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New Standard Simplifies Identification of Sustainable Carpets


CHICAGO—Architects, designers and end users will now have one Standard to identify carpets that have a reduced environmental impact. The first multi-attribute American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-approved Standard—NSF 140-2007, Sustainable Carpet Assessment Standard for environmentally preferable building materials—was introduced at Greenbuild 2007.

The unified Standard for sustainable carpet is voluntary, inclusive, based on life cycle assessment (LCA) principles, and offers three levels of achievement for attaining various levels of reduced environmental impact (silver, gold and platinum). By defining environmental, social and economic performance requirements, the Standard provides benchmarks for continual improvement and innovation within the building industry.

“The Standard provides enormous benefits to those who specify, approve and purchase the billions of yards of carpet used annually in the United States, by helping to identify products that meet our performance and environmental requirements,” says Kirsten Ritchie, Director of Sustainable Design for Gensler, a leader in sustainable design strategies. “When we specify carpets certified to the Standard, we know we are selecting carpets with a lower environmental impact.”

Easy-to-Use Rating System

The Standard includes an easy-to-use rating system with established performance requirements and quantifiable metrics throughout the supply chain for:

• Public Health and Environment (PHE);

• Energy and Energy Efficiency (EN);
• Bio-Based, Recycled Content Materials (MATLS), or Environmentally Preferable Materials;
• Manufacturing (MFG); and

• Reclamation and End of Life Management (EOL).

A Joint Committee under the guidance of NSF International, a not-for-profit, ANSI-accredited public health organization, developed the new Standard through a documented consensus process. The Joint Committee includes end users, architects, interior designers, state and federal agencies responsible for procurement practices, specifically the California Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Task Force’s Carpet Subcommittee, the Environmental Protection Agency, carpet and rug manufacturers, and academics and non-governmental officials. The consensus standard was built upon scientific principles and feedback from prior efforts. It offers a path forward to learn, evolve and adjust using sound science to guide decision-making.

The Standard was open for public comment and voting, and approved by ANSI in October 2007. It will be reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure that it is current and technically sound.

“The State of California has worked closely with other government, user and industry stakeholders to align the Platinum level of NSF 140-2007 with its California Gold Sustainable Carpet Standard, lending support to one unified national Standard for environmentally preferable carpet,” says Dan Burgoyne, Sustainability Manager for the State of California’s Department of General Services (DGS). “California is planning to transition 100 percent of its state carpet purchases to the NSF 140-2007 Platinum level over the next 12 to 18 months, eventually completely transitioning from its currently mandated California Gold Standard.”

Applies to All Building Types

This Standard can be used to evaluate any carpet product, but it is primarily intended for evaluation of commercial carpet products by providing a product evaluation methodology that is complementary to emerging commercial green building Standards. The new ANSI-approved Standard applies to carpets for all types of buildings, including commercial office, education, government, healthcare, hospitality, etc.

“We expect this highly anticipated Standard will be widely adopted and referenced across building design, construction and operation industries as the Standard of choice for green carpet,” says Jane Wilson, NSF Standards Director. “It is already serving as a model for other industry groups to follow.”

The first carpet products certified to the approved NSF 140-2007 Standard are expected to be available in the marketplace by the second quarter of 2008. Currently, 18 carpet products are certified to the California Gold Sustainable Carpet Standard, and an additional 11 products are certified to the NSF 140 Draft Standard. Manufacturers can demonstrate conformance with the Standard through certification offered by NSF International.

For more information on certification to NSF 140-2007, Sustainable Carpet Assessment Standard, call (800) 673-6275, send an e-mail to sustainability@nsf.org, or visit www.nsf.org/info/carpet.