Environdesign NotebookFive Receive Green Chemistry AwardsFive winners have been named in the 2003 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge awards given by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The annual awards recognize businesses and individuals that have discovered innovative ways to significantly reduce pollution at its sources and have used chemistry to improve the environment.
Shaw Industries, Dalton, GA, was honored for developing its EcoWorx® carpet tile that is safer, contains fewer harmful chemicals than conventional carpet tile and may be recycled into the same product. The tile is also 40 percent lower in weight than traditional hardback carpet tiles, according to Shaw, cutting the amount of raw materials needed. Süd-Chemie, Inc., Louisville, KY, developed a process to manufacture solid catalysts that does not release nitrates and uses 16 to 20 times less water than traditional processes. Solid catalysts are used in producing hydrogen, clean fuels and other chemicals. DuPont, Wilmington, DE, was recognized for developing an innovative, bio-based method that uses renewable resources like corn to produce the latest building block to make polymers used in clothing, carpets and automobile interiors. Working with joint development partner Genencor International, a microorganism was engineered to use sugars from corn and corn biomass in a fermentation-based process. Richard A. Gross, Ph.D., Polytechnic University, Brooklyn, NY, has developed a new, versatile method to make and modify plastics from all-natural materials, such as sugars, using an enzyme from yeast. The method is simple, energy efficient and metal- and solvent-free. The new one-step process contrasts with multiple steps used in the traditional method, thus helping to cut costs and reduce the production of toxic chemicals. AgraQuest, Inc., Davis, CA, has developed a bio-based, broad spectrum fungicide that is not toxic to humans, animals or the environment. Its Serenade® fungicide effectively controls a broad spectrum of plant diseases, is environmentally friendly and is nontoxic to beneficial insects and non-target organisms. Teknion, Knoll Receive CertificationTeknion Corp. and Knoll Inc. have been awarded certification for low chemical emissions in the office furniture category by the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute. Additionally, Knoll Textiles has also received certification for low emitting products.To receive certification, furniture and furnishing lines have to be proven to have emissions that meet or are lower than the best practice air emissions standards as established by the U.S. EPA's Environ-mental Technology Verification test method in a qualified testing laboratory, or are GREENGUARD certified or registered. Furniture achieving low emissions qualify for one point in the LEED™-Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) Rating System. LEED-CI projects can earn Credit 4.5 in the Indoor Environmental Quality area for specifying certified furniture.Interface Fabrics Turns to Wind PowerInterface Fabrics Group (IFG), manufacturer of Terratex® environmental fabrics, is now using wind, a clean and sustainable energy resource, to fuel 10 percent of its electrical energy needs at its Maine and Massachusetts operations. This year the company will purchase 2.5 million killowatt hours of "green tags" (or renewable energy certificates) from an independent energy resource.According to the EPA, IFG's purchase of wind power will save approximately 4.1 million pounds of CO2 emissions each year, a number equivalent to taking 410 cars off the road.As an additional benefit of this green tag purchase, IFG will be able to certify that one million yards of its Terratex product is made using 100 percent renewable electricity, as verified by the Center for Resource Solutions, which operates Green-e, a national consumer protection program.Mohawk Gets the EvergreenMohawk Industries was presented the Evergreen Award from the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) and its National Furniture Center (NFC). Awarded twice yearly, the honor acknowledges the environmental efforts of GSA's business partners in the areas of waste prevention, recycling, environmental preferability and model facility. Only eight other companies have received this distinction since it was created in 1998.According to Stephen A. Perry, GSA administrator, among the many elements earning Mohawk Industries the award was the fact that the brand has over 100 products manufactured with significant recycled content, including commercial carpet with the trademarked Colorstrand Infinity nylon fiber; residential carpet using fiber made from recycled plastic soda bottles; plus doormats made from old tires. Mohawk, in coordination with Dow Chemical, has also introduced a commercial carpet made with a sustainable bio-based soybean derivative-attached cushion. Purchase of carpet with the soy-based polyurethane backing material will assist federal agencies in meeting the mandates of the Farm Bill signed into law in May 2002.