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Living Product Expo: Tarkett pushes boundaries of sustainable building

October 9/16, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 9

By Ken Ryan

 

Screen Shot 2017-10-17 at 9.43.16 AMPittsburgh—There are flooring companies that like to stake their claim to the “green” label when, in reality, their products mostly meet baseline certification for sustainability. And then there are those few companies that take responsible manufacturing to an entirely different plane.

That short list includes Tarkett.

From eco-design and installation to recycling and reuse, Tarkett has demonstrated over decades a commitment to continuously developing products with the planet and people in mind.

Tarkett North America has applied cradle-to-cradle principles to product development since 2011 and today holds more product and material certifications (175) than all other flooring manufacturers. “Having so many products and materials cradle-to-cradle certified demonstrates our commitment to both the built environment and the planet as a whole,” said Diane Martel, vice president of environmental planning and strategy for Tarkett North America.

Martel was a presenter at the Living Product Expo in Pittsburgh in September. She took part in a seminar titled: “Can PVC be made into a Living Product?” PVC, which is used in most manufacturing of vinyl flooring, has several advantages, including low cost and ease of replacing individual tiles. However, PVC is not inherently green, experts say. In fact, it has been called “the poison plastic” because the emissions from PVC—at certain levels—can create health hazards such as dioxins and furans, two of the most toxic chemicals on the planet.

During the discussion, Martel argued that PVC could be a sustainable product if done responsibly. “It’s about cleaning up the chemistry of PVC. We’re taking other people’s wastage streams and finding potential use for it. PVC is extremely easy to recycle. We should be closing the loop on PVC.”

By “we” she means the flooring industry at large. Tarkett wants to work with other companies to find solutions that will benefit the planet. “We can only solve this if we collaborate and people adhere to something that is actionable and reasonable,” Martel explained. “We find that opening the door to collaboration and cooperation is really the path to take. You have to be in a place where everyone is rowing the same direction. As a company, as an industry, as a planet and as a world, we have to be doing that.”

Tarkett will be doing its part. “We value our position as a global leader in sustainable flooring, and see these certifications as a way to guide our industry toward creating products that are better for people and better for the environment,” Martel added.

Among Tarkett’s achievements:

  • It is a partner of the World Economic Forum on circular economy, climate change and quality of life in the urban environment.
  • It was the first flooring producer to deploy phthalate-free vinyl flooring in North America.
  • Tarkett launched fully transparent Material Health Statements in 2016.
  • The company continually improves the chemistry within products to improve the built environment, including removing ortho-phthalates from products and developing Eco-Ensure, a fluorine-free soil protection technology for all Powerbond and modular products.

Sustainability’s evolution
When Martel took on her role as VP of sustainability a decade ago, she said sustainability was a lot about the planet (i.e., waste reduction, water reduction) but today it is a more balanced, holistic approach.

Rudi Daelmans, director of sustainability for Tarkett, said sustainability is evolving to what he termed “system thinking,” where everything is connected—the nutrients in the water, the safety materials, indoor air quality. “It is still evolving. It is a continuous drive toward sustainable business, which will drive innovation and new products. Staying on top of things and concentrating on sustainability makes you push your boundaries. If sustainability drives innovation you will have a company that is profitable and lasting.”

On the subject of innovation, Tarkett recently launched a backing material through its Tandus Centiva brand called ethos Modular with omnicoat technology. According to the company, ethos products are PVC-free and made from recycled PVB film commonly found in the abundantly available waste from automobile windshields and safety glass. In addition, ethos Modular is cradle-to-cradle certified Silver v3.1 and SCS Global Certified NSF 140 Platinum. Depending on the specified product, the total overall recycled content ranges from 26% to 51%. ethos is 100% recyclable through Tarkett’s ReStart program.

Paul Evans, vice president of R&D, Tarkett North America, said ethos addresses one of the most long-standing issues in new construction and renovation, namely moisture or other adverse flooring conditions that require costly delays in time as well as the potential for testing and remediation.

“Just as importantly, we make the backing using PVB derived from the recycling of film found in windshields and other safety glass, because a product that’s good for the health of those who use it and is made with respect to the environment begins with quality materials sourced properly.”

 

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Mohawk seeks to raise the bar on sustainability

April 24/May 1, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 23

By Reginald Tucker

 

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 10.08.24 AMCalhoun, Ga.—Mohawk Industries recently released its 2016 Sustainability Report, a 36-page document that paints a comprehensive picture of the company’s innovation, passion and commitment to a better tomorrow while illustrating its role as a leader in sustainable technology.

In 2016 alone, process improvements, product re-engineering and equipment upgrades positively impacted Mohawk’s productivity by $140 million. The depth of these savings reflects hundreds of unique projects across the enterprise, most of which deliver environmental benefits. These range from state-of-the-art equipment that’s less energy intensive to improved freight logistics that reduce carbon emissions to paperless sales and administrative processes that save time and eliminate waste.

“In 2016, our company enjoyed a record year, but our financial results are only one measure of our success,” said Jeff Lorberbaum, Mohawk’s chairman and CEO. “Today, as the world’s largest flooring company, we also assess our performance by the significant and positive impact we make through all aspects of our business. Our sustainability practices reflect the commitment of our company and the passion of our people. We continue to push the boundaries of sustainability with innovative new products and processes because we believe in—and are willing to invest in—a better tomorrow.”

The report notes Mohawk’s progress in corporate responsibility and sustainability. In summary, the company:

  • Recycles 7.1 billion pounds of waste a year.
  • Has reduced its use of water by 277 million gallons since 2015.
  • Since 2010, has reduced its greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity by 12.8%, its energy intensity by 1.9% and its water intensity by 35%.
  • Recycles 5.4 billion plastic bottles annually.
  • Recycles 25 million pounds of tires into doormats.

Many of Mohawk’s achievements in sustainability come from the company’s continuous journey to decrease the environmental footprint of its products and operations. For example, the report details an environmentally friendly approach to cooling water at Mohawk’s vinyl flooring plant in Belgium; how the Glasgow, Va., carpet tile plant is tackling the global pollinator crisis; and a mobile material recycler that can process up to 30 tons of scrap material per hour for ceramic tile plants in Tennessee, Alabama and Texas.

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 10.08.29 AMThe report also highlights Mohawk’s sizeable product portfolio that leads the industry in sustainable technology. Mohawk is the world’s largest ceramic tile producer, and more than 450 of the company’s tile products contain pre- and post-consumer recycled content. Similarly, as the largest laminate flooring manufacturer in the U.S. and Europe, Mohawk’s products are made with predominantly recycled wood fiber and chips from sustainable sources. In commercial flooring, Mohawk Group has the industry’s largest portfolio of Red List-free products.

Some notable, innovative sustainable solutions in Mohawk’s portfolio include:

  • Airo: Mohawk’s exclusive new soft floor covering category with unified backing is manufactured almost entirely from recycled polyester and is already winning awards and kudos.
  • SmartStrand: Because soft, stain-resistant SmartStrand carpets are made with renewably sourced polymers, they require less energy to manufacture than other fibers.
  • EverStrand: Mohawk is one of the largest recyclers of PET soda and water bottles in the country, and billions of those bottles end up in Mohawk’s EverStrand carpets. (EverStrand carpets minimize the need for fossil fuels and help reduce plastic in landfills.)
  • Moduleo: Every year, Mohawk’s IVC vinyl manufacturing group reclaims up to 20,000 tons of PVC materials destined for landfills and transforms the material into the backing for Moduleo luxury vinyl tile flooring.

George Bandy, Mohawk’s vice president of sustainability, explains the thought process that drives the company’s sustainable efforts. “People spend about 90% of their time inside, so we as a company have a responsibility to ensure our products are contributing to healthy, productive, inspirational spaces.”

According to Bandy, this idea fuels the company’s breakthroughs across five pillars: design, innovation, sustainability, project solutions and operational excellence. “From our new Light Lab Design Center in Northwest Georgia to our manufacturing plants around the world, we understand and embrace that better is always possible.”

Retailers play a key role as well, Bandy noted. “They can make a difference from a design and sustainability standpoint by engaging in this process with us. Retailers can work with us to help make sustainable business more the norm than the exception by carrying this message.”

 

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Mohawk Industries releases 2016 Sustainability Report

Mohawk_Industries_logoCalhoun, Ga.—The 2016 Sustainability Report released by Mohawk Industries paints a comprehensive picture of the company’s innovation, passion and commitment to a better tomorrow.

“In 2016, our company enjoyed a record year, but our financial results are only one measure of our success,” said Jeff Lorberbaum, Mohawk’s chairman and CEO. “Today, as the world’s largest flooring company, we also assess our performance by the significant and positive impact we make through all aspects of our business. Our sustainability practices reflect the commitment of our company and the passion of our people. We continue to push the boundaries of sustainability with innovative new products and processes because we believe in—and are willing to invest in—a better tomorrow.”

In 2016 alone, process improvements, product re-engineering and equipment upgrades positively impacted Mohawk’s productivity by $140 million. “The depth of these savings reflects hundreds of unique projects across the enterprise, most of which deliver environmental benefits—from state-of-the-art equipment that’s less energy intensive to improved freight logistics that reduce carbon emissions to paperless sales and administrative processes that save time and eliminate waste,” Lorberbaum said.

The report notes Mohawk’s progress in corporate responsibility and sustainability. The company:

  • Recycles 7.1 billion pounds of waste a year
  • Has reduced its use of water by 277 million gallons since 2015
  • Since 2010, has reduced its greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity by 12.8%, its energy intensity by 1.9% and its water intensity by 35%
  • Recycles 4 billion plastic bottles annually
  • Recycles 25 million pounds of tires into doormats

Many of Mohawk’s achievements in sustainability come from the company’s continuous—and inventive—journey to decrease the environmental footprint of its products and operations. The report details an environmentally friendly approach to cooling water at Mohawk’s vinyl flooring plant in Belgium; how the Glasgow, Va., carpet tile plant is tackling the global pollinator crisis; and a mobile material recycler that can process up to 30 tons of scrap material per hour for ceramic tile plants in Tennessee, Alabama and Texas.

The report also highlights Mohawk’s sizeable product portfolio that leads the industry in sustainable technology. Mohawk is the world’s largest ceramic tile producer, and more than 450 of the company’s beautiful and durable tile products—ceramic, porcelain and mosaic—contain pre- and post-consumer recycled content. Similarly, as the largest laminate flooring manufacturer in the U.S. and Europe, Mohawk’s products are made with predominantly recycled wood fiber and chips from sustainable sources. In commercial flooring, Mohawk Group has the industry’s largest portfolio of Red List-free products.

Notable innovative sustainable solutions in Mohawk’s portfolio include:

  • Airo: Introduced in late 2016, Mohawk’s exclusive new soft floor covering category with unified backing is manufactured almost entirely from recycled polyester and is already winning awards for design and innovation. Airo reduces the physical stress on installers with its ease and speed of installation, provides long-lasting performance for consumers, contributes to a healthy home and can be completely recycled at the end of its life cycle.
  • SmartStrand: Because soft, stain-resistant SmartStrand carpets are made with renewably sourced polymers, they require less energy to manufacture than other fibers.
  • EverStrand: Mohawk is one of the largest recyclers of PET soda and water bottles in the country, and billions of those bottles end up in Mohawk’s EverStrand EverStrand carpets minimize the need for fossil fuels and help reduce plastic in landfills.
  • Moduleo: Every year, Mohawk’s IVC vinyl manufacturing group reclaims up to 20,000 tons of PVC materials destined for landfills—and transforms the material into the backing for beautiful Moduleo luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring.

“People spend about 90% of our time inside, so we as a company have a responsibility to ensure our products are contributing to healthy, productive, inspirational spaces,” said George Bandy, Mohawk’s vice president of sustainability. “Constantly working toward a better version of ourselves is a significant part of Mohawk’s DNA. This idea fuels our breakthroughs across our five pillars: design, innovation, sustainability, project solutions and operational excellence. From our new Light Lab Design Center in Northwest Georgia, which earned the state of Georgia’s first Living Building Challenge Petal certification from the International Living Future Institute, to our manufacturing plants around the world, we understand and embrace that better is always possible.”

Mohawk’s 2016 Sustainability Report is available exclusively online.

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Mohawk Group brings together all commercial divisions under one roof

 

Mohawk Group’s Light Lab, the company’s recently renovated design studio, has received Petal Certification from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) Living Building Challenge 2.
Mohawk Group’s Light Lab, the company’s recently renovated design studio, has received Petal Certification from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) Living Building Challenge 2.

By Steven Feldman

Dalton—The Mohawk Group earlier this year brought its entire commercial team under one roof, transforming the iconic building that once housed World Carpets and for years served as Mohawk’s Dalton headquarters into an eco-friendly space that is now dubbed the Light Lab.

About 80 people now call the Light Lab home. This includes Mohawk Group’s core commercial, hospitality, hospitality pre-order (floor plans, sample entry, planning and estimating) and custom divisions.

“We were previously located in three or four different areas,” said Jackie Dettmar, vice president of commercial product development and design. “It’s nice to have all our design teams together for collaboration, cross fertilization and to break down barriers between the groups.”

The space incorporates the latest design and sustainability trends. This includes both open and alternative workspaces. “Everyone has their individual workspace, but they can also work in collaboration areas,” Dettmar explained. There are also some traditional office spaces with actual doors when privacy is needed, or where a designer can work if he or she needs light blocked. “We also encourage people to work outside in our green space.”

Aside from bringing together its commercial teams, Dettmar said Mohawk Group needed a space where it could bring commercial customers. “We use it as a showroom for product but we also work with designers here in real time on custom design projects. We can run samples in our pilot plant while they are here. Then we can review and make changes, and work on visualization simulations so we can accelerate custom design projects.”

The Light Lab also comes equipped with its own “Experience Room,” where Mohawk Group can do training in the traditional sense in a space that can accommodate up to 70 people. The room can also be reconfigured for community events. “We recently hosted a Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals class,” Dettmar said.

The “building in the round’s” revamp has been in the works for a couple of years. Dettmar said the idea came up to go to Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) and collaborate with the interiors group at one of top interior design schools in the U.S. “We had 12 students who came up with ideas on how to use the space. We chose the Light Lab idea from a student named Bradley Oldem. He has since started his own design firm in Atlanta. We also took what we liked from other students and incorporated them into Bradley’s concept.”

After Mohawk finished its work with SCAD, the company started getting involved with the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) along with its Declare labels and transparency initiatives. “We thought this would be a great opportunity to work through IFLI’s Petal certification, which is similar to LEED,” Dettmar said. The Petal option provides a platform for a project to inform other efforts throughout the world and accelerate the adoption of restorative principles. “What I love about IFLI certification is beauty, health and wellness are all part of that certification. So we incorporated a lot of biophillic design initiatives and also were cognizant of health and wellness of employees. For example, everyone in the entire space gets a view of the outside. We weren’t going to put up walls. People went from basements to sunlight. The other big part is we were the first restoration in the Southwest to achieve Petal certification.”

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Mannington receives environmental award

Salem, N.J.—Mannington Mills received the 2012 Business and Industry Award from the Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin, a non-profit advocacy organization that promotes sound water resource management in the region. Continue reading Mannington receives environmental award