October 27/November 3, 2014; Volume 28/Number 10
Manufacturers, groups develop new methods of disclosing product details
By Jenna Lippin
New Orleans—Following a year that focused on product transparency, Greenbuild 2014 saw a continued emphasis on the movement with an increasing amount of manufacturers developing new ways to display product and production ingredients and methods.
Forbo, for example, was touting a label system called USEtox, which breaks down a list of ingredients and explains how they affect the health of users and the environment. According to Lori Lagana, marketing manager, the company is working on furthering the next stage of transparency. “We’re not at full transparency. EPDs [environmental product declarations] and HPDs [health product declarations] are not full transparency. You need to take the information and apply it to the actual products and how it impacts your health.”
She added that Forbo’s message is about the phases of transparency and advancing the movement. “While everyone is familiar with EPDs, and now everybody is pretty much familiar with HPDs, we’ve moved on to talking about a subject similar to how you wouldn’t buy a food product without knowing what’s in it and how it impacts your body. A complaint we hear is how there is no way to measure how a product truly impacts your body, and there is with USEtox. Basically what we’re telling people is you wouldn’t put this in your body without knowing what’s in it and how it affects your body. You can request the same thing from product manufacturers.”
In terms of product, the company highlighted its Marmoleum Modular offering at Greenbuild, particularly the Striato collection, with striated wood tones in 15 colors that progress from light to dark.
Also focusing on its green story, particularly in relation to Cradle to Cradle certification, was Shaw Contract Group. The company shares a philosophy with Cradle to Cradle and is trying to get to 100% less hazardous waste and 100% less waste going to landfill while cutting energy and water usage, explained Wanda Dunaway, director of education and government markets. “We’re trying to get a little better every year, and we have some lofty goals for 2030; you have to be a Cradle to Cradle company to get to those goals. We’re not just about not doing harm; the Cradle to Cradle philosophy is that you have products that go back into themselves.” Shaw Contract Group’s entire EcoWorx platform is Cradle to Cradle certified.
Also a focus at Greenbuild for Shaw Contract was its Cut and Compose collection. A portion of the proceeds from Cut and Compose sales will go to the Center for Green Schools to support its mission of healthy and sustainable schools. The product will launch Dec. 1; Greenbuild served as a preview.
Shaw’s residential division was also active at Greenbuild as Shaw Floors had product featured in the 2014 Living-Home. The 1,500-square-foot modular home that was situated in the middle of the show floor meets LEED v4 Platinum requirements and was available for tours at the show before its move to the Lower Ninth Ward, becoming part of the Make it Right Foundation’s Katrina efforts. The products from Shaw featured in the LivingHome include American Restoration Epic engineered hardwood and Fired Hickory porcelain tile. American Restoration is Cradle to Cradle certified Silver, while Fired Hickory features 40% recycled content.
In addition to the Living-Home, another popular stop on the Greenbuild floor was Interface’s space, which featured an interactive wall with materials such as natural salt, feathers and branches—materials that demonstrate how a cold, loud space can be changed to help inspire people.
“Our message is an expansion and continuation of the story of biophilic design,” said John Wells, president and CEO. “This idea of biophilia is sort of man’s relationship with nature and how that’s now really a big critical piece in the built environment.”
The company’s Human Nature line, introduced earlier this year, is a continuation from last year’s Net Effect, which came from the Net-Works program. Net-Works was a major initiative for Interface, which is made from fishing nets collected by Aquafil to help create Econyl fiber for carpet.
Human Nature comes in a long, skinny plank format that has been successful with designers because it allows for design versatility. “The cool thing is it mimics nature with a pebble texture and smooth blends,” said Lauren White, interactive marketing manager. “This is how nature would design a floor versus something that stays consistent across the entire space.”
MP Global’s green message reflected how its products take what would normally be “tossed out” in the textile industry and turned into sustainable flooring underlayment, said Deanna Summers, marketing director. “Our primary message is getting people to understand the things they put underneath their flooring do impact their health, their budgets and their overall way of living while helping increase comfort.”
At the show MP Global showcased its “bread and butter,” QuietWalk in addition to its LVT-specific LuxWalk, which includes fibers made from recycled soda bottles.
Roppe was also emphasizing product from the vinyl segment, namely its Health and Learning line that comes in a coordinating pallet of both rubber and vinyl. Because the company has always focused on resilient, sustainable flooring with its popular rubber products, environmental initiatives are nothing new for Roppe.
“We’ve always been a partner with FloorScore,” said Dee Dee Brickner, marketing coordinator. “There’s a lot of different third-party certification we’re looking into now.
“People are concerned with different types of flooring and sustainability, but we’re continuing to push our sustainability message that rubber flooring is recyclable.”
Net Zero Zone
Hanley Wood, The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and EMerge Alliance unveiled the world’s first Net Zero Zone at Greenbuild 2014, making it the first conference and expo to have space where booths are fully powered by an on-site microgrid including alternate energy generation and distribution. “This is an important step for the trade show industry and sends a strong message to the entire green building movement that hybrid power in buildings is both popular and practical,” said Lindsay Roberts, Greenbuild’s show director.
The official launch of the Net Zero Zone took place on Wed., Oct. 22, with Brendan Owens, vice president, LEED technical development, USGBC; Rick McConnell, president of Hanley Wood, and Roberts acting as the official “plug pullers.”
The Net Zero Pavilion, a specially designated exhibit area inside Greenbuild’s expo hall powered by the microgrid, showcased 11 exhibitors in 1,500 square feet of exhibit space, while the Net Zero Networking Lounge hosted sponsor representatives and educational presentations available to all show attendees.
“The Net Zero Zone illustrates one of the main themes of this year’s conference: resiliency,” said Kate Hurst, director of conferences and events, USGBC. “At USGBC, we can’t think of a better place than New Orleans or a more important venue than the largest sustainable building conference in the world to introduce this evolved approach to electric power.”