shows Carpet’s Ergonomic Benefits - Carpet as a Safety Issue

With school starting again, Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun’s weekly column titled "Carpet as a safety issue" addresses the benefit carpet offers to schools and workplaces in terms of ergonomic comfort. In an article published in the Dalton, Georgia Daily Citizen, Mr. Braun says, “I am innately aware of the benefits carpet offers, and the role it plays in not only my children’s learning environments, but also the impact it will have as they move into the workplace.” He says the carpet industry has responded to the public’s demand for walking comfort combined with function in a way similar to the athletic shoe industry.

For teachers and others who must stand throughout the day, Braun points out that ergonomic comfort is especially important:

Walking creates an impact force averaging 1.3 times one’s body weight with each step. Carpet’s cushioning effects reduce that stress on the legs and back, and diminish fatigue, all of which contribute greatly to a more productive atmosphere.

Research on the ergonomic effects of various floor coverings conducted by Dr. Mark Redfern, Director of the Human Movement Analysis Laboratory and assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh, looked at three areas of critical measurement: standing comfort, slip and fall prevention, and sound control. Based on these criteria, his research confirms reduction in leg and back fatigue as well as increased morale and productivity on the part of those who utilize carpet.

“Falls are more likely to occur on hard surfaces than soft surfaces, and those falls are more likely to produce injury. Data shows that nearly 87 percent of falls occur on hard surface floors and of those falls nearly 91 percent received injuries. In contrast, only 13 percent of falls occur on soft surface flooring. Of those, only 15 percent sustain injuries.

Excessive noise and reverberation interfere with speech intelligibility, resulting in reduced understanding and therefore reduced learning. In United States’ classrooms, the speech intelligibility rating is 75 percent or less. That means that, in speech intelligibility tests, listeners with normal hearing can understand only 75 percent of what is read from a list. Imagine trying to understand!

…to reduce reverberation time in a classroom: either the volume must be decreased or the sound absorption must be increased. Sound absorption is one of carpet’s…benefits.

Just remember as you drop of your children next week and see carpet in the learning environment exactly what an important role it plays in your child’s productivity.”

Thank you, Werner!

Has anyone noticed that carpet is easier to stand on for long periods? Are there other ergonomic benefits of carpet you’d like to mention?


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

CRI's Green Label Plus Standard for Indoor Air Quality Facts

Jeff Carrier on CRI's Green Label Plus Standard

Clearing the Air – CRI’s Jeff Carrier on the Facts about the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label Plus Standard for Indoor Air Quality

I am constantly amazed by how willing some folks are to neglect fact and science in order to promote their own agendas. Here’s an example: I read a blog post recently where the author outlined all the attributes required of someone before that person would be justified calling him or herself an “expert” in the area of sustainable flooring. The implication, of course, is that, since the author knows all about what it takes to be an expert, he must himself be one. If he wants to make that point, that’s fine – maybe he is and maybe he isn’t.

What I take exception to in the article is the author’s offhand (and, in my opinion, gratuitous) remark that, “CRI qualifies just about any manufacturer making carpet” for certification under its Green Label Plus standard for indoor air quality – implying, of course, that CRI hangs a green label on anything. To me, and for scores of dedicated professionals in the carpet industry, those are fighting words.

To begin, Green Label Plus is a standard developed by CRI and the carpet industry that sets limits on the amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that can be emitted from carpet. Contrary to what seems to be widespread popular belief, carpet’s emissions are very low and short-lived compared with many other interior finishes like paint and particle board. To continue:

Here are the facts about the Green Label Plus program and some of the reasons why it is nearly universally accepted by state, local, and federal purchasers, as well as the Green Globes and LEED green building programs.

Sure, a customer will see the Green Label Plus logo on most carpets in the retail store, and there’s a great reason for that – GLP is widely respected by both purchasers and those who set public policy. It’s hard for a manufacturer to sell a carpet today that doesn’t meet GLP criteria because nobody wants it. Additionally, this program has been around since 1992. Manufacturers have 18 years of experience with formulations and techniques - they know what works and what doesn’t.

Here are several other important facts to note about CRI’s Green Label Plus standard:

1. CRI does not set the criteria. The criteria for each compound is set by the State of California following an exhaustive review of the existing scientific data. One of the numbers established in that process is the CREL- Chronic Reference Exposure Level. For the chemicals relevant to carpet, the limit is set at one-half of the California CREL. (emphasis added –ed.)

2. CRI does not test the carpet. The actual testing is performed by Air Quality Science in Marietta, GA. They report the results to us and the appropriate certification is either issued or denied based on what AQS reports to us. They are independent and unaware of who has submitted a product for testing.

3. The emission levels for these chemicals are already incredibly low. Since 1992, the program has been updated four times. Carpet itself produces no VOCs. Those remaining from the production process are drastically reduced after 24 hours and typically exhausted within about 96 hours. It’s important to understand the nature of VOCs. VOCs have a straight-line decay curve. In other words, the levels start at a certain point and then move directly to zero at a given rate (assuming the environmental conditions remain the same). Then they’re gone forever. Every category of flooring experiences this same effect. An AQS project showed that carpet certified to GLP has the lowest emissions of any building product they tested (Air Quality Sciences. 2003. Chemical Emissions Common Building Factors).

4. The State of California 01350 requirement only specifies that a product (far more categories than just carpet) be tested and comply once. There is no requirement for a product to continue compliance or to monitor performance. But the Green Label Plus program takes that requirement a few steps further, and tests each product annually. Continued certification for a product depends upon its successfully meeting program criteria each year. Other building products are not always held to that same standard. To help manufacturers track quality throughout the year, we conduct a mandatory quarterly sampling of every product so that changes or variations can be spotted quickly and corrected appropriately. It is a lot of work to keep up with so many categories and to administer so much reporting, but it is well worth it to ensure the thoroughness of the program.

I could go on about the stringent chain of custody for samples, the requirements of the annual ANSI accreditation process, and other justifications for why this is the preeminent VOC standard in existence, but that would take a lot more space than I have available here. I’ll save those topics for another day. In the meantime, the next time you read someone’s rant about something, look a little deeper and do some research of your own. You will likely find that many self-proclaimed experts don’t know as much as they think (or say) they do.

The CRI website has more detail about the program at

Have a great week,


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Carpet and Rug Institute History: Werner Braun

Carpet and Rug Institute History: Werner Braun

Werner Braun: the history of the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI)

As part of his regular column, Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun told readers of Dalton, Georgia’s Daily Citizen News a little about the origins of the Carpet and Rug Institute, and how it came to be the organization it is today. The article is titled "History of CRI" and dated 7/30/10.

“CRI has been around, in essence, since the early 1920s, but has roots reaching back to the days of old-fashioned broadlooms and spinning wheels in log cabins. One publication, Broadlooms and Businessmen, refers to “The Carpet Manufacturers Association” which was functioning around 1884.

However, it wasn’t until the 1920s that manufacturers realized the crucial need for one organization to keep track of industry data and bring industry information to the attention of carpet manufacturers nationwide. In 1927, the Institute of Carpet Manufacturers of America Inc. (ICMA) began in Washington, D.C., and became one of the first organized groups formed on behalf of the carpet industry. The South’s version of this group was the Tufted Bedspread Manufacturers Association, formed in the 1930s, and was the forerunner of the Tufted Textile Manufacturers Association (TTMA), which was formed in 1945.”

Then, as today, one of the primary purposes of an industry organization was to represent the industry’s interests to lawmakers in Washington. In 1929, the ICMA supported legislation to reduce tariffs on carpet-making materials like cotton and wool. At other times, the group supported intra-industry cooperation, such as during World War II, when the carpet industry converted its equipment to manufacture blankets, canvas, and other materials for the war effort. IFMA facilitated the sharing of information on loom conversion and other technical aspects. This cooperative effort led to the first Technical Committee, which continues to function today. There were other cooperative functions – advertising campaigns, statistical information and background material, product research, and internal communications.

The 1950s and 60s saw a time of tension between the old-line, established woven carpet industry and the upstart tufted carpet manufacturers. Conflict continued until 1968, when the American Carpet Institute merged with the Tufted Textile Manufacturers Association. The TTMA had become a strong voice in the tufted textile industry since the 1930s and a merger between the two had been discussed for years. The new group chose the name the Carpet and Rug Institute.

“Shortly after the merger, the national headquarters for CRI were moved to Dalton because 65 percent of the industry was centered in North Georgia. CRI and its members currently represent over 99 percent of all carpet manufacturers and suppliers. The industry now has one strong voice to represent both manufacturing and supplier needs and interests.”

Thank you, Werner


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

SMARTer Textiles & Carpet Industry Sustainability

SMARTer Textiles & Carpet Industry Sustainability

Rolling Out the Green Carpet at SMARTer Textiles Conference: Commerce Department Learns About Carpet Industry’s Sustainability

In a first-of-its-kind event, a group of representatives from the U.S. Commerce Department visited Dalton, Georgia to see all that the carpet industry has done and is doing to make the industry more sustainable.

According to Deputy Assistant Secretary for Import Administration Ronald K. Lorentzen, the SMARTer Textiles conference held at Shaw Industries was designed to show how “implementing sustainable manufacturing best practices can improve industry competitiveness and create a more stable environment for job growth.” In other words, being eco-friendly can make a company stronger and more profitable. Looking at all it has accomplished, I think the carpet industry has been operating under that assumption for quite some time.

The Commerce department has done similar tours where they looked at entire geographic regions, but why did a group come to look at the sustainability of just one industry? That’s easy – they were invited.

Shaw Industries, a Carpet and Rug Institute member company, extended the initial invitation, then invited other CRI-member companies to participate. In addition to Shaw, representatives from Mohawk Industries and Beaulieu of America made presentations on each company’s sustainability innovations. Other CRI member companies, J&J/Invision,  and The Dixie Group also attended. CRI President Werner Braun moderated a panel discussion that included manufacturers, Commerce Department staff, and Georgina Sikorski, Executive Director of the Carpet America Recovery Effort.

The group toured Shaw’s waste-to-energy plant and Styron’s latex manufacturing plant that is largely powered using methane from the local landfill. More information is summarized in news stories from the Chattanooga Times Free Press and Dalton Daily Citizen newspapers, but here are some highlights:

Ronald Lorentzen, the Commerce department’s assistant secretary for import administration said the $400 million-plus the carpet industry has spent on sustainable investments in recent years makes carpet “one of the most progressive industries” in the nation.

Kim Glas, the deputy assistant secretary for the office of textiles and apparel, said, “I was thoroughly impressed with the facilities we toured and their commitment to sustainability practices and look forward to sharing what I learned with my colleagues at the Department of Commerce.

• Shaw Industries CEO Vance Bell said that the carpet industry’s pioneering efforts towards sustainability have been “a well-kept secret”, but that is changing now.

Perhaps positive attention from a federal government agency might help spread the word further.

Congratulations to our Carpet and Rug Institute member companies!

From CRI’s 2008 Sustainability Report:

• Carpet industry emissions fell by an average of 53 percent from 2003 to 2007
• Water use declined to 3.68 gallons per square yard from 4.44 gallons from 2005 to 2007
• Electricity use fell to 1.39 kilowatt hours per square yard to 1.77 kilowatt hours from 2005 to 2007
• Biofuel use increased 72.9 percent from 2006 to 2007
• Use of recycled material increased by 85.6 percent from 2006 to 2007

For photos and a video from the event, click on this link to SMARTer Textiles & Carpet Sustainability.
~ Bethany

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Recycled Carpet Preserves National Parks

Recycled Carpet Preserves National Parks

Recycled Carpet Helping Preserve the Beauty of National Parks - GeoHay helps environment in several ways, says Carpet America Recovery Effort

GeoHay, the erosion control barrier product made from 100% post-consumer carpet content is showing up in some very scenic spots this summer.

First, GeoHay was installed along the Florida coast during the Gulf Oil spill, and most recently, it is being used along a six mile section of the Foothills Parkway in Cocke County, Tennessee, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

GeoHay was suggested to the U.S. Park Service by the contractor, Charles Blalock and Sons, Inc.

Here are excerpts from a press release, entitled: “U.S. Park Service installs innovative erosion control product made from old carpet”. You can find the entire press release on the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) website.

“Resembling a traditional hay bale, GeoHay acts as an inlet filter to prevent erosion pollution as a result of the road project. GeoHay works by allowing water to flow through its fibrous structure while trapping suspended sediments such as topsoil and construction debris. Proper erosion control prevents unwanted sediments from entering the park's streams and rivers, while preserving valuable topsoil, vital to healthy vegetation growth, from being washed away.

According to CARE Executive Director Georgina Sikorski, GeoHay serves the environment in two ways - first, by protecting the park's watershed and preserving precious topsoil, and second, by diverting thousands of pounds of waste that would otherwise go into the landfill. And, since GeoHay is made of 100% recycled synthetic fibers, it eliminates the petroleum that would be used for a similar product made from virgin materials.

‘Whether it's being used in the Smokey Mountains to prevent soil erosion or protecting Florida's beaches from the recent oil spill, GeoHay works to protect local environments, while at the same time safeguarding the world's resources. It is a multi-dimensional environmental solution that exemplifies the inventive spirit of the carpet recycling movement,’ Sikorski said.”

Congratulations to GeoHay, CARE, and the Parks Service for having a positive impact on the environment!


Links to related stories:
GeoHay: Ready to Save the Day With Carpet - Werner Braun
Recycled Carpet Protects Florida Coast From Oil

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day Good Wishes!

Happy Labor Day!
Happy Labor Day!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day holiday.

Be safe, have fun, and join me in gratitude for being employed.


Image courtesy of Antiques  and the Arts Online.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

POTUS Oval Office Rug & CRI SOA

New Oval Office rug by Scott Group Custom Carpets

Carpet and Rug Institute's SOA Keeps Oval Office Rug Clean for POTUS

~ Manufacturer sends a CRI Seal of Approval-certified cleaning kit along with President Obama’s new rug
Workers at the Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Scott Group Custom Carpets have been “bursting at the seams” with the knowledge that the magnificent 23 X 30 oval rug they’ve been working on was destined for President Barack Obama’s Oval Office.

Scott Group Custom Carpets makes ultra-high end luxury carpets for customers all over the world, including the private aviation, luxury marine, residential, and corporate interiors markets. The company was founded in 1969 and has 140 employees.

Much has already been said about the rug’s design, which features the Presidential Seal in a center medallion and a border decorated with the President’s hand-picked quotes from former presidents and the Rev. Martin Luther King. Scott Group donated the rug, which took 30 employees approximately 570 labor hours to complete. Scott Group also made the Oval Office Rug for President Clinton and rugs for the White House State Dining Room, said Tim Hill, Scott Group vice-president of operations.

Mr. Hill also shared a few behind-the-scenes facts for carpet and rug industry insiders who read the CRI blog: the rug is made of 100% wool, sourced from both England and New Zealand. The rug has 48 individual yarn colors, including some undyed natural wool, and most of the yarn used was taken from existing inventory, including end-lots re-purposed for the White House rug. Construction is hand-tufted by workers using single-yarn tufting guns, on a cotton backing. Scott Group got the go-ahead to make the rug in June from Los Angeles designer Michael Smith, and had it finished before Labor Day. The entire design process took approximately six months, Hill said.

Of particular interest to us here at the Carpet and Rug Institute is the fact that the new rug in the Oval office is certified under CRI’s Green Label Plus standard for indoor air quality. And, just as exciting, when he needs to spot-clean the new rug, the President can use the special cleaning kit Scott Group includes with every order – complete with WoolClean Natural, a Seal of Approval-certified spot remover!! (Although, I’d hate to be the first staffer to spill coffee on that rug, wouldn’t you?)

Congratulations to Scott Group Custom Carpets – for making this exquisite rug, and for making it here in the United States!


Photo Caption:
Scott Group employees take one last look at the new Oval Office rug before sending it to the White House.

Related Stories:
New Oval Office rug made in Michigan
Oval Office gets a makeover
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