Sustainable shading

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  • Sustainable materials

    Sponsored by Industrial Fabrics Association International

    What does it take to be environmentally friendly in the world of fabric architecture? The answer is complex but not out of reach. Five areas, at a minimum, must be addressed: renewability, recycled content and recyclability, pollution, energy usage and durability.
    -Renewability: A fabric’s content can be replaced biologically within an understood time frame. Fibers are made from plant-based resins rather than petrochemicals. Check with the supplier.
    - Recycled content and recyclability: Fabrics are good that are produced from recycled polyester, polyethylene, cotton, wool, etc. At issue: Is more energy required to recycle than to produce non-recylable fabric?
    - Pollution: Fabric dyes can be toxic. At issue: the heavy metal antimony is often used in fabric dyes. Check to see if there are alternatives with your supplier.
    - Energy use: Like most everything, fabric production uses energy.
    - Durability: Durability IS green. If a product seldom needs replacement, energy to produce it is minimized and the earth wins out with reduced landfills, among other outcomes. Place of origin is also important. Europe has strict green manufacturing laws. Check with the supplier and ask where the fabric is manufactured.