Specifying sustainable commercial furniture fabric will soon become a whole lot easier. The NSF/ANSI 336 standard for furniture fabric officially was finalized this past April and fabrics that meet the U.S. standard will be certified for sustainability on three levels, silver, gold, and platinum, much like the well-known LEED rating system for sustainability in buildings. The NSF promoted the new development at NeoCon® 2011 to help explain the new program’s intricacies to designers.
“The NSF/ANSI standard is significant in that unlike those of several other third-party certifiers, which measure a single attribute, such as indoor air quality, it is a sustainability assessment covering a product’s entire life cycle,” says NSF business unit manager Petie Davis. “It’s a multi-attribute standard based on performance requirements, and like the LEED system, it also is based on a point system. Among the attributes evaluated for a fabric to meet the new standard are material content, design for the environment, manufacturing process, public health, social indicators, and end-of-life issues, such as recycling and reclamation.
Drivers for the new standard are the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the body that developed the LEED system, and the General Services Administration (GSA), both of which sought a national standard by which to evaluate commercial furniture fabric for sustainability. “Architects, designers, and specifiers also have been demanding a uniform, transparent sustainability standard that would give them the assurance they need to specify sustainable product,” says Davis.
The new standard is the fifth NSF/ANSI standard for commercial interiors products. For more information, contact Petie Davis at nsf.org.