October 2014

Vinyl, a sustainable, energy efficient choice

Vinyl is the world’s most thoroughly researched and widely used plastic.  It can be used to make everything from intravenous tubing to flooring -- vinyl is extremely versatile.  But did you know that vinyl is also extremely energy efficient and requires less energy to produce than other materials?

PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is commonly referred to as ‘vinyl’, and a very popular material for flooring.  Unlike most plastics, 57% of vinyl is derived from salt, a natural and abundant material. The other 43% is derived from oil but only accounts for about 0.3% of the world’s oil consumption.
11657400063_7d6537050f_z.jpgThe manufacture of vinyl requires less energy than many other materials, including rubber, linoleum and wood, for example.  This efficiency helps it have a more sustainable life cycle.
In fact vinyl is so efficient that the carbon footprint of 1kg of vinyl is equivalent to that of 1kg everyday breakfast cereal.
Pound for pound vinyl is more durable than many competing flooring materials.  This allows vinyl flooring to be thinner and lighter while still offering impressive durability and makes vinyl flooring useful in all manner of applications.  From operating rooms, to commercial kitchens, to busy city transit buses, vinyl offers a great solution for many areas.
To learn more about benefits of vinyl and the sustainable attributes of Altro safety flooring, visit our pages on sustainability.

Posted: 10/10/2014 7:08:46 PM by Lea Charnley | with 0 comments

Focusing on Environmental Impact

In the recent October issue of Environment, Design and Construction Magazine, John Amatruda, a LEED Fellow[1] and BREEAM International Assessor wrote about applying product transparency (HPDs, EPDs) to selecting greener materials.  

As part of the article, John talks about how his firm compared a number of acoustical ceiling panels (ACPs) to determine which was the most sustainable.  They compared one that was made from bio-based fibers as well as some made from more traditional materials like common mineral wool or fiberglass.  The bio-based product was made from rapidly renewable ingredients and seemed like a promising choice.

After comparing the EPDs of the different products John learned that the bio-based panels had the highest environmental impact of any of the reviewed products in all six life-cycle assessment (LCA) categories.  These categories are primary energy, global warming potential (GWP), ozone depletion, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, and smog.  The bio-based product’s GWP was between 10-290 percent higher than other products!

Also, they learned that of the ACPs that were constructed of traditional materials, the one that had the least recycled content had the lowest overall environmental impact.  This study underscores LEEDs shift away from recycled content percentages to a products overall environmental impact. It also reinforces the principles and core values that Altro has stood for all along.    

Unlike some other manufacturers, Altro doesn't stuff products with recycled filler, just for the sake of having high percentages of recycled content.  Altro flooring products are between 2mm-4mm thick and every bit of our flooring serves a purpose.  It's not like some cheap alternatives that are .1mm of product and 1.9mm of filler. 

Every percentage of our product is carefully selected to perform a purpose.  Ingredients like aluminum oxide, silicon carbide and quartz are carefully included to provide durability.  This is why Altro products last long, resist chemicals, withstand abuse, and provide slip resistance.  We build products that are built for purpose.

We’re happy to see that the USGBC's LEED and other Green movements are making what we believe to be a positive shift in values.  A shift away from high percentages that have little overall environmental value towards more important goals – reducing a product’s impact on the environment. 

Because after all isn’t that the whole point of being sustainable?
-Richard Finnegan, LEED Green Associate
Marketing Manager
Altro Americas

To learn more about Altro’s environmental story including our Environmental Product Declaration, please visit www.altro.com/eco.


[1] A LEED Fellow is the most prestigious designation awarded to a person in LEED.  In order to become a LEED Fellow, one must be a LEED AP, have significant experience, and must be nominated by your peers. 


Posted: 10/31/2014 7:28:17 PM by Lea Charnley | with 0 comments
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