Hard, Green Flooring Isn’t Hard
The Centiva flooring plant in Florence, Ala., promotes the company’s sustainable message throughout the facility and office with many different green features. In a tour of the manufacturing plant, which produces luxury vinyl tile (LVT), the focus on environmental initiatives is plain to see, especially in the areas of water, energy, waste and recycling.
At Centiva, any waste created during the process—even dust—is collected, ground up and put back into the next product. Because Centiva is a U.S. manufacturer of LVT, the company can also reclaim its post-consumer floors and recycle them into the backing of its Contour product line.
Beyond the recycled products themselves, Centiva will be incorporating solar panels into the plant, which will generate enough power for the onsite offices. Skylights provide ample lighting for work during the day, and mechanical lighting is sensor driven to conserve energy. Automated building controls are very often seen around the plant to conserve as much energy as possible. Even the plant’s storage facility is naturally ventilated using a system of sensors and vents to create a cool environment in the warm Alabama climate. “Reducing our footprint is a top priority at Centiva,” says Erin Istanbulluoglu, director of environmental and social stewardship at Tandus Centiva.
Soft Flooring Made Strong
On the soft flooring side of the spectrum, Tandus in Dalton, Ga., has made quite a name for itself with not just its floorcoverings, but with the way they’re made. Tandus and Centiva have both made a commitment to sustainability from the beginning—which is the theme for parent company Tarkett.
Diane Martel, vice president of environmental planning and strategy at Tarkett, says the sustainable product design approach focuses on the four steps of the product life cycle: good materials, resource stewardship, people-friendly spaces and recycling/reuse. “The Tarkett circular vision and strategy for sustainability is company-wide across all brands (Tandus Centiva, Johnsonite, Tarkett Residential and Tarkett Sports). We are dedicated to having one message in our sustainable efforts and work together to demonstrate this value internally and externally.”
For nearly half a century, Tandus has been a pioneer in the research and development of sustainable flooring processes and products to meet the critical environmental challenges facing the industry. Tandus has employed a multifaceted approach to reduce the carbon footprint of its operations and products including the reduction of energy, water and solid waste; the increased use of recycled material and renewable energy, along with a continued emphasis on closed-loop recycling and post-consumer reclamation of its products.
After launching the flooring industry’s first closed-loop recycling program in 1994, Tandus has recycled more than 225 million pounds of flooring and waste. Tandus is also leading the way in transparent environmental claims with the industry’s first third-party certified flooring reclamation center and third-party certified recycled products.
Tarkett, as well as Tandus and Centiva, have fully implemented life-cycle analysis (LCA) to continually improve its operations, products and their use. LCAs have been performed on company products, and EPDs have been published for approximately 95 percent of Tandus Centiva’s U.S. products.
These advancements provide an infinite opportunity to improve environmental stewardship and socially responsible initiatives in a collaborative environment. Glen Hussmann, president of Tandus Centiva, says, “We are continuously improving by assessing the quality of the materials used and identifying the best reuse and recycling options. For us, end-of-life becomes end-of-use, and we work to ensure no material is wasted or sent to the landfill.”
There are several steps manufacturers and facility managers can take to help increase their environmental responsibility. According to Martel, they first must estimate the business and social value of their efforts—how these will impact the company and what environmental results they are trying to achieve as well as the resources it will take to achieve them. The next step is to create a strategy that tracks objectives and sets checkpoints toward progress, and is clearly communicated to the management, employees and shareholders. She says, “The end goal is to create safer, healthier products for customers and a thoughtful plan with well-executed tactics that will help drive these end results.”