Posted on

Shaw to host sustainable brands webinar

Susan Farris

Dalton, Ga.—Shaw Industries is hosting a webinar with Sustainable Brands Oct. 17 at 1 p.m. with diverse organizations intently focused on products and initiatives that support the well-being of people and the planet. The webinar will explore what is driving their efforts, the challenges they’ve faced, keys to success and what’s on the horizon.

“At Shaw, we put people at the center of sustainability—what we call sustain[HUMAN]ability,” said Susan Farris, vice president of sustainability and corporate communications at Shaw. “It’s why we’re focused on the ingredients that go into products and the impacts of sound, moisture and other design elements so we can create a better future. We believe in a future comprised of spaces and places that support the well-being of people and the planet. This webinar provides the opportunity for attendees to learn from others’ successes and innovations as well as the challenges they faced in the process.”

Moderated by Farris, panelists include:

  • Perkins and Will’s Material Performance Lab co-director, Mary Dickinson
    A global architecture and design firm that ignited an industry movement toward healthy building materials in 2008 and whose Material Performance Lab continues to lead research and educate design professionals on how to choose healthier, more sustainable products.
  • HeiQ Group's co-founder & CEO, Carlo Centonze
    A leader in textile innovation that helps textile brands and manufacturers quickly identify, target and manufacture novel technologies including groundbreaking work on IKEA’s air purifying curtain concept.
  • Healthy Building Network's collective impact director, William Weber
    An organization dedicated to advancing human and environmental health who, in conjunction with the Housing Partnership Network, helps encourages the adoption of healthier materials in the affordable housing sector.

Attendees will:

  • Gain insights into the trends that are driving companies, nonprofits/NGOs and others to focus on people at the core of their sustainability efforts.
  • Understand common obstacles to change and innovation and how to overcome them.
  • Learn about the value of leveraging partnerships to achieve sustainability objectives.
Posted on

Mohawk sustainability VP opens Greenbuild Plenary


Mohawks George Bandy opens Greenbuild Plenary 2Calhoun, Ga.—George Bandy, vice president of sustainability for Mohawk Industries, heralded in the Greenbuild Plenary last week as the special session’s opening speaker. Bandy brought energy and inspiration to the main stage of the Boston Convention & Exposition Center, as he offered words on the compelling and unifying nature of the green building movement and talked about Mohawk’s own strides in sustainability.

“When we are here we are ‘all in,’” Bandy said in his speech. “We celebrate together, learn together, commiserate over common challenges and congratulate each other on individual victories. We are a family and bound by a common interest in using the built environment to shape a more sustainable future for everyone.”

Bandy joined a lineup of who’s who in green building which included Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC); Rick Fedrizzi, chairman and CEO of the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) and former CEO and founding chair of the USGBC; and the evening’s keynote, former President Bill Clinton.

Presented by USGBC, Greenbuild is the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. The conference attracts more than 20,000 attendees and 600 exhibitors annually from across the green building sector, spanning commercial and residential professionals, architects, building owners and operators, students, advocates and educators. This year’s theme was “All In.”

“We know that sustainability is a multi-dimensional pursuit,” Bandy explained. “There is no one, right way to approach creating a more prosperous, healthy and sustainable tomorrow. Every perspective matters and every voice is important in this worldwide conversation. We are ‘all in’ this together—one race—the human race.”

This year at Greenbuild was a first for Mohawk Industries at the event, where both residential and commercial divisions shared the spotlight to demonstrate how Mohawk is “All In” when it comes to sustainable flooring. During the three-day expo, Mohawk showcased Air.o, a new residential soft floor covering with unified backing, engineered with just one material making it the only 100% recyclable flooring available to the marketplace. Mohawk’s commercial division, Mohawk Group, highlighted the Lichen carpet plank collection, designed by Living Product Challenge founder Jason F. McLennan as the first floor covering to achieve Living Product Challenge Petal certification.

“[At Mohawk] we know from experience that in order to last in an ever-changing business environment, innovation is the key,” Bandy said. “Being inventive and re-inventive is crucially important for the long-term viability of any company and, on a grander scale, for any movement. Mohawk is pleased and proud to be among the voices sharing in the leadership of this movement—because believing in better is good for everyone.”

Bandy concluded his speech with a heartfelt thank you to fellow Greenbuild attendees, leaders, colleagues, groundbreakers and innovators in 12 different languages.

“It’s an amazing thing that happens when powerful, committed people begin to come ‘all in,’ and make commitments to do what’s right for our future,” he said. “I believe in better, I believe in you, and I believe in being ‘all in.’”

For more information, visit

Posted on

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.”


Posted on

Mohawk employees rise against hunger

_MG_6837Calhoun, Ga.—Mohawk’s sustainability team recently hosted an Earth Day event at the corporate office in Calhoun to celebrate the release of its 2016 corporate sustainability report. More than 100 employees gathered to package 10,152 meals for Rise Against Hunger, an international hunger relief organization that distributes food and life-changing aid to the world’s most vulnerable.

“We so often hear about the environmental side of sustainability, but opportunities like Rise Against Hunger really help to bring the equally important social sustainability piece to light,” said George Bandy, Mohawk’s vice president of sustainability. “I can’t think of a better way to demonstrate our commitment to believe in better than by caring for our neighbors halfway across the globe. The Mohawk family gave their time and energy to answer the call and make a difference, and we are so proud of the fruits of their labor.”

Last week, Mohawk’s meals shipped in a container totaling 285,120 meals from Rise Against Hunger’s Atlanta warehouse. These meals were received by the organization’s in-country partner, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), in Madagascar.

ADRA works to improve the quality of life for people all over the world through advocacy, supporting families in need, providing food assistance and water initiatives, establishing livelihoods and responding to emergencies. In Madagascar, ADRA works in the region of Analamango, an area severely affected by the El Niño phenomenon. The organization manages food programs in 46 primary schools, for more than 8,000 children.

Click to watch Mohawk’s Earth Day celebration video.



Posted on

Metroflor continues sustainability, transparency efforts

metroflor-newNorwalk, Conn.—Metroflor Corp. is expanding its sustainability and transparency efforts under the combined direction of Harlan Stone, Metroflor’s Group CEO, and Rochelle Routman, chief sustainability officer. Routman leads the Product Authority Team, which oversees all aspects of the product channel through a sustainability lens: product and social transparency, customer service, testing and compliance, innovation, quality and performance.

As part of its commitment to transparency in the resilient flooring industry, Metroflor has issued a Declare label, analogous to nutrition labels for building products, for its Aspecta Ten, a multi-layer flooring product that features the company’s proprietary Isocore Technology. This new label adds to the company’s existing portfolio of Declare labels for the entire Aspecta commercial range—over 200 patterns in total across the three collections.

Additionally, the company has issued Health Product Declarations (HPDs) for its full line of Aspecta products. HPDs are comprehensive transparency documents that provide health-related information for product ingredients. Declare labels and HPDs are recognized by the USGBC for credit under LEEDv4 and can also contribute toward credits under the WELL Building Standard. Metroflor is also a proud sponsor and participant of Mindful Materials, a program aimed at providing designers, architects and others with the tools needed to consider human health and environmental impacts of products in the built environment.

Metroflor has also initiated Life Cycle Assessments that will further explore the environmental impacts of its products. This will inform the company on additional improvements it needs to make to further reduce its environmental footprint in manufacturing.

Posted on

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.

Posted on

NeoCon East: New innovations, sustainability define the agenda

December 5/12, 2016; Volume 31, Number 13

By Sarah Bousquet

screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-9-05-53-amPhiladelphia—In keeping with its Midwest counterpart, NeoCon East—which took place here recently at the Pennsylvania Convention Center for the second year in a row—drew thousands of influential design professionals from the Northeast corridor. The two-day conference and exhibition also provided a platform for roughly 200 exhibitors to showcase their latest products, services and commercial flooring solutions.

“NeoCon East delivered on many fronts, but most importantly it connected the key players in our industry interested in expanding their knowledge and business opportunities,” said Julie Kohl, vice president of exhibitor sales for NeoCon Shows. “With thousands of new products on display, it is in these connections that business happens and market share is won. These relationships are vital to our industry dynamic, and for this reason NeoCon East will continue to gain momentum.”

Exhibitors and attendees alike agreed that relationship building and knowledge sharing continue to be the linchpins of regional shows such as this.

Ralph Grogan, president and CEO of Bentley Mills, explained that the company’s goals this year were two-fold: Highlight new product and network with an entirely new demographic of attendees. “Yes, we are showcasing Lost Angeles as we did at NeoCon earlier this year, but most people here were not in Chicago,” he said. “Philadelphia has a lot going on, and the people here are excited about business and education. I don’t think we lost anyone from Baltimore—NeoCon East’s previous home—and we’ve definitely increased conversations with people from New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.”

Others agreed. Karen Ostromecki, interior designer, IIDA, LEED GA, from Rochester, N.Y., thinks of NeoCon East as a “hub for collaboration and learning and a great place to network for future project opportunities.” Being able to view the latest products and trends while conversing with other professionals in the field is critical, she added.

screen-shot-2016-12-16-at-9-06-30-amIn line with the collaborative theme of this year’s NeoCon East, it was apparent that manufacturers were looking to answer attendees’ requests for new and different solutions. For instance, Procedo Floorings’ Loom+, which is produced by infusing a durable fabric top layer with an LVT bottom layer, received a lot of attention from booth visitors, thanks to its versatility. “Everybody is interested in our loom-woven vinyl flooring because it’s a different product,” said Brent Fike, sales manager. “It looks like—and has—the unlimited design capabilities of a soft surface but provides the durability of an LVT, which has gained interest from the hospitality, corporate and retail segments.”

Patcraft’s Mixed Materials collection drew similar notoriety for its ability to seamlessly use hard and soft surface flooring side-by-side, alone or in multiple combinations. Tara Currier, communications manager, noted the new product is part of a bigger conversation. “We’ve been meeting with the team to talk about well building,” she noted, explaining that designers are increasingly asking how the products they specify effect the way people work, live and interact. “As a manufacturer, we want to be in pace with designers and even ahead of the curve to help them answer these questions with new solutions.”

Several manufacturers also utilized their booth spaces highlight sustainable design options. For example, Shaw Contract discussed big-picture ideas around diversity in design, sustainable processes and healthy living.

Posted on

Greenbuild expands its sustainable movement

Show emphasizes technology, transparency, social issues 

October 10/17, 2016: Volume 31, Number 9
By Sarah Bousquet

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-10-18-29-amLos Angeles—This year’s Greenbuild, held Oct. 5-7 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, utilized its Southern California locale to pay homage to the great buildings of our time. Themed “Iconic Green,” the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building touted the mantra, “Like iconic screen roles and the Hollywood sign, our buildings have withstood the test of time.”

Owned and operated by Informa and presented by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), Greenbuild attracts 20,000-plus attendees and more than 500 exhibitors each year from across the green building sector—including commercial and residential professionals, educators, architects, building owners/operators, students and advocates. In its 15th year, Greenbuild continued to celebrate and share the ideals and passions of the green building community of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

“When we think of icons, we conjure up images of people, places and things that withstand the test of time, symbolizing our beliefs, culture and community,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. Keeping the iconic theme alive, Greenbuild 2016 speakers included famed architect Bjarke Ingels, renowned author and journalist Sebastian Junger, and USGBC’s own Mahesh Ramanujam, who will replace Fedrizzi as CEO next year. Topics ranged from social sustainability to transparency to technology.

Exhibitors and attendees alike looked to learn, collaborate and network with like-minded peers. First-time attendee Martin Smith, LEED AP BD+C and associate project manager with Verdical Group, was pleasantly surprised by the show’s energy and presence. “I wasn’t expecting it to be this elaborate,” he said, describing both the exhibit hall floor and educational sessions as impressive. “There’s everything from tiny LEED houses on the showroom floor to information modeling demos and discussions on preparing skyscrapers to be resilient refuges in times of need. It’s pretty impressive.”

So-called veterans of the show, however, noted smaller crowds than in years past. For some exhibitors this resulted in a decline in foot traffic on the show floor. But, attendees like Kris Callori, principal architect and LEED fellow at EDI Integrative Consulting, preferred the less crowded expo. “Whether it’s just the layout of the LA Convention Center or there are actually less attendees, it definitely feels less crowded and is easier to converse,” she said. “The exhibit hall is very engaging this year, and the sessions are forward thinking which is encouraging more conversations.”


Role of technology

Advancements in technology often spur industry innovations. One of the most prevalent unveilings at this year’s Greenbuild was the announcement of Autocase, a joint venture between USGBC and Impact Infrastructure. In short, Autocase is an automated business case software for green design created to help the A&D community prioritize investments to meet the requirements of the owner, improve the health and productivity of occupants and create value for the community and environment.

“With Autocase we are trying to get designers to think about the value of their decisions,” Ramanujam said. “If you use an economic model and then run this analysis in real time, it helps add value to every project—social, financial and sustainable outcomes.”

The web-based tool analyzes and reports bottom-line values—economic, social and environmental costs and benefits—of infrastructure projects. Teams can then assess the triple bottom line impact of design changes immediately and use the information to increase their chances to win financing and buy-in from the community.

USGBC tied the introduction of the new tool to its Greenbuild announcement that the organization will refocus its mission, scaling from just buildings to communities, cities and beyond. “This tool is consistent with our goal to bring a data-driven strategy that’s as simple to use as possible to the industry,” Ramanujam explained. “This solution is global, and it’s in line with our mission. Technology that is about the health of our communities.”


Focus on transparency

While materials still top the charts of most discussed topics on Greenbuild’s exhibit hall floor, the focus has shifted. Where the reduce, reuse, recycle trifecta used to act as the end-all, be-all when specifying flooring, retailers, architects, designers and consumers alike want to make the right decisions when choosing an ecologically sound product today. Answering the call, many mills are finding ways to have a more transparent dialogue with consumers.

“The green building community has continuously been asking for Red List free products, and we responded,” said George Bandy, Mohawk’s vice president of sustainability. Mohawk Group participates in the Living Building Challenge Declare program to provide “nutrition labels” for more than 500 of its building products. The aim is to fill the information gap that exists today by answering three simple questions: Where does a product come from? What is it made of? And where does it go at the end of its life.

Similarly, Interface shared details of its latest mission, dubbed Climate Takeback, which it launched earlier this year at NeoCon. With this charge, the company is looking to foster more transparent conversations around four big changes: 1. Only take what can be replaced; 2. See carbon as a resource; 3. Restore nature’s proven ability to cool; and 4. Revolutionize industries.

“This is not necessarily a new way of thinking for Interface,” explained Nadine Gudz, director, sustainability strategy. “Our founder, Ray Anderson, was asking in the ’90s how we can have both a restorative and regenerative business and supply chain, but we’re now starting to see the networks, tools and collaborations to get there.”


Social sustainability

screen-shot-2016-10-14-at-10-18-52-amRochelle Routman, chief sustainability officer for Metroflor, took the opportunity to announce a new two-fold green approach. First, she too noted the company will focus on transparency within the Declare label system—it’s already the first manufacturer to have a label with full transparency on the resilient side with its Aspecta Five product. Metroflor’s second leg, however, highlights a topic that’s growing in popularity in the green building design community: social sustainability. “We want to open the world’s eyes to our partnership with our Asian mills,” she explained. “We are not only impressed by their efficiency and sustainability, but also the way they treat people. We want to build out the social justice part of sustainability that has to some degree been ignored up to this point.”

Also examining the social side of sustainability is Nora, which will be launching a new initiative in social equity next year. “We believe in the triple bottom line of sustainability: people, planet and profit,” said Tim Cole, vice president of marketing. “We’ve always been committed to social equity but realize we need to raise the bar in 2017. When people you work with are excited about sustainability and asking how they can be involved, it really is an amazing thing.”

John Cantrell, director of marketing for Shaw Contract, agreed that moving manufacturers and products into a different dimension of sustainability is important. “We’re looking more at the impacts we share with our clients and can have on the planet,” he said. “Greenbuild is different from, say, a trade show because it gives us the opportunity to talk about solutions, share stories and discuss innovations rather than just hone in on products.”

Shaw’s booth, for example was designed to appeal to the varying aspects of environmental health, sustainability programs and a circular economy. “Green means different things to different people,” Cantrell said. “Human health seems to be one of the biggest interests, as product materials have had a lot of attention and now we’re moving to more social sustainability.”


Posted on

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.”

Posted on

Routman joins Metroflor as chief sustainability officer

Rochelle headshot verticalNorwalk, Conn.—Russ Rogg, president and CEO of Metroflor, along with Harlan Stone, Halstead and Group CEO, announced the appointment of Rochelle Routman, LEED AP, O+M, as the first chief sustainability officer for Metroflor and Halstead International. Chosen for her reputation as an alliance-building and forward-thinking professional, Routman will oversee product development, customer service and regulatory aspects in a collaborative fashion to define the greatest potential for environmental leadership. She will be based at the company’s Calhoun, Ga. campus.

Routman brings more than 30 years of experience as a sustainability and environmental professional. At Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems, where she served as pollution prevention and environmental safety coordinator in the 1990s, she established a “green team” to focus on addressing environmental issues through proactive program initiatives rather than mere regulatory compliance: the precursor of what we now call sustainability. A longtime employee of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, where she ultimately rose to program manager of its sustainability division, she then joined Georgia Power Company & Southern Company. As chair of the sustainability working group, she honed the company’s sustainability program and culture development, external communications and partnerships.

Prior to joining Metroflor/Halstead, Routman achieved groundbreaking advances at Mohawk Industries as director of sustainability, where she developed a market-disruptive strategy with a focus on product transparency. She directed all product certification efforts and led the employee and executive sustainability engagement council. Promoted to vice president of sustainability, Routman became Mohawk’s external spokesperson worldwide, establishing continuity in programs across the commercial, residential, international and hospitality business, including soft surface and resilient products.

A graduate of the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s degree in Geology and the Georgia Institute of Technology with a master’s degree in public policy, Routman was named one of the Top 10 Most Powerful Women Sustainability Leaders by Green Building & Design magazine in 2014 and is now the alumnae chair of the organization. She is a LEED AP, O+M (Operations & Maintenance), a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager, and a Registered Professional Geologist. As a Living Building Challenge Ambassador, she is part of a network committed to changing the way entire communities value sustainability, equity and prosperity by advocating for the most aspirational green building standard in the world.

“Over the years, Metroflor and Halstead have made great strides in our environmental and sustainability endeavors, and we have an unwavering commitment to continue pushing the envelope in this area of our business,” Rogg said. “Rochelle Routman joining our group allows us to build on what we’ve started while also pursuing new, innovative and creative ways to expand our sustainability platform. Rochelle brings tremendous knowledge, experience, credibility and passion to our organization, and we are grateful to have her lead our global efforts in the field of sustainability.”

Routman commented, “Halstead and Metroflor have longevity and a very strong focus on constant innovation, both in product and organizationally. The company officers were looking for someone with a very strong emotional connection and passion for sustainability. I’m very fortunate to assume a leadership position here to guide the ship towards more creative ways to support both the business and the planet.”