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.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpA914%2Etmp_tcm131-723226.jpg

    true

    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.

    600

    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

    true

    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.

    600

    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.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpA91B%2Etmp_tcm131-723233.jpg

    true

    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.

    600

    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.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpA915%2Etmp_tcm131-723227.jpg

    true

    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.

    600

    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.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpA916%2Etmp_tcm131-723228.jpg

    true

    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.

    600

    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.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpA91C%2Etmp_tcm131-723234.jpg

    true

    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.

    600

    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.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpA918%2Etmp_tcm131-723230.jpg

    true

    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.

    600

    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.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpA91A%2Etmp_tcm131-723232.jpg

    true

    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.

    600

    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.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpA919%2Etmp_tcm131-723231.jpg

    true

    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.

    600

    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.

    http://www.ecobuildingpulse.com/Images/tmpA913%2Etmp_tcm131-723225.jpg

    true

    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.

    600

    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.

Choosing carpet for green-built homes is similar to any other category: You start with the macro-attributes—in this case backings, fibers, cushion, adhesives, and stain treatments—and then break these elements down to evaluate their raw materials, chemical makeup, durability, and end-of-life characteristics.

Adding to these challenges is the fact that carpet isn’t a category home buyers or owners often have on their green radar. So you’ll either need to properly communicate the benefits of sustainable and healthy choices—and why they’re important—or offer these products as standard practice. Here’s what to look for.

Basic Makeup

The anatomy of carpet is fairly similar across the board: fibers in a primary backing, which is bonded with adhesives to a secondary backing. Most are dyed, some include topical stain treatments, and the majority are installed over a pad or cushion.

What this means is there are a lot of ingredients to keep track of and a lot of questions to ask about raw materials, recycled content, chemical makeup, and end of life for each element.

The most common fibers are nylon 6 and nylon 6,6. Among other synthetics are polyester and polypropylene (olefin). Because these materials are petroleum-based, manufacturers are working to incorporate recycled or bio-based content.

For example, Mohawk’s “SmartStrand” uses 37% corn-sugar content. Global sustainability director Jenny Cross says the material is engineered to be inherently stain resistant, eliminating the need for topical treatments.

PET (polyester) fibers often incorporate post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.

Natural fibers are an alternative to oil-based synthetics, with the most common being wool from New Zealand, Australia, and the U.K. This means there are transport considerations, and wool also carries a price premium. Wool makers argue that the natural ingredients and a long life span (high-quality wools can last 20–25 years, says James Stinnett of Earth Weave) make up for these trade-offs. Wool carpet is naturally stain resistant; some still contain dyes, and be aware that some might add chemical moth preventatives.

“Hard fiber” naturals are made from sisal, reeds, or grasses—and, like wool, are readily renewable but also transported long distances. The products are coarser, so they’re often used for a neutral area rug over hardwood or other carpeting, says Marty Wessinger of Design Materials International. Prices vary, with some reed products matching low-end nylons while others hit premium price points, he notes. Stain resistance also varies by material.

Indoor Air Quality

The origin of the fibers, however, is often a secondary consideration among the green community, which tends to focus on occupant health stemming from off-gassing.