As the sustainable design movement continues to grow, architects, designers, specifiers and contractors face an increased environmental emphasis on the production methods, material content and disposal of floor coverings.
Programs such as the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System place emphasis on low-emitting material selection, recycled content and construction waste management that may significantly impact the flooring industry.
Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES), computer software that measures the environmental performance of building products by using the life-cycle assessment approach specified in ISO 14000 standards, lists dozens of floor covering products that have been analyzed for raw material acquisition, manufacture, transportation, installation, use, and recycling and waste management.
Plus, carpet and other building products have already been designed to the closed-loop "Cradle to Cradle" concept.
This special section from Environmental Design + Construction and National Floor Trends magazines explores some of the concerns and concepts that will continue to transform the flooring industry: the latest in environmental flooring options, including resilient floor coverings made with recycled content or renewable materials; carpet that not only reduces environmental impact, but enhances it; flooring adhesives that are "greener" than ever; hardwood as a natural renewable resource; and finally, a brief look at available resources that address environmental concerns related to vinyl flooring.
-- From the editors of National Floor Trends and Environmental Design + Construction.