Window shades are an essential part of sustainable building design. Because transparency and accountability are essential to sustainable design, various descriptions and certifications have been developed to identify sustainable characteristics. Here are the most common:
Flame retardants are used in all kinds of products and building materials. Flame retardancy is often a requirement for textiles in order to meet building codes, but many flame retardants contain brominated chemicals (polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs), a class of organohalogens. More fabrics now use flame retardants without these chemicals, while others have dispensed with the need for any additional chemicals because the fabrics are inherently flame retardant.
Phthalate- and PVC-free
Phthalates make plastics more flexible. They are also known as plasticizers. Polyvinyl chloride, or vinyl, is also found in many shade fabrics. Although shade fabrics are safe even when these are used, we do have phthalate-free and PVC-free shade fabrics available. One advantage of phthalate-free fabrics is reduced greenhouse gas emissions because most phthalates are petroleum-based.
The Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive 2002/95/EC restricts the use of certain hazardous materials in electronics and electrical equipment manufacturing. These include:
- Lead (Pb)
- Mercury (Hg)
- Cadmium (Cd)
- Hexavalent chromium (Cr6+)
- Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB)
- Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE)
- Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP)
- Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP)
- Dibutyl phthalate (DBP)
- Diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP)
REACH (EC 1907/2006)
Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is a European regulation covering chemicals and their safe use.
US Consumer Product Safety Commission Section 101
This section provides guidance on how to comply with federal consumer product safety rules pertaining to lead.
ANSI/WCMA A 100.1
This standard from the Window Coverings Manufacturers’ Association deals with a wide variety of safety points for window coverings, including hanging cords. It also sets out rules for allowable lead content.
GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD Gold
GREENGUARD standards are less about what is in the material, and more about how much of those ingredients escape into the air via off-gassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
GREENGUARD certified fabrics meet some of the toughest chemical emissions standards in the world. GREENGUARD Gold certification means the fabric has passed an even more rigorous standard, designed to protect more vulnerable populations such as children in education environments.
This means a material has passed the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute’s verified rating system for assessing and constantly improving products. The system is based on five categories –renewable energy, clean water, material health, social responsibility and material reutilization.
Each category receives a grade—basic, bronze, silver, gold, or platinum. The lowest level becomes the product’s overall mark. Products have to be re-certified every two years.
Draper offers many sustainable fabric options from U.S. suppliers Phifer and Mermet some or all of the above standards. To explore our offerings, click here.