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Eco-Terr, Gorgeous Green Flooring + Countertops

Eco-Terr

COVERINGS ETC has a great selection of green products.  Their Eco-Terr product, which was named Editor’s Choice Product Pick 2007 by Interiors & Sources Magazine, is a beautiful mix of glass and cement, containing roughly 80% pre-consumer, recycled material.  Eco-Terr is available in slabs and tiles, and overall, it’s a beautiful option for counters and floors.  It can be used in a wide range of applications from residential to light commercial.  COVERINGS ETC was kind enough to provide the high-quality images you see in this article.

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Graham & Brown Recycled, Renewable Wallpaper

Geometric Grahambrown

Graham & Brown, the well-known 60 year-old wallpaper company, now claims that, "about 50% of an average roll of our wallpaper is made from renewable resources."  Their claim is backed by the FSC logo, which appears on all Graham & Brown wallpaper.  Now, that isn’t really a staunch enough commitment for me, but in the wallpaper world, Graham & Brown is one of the only companies making any real effort towards "greening" themselves.  Some of their other environmental policies are more impressive.  For example, they run a Waste-to-Energy Plant, which means they use their pollution to create more energy on-site instead of releasing into the environment.  They also use recycled rainwater, have special drainage systems to reduce runoff, and use non-acidic inks and coatings, which are more eco-friendly than conventional methods. 

I have never been much of a fan of wallpaper: it’s a pain to put up, it’s a pain to take down, and the patterns were traditionally dowdy and drab.  But, in the new wave of retro-modern, bright, and bold patterns, I have become a convert. 

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Second-Look, Recycled Vinyl Wallcoverings

Secondlook

Watch out!  Second-Look is a new product that has the potential to make a splash.  I’m still trying to decide how I feel about it, but Buildings Magazine gave it a Grand Prize Product Innovation Award in the Environmental Solutions category.  Second-look invested 2 years in R&D to create the first recycling program for vinyl wallcoverings.  The company wants your used vinyl wallcoverings and they’ll take old product from any manufacturer.  Using old vinyl, they’ve developed three new collections of wallcoverings – Versa, Cirqa, and Plexus – all made of 20-percent recycled vinyl content, including 10-percent post-consumer recycled content.  The low-VOC wallcovering produces fewer emissions than paint, uses water-based inks, incorporates a mildew-inhibiting agent, and can be micro-vented for additional breathability.  Plus, Second-Look can be used for LEED points.  Anyone have thoughts?

Varia by 3form, a Diverse and Unique Product

Woven

Varia is produced by 3form, a great company to look into for many of your green interior design needs.  They produce a wide range of materials and for each of those materials, such as Varia, the application potential is practically endless.  If you can dream it, you can probably make it happen with one of their products.  Varia, or Ecoresin as it’s also called, is made of 40% post-industrial re-grind content and is GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified, making it a good option for LEED credits.  This is the most diverse product in terms of color, pattern, texture, and application options that I have found on the green market. 

There are, by the way, over 210 color, pattern, and texture options.  On top of that, there are additional finish options such as patent or patina.   Patterns include jacquard prints and hand-dyed capiz shells and glass suspended between layers of Ecoresin.  My favorite is the Organics collection with options that include bamboo patterns, leaves, grass and even rocks, some of which actually contain those materials with the layers.  Varia also comes in a variety of thicknesses which allows it to be even more versatile.  Possible uses for this material include backsplashes, countertops, wall coverings, flooring, cabinet doors, ceiling panels, door panels, and canopies.

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New Haworth Center HQ Setting Green Example

Haworth Center

I really like Haworth.  In short, Haworth is a leader in office furniture and architectural interiors.  They do everything with a commitment to appealing aesthetics, thoughtful ergonomics, and sustainability.  I came in contact with some Haworth employees when I was finishing my JD/MBA program in Dallas, and they gave me a personal tour of the super-stylish Dallas showroom (a commercial interiors office display built to LEED-CI Gold standards).  Now, Haworth is working on a major, award-winning overhaul of their Holland, Michigan Headquarters.  The 300,000 sf renovation was designed to meet LEED-NC Gold standards; some of the building’s green features include the following:

  • The new facade will have a sun-filled atrium and vegetated green roof, blending the boundary between the structure and natural environment;
  • All of the interior 830 workstations will have access to daylight views;
  • Over 99% of the existing materials collected during deconstruction and recovery are being recycled; and
  • Although the footprint of the building will increase by 20%, energy use will remain at pre-renovation levels due to sustainability improvements. 

Of the green headquarters, Haworth Chairman Dick Haworth said, "The new Haworth Center will be a leading example of change. We’re not just building a better building … we’re building a better future."

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Construction Waste: Singh Intrachooto + OSISU

Tilee Bench

Recently, I’ve run across the work of an environmentally friendly Thai architect named Singh Intrachooto.  Singh saw a problem in the industry and decided to do something to close the loop.  If you’ve ever been involved with construction of any form, you know there’s tons of wasted materials.  That’s where Singh comes in.  He takes left over scrap from construction sites and designs furniture with them, each piece being different depending on the size and shape of the materials that get salvaged.  Now, Singh’s furniture has exploded and is on display in Los Angeles and Paris.   

Singh sells the furniture via his website, OSISU, but I’m not necessarily advocating the purchase of his work.  It’s incredible and inspiring, but we have our own construction waste here in the U.S.  We have tons of it.  And it’s going straight to the landfill.  Why not find value in that trash?  Let’s close the loop and put good materials to use.  With Singh, it was just about 18 months ago that he decided to start making this furniture, and in his words, "people thought he was crazy."  Now it’s getting big-time coverage all over the media.  All it takes is asking the construction workers to set aside scraps like wood, steel, and concrete.  The pieces pictured were made from reclaimed teak morsels.  Via reuters

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