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Greenbuild, Day 3: Interface, Marriott, Vodafone; USGBC Accused of Greenwash

A round-up of news from the Greenbuild expo in Toronto, and related items:

Interface is on track to complete environmental product declarations (EPDs) for 90 percent of its products, measured by production volume, by the end of 2011.

The company committed last November to obtain EPDs on all products globally in 2012.

President and CEO Dan Hendrix said only EPDs offer full transparency among a sea of environmental labels and claims. He said EPDs allow customers to evaluate products based on verified facts.

Interface says it was the first carpet tile manufacturer to receive verified EPDs for its products.

Marriott International said its Courtyard, TownePlace Suites and Residence Inn brands have all won LEED pre-certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, Green Lodging News reports. The company has a goal of 300 LEED-certified hotels by 2015. It announced plans to earn the volume certification back in 2009.

Greenpeace, ForestEthics, the National Wildlife Federation, and Rainforest Action Network took out a full-page ad in yesterday’s Toronto Star, accusing the USGBC of greenwash. The ad (part of which is pictured above) alters the USGBC logo to read “U.S. Greenwash Building Council,” and says proposed changes to the LEED program “would reward the use of materials sourced from recklessly clearcut forests and rainforest destruction.”

Vodafone has bought 39 elevators from Otis Elevator Company, including 29 Gen2 elevators. The Gen2 elevators will feature ReGen drives that reduce energy consumption by up to 75 percent compared to conventional systems with non-regenerative drives, Otis says.

The manufacturer has also won an order for 46 elevators, including 16 Gen2s, for Seoul’s Lotte World Tower – the world’s second tallest building. And it will install 700 energy-efficient elevators at a social housing reconstruction project in Jiangsu, China, one of the largest wins in company history.

Apparel retailer Villa estimates that a lighting upgrade starting up at its stores will pay for itself in one to two years. Lighting Science Group has installed its 15-watt PAR LED bulbs at the Toledo, Ohio branch and will perform all future installations. The bulbs are about 80 percent more efficient than the 75-watt PAR halogen lights  they replace, LSG says, and emit about 50 percent more lumens than competing products on the market.

Carrier has launched the Infinity gas furnace line, which combines modulating and variable-speed technologies with a communicating control system to constantly adapt to a home’s conditions. Carrier says the product is the most energy-efficient furnace in company history, with an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) up to 98 percent.

In low-fire mode, where the furnace operates most often, sound ratings are as low as 38.4 decibels, which is less than the sound of a refrigerator, Carrier says.

Finally, UT Electronic Controls, a unit of Carrier Corp., says it is the first electronics manufacturing facility to earn Gold certification under the LEED for Existing Buildings rating system. This follows the LEED certification for Existing Buildings the manufacturing facility received in 2009.

To achieve LEED Gold certification, UTEC says it reduced energy consumption by 29 percent compared to similar industrial facilities, decreased potable water consumption from plumbing fixtures by 30 percent compared to the LEED baseline, and lowered conventional single-occupant vehicle trips 10 percent by promoting employee carpooling.

UTEC also added a cooling tower with automated controls, which further reduced water consumption.

 

 

Interface is on track to complete environmental product declarations (EPDs) for 90 percent of its total products, measured by production volume, by the end of 2011, the company announced at the Greenbuild Conference and Expo in Toronto [CHECK NAME].

The company committed last November to obtain EPDs on all products globally in 2012. The pledge is part of Mission Zero, Interface’s promise to eliminate any negative impact its companies may have on the environment by the year 2020.

An EPD is a third-party verified report derived from a comprehensive life cycle assessment (LCA), which outlines the product “ingredients,” detailing where each material comes from, as well as the environmental impacts across a product’s life cycle.

President and CEO Dan Hendrix said only EPDs offer full transparency among a sea of environmental labels and claims. He said EPDs allow customers to evaluate products based on verified facts.

Interface says it was the first carpet tile manufacturer to receive verified EPDs for its products.

Building sector executives are increasingly considering environmental credentials for all products in their purchasing decisions in order to meet regulations and green building requirements.  Choosing between the varieties of claims from “natural” to “carbon negative,” however, can be difficult.

The LCA must be conducted in accordance with ISO 14040 and the EPD must be produced in accordance with ISO 14025. Both the LCA and EPD are verified by an independent third party.

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