ASID Icon - Fall 2012 - (Page 38)
The Meaning Behind Greening
ASID GUIDE HELPS DEFINE AND DECIPHER ECOLABELS/
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS). While they provide basic data on the product’s physical properties, these sources often include poorly-deﬁned or overly generic terms, and may lack transparency because the information comes directly from the manufacturer. Designers should be proactive and diligent when inquiring about the ingredients of building products and FF&E, making it necessary to dig a little deeper.
BEFORE THE UBIQUITY of the Internet, teachers
directed students to the dictionary when asked how to spell something. Trying to ﬁnd a word you didn’t know how to spell in a resource organized alphabetically was perplexing. If you don’t know how to spell it, how can you look it up? Designers may feel that same frustration today with the growing number of sustainability claims in the marketplace. Certiﬁed organic, biodegradable and low-VOC are terms manufacturers use to differentiate their products, oftentimes with
no independent veriﬁcation. How do you know if the upholstered pieces you’re specifying are truly durable and contribute to healthy indoor air quality? What assurances do you have that the fabric was not woven by child laborers or does not contain toxins? More often than not, the solution is still to look it up. There are a variety of ways to verify that the products you specify in your interiors are healthy and safe for your client and the environment. The most obvious place to start is a product’s label or its
A more rigorous source of information about a product’s material health and environmental impact is an ecolabel, which is a second- or thirdparty veriﬁcation of sustainability claims. No doubt you have encountered products with the ENERGY STAR®, level® or GREENGUARD® mark, examples of third-party certiﬁcation programs that are well-respected in the design industry. The increase in the number of ecolabels and certification programs bolsters designers’ quest for both information and greener products. But what exactly do all the labels and certiﬁcations mean? Ecolabels and certiﬁcation programs vary widely throughout the marketplace. Some focus on a single product type (paint or coatings, for instance), while others look at a variety of products within a speciﬁc practice area (such as building materials). Some certification programs measure, test or rate a single attribute such as emissions (i.e., Indoor Advantage™), while others look at multiple attributes such as environmental and human toxicity, emissions and durability (i.e., Green Performance™). A few programs, such as Cradle to Cradle®, take a comprehensive approach, starting with a baseline of environmentally-benign ingredients then evaluating the manufacturing process and full life cycle of a product. GREENGUARD certiﬁes a wide variety of products—from ﬂooring, furniture and textiles to building materials, paint and adhesives—for low emissions. It offers three levels of certiﬁcation, but all its certiﬁed products must meet stringent chemical emissions standards based on established criteria from key public health agencies. The GREENGUARD mark on a product represents third-party veriﬁcation that it is low-emitting and will contribute to healthy indoor air quality (IAQ).
the magazine of the american society of interior designers
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ASID Icon - Fall 2012
Taking Business Abroad
Finding the Right Formula
The State of Our Society
Design for Life
Resource Guide & Advertisers
ASID Icon - Fall 2012