Whether you’re considering minor renovations or a full rebuild, there are various ways to make your construction green and environmentally friendly. Sustainability has a host of benefits for your organization and the environment as a whole. Choosing the right appliances or prioritizing certain structural upgrades can translate to long-term cost efficiency. Recycling what you no longer need or selecting recycled or refurbished products for your upgrade reduces environmental strain. Here are ways to make beneficial, green changes during your project, both big and small.
Construction often begins with disposal – replacing old appliances, tearing down walls, or pulling up flooring. Often, these products and materials end up in landfills while they still have usable life in them. While your floor covering or air conditioning system might not accommodate your needs any more, there’s a good possibility that someone else could find it useful.
Look into organizations that specialize in finding new homes for used building materials, like Burns & McDonnell Global Reuse, formerly Planet Reuse. Connect with a local Habitat for Humanity ReStore location, a nonprofit home improvement donation center and store that resells gently used furniture, home and office accessories, building materials, and appliances at reduced prices.
Often, when we start projects, we think: new building, new material. Rather than purchasing everything new, consider reclaimed or refurbished options. Even better, find these options locally to recoup transportation costs and decrease harmful emissions.
GreenBy3, a Charleston-based construction company, is a prime example. The company focuses on environmentally friendly options that keep reusable material out of landfills. It prioritizes cost-saving green technology, as well as local and sustainable alternatives, maximizing its clients’ budgets and environmental impact.
When you consider energy, water, and appliances, begin with looking for the most efficient options. Dual-flush toilets save water, while certain light bulbs decrease energy consumption by reducing energy waste via heat loss. In fact, Milliken utilizes low-voltage lighting systems with daylight sensors and low-flow toilets and urinals with multi-option flush to reduce resource consumption at our New York showroom.
Also think about the building blocks of your space, like insulation and air ducts. Investing in quality options now will reduce energy lost from leaky ducts or inadequate insulation in the future.
How do you prioritize the environment when approaching new construction and renovation projects?
Milliken Luxury Vinyl Tile (left to right): Fissure Oak, Charlotte, and Fiber. One of the fastest-growing segments of the hard flooring market today is luxury vinyl tile (LVT). LVT is becoming increasingly popular for its multitude of options when it comes to color and pattern, impressive durability, ease of maintenance and installation, and overall value.
LVT can offer a beautiful flooring solution for practically every interior space. It is a new alternative for those who have their eyes set on natural materials like stone or hardwood, as it delivers incredibly realistic interpretations of wood, marble, slate, and more. Those interested in modern or abstract designs should consider LVT as well - the flooring is available in myriad designs and dimensions, offering designers more control over appearance than ever before. In addition, its superior ease of upkeep and value are popularizing it as an alternative floor surface.
With so many options in the marketplace, choosing the most appropriate LVT flooring for a project might seem daunting. Alan Fennel, Milliken’s resilient flooring market director, shares three tips to help you make the best selection possible.
1. To choose a product, first consider purpose.
Think about the product’s wear layer. If you’re selecting a product that will experience heavy commercial traffic, like hotel corridors, schools, or hospitals, you’ll probably need a 28 mm wear layer. Keep in mind that the print layer of the pattern and color lay underneath the wear layer, which is crucial for protecting the design and for withstanding heavy traffic.
2. Take the product’s core into account.
While recycled content is often raved about in flooring, some LVT is made from virgin, raw materials – often PVC. Using only virgin PVC reduces the likelihood of shrinking, creating a more durable floor covering. It also eliminates the risk of recycling toxic or harmful chemicals into LVT, which could have been present in recycled post-consumer content. Virgin PVC yields a consistent, quality product with enhanced durability, providing a strong, reliable core.
3. Think about the environment.
While the nature of high-performing LVT doesn’t usually lend itself to using recycled content, you can still choose suppliers, manufacturers, and companies that meet other industry standards for sustainability and environmental stewardship. When selecting LVT, look for products that meet 100% REACH compliance and carry Environmental Product Declarations and Declare labels.
Milliken’s new LVT offerings provide a wide spectrum of aesthetics, while meeting the highest standards concerning durability, material, and sustainability:
Our easy-to-search Color Reference System lets you coordinate Milliken LVT options with modular and broadloom carpets for a seamless aesthetic, so that your space can easily flow between soft- and hard-flooring surfaces.
Interested in learning even more about our luxury vinyl tile offerings? Visit our website to browse our LVT brochure, explore our Color Reference System, and start redefining the floor plane.
Pinterest has evolved into an incredibly useful tool for individuals and organizations alike, especially within the architecture and design industry. Its features make it more than an online board of your favorite things – with additions like secret boards, buyable pins, and the ability to add locations – Pinterest is a strategic social platform to add to your arsenal of design tools.
By adding a secret board to your page, you can plan or brainstorm with clients and colleagues in private. This is a great option for communicating ideas to a client or with members of your organization. If you want to keep track of trends or your competitors’ activity – you can do it out of sight. Maybe you just want a place to collect inspiration for a project or take your time curating a board before making it public – all of that is possible with Pinterest secret boards.
The ability to tag your pins with locations adds a real-world, geographical element to your online presence. This gives Pinterest a more interactive feel. You can use the locations to map out all kinds of activities: show the exact locations and geographical presence of your projects, locate your favorite art museums across the country, or tag locations that inspire you around the world.
This month, Pinterest introduced its newest function: pins you can purchase. These pins have blue prices, which signals that the specific product is available for purchase. This is useful for both the seller and the consumer. It enables individuals as well as companies big and small to sell their content. For those of us who want to turn our time exploring online into something more tangible, simply find a buyable pin, and purchase what you need.
To explore more ways to take advantage of Pinterest for architecture and interior design, take a look at our CEU on Pinterest and the A&D Community.
Three companies, each operating in a different industry, partnered with Colombian designers, Grupo Dossarq Architects, to transform their South American offices with bold Milliken floor covering.
Our colorful, dynamic collections, including Formwork, Nordic Stories, Art Media and Way, brought a sense of life and vibrancy to these sleek, modern places of business.
This global insurance group covers reinsurance, primary insurance, and international health business. Experts on risk solutions across the world, they embraced a bold choice with Milliken’s Art Media collection in Charcoal – a pattern rife with layers of movement. The True Blue color is mimicked in striking color blocking on the office’s ceiling.
This multinational consumer goods company spans the industries of personal care products, cleaning products, food, and beverage. Looking to make a statement in its Bogotá office, Unilever selected a statement floor covering: Way, a modular carpet collection designed in collaboration with the SOM Collaborative. A high level of contrast takes center stage in the Riverbed Facet pattern, juxtaposed with bright green accents and stark, white walls.
SABMiller, a beer and soft drinks company, offers high quality beverages with a long tradition of craftsmanship. When it came time to renovate its Colombian office in Bogotá, Grupo Dossarq Architects chose Milliken’s Formwork and Nordic Stories collections. A slate-colored Nordic Stories covers a majority of the floor plane, punctuated by Formwork inserts of vibrant greens, yellows, blues, and reds.
All photography courtesy of Grupo Dossarq Architects.
The downsizing trend has taken off in the residential architecture and design world. Yesterday’s fascination with square footage and stories has been replaced with smaller, more efficient alternatives. More modest dwellings have a lot of perks to offer: They are often more sustainable and energy efficient, and can even provide psychological benefits – less clutter and more clarity.
However, reducing the floor space of your home doesn’t mean forfeiting style. We compiled five design tips for making the most of small spaces with the help of Ginny Jones, senior designer of Milliken’s residential floor coverings.
Looking for more design inspiration for your small space? Explore the move toward pint-sized living in Dwell, New York Magazine, Design Milk, and Dezeen.
Volunteers at AFHny's Day of Impact 2014.
This fall, events across the globe will celebrate every aspect of the design world, from the designers themselves to innovative advancements and industry newcomers. Whether you find yourself on the east coast or the west, in the U.S. or across the pond, there’s an upcoming event for you. We’ve compiled some highlights for you below.
IIDA Leaders Breakfast San Francisco - September 16, 2015
This annual international event series fetes the importance of design and its impact around the world. Industry leaders who have succeeded in noteworthy achievements as well as those who are at the forefront of the future of design will be celebrated. IIDA will also host breakfasts in cities including Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston. Find out which breakfast is closest to you here.
Design Americas - September 16-17, 2015
Design Americas is a new marriage of tradeshow and conference held in Miami, Florida. The event will focus on contract, retail design, kitchen, and bath markets in the regions of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The two-day function will feature panels and conferences as well as a wealth of design inspiration coming from some of the fastest-growing markets in the world. Meet and mingle with architects, interior designers, retailers, developers, and visual merchandisers from around the world.
London Design Festival - September 19-27, 2015
This festival is part trade show and part citywide celebration. London’s major trade shows, including 100% Design, Decorex International, designjunction, Focus/15, and Tent London & Super Brands will spotlight designers and their work from both the United Kingdom and the world.
London’s design districts, from Clerkenwell to Chelsea, will each organize various exhibitions and events throughout the festival. In traditional Art Walk style, select galleries and studios in seven London districts will also feature late-night hours, parties, and events throughout the Festival.
Archtober - October 2015
For the duration of October, New York City will celebrate Architecture and Design Month. The fall festival is full of programs, exhibitions, and activities across the bustling city. Every day, the event will feature a “Building of the Day,” which you can explore via a tour.
Discover everything this month-long architecture celebration has to offer with the Archtober calendar and blog.
AFHny Day of Impact - October 17, 2015
This event comes with a healthy dose of doing good, one of Milliken’s driving tenets. Architects and designers will team up to make an impact throughout New York’s boroughs. Spread good by painting, planting, and rebuilding in various neighborhoods. There will also be a kickoff party on October 16 featuring drinks and snacks. Day of Impact volunteers will receive discount admission to the kickoff event.
For a more in-depth preview of what events lie ahead this year, visit Interior Design’s event page here.
Gateway Elementary in Omaha, Nebraska features Milliken's Theory 2.0 modular carpet collection. Photo by Tom Kessler.
Capturing the full potential of floor covering starts before it is installed. Properly prepping for installation can help ensure that you receive the full potential of their floor covering’s first life.
At Milliken, we are dedicated to providing floor covering that is built to last. Prem Patel, the global education market segment leader for the Milliken floor covering division, shared some advice on how to get the most out of your school's floor in the June issue of School Planning & Management.
Preventing floors from warping and protecting them from mold, mildew, and curled edges starts before installation. Assessing possible sources of moisture under the floor’s foundation is of utmost importance. You can measure moisture levels using calibrated probes, and select appropriate floor covering based on your findings.
Subfloor moisture has a number of causes, from rainwater seepage to leaking water lines, or even residual water from concrete curing. Any type of moisture can slowly wreck havoc on water-based adhesives. PVC and polyethylene material might also require specific adhesives.
To measure subfloor moisture, you might consider in-situ Relative Humidity (RH) probe tests, such as ASTM F2170. Ask your manufacturer about the adhesive RH rating and pH balance – most flooring adhesives withstand 80 percent RH. It is important to note that a pH over 10 will eventually break down the adhesive.
Carpet backing is designed to protect your floor covering from moisture. Felt backing wicks moisture away from the subfloor, and antimicrobial treatments in a carpet’s primary backing can prevent the growth of mold mildew and bacteria. Take a look at your floor covering’s third party certifications – adhesives should be CRI Green Label Plus-certified, or should have low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Floor covering should also be able to resist 80 percent RH. If you are installing carpet in high-moisture conditions, you might consider 95 percent RH.
Be wary of high VOC products. They can impact indoor air quality and delay move-in dates because curling and ventilation is required to flush out odor and VOCs prior to occupation by staff and students.
Grassland (left) and Shoreline (left) from the Arcadia collection.
With summer in full bloom, we’re all eager to go outside and explore nature’s beauty. Milliken’s new collection, Arcadia, helps bring the best of the outdoors into commercial interiors, celebrating four unique landscapes by exploring remarkable marriages of texture and color.
Arcadia welcomes soft, organic patterns to the floor plane through PVC-free modular and plank carpet tiles. The combinations are endlessly versatile through four distinct designs – each inspired by the trend of biophilic design – where delicate, nature-infused patterning flows continuously.
The designs - Grassland, Terrain, Undercurrent, and Shoreline - each interpret a different vista.
Grassland delivers the most subtle, uniform appearance of the group. Mimicking the view of vast plains of grass, the subtle variations in tone are reminiscent of wind rustling through a pasture.
If you find yourself dreaming of sand, sun, and saltwater, Shoreline will bring it to you. The design captures the undulating lines left at the ocean’s edge as waves break and retreat from the water line. In certain colorways, the effect is almost marble-like, delivering an elegant, peaceful environment. Lighter tones accentuate the pattern, while darker colors deliver a more understated aesthetic.
Terrain conveys the natural gradation of a relief map of land. Evocative of unfinished granite, the design is multidimensional and dynamic, but yet soft and serene. Land’s topography is captured through combinations of light and dark tones that create depth and texture with a somewhat distressed, organic appearance.
The movement of the sea is harnessed by Arcadia’s final design, Undercurrent. Defined by striations of light and dark colors side by side, Undercurrent borrows the effect of light shining through the ocean’s surface. The most linear design of the collection conveys an aged aesthetic, which can be enhanced or downplayed through the shape of tile selected.
Arcadia features a palette plucked from nature, with 16 hues that range from soft, sandy tones, through nutty, coffee shades, to rich, denim navies. Each design lends a unique lens to the colorways, translating them into entirely different landscapes.
Other collection benefits include:
Connecting with nature provides us with fresh, new perspectives, lifts our spirits, and enlightens us for tomorrow’s challenges. Whether this summer has you dreaming of a trip to the beach, a dive in the ocean or an excursion into forests, meadows, or mountains, Arcadia helps capture the essence of the outdoors.
Click here to see more about Arcadia.
The Milliken Athenaeum, home to the floor covering division in Spartanburg, S.C. Photography by Eric Laignel.
People’s relationships with their work places are evolving. Many are no longer satisfied with yesterday’s status quo of bland cubicles, monotonous hours, and the sacrifice of life and health for financial gain.
As more associates from younger generations enter the work force, the priorities of employers are shifting to cater to them. The goal: a true work-life balance with engaging, comfortable, and colorful work environments.
The younger generation’s priorities are an extension of sustainability. As Kay Sargent, this month’s Green Building & Design (GB&D) guest editor notes, “When we look at the workplace of the future, we’re actually kind of evolving beyond that title – it’s the lifestyle of the future we’re looking at. There is truly a blending between work and life.”
GB&D’s July issue features three companies that are embracing these changes and catering to improved work-life balance. Milliken made the list.
The article notes our long history of sustainability, a building block of our family of companies for 150 years. Sustainability is a multi-faceted principle at Milliken. The environment is prioritized with a zero waste-to-landfill benchmark, investments in renewable energy, and a 115-year-old recycling program.
However, Milliken’s approach to sustainability goes beyond environmental stewardship. It is a holistic concept that puts Milliken associates first. As Philip Ivey, strategic sustainability leader for the Milliken floor covering division, notes in the article, “Culturally, our management structure is designed to empower each associate to own their role at Milliken, their impact on the environment, and their influence in the local community. The results compel our associates to ‘do good’ for the world in every aspect of their work.”
On that basis, Milliken’s boasts multiple LEED Gold facilities, as well as carbon-negative designation form the Leonardo Academy Cleaner and Greener Program. Our corporate headquarters in Spartanburg, South Carolina, also features a beautiful arboretum and 600 acres of green outdoor space, along with dynamic, light-filled, colorful working spaces for our associates.
Our priority to do good in the world is clear. It is holistically reflected in our products, policies, and the environments we strive to create – both interior and exterior.
Click here to read the full article about our sustainable workplaces along with two other companies, Xylem and Petzl, setting the precedent for green offices.