Showcasing the private sector's power to create a climate fit for life, Interface unveiled a first-of-its-kind prototype carbon negative carpet tile. Interface's "Proof Positive" tile proves that with new approaches to materials sourcing and manufacturing, it is possible to make a product with the potential to reverse global warming. After the tile is made, there is less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than if it had not been manufactured in the first place.
"We created this Proof Positive tile to inspire our customers, our industry, and the world to think more broadly about taking on the climate challenge in a new way – to find innovative solutions that will not only reduce, but ultimately reverse global warming," said Chad Scales, Interface's Chief Innovation, Marketing, and Design Officer. "At Interface, we can see a not-so-distant future in which architects, designers, and businesses collaborate to create spaces with climate change in mind, by choosing materials that will reverse global warming. This Proof Positive tile is an important step in our Climate Take Back™ mission as we look at climate change as an opportunity, not a problem."
Every day, plants pull carbon out of the atmosphere through photosynthesis, but release it when they decompose. Interface has taken specifically selected plant-derived carbon and converted it into a durable material that stores that carbon for at least a generation. The carbon is stored in the materials that make up the Proof Positive tile.
The tiles' materials can be recycled to create new carpet tiles at the end of the product's useful life. Keeping this carbon in Interface's recycling system through ReEntry™ ensures that this carbon stays in a closed technical loop where it belongs, rather than in the atmosphere where it has negative effects on climate.
Interface's Proof Positive prototype tile has a negative carbon footprint, which the company achieved directly through design and manufacturing, without purchasing carbon offsets. Since 1996, Interface has reduced its cradle-to-gate product carbon emissions from an average of 20.0 kilograms of carbon per square meter to just over 7 kilograms per square meter in 2016. Though only a prototype at this stage, at less than -2 kilograms of carbon per square meter, Interface's concept tile proves that it is possible to store carbon in products rather than emit more carbon into the atmosphere in the process of making those products. Should this approach to manufacturing products become mainstream over time, at volume and full scale, it could become a critical solution to reversing global warming over the long term.
"This prototype builds upon the 20 years of work we've put into creating closed-loop design and manufacturing processes," said John Bradford, Interface's Chief Science and Technical Officer. "These systems serve as a vehicle for carrying out our Climate Take Back mission. This is an exciting milestone as we endeavor to commercialize ways to store carbon in the products we make, giving our customers the opportunity to choose materials with the potential to reverse global warming."
To view the Proof Positive prototype, visit Interface at NeoCon at the Chicago Merchandise Mart, showroom #10-136. To learn more about Interface's Climate Take Back mission, click here.