Four flooring retailers in southwest Ohio today became the first in the area to offer health and environmental scorecards for their full line of “green” flooring products, along with virtually every traditional product they carry.
The scorecards are part of the Natural Interiors Design Center program, which has been licensed exclusively in southwest Ohio by Carpetland Carpet One Floor & Home and Schumacher & Co. Custom Hardwood Floors in Milford, OH; ProSource Wholesale Floorcoverings in Cincinnati; and, Buddy’s Flooring America in Beavercreek.
Using Better for People and Better for the Planet icons, the program lists indoor-air quality and planet friendly attributes for each product. Check marks appear in the icons if the product has achieved a third-party certification, verifying that it meets set limits for chemical emissions or planet-friendly sustainability standards.
“More and more people buying flooring are asking about whether specific products emit chemicals that compromise indoor-air quality and human health,” said Ken Weisbacher, president of Carpetland Carpet One Floor & Home. “The Natural Interiors program gives our customers documentation of the indoor-air quality standards a product meets, in addition to whether it is better for the planet.”
The Natural Interiors scorecards make it easy to compare competing claims among “green” products. For example, cork manufacturers all point out that their products are made of a renewable resource. But cork also contains adhesives, which can emit formaldehyde and other Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The scorecards at Carpetland show 40 percent of the cork products they sell have third-party certifications for meeting set indoor-air quality standards. Sixty percent of the bamboo flooring brands, which also contain adhesives, have indoor-air quality certifications.
As part of the program, Schumacher & Co. Custom Hardwood Floors, located inside Carpetland Carpet One in Milford, also has expanded its hardwood floor finishing services to include low-VOC, solvent-free and low-odor options.
“We now offer a finish for all of our customers, including those who want to eliminate any chemical odor in their homes,” said Roy Young, quality control manager for Schumacher & Co.
Standards shown on the Natural Interiors scorecards for products that have indoor air quality certifications include GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certification, FloorScore Certification, CRI Green Label Plus and compliance with the most stringent indoor- air quality standards set by the state of California. A product’s planet –friendly benefits also are shown on the scorecards through certifications that range from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification to multi-attribute lifecycle assessment certifications such as Cradle to Cradle.
While market research shows that consumers seeking “green” products want third-party verification of a product’s claims, verifiable product information usually is not available in one place, or is out of date. Now customers can access all of the information by product, which is housed in the Natural Interiors Design Center kiosks at Carpetland, ProSource and Buddy’s. The kiosks also include a complete glossary that explains each standard and certification.
“With more ‘green’ flooring experience than most retailers in the region, it makes sense that these stores would take their program to the next level by giving customers the product documentation they want,” said Nancy Kibbee, marketing director for the Natural Interiors programs. “Having this information ends the confusion that has been created by competing and conflicting claims about who has the best ‘green’ products.”
Carpetland, ProSource and Schumacher & Co. have carried a full line of quality ‘green’ flooring products – from bamboo to linoleum to chemical-free wool carpet – for more than a decade. Buddy’s Flooring America began adding these products in 2008.
The Natural Interiors Design Center stores also provide consumers with weekly product tips and features through their blogs at www.naturalinteriors.com/prosource, www.naturalinteriors.com/buddys and www.naturalinteriors.com/kw-flooring.