A Certifier’s Perspective on Flooring

The Sustainability Assessment for Carpet standard (NSF/ANSI 140)
The Sustainability Assessment for Carpet standard (NSF/ANSI 140) addresses multiple environmental and social criteria focused in five areas of performance: manufacturing processes; reclamation and end-of-life management; energy usage and energy efficiency; use of biobased, recycled or environmentally preferable materials; and steps to minimize adverse public health, environment and community impacts.

The Sustainability Assessment for Resilient Floor Coverings standard (NSF/ ANSI 332)
The Sustainability Assessment for Resilient Floor Coverings standard (NSF/ ANSI 332) assesses product performance based on six key environmental and social criteria: product design, product manufacturing, long-term value, end-oflife management, corporate governance and innovation.

Imola, Italy-based Cooperativa Ceramica d’Imola’s Etnea New ceramic tile has achieved Green Squared certification. Click to learn more.

Imola, Italy-based Cooperativa Ceramica d’Imola’s Etnea New ceramic tile has achieved Green Squared certification. Click to learn more.

Other trends in the green-building industry that will increasingly be seen in the flooring sector are Health Product Declarations and Environmental Product Declarations based on life-cycle assessment (LCA). LCA methods, which evaluate impacts through the product life cycle, are rapidly evolving to streamline data collection and costs while simultaneously supporting greater environmental transparency about products. These advances also make it possible to certify “environmentally preferable products”, or EPP, the gold standard of environmental performance claims reserved for products with lower impacts than competing products. For example, Antron Lumena and Antron Legacy carpet fibers manufactured by Invista, North Wichita, Kan., have been certified as EPP by SCS, based on a comprehensive LCA demonstrating outstanding environmental performance across-the-board.

Asking the Right Questions

As certification has gained traction, so have the challenges in determining the validity of certification, the rigor of the assessment and the meaning of the certificate. To be confident the products you are specifying have achieved the certifications claimed, ask your supplier the following questions:

  • What certifications do you have?
  • What documentation can you provide to prove that you have been certified and that the certification is currently valid?
  • Who is the accredited certification body?

Certification bodies are also a good resource to help you validate manufacturer claims. For instance, the SCS Resource Center,
services pages, and certified products and clientsdirectories will help you learn more about what each certification means, the certification process involved, and the legal or voluntary standards (LEED v4, BREEAM) that recognize the certification. Additionally, the certified product directory allows you to confirm the date of certificate issuance, the certification validity period and the products covered under the certificate.

Online Buzz:

Check out the SCS certified products and clients directories.

Resources

• The World Floor Covering Association, Anaheim, Calif., and TLC’s Designing Spaces produced a video segment on green flooring.
• The Cashiers, N.C.-based Designers Market reviews a wide range of flooring materials and has put together a green tip sheet.
• A useful guide to environmentally friendly wood flooring has been published by the Fairfield, Iowa-based Green Building Supply Home Center and Pennsauken, N.J.-based EcoTimber.

About the Author

Linda Brown
Linda Brown is senior vice president of SCS Global Services, Emeryville, Calif. SCS has more than 30 years’ experience as a third-party certifier of environmental and sustainable claims.

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