New Resilient Flooring Standard
Sustainability Standard for Resilient Flooring Provides Time-saving Tool
By Dean Thompson
A large percentage of design projects undertaken today follow LEED or Green Globes criteria. A survey of the “Top 100 Giants” architectural and design firms by Interior Design magazine in June indicated that 45 percent of their total projects follow LEED guidelines. That figure shoots up to 86 percent for government projects, 78 percent for education and 64 percent for health care. This reinforces the importance of sustainability. However, in a market awash in green claims, it is often difficult and time consuming to identify and compare the sustainability attributes of products.
That’s why the LaGrange, Ga.-based Resilient Floor Covering Institute, or RFCI, joined a multi-stakeholder, consensus-based group recently to develop the ANSI/NSF 332 Sustainability Assessment Standard for Resilient Floor Coverings. Led by Ann Arbor, Mich.-based NSF International, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization accredited by the American National Standards Institute, Washington, D.C., the group included architects, designers, academics, environmental program managers, the Washington-based U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and state and federal agencies responsible for procurement.
The purpose of the Sustainability Assessment for Resilient Floor Coverings Standard is to establish a thorough communication of information that is verifiable, accurate, and not misleading about environmental and social aspects associated with the production of resilient floor coverings. The standard establishes a consistent approach to the evaluation and determination of environmentally preferable and sustainable resilient floor coverings. It includes relevant criteria across the product’s life cycle, from raw material extraction through manufacturing, use and end-of-life management
The standard establishes a consistent approach to the evaluation and determination of environmentally preferable and sustainable resilient floor coverings.
The standard was released in March and is now being used by manufacturers to certify the sustainability attributes of resilient flooring. As products with sustainability claims continue to inundate the market, certification to an accredited standard allows designers and specifiers to make informed decisions when it comes to understanding and purchasing products, such as resilient floor coverings. ANSI/NSF 332 covers all types of resilient flooring products, including vinyl composition tile, sheet-vinyl flooring, vinyl tile, rubber sheet flooring, rubber tile, linoleum-sheet flooring, linoleum tile, polymeric flooring, resilient wall base and resilient stair treads.
We believe ANSI/NSF 332 will promote the greater use of sustainability practices in the manufacture of resilient flooring while bringing more transparency and clarity to the sustainability process.
ANSI/NSF 332 uses a point-based system in which products achieve one of four levels of certification: conformant, silver, gold or platinum. Conformant status meets entry level criteria and platinum adheres to the most strenuous requirements.The standard has been designed, in part, to satisfy the following criteria:
- Product design: Encourage manufacturers to integrate environmental and life-cycle thinking into the product design process.
- Product manufacturing: Encourage manufacturers to quantify the environmental impacts from their manufacturing, and then act to reduce or remove those impacts.
- Long-term value: Encourage manufacturers to maximize product longevity.
- End-of-life management: Ensure existing and new resilient flooring products can be collected, processed, recycled and/or composted within the existing materials recycling infrastructure.
- Corporate governance: Encourage corporate social responsibility in the forms of providing a desirable workplace, being involved in the local community and demonstrating financial health.
- Innovation: Give manufacturers the opportunity to be awarded points for exceptional performance above the requirements set forth in other areas of the standard.
The standard is built upon scientific principles, including the ISO 14000 series on Life Cycle Standards, and was developed to document and improve the sustainability profile of resilient floor coverings using established and/or advanced scientific principles, practices, materials and standards.
The standard was developed to document and improve the sustainability profile of resilient floor coverings using established and/or advanced scientific principles, practices, materials and standards.
ANSI/NSF 332 represents the next generation of product sustainability assessment standards. It builds upon the work done by the carpet and furniture industries to develop ANSI standards for sustainable products. The multi-stakeholder development of the standard means it encompasses a broad set of interests while balancing the need for robust performance with manufacturer capabilities. The widespread adoption of the standard by manufacturers and the marketplace will help the resilient flooring industry in its drive toward more sustainable products.
For more information about ANSI/NSF 332 and products certified to this standard, contact RFCI at (706) 882.3833 or visit www.rfci.com.
Dean Thompson is president of the Resilient Floor Covering Institute, LaGrange, Ga.
- Resilient flooring
- Resilient flooring