NSF International, an independent, not-for-profit standards developer, has developed a new Sustainability Standard for resilient floor coverings. The new NSF American National Standard 332: Sustainability Assessment Standard for Resilient Floor Coverings has been finalized under the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and can now be used to certify the sustainability attributes of resilient flooring.

“We believe NSF/ANSI 332 will promote the greater use of sustainability practices in the manufacture of resilient flooring while also bringing more transparency and clarity to the sustainability process,” said Dean Thompson, president, Resilient Floor Covering Institute (RFCI), which was involved in the development of the standard.  

“Certification to NSF/ANSI 332 offers buyers of resilient flooring the highest level of confidence and credibility in a market that is awash in green claims,” added Jane Wilson, Director of Standards, NSF International. “The goal of this standard is to improve the sustainability profile of resilient floor coverings and enable the industry to achieve higher levels of sustainable manufacturing in the future.”

The standard provides a means for designers, architects, facility managers and purchasers to evaluate the sustainability of a range of products. These include: 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.

NSF/ANSI 332 uses a point-based system in which manufacturers achieve one of four levels of certification: conformant, silver, gold and platinum – with conformant status meeting entry level criteria and platinum adhering to the most strenuous requirements. Products are evaluated against the standard using five key criteria: 1) product design, 2) product manufacturing, 3) long-term value, 4) corporate governance and 5) innovation.

NSF led the development process of NSF/ANSI 332 for sustainable resilient flooring, bringing together flooring manufacturers, architects, academics, environmental program managers, state and federal agencies responsible for procurement practices, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The consensus process used to develop the standard was built upon scientific principles including the ISO 14000 series standards on Life Cycle Assessment and feedback. It was then opened for public comment and voting for a period of two years before being approved this spring.