The Facts about Carpet and Indoor Air Quality for Architects, Designers and Builders

When it comes to air quality, you can breathe easier with carpet. Despite misconceptions, carpet emits less and filters more compounds than any other flooring option. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has conducted scientific research and gathered independent data that show carpet delivers the best air quality around.

What You Should Know

• New carpet is the lowest VOC-emitting floor covering and one of the lowest-emitting products used in new construction and renovation – much lower than products such as paint. The already low VOC emission of new carpet drops significantly after 24 hours—even sooner with fresh air ventilation.

• Carpet manufacturers were the first in the flooring industry to thoroughly study their products for indoor air quality effects in commercial settings. CRI worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), academic institutions and independent laboratories to evaluate carpet’s role in the indoor environment.

• In 1992, CRI became the first organization to set limits on VOC emissions from carpet, adhesives and cushion. Since then, the Green Label Plus program has voluntarily tightened IAQ standards four times by requiring even lower emission levels and increasing the number of compounds evaluated.

• CRI also worked with California’s Sustainable Building Task Force and Department of Health to certify carpet and adhesives. Green Label Plus meets, and even exceeds, the low-emitting product testing protocols used by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS).

• Carpets certified to the Green Label Plus program contribute to Green Globes and LEED® credits for low-emitting materials. Some of these carpets can also contribute to the recycled content, rapidly renewable and regional credits.

• Green Label Plus is a requirement in the public health and environment sections of NSF/ANSI 140 – the sustainability assessment for carpet. NSF/ANSI 140 is the preeminent measurement of the sustainability characteristics of carpets. By specifying all carpets certified to NSF/ANSI 140, you can be eligible for the Innovation in Design Credit in LEED projects.

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