EDEN, N.C.—Mohawk Group and nonprofit Groundswell have teamed up to locate a new smartflower™ solar energy unit near three Rockingham County Schools in North Carolina—a project that will bring the benefits of clean solar power to the area, create educational opportunities for students and also contribute to Mohawk’s sustainability efforts to leave more handprints than footprints.
The smartflower technology was unveiled on November 29 at a special event in Eden, N.C., which is also the home of Mohawk’s historic Karastan woven carpet plant. The mill celebrated its 90th anniversary of operation this year. Planted on the campus of Eden’s Central Elementary School, the smartflower is located adjacent to Holmes Middle School and Morehead High School.
“We are especially proud to be part of this project and be able to invest in the Eden community where many of our colleagues live and work,” said George Bandy Jr., Mohawk’s Vice President of Sustainability and Commercial Marketing. “In creating our Living Products, we want to be a strategic community partner and use our handprints to connect the next generation with STEM programs and innovative technologies that support a sustainable future.”
Mohawk Group has engaged in this special partnership with Groundswell to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and offset the energy and resources used during some of its manufacturing processes. The smartflower installation in North Carolina is part of Mohawk’s handprinting strategy for two of its latest Living Product Challenge Petal certified flooring products: Pivot Point enhanced resilient tile and Sunweave woven broadloom/area rug.
Positive Environmental Impact
Both Pivot Point and Red List-free Sunweave, which is crafted from Mohawk Group’s award-winning yarn system, Heathered Hues, are designed to give more back to the environment than they take during their entire lifecycle. Sunweave is manufactured in Eden.
Project partner Groundswell develops community solar projects and subscriber management programs that connect solar power with economic empowerment for the communities served. “Our mission is to build community power, and we’re thrilled to partner with Mohawk to connect this solar installation with the Eden, North Carolina community’s vision for empowering its young people through education,” said Michelle Moore, CEO of Groundswell. “North Carolina is a solar leader, and the solar industry creates one in 50 new jobs in America. We look forward to a future where the bright young minds of Eden are powering the solar industry.”
Karen Hyler, Rockingham County Schools Public Information Officer, also noted the exciting learning opportunities through the innovative donation of the smartflower. “Rockingham County Schools is excited to benefit from the unique partnership between Mohawk, Groundswell and other project partners,” she said. “The future of our planet lies in the hands of our young people. The ability to put those hands-on renewable energy tools and education to learn firsthand about the importance of preserving and properly utilizing our natural resources is truly a gift that will keep on giving for years to come for members of our community.”
The solar energy project in North Carolina is the second of 10 smartflowers to be established across the United States as part of a three-year partnership between Mohawk Group and Groundswell.