Flooring manufacturers’ pursuits of eco-conscious business practices are helping to ensure that people— and the earth—thrive for centuries to come. A focus on transparency, material health, material reutilization, efficient use of resources, and social responsibility are short-term decisions that have long-term impact. The following are a few stories of flooring leaders making a difference in sustainability. 

Interface Opens New Atlanta Headquarters

Interface recently opened its new global headquarters in Midtown Atlanta. Base Camp, as named by employees, incorporates design features that benefit employees and the environment. The new space supports the company’s global initiative to create inspiring spaces for employees and customers.

Interface’s Atlanta employees, previously dispersed among several locations, now have a unified space and with it a more collaborative workplace. Base Camp’s design offers flexibility in how and where employees work within the office.  

“Base Camp reflects who we are, what we do best, and the core values we live every day,” said Jay Gould, Interface CEO. “Our new work home exemplifies sustainability best practices and our continued commitment to eliminate negative impacts on the environment.”

Developed and designed in partnership with JLL, Perkins+Will, MSTSD and Parkside Partners,  the 40,000-square-foot facility takes into consideration elements of sustainability, well-being and biophilic design to offer employees, customers and partners a modern, convenient, healthy and collaborative environment to learn, work, play and refresh. The design-forward building also functions as a living showroom for Interface’s extensive line of flooring collections.

“Every aspect of the building’s design, seen and unseen, is collaborative and restorative in nature,” Gould said. “Base Camp is a vibrant hub where we come together in our journey to create a climate fit for life with better products, happier people and ultimately a healthier planet. It is a place to problem-solve, rest, recover and celebrate accomplishments. It is, like Interface, a place that positively impacts the people within it and the environment around it.”

Targeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) v4 Platinum certification, the building uses 48 percent less energy than code requires and houses a 15,000-gallon water collection system for flush fixtures. To minimize waste, design and construction teams recycled and donated building materials, with total waste diversion at 93 percent. The building’s exterior features a forest-inspired building wrap that provides natural light and reduces heat. 

The company is also applying for WELL certification and prioritized employee health and well-being throughout Base Camp. The building’s expansive staircase, designed to encourage movement, leads to a rooftop space that brings nature directly into the workspace. Wellness and restorative rooms are available for employee relaxation, and community gathering spaces allow for improved teamwork. Base Camp also features robust water and air filtration systems, treating drinking water with UV light, rather than chlorine.

Shaw Celebrates Achievements at S.C. Fiber Plant 

Congressman Joe Wilson, U.S. Representative for South Carolina’s 2nd congressional district, recently joined Shaw associates in a celebration of achievements at Plant 8S, Shaw’s fiber extrusion facility in Columbia, S.C. 

In September 2018, Shaw was recognized with the Outreach Award at the 2018 Salute to Manufacturing Awards. Awarded by SC Biz News, GSA Business Report and the S.C. Manufacturing Extension Partnership, this honor recognizes Shaw for making tangible, measurable impacts in the South Carolina communities in which it operates. 

Shaw’s commitment to community goes hand in hand with its focus on sustainability with both helping the company achieve its corporate vision to create a better future. In May 2018, Plant 8S unveiled a newly completed Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plant, which reduces Plant 8S’ annual greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 26,000 metric tonnes—an impact equal to removing almost 5,500 passenger vehicles from the road each year. Plant 8S is also a Wildlife And Industry Together (W.A.I.T.TM) site by the South Carolina Wildlife Federation recognizing Shaw’s dedication to protecting the environment and wildlife when making land management decisions. 

These achievements come on the heels of more than $55 million invested in new equipment at the plant since 2015. That investment was part of the more than $1.5 billion Shaw has invested in its existing and new U.S. facilities over the past five years to deliver upon its commitment to provide industry-leading products to its customers. 

That investment in Plant 8S has provided 50 additional jobs and expanded and modernized fiber extrusion operations, which include the use of recycled plastic beverage bottles — increasing Shaw’s use of the material. On average, Shaw recycles three billion plastic drink bottles annually at its Clear Path Recycling facility in Fayetteville, N.C., a joint-venture with DAK Americas. 

“Continued investment and innovation to ensure our facilities, equipment and processes are state-of-the-art allows Shaw to maintain its position as a leading flooring manufacturer,” said David Morgan, executive vice president of operations at Shaw Industries. 

Shaw acquired and began operating the Lexington County site from Honeywell International, Inc. in 2005. The plant employs approximately 360 associates. Shaw operates seven plants in South Carolina, employing more than 1,300 associates statewide. 

Mohawk Group’s Flagship Showroom Emphasizes Sustainability and Wellness

Mohawk Group’s flagship location in the Fashion District of New York City expresses the company’s commitment to stylish and innovative floor coverings and also sustainable and wellness design.

Designed by Gensler, the 13,000-sq-ft showroom in Manhattan features an open layout that integrates distinctive company branding, inviting work and meeting spaces, and new display techniques to effectively showcase a revolving lineup of featured commercial flooring products based on Mohawk Group’s latest collections. Mohawk Group’s New York sales team will be based out of the showroom year-round.

Clean lines, biophilic design, ample natural lighting and a modern, yet comfortable aesthetic pay tribute to the showroom’s setting in the heart of the city. Within the core of the installation, vignettes framed by black steel cubes invite customers to learn more about the inspiration behind Mohawk Group’s highlighted collections. The cube concept manifests itself throughout the space, including the meeting rooms.

“This beautiful space showcases our commitment not only to a better customer experience, but also to the importance Mohawk places on corporate social responsibility and employee health and wellness,” said George Bandy Jr., vice president of sustainability and commercial marketing. “Visitors and colleagues alike get to experience the aesthetic and biophilic merits of this breathtaking environment and leave feeling refreshed and inspired. Our desire to achieve multi-faceted certifications like WELL and LEED challenge us to do better every day, not just in product manufacturing, but in the way that we support our associates and customers as well.”

Mohawk Group is currently seeking WELL and LEED certifications for the new showroom. To help achieve WELL certification, Mohawk Group is implementing specific employee-focused initiatives, including establishing indoor herb and plant gardens, and serving organic fruits, vegetables and healthy snacks, while also offering complimentary gym memberships to employees. As part of the LEED certification process, Mohawk Group specified daylight harvesting light sensors with energy efficient LED lighting, low-flow faucets, and products that were either Red List-free with a Declare Label or had an Environmental Product Declaration and/or Health Product Declaration.