Friday, July 29, 2011

CRI's Green Label Plus for Indoor Air Quality Fact Sheet

CRI's Green Label Plus for Indoor Air Quality Fact Sheet

Leadership is in the Air. ~ Green Label Plus Sets a Higher Standard for Indoor Air Quality

This is the 17th in a series of 18 articles designed to share some of the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) best online assets – a collection of downloadable fact sheets. Developed as easy-to-use, one-page position statements, the CRI Fact Sheets cover four main carpet-related topic areas: Indoor Air Quality, Asthma and Allergy, Cleaning Products, and Environmental Sustainability.

Each of these topics is addressed from the perspective of various market segments: carpet dealers and consumers; architects, designers and builders; school administrators and facility managers, and healthcare administrators and facility managers. There are also separate fact sheets explaining CRI’s Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality and Seal of Approval carpet cleaning standards – 18 fact sheets in all.

The fact sheet on the Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality standard begins,

“There is a growing demand to make indoor environments as healthy and “green-friendly” as possible. Choosing the right materials is a critical step. To assist in the process, CRI has created Green Label Plus for carpet and adhesives to raise the bar on lowering emissions.

Green Label Plus is a voluntary, industry testing program for carpet and adhesive products that establishes the highest standard for indoor air quality (IAQ) ever set by the carpet industry. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) created Green Label Plus to identify carpets and adhesives that are tested by an independent, certified laboratory and meet stringent criteria for low chemical emissions.”

It continues with these facts:

• It ensures customers they are purchasing among the lowest emitting carpet, adhesive and cushion products on the market.

• It is designed for architects, builders, specifiers and facility managers who want assurances that carpet and adhesive products meet the most stringent criteria for low chemical emissions.

• It represents the fourth time the carpet industry has voluntarily enhanced the IAQ standard for its products.

Green Label Plus Meets California’s CHPS Criteria

Green Label Plus meets, and even exceeds, California’s indoor quality standards for low-emitting products used in commercial settings such as schools and office buildings.

Working in cooperation with California’s Sustainable Building Task Force and the Department of Health Services, the carpet industry took the initiative to enhance its Green Label program for carpet and adhesives to meet testing protocols used by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS). Under the agreement between CRI and the California agencies, Green Label Plus is acceptable for the CHPS low-emitting materials criteria for use in schools.

Commercial carpet and adhesives that meet the criteria for Green Label Plus are listed on both the CRI and CHPS websites.

Green Label Plus Certified Products Must Pass Rigorous Testing

To receive Green Label Plus certification, carpet and adhesive products must undergo a rigorous testing process. Emissions are measured for a range of chemicals and testing is administered by an independent laboratory. The methodology for small scale environmental chamber testing was developed in cooperation with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

• Initial testing evaluates carpet against the 76 compounds listed on the California 01350 version 1.1.

• Carpet products are tested annually for emission levels for seven chemicals as required by Section 01350, plus six additional chemicals.

• Annual and quarterly testing of certified carpet is based on 24-hour chamber testing for targeted chemicals and the total level of volatile organic compounds (TVOC).

• Adhesive products are tested for emission levels for 10 chemicals as required by Section 01350, plus five additional chemicals.

• Subsequent annual and semi-annual testing of certified adhesive products is based on 24-hour chamber testing for targeted chemicals and the total level of volatile organic compounds (TVOC).

• Green Label Plus expands on Section 01350 in several respects, including annual tests for the specific chemicals, a chain of custody process and an annual audit of the testing laboratory.

The Green Label Plus symbol indicates:

• The manufacturer voluntarily participates in the program and is identified by an assigned number on the certification label.

• The manufacturer is committed to developing ways to minimize any adverse effects on indoor air quality.

• A representative sample of the product type is tested by an independent laboratory and meets the established emissions requirements.

Green Label Plus Measures Up

The Green Label Plus is an example of the Carpet and Rug Institute’s leadership in the best practices of environmental responsibility. American National Standard Institute (ANSI), the premier source for international standardization and conformity assessment, has accredited CRI for testing indoor air quality.

Green Label Plus is the first, and only, ANSI-accredited green carpet program in the U.S. An accreditation body is an impartial third party that tests and evaluates a product to determine its compliance with relevant standards.

Green Label Plus programs, which test for and certify low emissions from carpet and adhesive, comply with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Guide 65, General Requirements for Bodies Operating Product Certification Programs.

• ANSI Accreditation is a further assurance that the products tested and certified by CRI are green building products that meet high standards for indoor air quality.

CRI’s ANSI Accreditation process started in 2006 and involved audits of the green carpet programs by Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute, an ANSI team, and CRI’s third party indoor laboratory, Air Quality Science of Atlanta.

CRI wants to be known not just as the science-based source of information about carpet, but as the first stop for any and all questions about this useful floor covering.

Click on this link to see the complete list of Carpet and Rug Institute Downloadable Fact Sheets.

Next: the Seal of Approval testing and certification program for carpet cleaning.

~ Bethany


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Carpet Recycling Lessons From the UK: Werner Braun

Carpet Recycling Lessons From the UK: Werner Braun

Sheep on the farm: wool in the soil ~ carpet recycling lessons we can learn from the UK

In his July 8, 2011 column for the Dalton Daily Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute president Werner Braun discusses a fascinating program for recycling carpet in the United Kingdom. It’s another example of the many ways recycled carpet is being used to make new things, or, in this case, make old things new again. The article is titled Recycling lessons we can learn from the UK.

The article details a presentation made at the annual meeting of the Carpet America Recovery Effort,  or CARE for short. A UK company named 4Recycling Ltd is experimenting with using recycled wool carpet as a fertilizer to bring fallow fields back to verdant life in various parts of England and Wales. The vast majority of carpet used in the UK is made with an 80/20 blend of wool and synthetic fibers. Evidently, the wool provides micronutrients to the soil while the synthetic fibers serve to aerate, much like adding limestone. So far, the results have been remarkable. From the article:

“Researchers found that by grinding up wool carpet and adding the mixture to the soil, they are able to bring even the most devastated land areas, like coal strip mines and slag fields in Wales, back to life. Their experiment demonstrated that wool-rich carpet provided a valuable source of major plant nutrients and organic matter and had the enrichment value equivalent to limestone.

UK Hillside before carpet recycling
UK Hillside - Before Carpet Recycling

You can see why this would be of interest in the carpet world — groundbreaking ideas on recycling — and how we can further help the environment through reusing carpet – are always of interest to the Carpet and Rug Institute and CARE.

4Recycling tackles more than just carpet — they also have soil-enrichment programs that use sewage and water treatment sludge, wood waste, food and beverage drink residues, lime, gypsum, textiles, animal byproducts, green waste, ash, paper crumble and other residues.The recycled wastes are spread on land for agricultural use or for the manufacture of soil in land restoration.

What an incredible way to take waste byproducts generated by humans and incorporate them back into the soil! Looking at the photographs, you can see that 4Recycle has successfully brought back barren tracts of land to lush, green fields that look like something off of a postcard.

UK Hillside after carpet recycling
UK Hillside - After Carpet Recycling

It’s a great example of how we, too, can continue to improve on recycling byproducts that we may have never thought possible. I can think of countless places across this country that would greatly benefit from land restoration and fertilization.”

Thanks, Werner!

~Bethany

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Carpet and Green Building: CRI’s Jeff Carrier on Green Globes

Carpet and Green Building: CRI’s Jeff Carrier on Green Globes

Carpet and Green Building: CRI’s Jeff Carrier on Green Globes Green Building Tool ~ online platform is easy to use and cost-efficient

It’s time for an update from Jeff Carrier, the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Manager of Sustainability and Indoor Air Quality.

In addition to his duties at CRI, Jeff is a member of the board of directors of the Green Building Initiative’s Green Globes  green building program. Green Globes is an online environmental assessment tool that helps builders identify environmentally responsible building products and building methods. (See Jeff’s earlier blog article, Building It Green With Green Globes.) Green Globes offers an alternative to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program. I talked to Jeff about some of the key differences between the two programs, and what he likes about Green Globes.

BR: What has Green Globes been up to in the past year?

JC: Probably the most recent news is the launch of Green Globes for Healthcare software. The healthcare environment is tremendously vital to our communities and it makes a lot of sense that we now have the software to ensure the sustainability of these types of buildings. Probably the biggest announcement in the past year was the award of 173 Veterans Administration Hospital buildings to Green Globes. After a lengthy bid process, the VA clearly recognized the value and impact provided by Green Globes.

BR: Is it important to offer an alternative to USGBC’s LEED System? Why?

JC: I believe the more viable options available in the marketplace, the better. LEED is a valid system -- I don’t think anyone would say perfect -- but it functions. I also believe that writing a list of sustainable building attributes is not nearly as difficult as delivering that for certification. Sure, the fine points of the systems will be debated and refined as long as building certification systems are necessary, but the real trick is in the application of the system to the project. I believe that delivery is where Green Globes offers a real differentiation from LEED or other green building products.

BR: What accounts for Green Globes rapid growth?

JC: That’s a function of four things:

1) It does what it is intended to do - ensure and assess the sustainability of a building.

2) It is economical -- it compares favorably to other building certification products and has a distinct advantage over most others.

3) It’s a true consensus product as evaluated and accredited by the American National Standards Institute.

4) The software delivery platform is convenient and easy to use -- it’s intuitive and well-structured. You don’t have to be an engineer to comprehend and interact with it.

BR: What makes the platform so much easier to use?

JC: It’s an integrated package that brings your project together in a cohesive system. Commissioning,  as I understand, is much more streamlined than other building certification products. As for the Green Globes Professional training, it is also software-based and uses multimedia presentations to teach the essentials of how to work with the Green Globes software. Green Globes Assessor,naturally, is much more in-depth. However, it stays with the concept of multimedia software to guide the prospective assessor through the training process.

BR: What challenges does Green Globes face?

JC: Obviously, the economic slump of the past few years has made it tough on everybody. Despite that, people are still certifying the sustainability of their buildings.

I think another challenge is that LEED is very widely recognized in the market and many people don’t know that there is a viable and attractive option. The Green Building Initiative president Ward Hubbell has done a fantastic job working to ensure that Green Globes is recognized equally to LEED in state and federal legislation. Twenty-two states recognize Green Globes, and the platform is mentioned specifically in legislation. He and the rest of The Green Building Initiative staff have obviously been very successful with the federal government as well.

Thanks, Jeff!

Do you have questions for Jeff about Green Globes? Let us know in the comments.

~ Bethany

Friday, July 22, 2011

Healthcare, Facility Managers Carpet Sustainability Facts

CRI's Healthcare, Facility Manager Carpet Sustainability Facts

Caring For Patients and the Environment

~The Facts about Carpet and Sustainability for Healthcare Administrators and Facility Managers

This is the 16th in a series of 18 articles designed to share some of the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) best online assets – a collection of downloadable fact sheets.

Developed as easy-to-use, one-page position statements, the CRI Fact Sheets cover four main carpet-related topic areas: Indoor Air Quality, Asthma and Allergy, Cleaning Products, and Environmental Sustainability.

Each of these topics is addressed from the perspective of various market segments: carpet dealers and consumers; architects, designers and builders; school administrators and facility managers, and healthcare administrators and facility managers. There are also separate fact sheets explaining CRI’s Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality and Seal of Approval carpet cleaning standards – 18 fact sheets in all.

The fact sheet on sustainability for healthcare administrators and facility managers begins,

"By choosing carpet, you’re being responsible both to patients and the environment. The industry is taking steps to reduce its environmental footprint. Energy and emissions have been drastically cut. And old carpet is being recycled back into new carpet production, or for alternative uses like building materials and auto parts. They’re steps that can make us all feel better today, and into the future." It continues:

What You Should Know About Susatainability for Healthcare Administrators and Facility Managers:

• Through the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), carpet companies are taking the initiative to work with government entities and product suppliers to develop market-based solutions for the recycling and use of post-consumer carpet. For more information, visit carpetrecovery.org.

• It is estimated that carpet recycling efforts currently have saved over 1.5 billion pounds of waste from being deposited in U.S. landfills.

• The industry works with individual healthcare facilities on recycling efforts. One example is Boulder Community Foothills Hospital (BCFH) in Colorado. The hospital used carpet tile with high-recycled content in its new maternity and pediatric service facility. The new carpet tile has 63 percent recycled content.

• The industry has also taken steps to be more green in carpet production. It is one of the only industries in the United States that voluntarily meets the Kyoto Protocol for carbon dioxide emissions. The emissions level today is the same as it was in 1990 – even though the industry produces 47 percent more product.

• The amount of energy used to produce a square yard of carpet has fallen 70% since 1990. The amount of water used has dropped 46% in the same time period.

• Learn more in the CRI Sustainability Reports on the CRI website.

CRI wants to be known not just as the science-based source of information about carpet, but as the first stop for any and all questions about this useful floor covering.

Click on this link for the complete list of Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Downloadable Fact Sheets.

Next – The facts about CRI’s Seal of Approval program for carpet cleaning products and equipment.

~Bethany






Thursday, July 21, 2011

Google 'Carpet Cleaning Solutions' For CRI's SOA Listings

Google 'Carpet Cleaning Solutions' For CRI's SOA Listings

"Go ahead, Google us" says CRI's Werner Braun. Search on 'carpet cleaning solutions' leads to Seal of Approval (SOA) listings.

On July 15, 2011, the Dalton, Georgia Daily-Citizen newspaper ran a column by Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun titled, “Go Ahead, Google Us”.

The article talks about using the Internet to find great solutions for keeping carpets clean using CRI Seal of Approval-certified vacuums, cleaning solutions, cleaning systems, equipment and service providers. According to the article, typing the term “carpet cleaning solutions” will lead a searcher to the Seal of Approval (SOA) listings. What's most important in delivering 'carpet cleaning solutions'? Vacuums which the CRI tests and certifies.

Under the SOA program, vacuums are tested for how effectively a machine removes and contains soil, without damaging the carpet. According to the article:

“These three steps are important because 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.

Something new we’re testing for is how well vacuum cleaners remove dust mites. For an improved indoor air quality (IAQ) it is important that vacuums remove all dust mites, and not just trap and hold them.

Vacuums that pass the SOA testing are labeled at the Bronze, Silver or Gold level, depending on the percentage of soil removed. A recent development is the testing for dust mite removal as well as soil.

The CRI Seal of Approval program identifies effective carpet cleaning solutions and equipment that clean carpet right the first time and protect a facility’s carpet investment. Not all products clean well enough to earn the Seal of Approval distinction, so look for the blue and green CRI Seal of Approval as proof that you are purchasing or using a quality product.

So later today when you “Google” the Carpet and Rug Institute, make sure you click on our website, www.carpet-rug.org, where you can find a full list of these products (from vacuum cleaners to spot removers). Because just like Google suggests, we’re known for our carpet cleaning solutions, and are here to help you with all your carpet cleaning questions and needs.”

Thanks, Werner.

~Bethany

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Allergy Advice: Clean Carpets, Don't Remove Them

Reader's Digest Allergy Advice: Clean Carpets, Don't Remove Them

Readers’ Digest Advice for Allergy Sufferers: Clean your carpets, don’t remove them.

An article in the British version of Readers Digest titled, “15 Ways to Combat Allergies” has this to say about keeping carpets healthy for asthma and allergy sufferers:

Steam vacuum your furniture and carpets and include a solution of disodium octaborate tetrahydrate (DOT), a boron-based product, in the water. A 2004 study published in the journal Allergy found DOT cut dust mite populations and their associated allergen levels to undetectable levels for up to six months.

The article also recommends:

• Getting enough vitamin C

• Taking a fish oil supplement every day

• Eating chicken instead of beef – reduce trans fats

• Clean out gutters – to keep water from leaking into the house and causing mold

• Keep the bathroom door open when you bathe or shower – to avoid moisture build-up

• Wash your shower curtain with bleach every month – to reduce mold

• Don’t overwater plants – to avoid mold on the soil

• Declutter your closets – too much stuff means more dust and dust mite allergen

• Keep furry pets out of your bedroom

• Leave your shoes at the door – socks only inside

• Avoid foods containing monosodium benzoate

• Use a door mat made out of synthetic material – natural fibers, like hemp or coir provide a feeding ground for mold, mites

• Clean the tray from under your refrigerator

• Wash bed sheets and mattress pad in hot water every week

• Clean the tray under the fridge with a bleach solution and sprinkle with salt – the tray is a mold magnet and the salt will impede bacteria growth

Good advice – I’ll be pulling out that fridge tray this weekend (before I dive into clearing those gutters and pulling my shower curtain down). So much to look forward to! :-)

To read the entire article, click on this link titled 15 Ways to Combat Allergies.  Let me know in the comments which ways you find most effective for combatting your allergies.

~Bethany

Friday, July 15, 2011

School Administrator, Facility Manager Carpet Sustainability Facts

School Administrator, Facility Manager Carpet Sustainability Facts

Putting Sustainability Lessons to Work

~The Facts about Carpet and Sustainability for School Administrators and Facility Managers

This is the 15th in a series of 18 articles is designed to share some of the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) best online assets – a collection of downloadable fact sheets. Developed as easy-to-use, one-page position statements, the CRI Fact Sheets cover four main carpet-related topic areas: Indoor Air Quality, Asthma and Allergy, Cleaning Products, and Environmental Sustainability.

Each of these topics is addressed from the perspective of various market segments: carpet dealers and consumers; architects, designers and builders; school administrators and facility managers, and healthcare administrators and facility managers. There are also separate fact sheets explaining CRI’s Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality and Seal of Approval carpet cleaning standards – 18 fact sheets in all.

The fact sheet on sustainability for school administrators and facility managers begins,

"When you choose a flooring option for your educational facility, you want it to be both cost-effective and environmentally responsible. Carpet is both. The carpet industry is taking steps to reduce the amount of carpet that ends up in landfills. Old carpet is being recycled back into new carpet production, or for alternative uses like building materials and auto parts. Choosing carpet is one more way to improve the future for your students." It cvontinues:

What You Should Know about Carpet and Sustainability for School Administrators and Facility Managers

• Through the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), carpet companies are taking the initiative to work with government entities and product suppliers to develop market-based solutions for the recycling and use of post-consumer carpet. For more information, visit carpetrecovery.org.

• The industry is working with individual educational institutions to help preserve and recycle carpet.

• Third Creek Elementary School in Statesville, NC, used recycled-content carpet to meet its “green” goal of having recycled content in more than 50 percent of the building materials for this 92,000 square-foot-facility.

• The Kennedy School at Harvard University renovated its 2,400-square-foot computer lab using carpet tiles made from six-year-old carpet that was cleaned, retextured and restyled with modern carpet designs.

• The industry has also taken steps to be more green in carpet production. It is one of the only industries in the United States that voluntarily meets the Kyoto Protocol for carbon dioxide emissions. The emissions level today is the same as it was in 1990 – even though the industry produces 47 percent more product.

• The amount of energy used to produce a square yard of carpet has fallen 70% since 1990. The amount of water used has dropped 46% in the same time period.

• The carpet industry is constantly looking for ways to continue to reduce its environmental footprint. Learn more in the CRI Sustainability Reports on the CRI website.

CRI wants to be known not just as the science-based source of information about carpet, but as the first stop for any and all questions about this useful floor covering.

Click on this link for the complete list of Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Downloadable Fact Sheets

Next – The facts about sustainability for healthcare administrators and facility managers.

~Bethany

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Carpet Manufacturer J&J Partners With Dalton Students

Carpet Manufacturer J&J Partners With Dalton Students

Carpet Surrounds Us All by Werner Braun. Article Highlights untapped partnership between CRI member manufacturer J&J and Dalton High School Students

A project that connected area students with the process of designing and marketing new carpet styles was the topic of Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun’s April 15, 2011 column for Dalton’s Daily-Citizen, titled "Carpet surrounds all of us". 

In the article, Mr. Braun describes how CRI-member manufacturer J&J Industries worked with two marketing classes from Northwest Whitfield High School.

Students were asked to name a new carpet style and develop a marketing plan based on their idea. They toured a J&J manufacturing facility and had the opportunity to ask questions of J&J executives, including company President David Jolly.

The students saw from beginning to end how carpet is made, and met with the J&J product design team who taught them about the many phases of product design. The article continues:

“When I heard about this story, I got excited because I realized that an untapped partnership between schools and the carpet industry had been born. When I think about it, how many Dalton kids have actually seen carpet being made from start to finish? And if they did, would that impact their thinking about the carpet industry?

If we, as an industry, invest in the future of our young adults through these kinds of activities then they may one day decide to invest in us. Sometimes we forget that our kids may not want to stay in Dalton because ‘it’s just carpet,’ but by showing them the job variety that Dalton can offer within the carpet industry we can provide them with possibilities they may not even have known existed.”

Thank you, Werner!

What examples have you come across of untapped partnerships between schools and the carpet industry? Let me know in the comments.

~Bethany

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

No Proof Carpet Removal Aids Allergy, Asthma Symptoms

No Proof Carpet Removal Aids Allergy, Asthma Symptoms, Doctor Says

No Proof Carpet Removal Aids Allergy, Asthma Symptoms, Doctor Says

An article in the Columbus, Ohio Dispatch echoes a point I have repeatedly heard doctors make when I talk to them at the allergy and asthma meetings I attend on behalf of the Carpet and Rug Institute. Although some doctors I have spoken with admit they recommend patients remove their carpet, they also note that there is no proof that doing so will make their allergy or asthma symptoms any better. As one allergist from Manhattan remarked to me, “Very few of my patients sleep on their floors.”

The article, titled, “Many products claim to reduce allergens”, lists the most effective ways of avoiding allergens in the home and identifies which ones of the many anti-allergy products available - air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and allergy-resistant bedding, for example – are worth the money. Here’s an excerpt from the article.

’There are a lot of companies making a lot of money on our paranoia," said Dr. Don McNeil, an allergist and immunologist at Midwest Allergy & Asthma Clinic. "What I tell patients is, generally speaking, the more money you spend, the less benefit you get from it."

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, Americans spend $10 billion a year on products such as special floor coverings, washing machines, bedding and toys.

To help consumers, the foundation tests products to determine whether they can be certified by the group as "asthma- and allergy-friendly."

Physicians warn their patients not to be swayed by claims that products will improve air quality and remove allergens.

McNeil said people can do a lot on their own, such as keeping basements dry to get rid of mold, getting rid of cats or dogs if they're the problem, and removing carpet from bedrooms. Doctors say hardwood floors are better than carpet in limiting dust.

But there's nothing to suggest that, if you rip your carpet out ... that that's worth the investment,’ said Dr. Princess Ogbogu, an allergist and immunologist at Ohio State University Medical Center.

She recommends vacuuming once a week to keep the dust down and leaving the room for 30 minutes afterward to let everything settle.”

In the article, doctors also said the products most worth the money for allergy sufferers are anti-allergy covers for pillows, mattresses, box springs and bedding to help combat dust mites.

For asthma sufferers, doctors said the most important thing to stay away from is cigarette smoke. "The single worst thing for children with asthma is to be in a home with smoking."

You can find a list of the most effective vacuums at removing soil and protecting the air inside your home on the CRI website, under the section for Seal of Approval vacuums.

There are also links to CRI-certified Service Providers – carpet cleaning professionals who use the best equipment, products and methods to deep clean your carpet. Just enter your zip code to find the ones in your neighborhood. 

~Bethany

Friday, July 8, 2011

Architect, Designer & Builder Carpet Sustainability Facts

Architect, Designer & Builder Carpet Sustainability Facts

Carpet Comes With Responsibility Built In.

~The Facts about Carpet and Sustainability for Architects, Designers and Builders

This is the 14th in a series of 18 articles is designed to share some of the Carpet and Rug Institute’s (CRI) best online assets – a collection of downloadable fact sheets.

Developed as easy-to-use, one-page position statements, the CRI Fact Sheets cover four main carpet-related topic areas: Indoor Air Quality, Asthma and Allergy, Cleaning Products, and Environmental Sustainability.

Each of these topics is addressed from the perspective of various market segments: carpet dealers and consumers; architects, designers and builders; school administrators and facility managers, and healthcare administrators and facility managers. There are also separate fact sheets explaining CRI’s Green Label Plus Indoor Air Quality and Seal of Approval carpet cleaning standards – 18 fact sheets in all.

The fact sheet on sustainability for architects, designers and builders begins,

“Carpet is designed to look great and last for years. The carpet industry is also designing ways to reduce its carbon footprint. Manufacturers are voluntarily addressing this problem by recycling old carpet materials into new carpet production or alternative uses such as building materials and auto parts. As well as refurbishing old carpet into new carpet tiles. Because less waste means a better future for us all.” It continues:

What You Should Know About Carpet Sustainability Facts for Architects, Designers and Builders:

• Through the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), carpet companies are taking the initiative to work with government entities and product suppliers to develop market-based solutions for the recycling and use of post-consumer carpet. For more information, visit carpetrecovery.org.

• It is estimated that carpet recycling efforts currently have saved more than 1.5 billion pounds of waste from being deposited in U.S. landfills.

• You can earn LEED points by incorporating salvaged materials– such as refurbished, reused or recycled carpet – into plans for new construction or renovation. Recycled content carpet meets the same industry performance standards, and carries the same manufacturer warranties, as carpet without recycled content.

• The industry has also taken steps to be more green in carpet production. It is one of the only industries in the United States that voluntarily meets the Kyoto Protocol for carbon dioxide emissions. The emissions level today is the same as it was in 1990 – even though the industry produces 47 percent more product.

• The amount of energy used to produce a square yard of carpet has fallen 70% since 1990. The amount of water used has dropped 46% in the same time period.

• The carpet industry is constantly looking for ways to continue to reduce its environmental footprint. Learn more in the CRI Sustainability Reports on the CRI website.

CRI wants to be known not just as the science-based source of information about carpet, but as the first stop for any and all questions about this useful floor covering.

Click on this link for the complete list of Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Downloadable Fact Sheets.

Next – The facts about sustainability for school administrators and facility managers.

~Bethany

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Creative Learning Approach With Carpet By Werner Braun

Creative Learning Approach With Carpet By Werner Braun
Flooring expert Lew Migliore helps teacher
Michael Duncan with a 'sticky' problem

Carpet Helps Teacher Take a Creative Approach to Learning

Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun’s April 1, 2011 column titled "A creative approach to learning" in Dalton’s Daily Citizen  talks about how one local teacher is using carpet as a teaching tool to help his students solve math problems – and how a local flooring expert helped the teacher solve a problem of his own.

The article describes how Michael Duncan, an eighth grade math teacher at Ashworth Middle School in Calhoun, Georgia, used masking tape to make a graph on the carpet in his classroom. A true “hands-on” experience, students use rope and weights to graph linear and non-linear equations. Nifty, wouldn’t you agree?

But there was a problem: Duncan realized he needed to find a piece of material large enough to cover up the 12-by-12-foot graph for the upcoming Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT). According to test rules, everything in a classroom that is considered a teaching material must be covered up during the standardized testing. Duncan knew he must either cover the graph or tear it apart. That’s when, Braun says in the article, Duncan asked CRI for help.

“I remembered seeing a presentation given by Lew Migliore of LGM & Associates on a Velcro carpet protector that attaches itself to the floor. Made from reinforced paper with a thin polyethylene (waterproof) topping and strips of Velcro, the cover can be put down over the tape graph without destroying it. Migliore also shared that the material won’t be a safety hazard because it’s as thin as paper and the end of the material caps to the floor with Velcro.

Migliore visited Duncan’s classroom down in Calhoun and donated enough of the Velcro cover to put down two layers so the kids can’t see any of it. The material is reusable, convenient to store, and Migliore provided the classroom with extra for any future needs.

I’ve seen many examples of innovative and unique uses for carpet, but this tale of Duncan and his interactive graph is quickly becoming one of my favorites. I admire his creative approach to teaching a subject that most kids have a hard time understanding. I’m proud to have had a hand in helping recognize one teacher’s dedication to teaching our children important math standards and keeping them engaged and curious in the classroom.”

Thank you, Werner.

~Bethany

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

EPR Update From Carpet and Rug Institute's Mendez

CRI's Jennifer Mendez on EPR Update

EPR Update: Carpet and Rug Institute Government Relations Director Jennifer Mendez talks about current trends and what’s pending in state legislatures on product stewardship

Jennifer Mendez, the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Director of Government Affairs, monitors potentially harmful legislation across all 50 state legislatures (and the District of Columbia).

She has been closely following the introduction of Extended Producer Responsibility Legislation (EPR), which mandates manufacturers pay the costs of disposing of their products. With AB 2398, the nation’s first carpet-specific product stewardship law set to take effect in California this week, I thought it was a good time to talk to Jenn about what she has seen so far this year.

BR: How did all this get started?

JM: There are a number of theories on how the EPR movement in the U.S. began and how it gained momentum. In Europe and Canada, these types of programs have been in existence and in some cases (depending on the product) have even been successful. In other cases, they have not been so successful. I believe that the existence of at least some successful programs, combined with severe budget issues in the states, has driven legislators to look for ways to relieve their states’ cost burdens. Many times EPR legislation includes language to the effect that “the burden would be off the taxpayer”…but isn’t the consumer the taxpayer as well?

(See related blog posts:
BR: What is the goal of EPR legislation from the standpoint of state governments?

JM: I believe in many cases the goal of EPR legislation is budget relief in the states, while at the same time attempting to adopt legislation that is seen as “environmentally friendly”. Sadly, in many cases, there is no lifecycle cost analysis associated with these types of bills and the cost burden to manufacturers to produce products that are acceptable in legislators’ eyes doesn’t make good business sense and can actually harm manufacturers.

BR: What is the current status of EPR legislation introduced or pending in the U.S.?

JM: There are two types of EPR legislation: framework, which is very broad and may include any number of products (and often tasks the state EPA with identifying additional products in future years), and product-specific, which does what it says - targets particular products. So far in the U.S., only one framework bill has passed, in 2010 in the State of Maine. A number of states have introduced framework bills that have failed to pass (CA, IA, OR, MN and VT).

Currently, there are states still in session where legislation is pending, specifically RI and MA (in both MA and RI, CRI has testified in opposition to these bills). California is the only state to successfully pass a carpet-specific piece of legislation. Implementation for that bill begins on July 1!

The state of Washington attempted to pass a bill similar to the California bill but was unsuccessful. There are a number of other industries that have been targeted. In 25 states there are e-waste bills and the paint industries as well as mattresses have been the focus of legislation as well. This type of legislation is becoming pervasive and it’s not going to go away in the 2012 legislative session!

BR: What possible impact does EPR pose for the carpet industry and the jobs it provides?

JM: EPR legislation is often touted as creating green jobs, and that is true. What is not referenced are the manufacturing jobs that would be affected on the front end. As you know, carpet is one of the very few manufacturing industries remaining in the U.S.; others have gone offshore. Often, this type of legislation tries to mandate manufacturing practices (types of raw goods used, use of recycled content, etc.) These types of restrictions and regulation on how manufacturers are allowed to function can have an impact on jobs.

BR: What is the carpet industry’s current stance?

JM: The carpet industry is currently opposed to this type of legislation, both framework and product-specific. Several states have suggested that if this type of legislation works in CA it can work in their state. California is a unique situation (it’s the 5th largest economy in the world). What works in California (which still remains to be seen), may not be the least bit successful elsewhere. CRI stresses that it would like to see how the program in California progresses before other states undertake similar programs. If states do decide to head in the direction of carpet-specific legislation, we believe it is critical for industry to have a seat at the table.

BR: What are the short and longer-term strategies for working with legislators on EPR issues?

JM: Educate, educate, educate! There are some legislators who are completely unfamiliar with the issue as a whole; there are legislators who are unfamiliar with our industry and its economic impact on and importance to the U.S. economy. It is important to build relationships and work with both sides of the aisle to educate legislators. Sometimes people ask me “what does a lobbyist do?” – I like to say we’re like teachers; we have an expertise in a subject area where legislators are attempting to create public policy. It’s my job to share the knowledge I have so that policy doesn’t adversely impact our industry.

Thank you, Jenn, for this timely update.

What questions do you have about EPR that we haven't addressed? Let us know in the comments below.

~Bethany

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy July 4th, CRI Blog Readers!

Happy July 4th, CRI Blog Readers!

Happy 4th of July to all CRI Blog readers!

May everyone give thanks for the blessings of freedom and celebrate from sea to shining sea!

From the staff of the Carpet and Rug Institute and the Carpet America Recovery Effort –

Anthony, Bethany, Frank, Georgina, James, Jason, Jeff, Jennifer, Joy, Ken, Linda, Louise, Pat H., Pat J., Ryan, Susan, and Werner


Image Courtesy: Patriotic Rug on Amazon
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