The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), which serves as the purchasing arm of the U.S. government and oversees more than $60 billion in purchased goods and services annually, now requires Gold Level certification to NSF/ANSI 140 Sustainability Assessment for Carpet for all broadloom (wall-to-wall) carpet and carpet tile purchased through the GSA. Current GSA carpet suppliers have until Jan. 1, 2012 to certify their products to NSF/ANSI 140 Gold Level in order for their carpets to be considered for purchase through the GSA.

NSF International developed the official American National Standard for Sustainable Carpet (NSF/ANSI 140) in order to establish sustainability performance requirements for evaluating a carpet product’s life-cycle and supply chain. The criteria includes evaluating the product’s social and environmental performance, including labor practices, human rights, product life cycle assessment, energy efficiency, environmental management, reclamation and end-of-product-life management. The standard was initially released in 2007 and updated in 2010.

GSA has required that broadloom carpet and carpet tile purchased by the government meet the Gold Level certification requirements of the NSF/ANSI 140 standard as part of the GSA’s overall Sustainable Acquisition Goals. GSA has mandated that 95 percent of all purchases made through the agency meet sustainability requirements by the end of 2011. This includes products and services that are purchased for internal use such as building construction, repairs and alterations, as well as for maintenance. The GSA will further define their sustainability requirements for other products and phase them in by product category throughout the year.

The GSA Sustainable Acquisition Goals are the result of an executive order issued in October 2009 and outlined in the GSA Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan, which requires federal agencies to buy environmentally-friendly products where possible. These initiatives leverage federal purchasing power to promote environmentally responsible products and technologies and create a powerful driver to advance the development of more sustainable carpet and other products in the U.S.

“GSA recognition of NSF’s American National Standard for Sustainable Carpet in their purchasing specifications reflects positively on all the stakeholders who came together, from regulatory, industry and consumer organizations, to develop NSF/ANSI 140,” said Jane Wilson, director of Standards for NSF International. “NSF is honored that this carpet standard has served as a model for use in developing other sustainability assessment standards such as resilient flooring and wallcoverings.”

“During the creation of NSF’s American National Sustainable Carpet standard, many groups worked together to answer the central question, ‘What attributes make a carpet sustainable?‘ That question has been addressed by NSF’s standard. It is comprehensive and thorough,” said Jeff Carrier, sustainability and indoor air quality program manager for The Carpet and Rug Institute, a key stakeholder in the development of NSF/ANSI 140.

To learn about having your carpet certified to the NSF/ANSI 140 Sustainable Carpet standard, contact Jeanette Halliday at halliday@nsf.org or (734) 827-3804.