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October 23
IIDA Carolinas: Perspectives on the evolution of sustainable design

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As part of our guest blog series, we've asked the IIDA Carolinas Chapter how they believe sustainable design is evolving in the A&D community. Their responses are nothing short of inspiring. (Pictured above: IIDA Carolinas Board of Directors) 

Q: How do you see sustainable design evolving in the architecture and design community?

A: I see sustainable design becoming practice as usual. There is no reason we should not be designing energy efficient, healthy environments. The technology and products are readily available, and it's up to us to apply our best sustainable practices.

          - Dustin Seager, IIDA, LEED AP ID+C; IIDA Carolinas Chapter VP Advocacy; Coastal City Center

A: I feel that sustainable design will evolve in a very similar fashion as technology has. At first it was more cumbersome and costly, and now it is woven into the fabric of what we all do on a daily basis...ubiquitous. I think that creating environments that are sustainable will be and should be a "given", more of a pre-requisite for a project, and the designers and clients determine to what degree the sustainability will reach.  

          - Anita Holland, IIDA; IIDA Carolinas Chapter VP Membership

A: Sustainability must become less about checking a box and more of a holistic mindset. I see firms driving the conversation based on their own best practices and relying less on proprietary guidelines.

         - Scott MacMeekin, IIDA, LEED AP BD+C; IIDA Carolinas Chapter President-Elect; Charlotte City Center

A: Designing for a sustainable project environment has become second nature in our industry. There are many products available to architects and designers that help us achieve a more sustainable outcome from our built environments. Since the initial rush of design to LEED requirements and standards, the cost associated with sustainable materials has dropped and become attainable to a range of clients' budgets. Because of this, the negotiation and "sales pitch" that used to occur over sustainable practices and design has diminished. Furthermore, clients see this as a way of "keeping up" in their respective industries and showcasing their care and concern for our environment and the built environment they provide for their employees. 

          - Emma Butler, Assoc. IIDA, LEED AP; IIDA Carolinas City Center Director; Charlotte City Center

A: We have started to see a trend in clients not requesting LEED Certification anymore, but requesting the use of green design elements. As designers, we are very familiar with the principles of sustainable design and use our knowledge to incorporate those items as part of best practices even when not requested. 

          - Leigh Stephenson, IIDA, NCIDQ, EDAC, LEED AP ID+C; IIDA Carolinas VP Professional Development; Charlotte City Center 

A: As more companies develop sustainable or green products, cost of these materials will hopefully reduce, making them more readily available for all project types and budgets. Currently, many "green" products are cost prohibitive for low budget projects. Additionally, I see a shift in how sustainable design implementation occurs. There already has been a shift towards continual monitoring of energy use and building performance instead of a once and done approach to sustainable design that only measures a building's designed performance, instead of actual performance upon project completion.  

          - Amanda Wade, IIDA, LEED AP ID+C; IIDA Carolinas Chapter VP Communications; Triangle City Center 

A: In my design work, whether it is LEED or not, I want the design to be functional, beautiful and responsible. I pick products that meet all those criteria on all projects. Just because it is LEED doesn't mean that it has to have a lower level of design or a less desirable aesthetic. I feel this is the direction that sustainable design is going, to be the only option without even realizing it. I think manufacturers and the A&D community all want to design products and buildings that have less impact on our environment​ while still meeting our criteria. As this field of sustainability continues to grow and the manufacturing evolves, it will become the standard and we won't have to have a "labeled" group of product to choose from."

          - Danielle Tipton, Owner, Interior Designer, NCIDQ at DT Designs; IIDA Carolinas; Triad City Center

About IIDA Carolinas

The International Interior Design Association (IIDA), founded in 1994, is the result of a merger of the Institute of Business Designers (IBD); the International Society of Interior Designers (ISID); and the Council of Federal Interior Designers (CFID). The goal of the merger was to create an international association with a united mission that would represent interior designers worldwide and speak on their behalf with a single voice. 

With over 500 members, the IIDA Carolinas Chapter is comprise of seven City Centers and one Campus Center in North Carolina and South Carolina. 

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October 21
Color the Floor Plane with Milliken's Color Reference System
Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 2.15.21 PM.png"Color is an integral element of our world, not just in the natural environment but also in the man-made architectural environment. Color always played a role in a human evolutionary process. The environment and its colors are perceived, and the brain processes and judges what it perceives on an objective and subjective basis. Psychological influence, communication, information, and effects on the psyche are aspects of our perceptual judgment processes. Hence, the goals of color design in an architectural space are not relegated to decoration alone.
 "The impression of a color and the message it conveys is of utmost importance in creating the psychological mood or ambiance that supports the function of a space." - Frank H. Mahnke in Archinect​
Color is a critical aspect in creating interior aesthetics and functionality, and flooring is a useful avenue to incorporate both within a space. With​ the open workspace dominating commercial design, the strategic use of multiple floor coverings is a ideal method to define spaces. 

That's where the Milliken Color Reference System comes into play.   

We believe that designers should not be bound by color choices, but instead offered a variety of hues that inspire you most. With the Milliken Color Reference System, designers can discover 140 colors and easily find complimentary floor covering designs to enhance interiors. Simply select your favorite collection on MillikenCarpet.com​ and view coordinating colors and patterns. How you pair them is up to your imagination. 

October 16
Landfill methane: A multi-beneficial alternate fuel

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Did you know that atmospheric methane is one of the most potent greenhouse gases on Earth? Surprisingly​, it poses an exponentially higher threat to global warming than carbon dioxide (Princeton Journal Watch). 

As an industry whose product - carpet - was once the second highest contributor to landfill waste, we have taken enormous strides as a collective to divert carpet from landfills. Since the inception of the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), CARE members have diverted more than 3.25 billion pounds of post-consumer carpet from U.S. landfills (2013 CARE Annual Report). 

Diverting waste from landfills is critical for numerous reasons, among them being the consumption of precious green space and emission of harmful chemicals into the atmosphere. Landfills create a prime environment for methane emissions with decaying organic matter and anaerobic conditions (GHG Online). ​According to the EPA, "Municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills are the third-largest source of human-related methane emissions in the United States."​

However, we can harvest landfill methane for renewable energy that provides an alternate to traditional fossil fuels and also removes a greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. The implications are powerful.

The EPA states, "Using landfill gas helps to reduce odors and other hazards associated with landfill gas emissions, and it helps prevent methane from migrating into the atmosphere and contributing to local smog and global climate change." 

As a manufacture​r, we feel a responsibility to invest in renewable energy to power operations while also taking steps to make the world more sustainable. To accomplish this, almost half of the energy used to make our carpets comes from renewable resources, such as water and methane. In fact, we receive​ more than 80% of harvested methane from the LaGrange, GA landfill, and our hydroelectric plant in South Carolina provides 10% of company-wide electricity annually. 

These efforts have enabled Milliken to increase our use of renewable energy to 46% of our overall energy consumption. The result: lowering our greenhouse gas emissions by 42.7% over the last 20 years. 

Through the strategic use of renewable energy, we can sustain our world for generations to come in more ways than one. How are you utilizing renewable energy to create a cleaner, healthier, and more sustainable Earth?

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October 14
Architecture for Humanity New York's Day of Impact 2014

Designers have the unique ability to make a positive impact in people's daily lives - whether it is creating more functional and inspiring spaces, more sustainable spaces better for the environment, or using their skills to help rebuild after disasters. And at Milliken, we aspire to 'do good' for the world in which we live, which is why we have joined forces with Architecture for Humanity New York for their first annual Day of Impact.  

Architecture for Humanity works to provide sustainable design, construction, and development services where they are most critically needed. The Day of Impact invites the architecture and design community in New York City to bring positive and measureable social impact to areas of need in a one-day blitz. 

Multiple service projects throughout the city will engage volunteers with five organizations and four boroughs to take part in various worthy projects. 

Opportunities for Impact

1. Rebuilding Together NYC: Rebuilding Homes Damaged by Hurricane Sandy
Far Rockaway, Queens

2. NYC Compost Project by Build It Green! NYC: Beautify a Bike Lane
Long Island City, Queens 

3. Publicolor: Painting Winthrop Campus Alongside Students
East Flatbush, Brooklyn

4. MillionTreesNYC: Forest Restoration Project
Inwood Hill Park, Manhattan -or- Clove Lakes Park, Staten Island

5. Concrete Safaris with New York Cares: Gardening at the Mad Fun Farm
Upper East Side, Manhattan

6. Services for the UnderServed​: Building an Urban Farm
Brownsville, Brooklyn

We look forward to hosting the entire Day of Impact community - from volunteers to partner organizations and extended members of the Architecture for Humanity network - for a Night of Impact on Friday, October 24 to kick off the day of service. Interested in joining us? ​To register and participate, click here

For those who can't join us during the Day of Impact, you can follow the event on social media using #dayofimpact14 and experience the difference New York City designers are making in their community. 

October 09
Defining space within the open office

As office walls come down and the open workspace dominates the corporate world, interior designers are turning to other methods to delineate different types of areas. 

In lieu​ of walls - and even workstation panels - the creative use of flooring is defining spaces, much like an area rug in a living room. The concept is the same - defining a space where people gather to sit, collaborate, and work together. 

We hope you enjoy two examples of our favorite designs that embrace this concept. 

1. WhitePages. Designed by IA Architects, the WhitePages office in Seattle uses multiple colors of the same floor covering to designate conversation areas, walkways, and even open meeting spaces. Click here to see more photos of this project. 

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Photos by Sherman Takata.

2. Zendesk. Designed by Design Blitz, The Zendesk San Francisco office features multiple flooring mediums in contrasting tones. The result is a clean, open aesthetic with areas for both collaborative conversations and focused work. Click here ​to see more photos of this project.
Photos by Bruce Damonte.

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October 07
James B. Hunt Library Wins ALA/IIDA Library Award

We're thrilled to share that the James B. Hunt Library at North Carolina State University won the 2014 ALA/IIDA Library Interior Design Award for libraries over 30,000 square feet. 

The award-winning space designed by Snøhetta brings together individuals across a variety of disciplines to benefit from technical innovation and research achievements. And as versatile as the needs of a public library are, so must be the interiors, which serve as an integral part of a student's learning experience.

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Because the building is mostly composed of large open spaces that flow from floor to floor - rather than to many enclosed rooms - where and how material and color changes occurred was very important. The solution: various vibrant colors of our Paste Up series paired with an incredible collection of iconic furniture.

Elaine Molinar, managing director for Snøhetta, commented on the collection: "Rich, intense colors were a key factor in the development of the library design, and once we found the Paste Up series we knew it was the right product." 

Additionally, Paste Up offers performance features that are vital for a public space, including: 

  • Modular carpet for ease of maintenance
  • Heavy traffic durability
  • Stain and soil protection
  • Acoustic qualities to reduce noise

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Creative learning environments, such as the James B. Hunt Library, can help inspire innovation and effective learning for students. We are honored to be part of this project. 

Click here to read the full case study on the James B. Hunt Library, and to discover more winners of the Library Interior Design Awards visit Contract magazine.  

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October 02
KI Shares Perspective on Workplace Design Trends

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As we continue our guest blog series, Shawn Green, vice president of design and product marketing at KI, shares his thoughts on workplace design trends.  

Q: What are the most prominent trends in workplace design?

A: I think the word trend is overused in general. The fact is, the process of work has evolved over time, yet workplace dynamics have remained fairly constant. Regardless of what we want to believe, hierarches still exist. 

The one dynamic that has become more impactful from a programing perspective is the purposeful planning of personal interaction. Specifically, bringing down panels, increasing the percentage of glass and intentional use of third space products, like lounge seating.

When I think of a trend, I relate more to color, pattern and form over actual workplace design. Can people work in an office that was designed in the 80's or 90's and be effective? Yes. Would they feel good about it? Perhaps not. Relevance has more to do with what is relatable and the context of color and material usage than the size of workstations. To say "collaboration" is a trend ignores the fact that people have always relied on each other to ensure the success of the collective. 

About Shawn Green, vice president of design & product marketing at KI

Shaw Green is the vice president of design and product marketing at KI. He is responsible for the design, development and growth of KI's product portfolio of furniture solutions for education, healthcare, government and corporate markets.

Prior to joining KI, Green spent several years at Knoll, where he served as the director of storage marketing and as director of product marketing for systems furniture. He also held product management positions at Steelcase and Trendway.

Green holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Hope College in Holland, Michigan. 


September 30
Achieving Environmental Health in Design

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On World Environmental Health Day 2014, we partnered with Interiors & Sources magazine to host a Twitter Chat on a vital topic - achieving environmental health in design. 

Design firms, industry organizations, and top manufacturers joined to have an informative conversation and share their unique perspective. We hope you enjoy a recap of key takeaways of the enlightening Q&A, which you can also discover on Twitter by searching #EHinDesign.

Q1: How can interior design play a role in environmental health?

  • Interior design that includes truly sustainable products & materials can help protect & create environmental health. 
  • Sustainability is not about reaching a final destination. It’s about striving for continual improvement every step of the way.
  • Educating clients on sustainable options and alternatives could help them make better decisions on sustainable materials.
  • Old materials can be repurposed into new products and material components. Programs like PlanetReuse are great resources to find new homes for used carpet & other building materials. 
  • Designers should work with clients to incorporate sustainability into all their buying habits emphasizing value vs. cost.
  • Third-party certifications are vital. Ask manufacturers for proof of claims. 

Q2: How can designers & manufacturers create healthy interior environments?

  • No/low VOC products/materials and incorporating fresh air environments in design to improve air quality, which is vital because according to the EPA90% of our time is spent indoors. 
  • Materials that improve IAQ help achieve healthy environments, as indoor pollutants can be 2-5 times higher than those outdoors. Materials like carpet can help trap these indoor air pollutants.
  • Consider reducing workstation panels. They attract dust and pollutants and create floor areas that can't be vacuumed. 

Q3: How can interior designers ensure they are selecting materials that are truly sustainable?

  • Realize that like most investments, quality pays off over time, providing better results & costing less in the long run.
  • To tell, look for the word “ANSI,” then ask for third party certification to that standard. 
  • There are always tradeoffs; natural fibers have different costs/benefits vs. synthetic, recycled ones. There’s no one answer. 
  • Green sustainable manufacturing processes are just as or sometimes even more important than final product.
  • Longevity, durability are critical for sustainable products. The longer they last, the less that need to be manufactured.
  • Don’t just rely on what companies are saying. Use third party certifications, like USGBC's LEED version 4.

Q4: How can manufacturer practices play a role in achieving environmental health in interior design? 

  • When you purchase products, you are agreeing to their manufacturing practices - environmentally friendly or not.
  • If looking at indoor environmental health, indoor air quality is the number one factor that a manufacturer can influence.
  • Talk with manufacturers about environmental practices to ensure they meet your goals and help lower your impact.
  • Third-party certifications, such as IS0 14001, are important to note.
  • Verify Life Cycle Costs to make economic argument to clients.
  • A designer is only as green as the manufacturers they use. 

Interested in learning more on what constitutes a truly sustainable interior product? Inquire about our new health, safety, and wellness CEU course, "A Holistic Approach to Sustainable Floor Covering."

September 25
New CEU: A Holistic Approach To Sustainable Floor Covering

It is naive to think that human actions to the environment have no consequences or effect on the future.

It is especially critical in interior design to consider all sustainable aspects of a product or material in a space. At Milliken, we believe that sustainability goes beyond the product itself. It requires a higher level of environmental stewardship with a holistic approach to sustainability.  

Truly sustainable products encompass more than one green aspect. In addition to components, products should be made with sustainable manufacturing methods. It is critical to achieve a balance of both.

From a product perspective, sustainable products: 

  • Contain recycled content and materials that are not hazardous to human health. They are designed to last – so that fewer products needs to be replaced. 
  • Carry transparency tools to help designers compare products accurately. Environmental Product Declarations, Health Product Declarations, Declare transparency labels, NSF 140 and SMaRT certifications are vital tools that help designers achieve clarity when comparing products.

From a manufacturing perspective, sustainable products are:

  • Created by companies that value environmentally responsible manufacturing. This means they make serious efforts to reduce their carbon footprint, look into renewable energy sources, and reduce their overall use of energy.
  • Designed for end-of-life in mind, with available landfill diversion or product reclamation programs. ​ 

All of this and more is discussed in our new continuing education course, "A Holistic Approach to Sustainable Floor Covering," (.1 HSW CEU, IDCEC). 

In the course, participants will:
  • Discuss the importance of sustainable interior design
  • Learn a general overview of sustainability initiatives
  • Review how designers can assess sustainability attributes of floor covering products, from both a product and manufacturing perspective
  • Discuss how architects and designers can move sustainability forward in the A&D industry

To learn more, please contact your local Milliken sales representative or email us at millikencarpet@milliken.com. For other CEU course offerings from Milliken, click here​.  

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September 24
Honoring Sustainability Achievements for World Environmental Health Day

For more than 100 years, Milliken has brought forth innovations in sustainable products and practices that we are proud to call our own. In honor of World Environmental Health Day on Friday, September 26, we're taking a look at our company's heritage of sustainability to celebrate all that our associates have accomplished to be environmental stewards. ​

  • ​1900: Milliken publishes the company's first recycling policy.
  • 1912: Milliken makes the company's first investment in renewable energy. 
  • 1960: Roger Milliken formally mandates that Milliken makes responsible use of natural resources.
  • 1962: Milliken opens wastewater treatment plants, before EPA exists. 
  • 1986: Milliken develops the world's first PVC-free carpet tile.  
  • 1990: Milliken publishes a formal Global Environmental Policy. 
  • 1992: Milliken achieves zero waste to landfill from U.S. manufacturing facilities. 
  • 1993: Milliken becomes a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council
  • 1996: Milliken becomes first U.S. carpet manufacturer to be ISO 9000 certified. 
  • 1998: The Milliken family of companies becomes the first carpet and textile manufacturer to be certified carbon negative. 
  • 2002: Milliken implements the Design for Environment process for all commercial carpet products.
  • 2002: Milliken introduces a landfill diversion program - a simple means for customers to divert old carpet from landfills.
  • 2003: Milliken introduces TractionBack, a bio-based and adhesive-free installation system that reduces the environmental impact of glues, adhesives and VOCs used for manufacturing and installation.
  • 2005: Milliken floor covering achieves an 86% reduction in its eco-footprint since 1990. 
  • 2005: Milliken is the first carpet manufacturer to use methane gas harvested from a community landfill as energy.
  • 2007: Milliken's Chicago Showroom becomes the first space in the Merchandise Mart to achieve LEED Gold under LEED 2.0. 
  • 2011: Milliken introduces an A&D first with "Greenest" architecture folder made with 100% biodegradable components, which is also 100% recyclable. 
  • 2013: Milliken provides Environmental Product Declarations for standard commercial carpet tiles.​
  • 2013: Renewable power usage for Milliken floor covering manufacturing facilities increases to 46%.
  • 2014: Milliken named to the Ethisphere Institute's list of World's Most Ethical Companies for the eighth consecutive year. 
  • 2014: Milliken introduces Health Product Declarations and Declare transparency labels for all North American modular carpet.

Everything we do in the built world impacts the natural world in which we live, which is why we are passionate about environmentally responsible manufacturing. In interior design, it is especially critical to consider all sustainable aspects of a product or material in a space. 

Join us (@MillikenCarpet) on World Environmental Health Day, Friday, September 26, for a Twitter Chat with Interiors & Sources (@InteriorsSource) magazine to discuss achieving environmental health in design. The chat will run from 2 to 3 p.m. EST, and Twitter users can follow and participate in the conversation by using and following the hashtag #EHinDesign.  

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