Beginning in 2014, the China-based resilient flooring company, Novalis had big goals. They wanted to pursue EPDs, HPDs and Declare labels for two of their top-selling products. A tall order turned into a streamlined process where the data gathered from one scope of work fed into the another.
By looking at the environmental impacts via LCA and inventorying their chemical ingredients simultaneously, we removed every LBC red list ingredient feasible during the stages of production in Novalis' product. While the team acknowledged the PVC-based content, we successfully removed BPA, DINP plasticizers (phthalates) and other culprit ingredients from both Novaclic plank flooring and Novalis' rolled goods.
2015 Novalis receives GreenStep Asia Pinnacle Environmental Leader of the Year award at Domotex Asia for “going beyond professional duty and industry norms…benefitting the industry with leadership in the area of environmental sustainability”
While removing two ingredients may seem insignificant, it is monumental when scaled. Novalis is one of the largest producers of resilient flooring in the world. Since reformulation in 2014, our efforts to remove harmful chemicals from Novalis' production, equates over 12,000 metric tons of DINP completely obliterated from use.
Who says one small change doesn't make a monumental impact?
Moore & Giles
Situated on Tannery Row, Virginia, Moore & Giles was established over 80 years ago after the Great Depression and is a southern institution. Quality runs deep in the DNA of Moore & Giles and they are committed to creating the most innovative, luxurious and sustainable leathers in the world.
Few people understand the complexities involved in the tanning of leather--it is a process unlike any other. But our team was ready for the challenge and vetted three different leathers from three different tanneries spanning the world, from Germany to Italy.
In the process, we discovered chemicals that could be replaced with safer options. As a result, Moore & Giles claims bragging rights for being not only the first leather supplier in the world to be honored with the Declare label, but they are 100% LBC red list chemical free and if that weren't enough, the leather employs a tanning agent that is mineral-free. Gone are the days of Chrom-6, these leathers are tanned with the world's first C2C Platinum tanning agent made from the fallen leaves of olive trees.
Leather, one of the world's oldest and most reliable materials can now proudly say they are among the greenest.
Taiga, by Biome is a true hero story, blowing the doors off all convention. Complex products like Taiga, composed of multiple pieces and electrical parts, pose a unique challenge when it comes to environmental certifications or labels. Few manufacturers with similar construct dare to try. Add on to that a living wall system so new and dynamic that it doesn't fit into a CSI category and you have a challenge like no other...exactly the type of project A Greener Space thrives on.
Together, our team devised a plan to scrutinize Biome's material supply chains - to levels even more granular than most program's requisite 100ppm - in order to determine where improvements could be made. Collin Cavote, the founder of the company had a deep commitment to removing as many chemicals of concern possible to ensure that Taiga was the health-promoting product it was designed to be.
Taiga is the first product of its kind to attain a Declare label, setting a precedent for the rest of the industry to strive for.
But the story doesn't stop there. When our team learned that no one on the planet made a red list-free appliance cord, we took the initiative and invented one. As a result, we are ushering in the world's first and only LSZH, PVC-free electrical appliance cord.
Complex products too hard to certify? Not for A Greener Space they're not.
The NRDC office in Beijing proudly claims the honor of being the first Petal Certified project in China. As with most projects in China, the project schedule is extremely fast and unforgiving. We needed an acute plan in order to save time, resources and money. One strategy was to perform an on-site audit of the exiting office to assess if any materials or finishes could be salvaged or repurposed. The second and most formidable task was to locate compliant products from manufacturers totally unfamiliar with the tenets of the then newly-launched Living Building Challenge. And it meant locating manufacturing sites as well as the raw materials within very tight procurement zones.
Performing these tasks while adhering to very strict timelines required the ability to make informed yet quick decisions. By creating learning sessions and giving presentations to the design-build contractors we were able to familiarize them with the LBC Standard to streamline the documentation process.
Most notably, I worked one-on-one with local and international manufacturers present in China to introduce them to the Declare label and its concept of ingredient transparency. The extreme patience and diligence paid off because this project helped register more Declare labels than any other other project had in the ILIF's history.
The Glumac Shanghai office, located in an historic 1912 building is the first LEEDv4 Platinum Certified, first Full RESET Certified and first registered Full Living Building Challenge project in China. As lead materials consultant, the vetting and research for all materials, finishes, assemblies and furniture for the project was daunting in a country unfamiliar with the West's newest green building certification.
Working with an international team, often with limited English-speaking skills, added a layer of complexity to an already demanding work load and meant that a clear and focused plan had to be created and adhered to.
By understanding local codes and being sensitive to cultural differences I applied patience and creative problem-solving skills to keep the teams organized and the project on schedule.