NSF qualifies three additional wallcovering distributors, demonstrating the wallcovering industry’s commitment to furthering sustainability stewardship

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — NSF International, an independent global organization that writes standards, tests and certifies products for the green building, food, water and consumer goods industries, has certified the first sustainable wallcovering products and qualified four additional distributors to the NSF American National Standard for Sustainable Wallcoverings (NSF/ANSI 342). NSF International developed NSF/ANSI 342: Sustainability Assessment for Wallcovering Products to help architects, designers, retailers and consumers identify sustainable and environmentally preferable wallcoverings.

LSI Wallcovering is the first manufacturer to earn NSF/ANSI 342 product certification.  The manufacturer certified their entire line of Type I and Type II standard and custom wallcoverings sold under the Versa Wallcovering®, Cirqa®, Plexus® and Second-Look® brands.

NSF International also has qualified four additional wallcovering distributors to the NSF American National Standard for Sustainable Wallcoverings - Colour & Design, Levey Industries, MDC Wallcoverings, and National Wallcovering. Commercial and residential designers and architects can now source NSF certified sustainable wallcoverings from these qualified distributors in addition to Dallas-based wallcovering distributor TRI-KES, which qualified last December.

NSF/ANSI sustainability assessment standards are recognized by companies, organizations and governments alike as credible tools for identifying and specifying more sustainable products. For example, the US Government Services Administration (GSA) through Executive Order 13514 has set a goal to ensure 95 percent of all new contracts require products and services with more sustainable attributes (e.g., energy and water efficient, recycled), many of which are identified as criteria in NSF/ANSI 342.

“The government, building and design communities are demanding sustainable wallcovering products. Earning NSF certification for our sustainable wallcovering products is the most credible way of communicating to our customers that we are committed to minimizing the environmental impacts of our products and supplying them with the products they need to meet their sustainability goals,” said Phil Tarullo, CEO of LSI Wallcovering and immediate past president of the Wallcovering Association.

“NSF/ANSI 342 certification gives architects and designers a way of identifying and comparing sustainable products, while also providing manufacturers and distributors the framework they need to produce more sustainable products and operations over time. It also favorably positions companies who choose to self regulate ahead of the competition, making them more attractive to organizations adopting sustainability purchasing practices like the US Government Services Administration,” said Tom Bruursema, General Manager of NSF International’s Sustainability division.

How the Sustainable Wallcovering Certification Program Works

Similar to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for buildings, NSF/ANSI 342 assigns point values in a number of categories. Unique to this standard is the requirement to combine points from both the manufacturer and distributor to determine the product certification level as Conformant, Silver, Gold or Platinum. Each organization is responsible for its own rating and applies individually.

NSF/ANSI 342 recognizes the important role distributors play in maintaining the sustainability of wallcovering products throughout their life cycle. In order to qualify and distribute certified sustainable wallcoverings, distributors undergo a comprehensive and independent NSF assessment that evaluates the environmental and social impacts of their operations.

NSF/ANSI 342 is a multi-attribute standard that evaluates wallcoverings against established requirements, performance criteria and quantifiable metrics in six key areas:

  • Product Design: Encourages integrating environmental and life-cycle thinking into the design process. As much as 90 percent of a product's sustainability footprint is determined in the design phase, so this important category is weighted heavily in the point assignments.
  • Product Manufacturing: Requires quantifying and reducing the environmental impacts of manufacturing and distribution. Because of the potential environmental impacts in the manufacturing phase, this category is also weighted heavily in point assignments.
  • Long-Term Value:  Encourages maximizing product longevity that equates to less waste and fewer resources used.
  • End-of-Life Management: Ensures that wallcoverings can be collected, processed, recycled and/or composted within the existing materials recycling infrastructure.
  • Corporate Governance: Supports corporate social responsibility such as providing a desirable workplace, being involved in the local community and demonstrating financial health.
  • Innovation: Rewards exceptional performance above the basic requirements of NSF/ANSI 342.

How the Sustainable Wallcovering Standard was Developed

Manufacturers and distributors of wallcoverings wanted to formalize their best practices in sustainable design, manufacture and product distribution into an official wallcoverings standard. This effort was spearheaded by the Wallcoverings Association and developed through the NSF National Center for Sustainability Standards (NCSS). The NCSS utilized an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited consensus-based process, which included balanced input from a joint committee of users, regulatory agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency, wallcovering manufacturers, distributors and academics. The NCSS has developed sustainability standards through this consensus-based process for a wide range of product categories, including chemicals, commercial furnishings, flooring, building products and materials, and water treatment and distribution systems.

Wallcovering products covered by the standard include textiles, vinyl, vinyl coated, alternative polymer, alternative polymer coated, paper and other natural fiber products. Certified products earn the use of the co-mark for the Wallcovering Association and NSF on product packaging and marketing materials, a signal to buyers and consumers of the products’ more sustainable attributes.

For additional information on the NSF/ANSI 342 Sustainable Wallcoverings certification program, contact Dennis Gillan at 734-476-2543, dgillan@nsf.org or visit nsfsustainability.org.

Editor’s note: To schedule an interview with NSF Sustainability General Manager Tom Bruursema, contact Greta Houlahan at 734-913-5723 or houlahan@nsf.org. Tom Bruursema also will be available for interviews at NeoCon in NSF Booth 8-7110.

About NSF International: NSF International is an independent organization that writes standards, tests and certifies products for the construction, food, water and consumer goods industries to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment (nsf.org). Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting human health and safety worldwide. NSF is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment.

NSF Sustainability draws upon this expertise in standards development, product assurance and certification, advisory services and quality management systems to help companies green their products, operations, systems and supply chains. Through its National Center for Sustainability Standards, NSF has developed sustainability standards for product categories such as chemicals, building products and materials, and water quality. NSF works with leading regulators, scientists, engineers, public health and environmental health professionals, and industry representatives to develop these transparent, science-based standards, protocols, and product category rules.

Additional NSF services include Education and Training, safety audits for the food and water industries, nutritional/dietary supplement certification, organic certification provided by QAI (Quality Assurance International) and management systems registrations delivered through NSF International Strategic Registrations (NSF-ISR). NSF-ISR services include ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems registration, Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and Chain of Custody (COC) certifications.

About the Wallcoverings Association (WA): WA is a member-based, not-for-profit organization, focused on the manufacturing, distributing and over-all sales within the wallcoverings industry. For further information on the association, contact WA Headquarters at 312.321.5166, info@wallcoverings.org, or visit www.wallcoverings.org.

CONTACT: Greta Houlahan
Phone: 734-913-5723
Email: houlahan@nsf.org