Commercial carpet fiber combines renewable & recycled content

Antron Lumena solution-dyed nylon, with TruBlend fiber technology, is the first carpet fiber to combine recycled and renewable content. in a single fiber offering

INVISTA, Kennesaw, GA,  announced, today, a new carpet fiber innovation. Antron Lumena solution-dyed nylon, with TruBlend fiber technology, is said to be the first carpet fiber to combine recycled and renewable content in a single fiber offering. This fiber combines as much as 25% pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled content with as much as 5% bio-based content derived from castor beans, a high-yield and renewable resource.
   “Antron Lumena solution-dyed nylon with TruBlend fiber technology delivers a balance of recycled and renewable ingredients for today while anticipating innovative blends for tomorrow,” said Diane O’Sullivan, global marketing director of INVISTA’s commercial flooring segment.  “The TruBlend fiber technology product line allows us to introduce new blends over time as technology changes and new innovations and resources are available.  This is another step toward introducing products that strive to change the conversation from one focused just on single-product ingredients to one that includes a balance of resources and understanding the cycle of our products.”
   InterfaceFLOR, LaGrange, GA, will showcase new products that feature TruBlend fiber technology at the NeoCon show, June 14 to 16, Chicago. Due to its unique composition, the fiber is the only commercial solution-dyed nylon carpet fiber that can contribute to both the Rapidly Renewable and the Recycle Content Credits for LEED projects. It can contribute to LEED MR Credits 4.1 and 4.2, MR Credit 6, and may contribute to an Innovation in Design Credit.
   TruBlend fiber technology is currently available in seven colors of Antron Lumena solution-dyed nylon: Granite, Fawn, Mushroom, Antique Olive, Gingerbread, Glacier, and Graphite.  All Antron Lumena nylon colors are held to the same high end-use performance standards and are tested in heat-set form for stain resistance, bleed resistance, color fastness to light and atmospheric contaminants, household bleach resistance, and resistance to crocking.—Gary L. Parr

Road trip: Milwaukee USA

Work spaces are 6 ft. away from windows to allow for daylight penetration.

Work spaces are 6 ft. away from windows to allow for daylight penetration.

If we had had a building-management system (BMS) in my house when I was a teenager, my dad wouldn’t have yelled at me because I left the lights on or took long showers. Controls could have turned off the television and shut off the water. On the other hand, when he asked me on Saturday mornings what time I came home the night before, the BMS would have shown him that my “about 11:30” was actually 2 a.m. So, be careful what you wish for, right?
   On Tuesday, Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) held an open house for customers, and I tagged along. I spent the morning with engineers in Milwaukee, soaking up the possibilities of integrating controls and uses of automation software by commercial building managers. It’s fascinating stuff.
   The engineers (dressed in matching orange JCI polo shirts and khakis) demonstrated the power of integrating access, security, and HVAC systems in an office setting. They showed how a facilities manager can receive e-mail alerts about the status of boilers, and then log on remotely with an iPhone to adjust the equipment. JCI is also big on using diagnostic reports for pro-active maintenance, like replacing parts before they break.
In the afternoon, I toured the company’s recently renovated headquarters in Glendale, WI. JCI has the lofty goal of achieving Platinum LEED status from the U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, for four buildings on its corporate campus.

Groutless Indiana limestone and an LED fixture earn LEED points

Groutless Indiana limestone and an LED fixture earn LEED points


   Upon arriving at the 1966 vintage HQ, I thought I was on a James Bond movie set. One building seems to hover over a lake. (Remember the water palace in Udaipur, India, from Octopussy? No? I don’t blame you. Roger Moore played Bond in that one.)
   The campus is a smorgasbord of green techniques and sustainability practices, including the use of renewable energy. A short list:

  • Reclaimed and re-used materials from demolition.
  • Solar roofing and a solar field. All electricity generated is consumed on campus.
  • Geo-thermal heat pumps. There are 272 wells drilled 300 feet deep.
  • Daylight harvesting. Natural light penetrates well into interior spaces.
  • Heating and cooling systems tucked under a raised floor. This provides comfort from “toes to nose,” my guide told me. The alternative–running the plenums overhead and blowing heat downward–is inefficient because heat rises.

Sun shades on the building exterior mitigate solar gain.

Sun shades on the building exterior mitigate solar gain.


   Other techniques include a green roof, LED lighting, sun shields, cisterns, rain gardens, permeable pavers in the parking lot, and locally sourced building materials, including low-flow plumbing fixtures from Kohler, WI, and limestone from Indiana.
   Company employees are such strong evangelists for energy conservation that I felt guilty for not driving my hybrid to Milwaukee. On the other hand, when I got home, I immediately turned off my computer printer and monitor. Then I took a very short shower.—Jim Carper

Overcoming my green guilt

Three months ago we started a kitchen remodeling project. That action tipped the first domino in a long line of those little black rectangles. Since the kitchen, dining room, entry hall, and living room are all on one floor, and because no home project can be simple and defined, we’ve ended up remodeling the entire floor. Part of that project involved removing the carpet from the living room and dining room floors so we could enjoy the hardwood floors that lie beneath.
   With that background, here’s where my green guilt comes in.
   This past Friday I helped our waste removal specialist toss several rolls of old carpet into his mechanized trash transporter. Since I write and read about sustainable building materials every day, all that went through my mind, as I heaved rolls of carpet into that bin, was whether I should have made an effort to find some kind of carpet recycling pickup service instead of allowing the carpeting and foam padding to go to the landfill. I felt guilty.
   Yesterday I had an opportunity to communicate with the good people who do public relations for Dow Chemical Co., Midland, MI, and their carpet backing manufacturing plant in Dalton, GA, which uses Dow’s LOMAX technology process to manufacture latex carpet-backing material. I’d heard the story before, but I’ll tell it again so others can learn and because it helps me with my guilt.
    At the Dalton, GA, plant, the process annually uses 160 billion BTU of methane gas from landfills to produce carpet backing material. According to the Dow people, using the methane as an energy source reduces annual CO2 emissions by approximately 20 million lb. and replaces more than 200,000 barrels of black gold. The Dow people also claim that their carpet backing products can represent as many as five points under the renewable-energy section of the new NSF 140 Carpet Sustainability Standard (NSF Int’l, Ann Arbor, MI). Carpets certified under the NSF standard are eligible to receive a half to two LEED innovation points. I could list several other features/benefits about the LOMAX technology, but you get the idea—it’s green good.
   Now that my LOMAX knowledge is refreshed, my guilt level is greatly reduced because I can rationalize that maybe the rotting carpet I should have had recycled will do some green good by generating methane gas to power some Illinois entity.—Gary L. Parr

Do we need a better LEED?

One of the questions posed in my July/August issue editorial:

Do we need a better LEED?
We all know that LEED isn’t perfect, but it’s the accepted “standard” and, for many, the best that we have. In the past couple of years, I’ve seen several “green” buildings, but two LEED “Choose Your Metal” buildings stand out for what was missing. In both instances, after a formal tour to see all of the wonderful energy-saving, sustainable features, we had a small lunch. In both cases, I looked in the kitchenette area for a place to recycle my soda can and came up empty. In the first building, the recycle bin was in the hallway. In my most recent experience, I asked one of the tour guides where the recycle container was located. I got that “look.” There wasn’t one. For me, that moment shot a gaping hole in the building’s LEED story—Gary L. Parr

Parterre participates in green effort

 

These six wind turbines combine with solar panels to help power Parterre's headquarters.

These six wind turbines combine with solar panels to help power Parterre's headquarters.

It’s always good to hear that companies who tout the “greenness” of their products practice what they preach. Parterre Flooring Systems, Brooklyn, NY, is one of those companies. The flooring manufacturer makes its headquarters in the, now converted, Brooklyn Navy Yard. The recent  $250-million Navy Yard renovation project has the facility on track to receive LEED Gold certification.
   The focal point of the project is the first use of roof-mounted wind turbines in Brooklyn. The six wind turbines, along with numerous rooftop solar panels, provide electricity for the building’s lobby and other common areas. Other green aspects of the renovation include reflective roofing and pavement to reduce surface temperatures, recycled rain water for toilet flushing, recycled building materials, high-efficiency lighting fixtures, and natural ventilation.
   “At Parterre, we take environmental responsibility seriously,” said president T. Fred Roche. “So, of course, we are extremely enthusiastic about the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s offices receiving power from the rooftop wind turbines and solar panels and being a part of this development’s impressive sustainability initiatives.”
   The city also announced plans for other projects at the Navy Yard, including the Duggal Greenhouse, which involves turning a one-story 30,000-sq.-ft. building into “a 60,000-sq.-ft. LEED Platinum facility that will be used to manufacture eco-friendly products and will become a laboratory for new sustainable products.” It is expected that the facility will also create 1,700 jobs.—Gary L. Parr