5 Indicators that are used in the US for sustainable resilients.
Over the last few years, there has been a great deal of focus on the environmental impacts of building materials, and resilient flooring seems to have become more widely recognised as a sustainable selection. The following five attributes should be pointed out to customers:
Documented Sustainability in US to guide specifiers
Four tools are available to verify the environmental performance of resilient products:
• Product Transparency Declarations (PTDs). PTDs disclose product ingredients and indicate if any are listed as hazards at specific exposure levels on the five most used regulatory lists in the U.S.
• Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). These are the equivalent of a sustainability “nutrition label” and provide a comprehensive disclosure of a product’s environmental impact over its lifecycle. It helps specifiers and purchasers assess environmental attributes and facilitates product evaluation and comparison.
• NSF/ANS/332 Sustainability Standard for Resilient Floor Coverings. Products and manufacturing practices are evaluated by NSF International, an independent sustainability organisation, and may be awarded certification at one of four levels.
• FloorScore. FloorScore tests and certifies resilient flooring for compliance with indoor air quality emission requirements adopted in California.
Long Lifecycle and Recyclability
To truly understand a product’s environmental impact, its entire lifecycle should be evaluated. Vinyl resilient floors derive extreme durability from the inherent performance characteristics of vinyl. They will perform successfully for decades with minimal maintenance, and by eliminating replacement costs, raw materials and the energy required to manufacture shorter lifecycle products. Based on the hierarchy of reduce-reuse-recycle, vinyl flooring performs exceptionally well.
Poor indoor air quality can contribute to a variety of health problems and FloorScore has become an accepted indicator of the indoor air quality associated with resilient flooring. The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) systems specifically cite FloorScore as an indicator of IAQ.
Vinyl takes less energy to produce than many competing materials. Its principle raw material is chlorine derived from common salt – an abundant and inexpensive resource that displaces a significant amount of fossil fuel that would otherwise be required. Vinyl also has low thermal conductivity, so vinyl resilient flooring has excellent insulation properties and reduces the burden on airconditioning systems.
History of Safe Use
Resilient flooring offers numerous sustainable benefits, with many of them derived from the inherent performance characteristics of vinyl. Scientific studies from around the world support the long-term human health and safety advantages of vinyl products. As vinyl has been used for more than half a century, it is one of the most analysed and tested materials with its manufacturing process posing minimal risk to workers and the environment.
For more information about resilient flooring and its green benefits go to: www.rfci.com
Acknowledgement and thanks are given to Floor Trends magazine and its author Dean Thompson, president of the Resilient Floor Covering Institute, for the information contained in this article. To see the full version of the story visit www.floortrendsmag.com.