San Francisco's new carpet regulation: Pushing the boundaries on green products

January 1, 2018

San Francisco has adopted new sustainable carpet purchasing requirements into regulation that are among the strictest in the nation.  It applies to purchases made by or on behalf of City departments.  The purchasing requirements, along with lists of compliant carpet and adhesive products, can be found here on the website under Building Materials - Flooring: Carpets & Adhesives.  For construction project manuals, use this carpet tile template specification.  

The SF Environment team, including Chris Geiger, Jessian Choy, Jen Jackson, Julie Bryant and Eden Brukman, have been developing these requirements for almost two years.  Jean Hansen from HDR Inc. put together the first version after we completed our initial survey of manufacturers; after that, we engaged City stakeholders in several fora, engaged with architects, project managers, manufacturers, and certification bodies, and (most significantly) spent a lot of time finalizing the list of compliant products.

The specification includes the following requirements, among others:

  • Carpet tile only - no broadloom (rolled) carpet except for specific situations
  • Cradle to Cradle Silver certification (includes prohibition on many, not all, chemicals of concern)
  • No poly- or perfluorinated compounds
  • 45% recycled content, 10% postconsumer minimum
  • No flame retardants
  • No antimicrobials
  • Strict volatile organic compound (VOC) limitations
  • Transparency requirements: Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), Health Product Declarations (HPDs)
  • No polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
  • No coal fly ash
  • No polyurethane
  • No styrene butadiene latex
  • Requirements for fiber and dying (to make stain-resistant treatments less important)