Launch Slideshow

Flor. Fez carpet tiles are made with 80% post-consumer recycled-content PET face fibers and come in seven colors. The companys scalable system of modular squares allows specifiers to create custom designs and shapes, while helping them order only as much as needed to fill the space, reducing waste. The company offers a Return & Recycle carpet takeback program. 866.281.3567. www.flor.com.

Green Carpets and Cushions

Green Carpets and Cushions

  • Bentley Prince Street. Clodagh Natural Slate, a re-colored version of the companys wool flat weave, features an 80%20% wool-nylon blend. It includes Protekt soil/stain protection and comes in 10 colors. It is Green Label Plus certified. 800.423.4709. www.bentleyprincestreet.com.

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    Bentley Prince Street. Clodagh Natural Slate, a re-colored version of the companys wool flat weave, features an 80%20% wool-nylon blend. It includes Protekt soil/stain protection and comes in 10 colors. It is Green Label Plus certified. 800.423.4709. www.bentleyprincestreet.com.

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    Bentley Prince Street.
    Clodagh Natural Slate, a re-colored version of the companys wool flat weave, features an 80%20% wool-nylon blend. It includes Protekt soil/stain protection and comes in 10 colors. It is Green Label Plus certified. 800.423.4709. www.bentleyprincestreet.com.

  • Flor. Fez carpet tiles are made with 80% post-consumer recycled-content PET face fibers and come in seven colors. The companys scalable system of modular squares allows specifiers to create custom designs and shapes, while helping them order only as much as needed to fill the space, reducing waste. The company offers a Return & Recycle carpet takeback program. 866.281.3567. www.flor.com.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpA917%2Etmp_tcm131-723229.jpg

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    Flor. Fez carpet tiles are made with 80% post-consumer recycled-content PET face fibers and come in seven colors. The companys scalable system of modular squares allows specifiers to create custom designs and shapes, while helping them order only as much as needed to fill the space, reducing waste. The company offers a Return & Recycle carpet takeback program. 866.281.3567. www.flor.com.

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    Flor.
    Fez carpet tiles are made with 80% post-consumer recycled-content PET face fibers and come in seven colors. The companys scalable system of modular squares allows specifiers to create custom designs and shapes, while helping them order only as much as needed to fill the space, reducing waste. The company offers a Return & Recycle carpet takeback program. 866.281.3567. www.flor.com.

  • Natures Carpet. Part of the Dark Green line, Everest carpeting is made with wool and features no dyes or added chemicals, including insect resistance. The carpet has jute primary and secondary backings and uses a natural rubber latex adhesive. It is Green Label Plus approved. 800.667.5001. www.naturescarpet.com.

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    Natures Carpet. Part of the Dark Green line, Everest carpeting is made with wool and features no dyes or added chemicals, including insect resistance. The carpet has jute primary and secondary backings and uses a natural rubber latex adhesive. It is Green Label Plus approved. 800.667.5001. www.naturescarpet.com.

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    Natures Carpet.
    Part of the Dark Green line, Everest carpeting is made with wool and features no dyes or added chemicals, including insect resistance. The carpet has jute primary and secondary backings and uses a natural rubber latex adhesive. It is Green Label Plus approved. 800.667.5001. www.naturescarpet.com.

  • Design Materials. The companys seagrass carpet, shown here in the Tropics style, is made from the rapidly renewable sedge family of plants from low-lying areas of the Asia-Pacific region. The inherently stain-resistant yarn is durable and non-porous, the company says, and has a smooth texture, a subtle sheen, and a warm hue; it is not dyed. It has a latex backing. The manufacturer also offers carpeting made from wool, mountain grass, and coconut fibers. 913.342.9796. www.dmifloors.com.

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    Design Materials. The companys seagrass carpet, shown here in the Tropics style, is made from the rapidly renewable sedge family of plants from low-lying areas of the Asia-Pacific region. The inherently stain-resistant yarn is durable and non-porous, the company says, and has a smooth texture, a subtle sheen, and a warm hue; it is not dyed. It has a latex backing. The manufacturer also offers carpeting made from wool, mountain grass, and coconut fibers. 913.342.9796. www.dmifloors.com.

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    Design Materials.
    The companys seagrass carpet, shown here in the Tropics style, is made from the rapidly renewable sedge family of plants from low-lying areas of the Asia-Pacific region. The inherently stain-resistant yarn is durable and non-porous, the company says, and has a smooth texture, a subtle sheen, and a warm hue; it is not dyed. It has a latex backing. The manufacturer also offers carpeting made from wool, mountain grass, and coconut fibers. 913.342.9796. www.dmifloors.com.

  • Earth Weave Carpet Mills. Every element of the companys carpet is manufactured with natural materials: The fiber is made with British wool, the primary backing is hemp and cotton and is secured to the fibers with adhesive from the rubber tree, and the secondary backing features jute. Also available is Enertia padding, also made with wool. Shown here is Rainier, a random tip shear that combines cut and uncut loops for a more elegant appearance. Granite, snowfield (shown), tussock, and Ursus colors are available. 706.278.8200. www.earthweave.com.

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    Earth Weave Carpet Mills. Every element of the companys carpet is manufactured with natural materials: The fiber is made with British wool, the primary backing is hemp and cotton and is secured to the fibers with adhesive from the rubber tree, and the secondary backing features jute. Also available is Enertia padding, also made with wool. Shown here is Rainier, a random tip shear that combines cut and uncut loops for a more elegant appearance. Granite, snowfield (shown), tussock, and Ursus colors are available. 706.278.8200. www.earthweave.com.

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    Earth Weave Carpet Mills.
    Every element of the companys carpet is manufactured with natural materials: The fiber is made with British wool, the primary backing is hemp and cotton and is secured to the fibers with adhesive from the rubber tree, and the secondary backing features jute. Also available is Enertia padding, also made with wool. Shown here is Rainier, a random tip shear that combines cut and uncut loops for a more elegant appearance. Granite, snowfield (shown), tussock, and Ursus colors are available. 706.278.8200. www.earthweave.com.

  • Shaw. Cradle-to-Cradlecertified Anso nylon carpeting is made with SCS-certified 25% recycled content in the form of post-consumer carpet. It features R2X stain resistance treatment and has a polypropylene backing. The carpet is Green Label Plus certified. It comes in a range of collections for commercial, heavy traffic, and residential use. 800.441.7429. www.shawfloors.com.

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    Shaw. Cradle-to-Cradlecertified Anso nylon carpeting is made with SCS-certified 25% recycled content in the form of post-consumer carpet. It features R2X stain resistance treatment and has a polypropylene backing. The carpet is Green Label Plus certified. It comes in a range of collections for commercial, heavy traffic, and residential use. 800.441.7429. www.shawfloors.com.

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    Shaw.
    Cradle-to-Cradlecertified Anso nylon carpeting is made with SCS-certified 25% recycled content in the form of post-consumer carpet. It features R2X stain resistance treatment and has a polypropylene backing. The carpet is Green Label Plus certified. It comes in a range of collections for commercial, heavy traffic, and residential use. 800.441.7429. www.shawfloors.com.

  • Healthier Choice. The companys carpet padding is the only cushion to carry Greenguard certification, the firm says, and is made with 55% renewable bio-based materials from non-food sources. It features MoistureBloc breathable moisture barrier to prevent spills from penetrating the cushion and Ultra-Fresh antimicrobial treatment. Five thicknesses are available. 800.872.8426. www.healthierchoice.com.

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    Healthier Choice. The companys carpet padding is the only cushion to carry Greenguard certification, the firm says, and is made with 55% renewable bio-based materials from non-food sources. It features MoistureBloc breathable moisture barrier to prevent spills from penetrating the cushion and Ultra-Fresh antimicrobial treatment. Five thicknesses are available. 800.872.8426. www.healthierchoice.com.

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    Healthier Choice.
    The companys carpet padding is the only cushion to carry Greenguard certification, the firm says, and is made with 55% renewable bio-based materials from non-food sources. It features MoistureBloc breathable moisture barrier to prevent spills from penetrating the cushion and Ultra-Fresh antimicrobial treatment. Five thicknesses are available. 800. 872.8426. www.healthierchoice.com.

  • Mohawk. The company now offers its SmartStrand carpet with Sorona renewably sourced polymer; made with 37% renewable material in the form of corn sugar, production of the material requires 30% less energy and emits 63% less greenhouse gas, the company says. The Triexta fibers are engineered with permanent, built-in stain protection and clean up with just water and steam. The carpet is Green Label Plus certified. 800.266.4295. www.mohawkflooring.com.

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    Mohawk. The company now offers its SmartStrand carpet with Sorona renewably sourced polymer; made with 37% renewable material in the form of corn sugar, production of the material requires 30% less energy and emits 63% less greenhouse gas, the company says. The Triexta fibers are engineered with permanent, built-in stain protection and clean up with just water and steam. The carpet is Green Label Plus certified. 800.266.4295. www.mohawkflooring.com.

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    Mohawk.
    The company now offers its SmartStrand carpet with Sorona renewably sourced polymer; made with 37% renewable material in the form of corn sugar, production of the material requires 30% less energy and emits 63% less greenhouse gas, the company says. The Triexta fibers are engineered with permanent, built-in stain protection and clean up with just water and steam. The carpet is Green Label Plus certified. 800.266.4295. www.mohawkflooring.com.

  • Invista. Stainmaster UltraLife nylon 6,6 carpet is SCS certified as an Environmentally Preferable Product. The carpet features built-in stain-blocking technology as well as LotusFX Fiber Shield, a lotus leafinspired technology that makes it difficult for soil to stick. The companys EcoSoft cushion is made with recycled nylon 6,6 carpet. 800.438.7668. www.stainmaster.com.

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    Invista. Stainmaster UltraLife nylon 6,6 carpet is SCS certified as an Environmentally Preferable Product. The carpet features built-in stain-blocking technology as well as LotusFX Fiber Shield, a lotus leafinspired technology that makes it difficult for soil to stick. The companys EcoSoft cushion is made with recycled nylon 6,6 carpet. 800.438.7668. www.stainmaster.com.

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    Photographer: Guy Welch

    Invista.
    Stainmaster UltraLife nylon 6,6 carpet is SCS certified as an Environmentally Preferable Product. The carpet features built-in stain-blocking technology as well as LotusFX Fiber Shield, a lotus leafinspired technology that makes it difficult for soil to stick. The companys EcoSoft cushion is made with recycled nylon 6,6 carpet. 800.438.7668. www.stainmaster.com.

  • Beaulieu. Green Label Pluscertified Bliss Magic Fresh carpet is made with Stainmaster Luxerell BCF nylon and offers a rich, wool-like appearance and softness, the company says. It includes Xtralife and LotusFX stain and soil resistance technologies and Magic Fresh odor-reducing treatment. The frieze 46-ounce carpet comes in 30 colors. 800.227.7211. www.blissflooring.com.

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    Beaulieu. Green Label Pluscertified Bliss Magic Fresh carpet is made with Stainmaster Luxerell BCF nylon and offers a rich, wool-like appearance and softness, the company says. It includes Xtralife and LotusFX stain and soil resistance technologies and Magic Fresh odor-reducing treatment. The frieze 46-ounce carpet comes in 30 colors. 800.227.7211. www.blissflooring.com.

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    Beaulieu.
    Green Label Pluscertified Bliss Magic Fresh carpet is made with Stainmaster Luxerell BCF nylon and offers a rich, wool-like appearance and softness, the company says. It includes Xtralife and LotusFX stain and soil resistance technologies and Magic Fresh odor-reducing treatment. The frieze 46-ounce carpet comes in 30 colors. 800.227.7211. www.blissflooring.com.

And products are finding plenty of reuse elsewhere. Invista recycles nylon 6,6 into EcoSoft carpet cushion; synthetic fibers also are being used to make injection-molded plastic parts, such as in car engines. Wool fibers can be recycled into cushion, as well.

Carpet Pads

Indoor air quality and recycled content also come into play for carpet padding.

First, cushion products have their own Green Label Plus seal, so look for a certification separate from your carpet selection.

And, like fibers, pads come in synthetic and natural materials; many contain high amounts of recycled content, including old carpet or furniture foam. HBN and others caution about the potential presence of PBDEs (flame retardants that have come under EPA scrutiny) in recycled foam padding, so be sure to ask.

Quality and Installation

A sustainable carpet is also one that does not have to be replaced as often. “I think it’s critical that the builder recognize that that’s part of the problem,” says Cross. “If you can increase that spec to something that’s a heavier weight … it’s a little more expensive, but it’s going to stay on the floor longer.”

In addition to resources from manufacturers describing durability levels, CRI offers a Texture Appearance Retention Rating, which helps customers choose the right traffic rating for each area.

On the front end, accurate measuring and ordering are essential for waste reduction. CRI will soon introduce an installation standard to help specifiers better estimate how much carpet is needed for each project.

Carpet or No Carpet?

Some sustainability advocates argue that any type of carpet is not desirable in homes because it traps dirt, debris, and dust mites. “Carpets accumulate dust and dirt in the amount of approximately 5 to 25 grams per square meter of surface area ... which is a far greater extent than hard flooring,” says the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH).

CRI counters that the opposite is true—that properly maintained carpet is better than hard surfacing because it traps dust and debris until it is vacuumed up. The group cites a 15-year Swedish study, among others, that found no link between carpet usage and the incidence of allergies and asthma.

Debates aside, optimal air quality relies on proper maintenance, and builders should provide instructions as part of the homeowner’s manual. The NCHH and CRI recommend vacuuming carpet once or twice a week with a HEPA vacuum using slow, repetitive motions. CRI includes vacuum-buying resources on its website and offers a seal-of-approval program for spot removers, vacuums, and deep cleaners.

Selling Sustainability

Choosing carpet for green-built homes often comes down to weighing which attributes are most important to both client and pro—and which options fit the project’s budget.

For now, most homeowners are concerned with appearance and quality above all else. “The most important thing to the residential consumer is performance,” Cross says, speculating that less than 10% of carpet buyers walk in and ask about sustainability. “It’s not the green specifications, it’s the performance. The green aspect is the cherry on top.”

And this means a messaging opportunity for savvy pros. “Make sure the developer understands what sort of marketability improvements making these green improvements can have,” says Chris Dragan, president of Nature’s Carpet. “For a fairly minimal cost one can come away with a marketing proposition that can be valid to the end buyer.”

Katy Tomasulo is deputy editor of EcoHome.