Friday, September 27, 2013

Fortunately: Better products and practices moving to the forefront

Submitted by:
Meghan Woodcock, EDAC 
SCAD Professor, Interior Design
IIDA Sustainability Forum Director

Written by:
Nancy Suitt Bennett. IIDA Industry Representative
Main Solutions

Fortunately, the world of furniture and textiles has embraced the need to produce products that are more environmentally friendly.  Many manufacturers have been proponents of environmental practices for years, but certainly with designers and architects reaching to achieve LEED certification the focus on better products and practices has come to the forefront.

Carnegie just introduced the first high-performance interior textile in the world with a majority of plant based content.   Carnegie is a company that has been focusing on environmentally friendly policies even when it was not a buzzword.  The newest introduction by Carnegie has been 7 years in the making, achieving the first Gold Cradle to Cradle Certification wallcovering with their new introduction of BIOBASED XOREL. 

Carnegie has had a commitment to the environment since the 1980’s when they chose not to introduce vinyl into the collection based on vinyl’s negative environmental impact.  Xorel was developed in 1981 as an alternate to vinyl wallcovering that was not only beautiful, but also achieved high performance at a cost effective price point.  Furthermore, XOREL can be used for wallcovering, panels, and upholstery.

Bio based XOREL is plant based and contains between 60-85% bio content.  (US government guidelines require products to have 25% bio content to be labeled a Biobased product)   It has a significantly reduced carbon footprint over petroleum based products.

So what the heck is this biobased renewable resource?  The bioelectricity is generated through sugar cane waste. (Now as we know in the South…sugarcane today ….KUDZU tomorrow!) Sugar cane has a lower carbon emission rate compared with some of the other biobased materials.  For each ton of sugar cane used in production, 2.5 tons of carbon is captured.  Very technical!  The take away is Carnegie is committed to creating a beautiful product that works for you and the environment.

Biobased XOREL, though challenging to produce, looks, costs, and performs the same as XOREL.  The first introduction offers 6 designs in 91 colorways.   CARNEGIE also has the “responsible return program” where all XOREL products can be returned to Carnegie at the end of their useful life for proper reuse. 

Another manufacturer that rocks the environmental world of table bases is FALCON.    Recycled engine blocks have fueled the content of their bases for years.  Who knows…maybe you are sitting at a table and the base is made out of the first car you ever drove…or your parent’s car.  You know the car you were told to drive with tender loving care and you immediately threw care to the wind as soon as you left the drive!

For 35 years Falcon has recycled more than 150,000 tons of car parts to create their table bases.  The bases are 100% recyclable.  Each recycled ton of car parts is equal to about 100 table bases.  Also, Falcon uses an electric induction furnace that emits minimal air pollutants versus a blast furnace and smoke stack. 
As they say at FALCON…”turn up the base”!

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