College Planning & Management

MAY 2013

College Planning & Management is the information resource for professionals serving the college and university market. Covering facilities, security, technology and business.

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INTERIORS MAKE MINE MODULAR classrooms that previously used vinyl tile flooring. The carpet tiles give the classrooms a more "finished" look and also improve acoustics by reducing echoes, says John Gremmels, the University's senior project manager for Campus Operations Planning and Development. "It has better acoustic qualities and it makes the room feel more like a college than a high school classroom," Gremmels says. "You feel like this room is more professional." An additional benefit to using carpet tiles in classrooms is that they can be easily replaced in areas that experience asymmetrical wearing, for example from heavier use near doorways and from coffee and soda stains. Nevertheless, in less-frequented rooms such as staff offices, the University is still relying on broadloom carpet, which, as Gremmels points out, can also made from recycled material. Carpet tiles, Gremmels says, can cost 10 to 15 percent higher than broadloom. Because of cost considerations, Oregon State is still using hard floors and broadloom carpet when it remodels residence halls, although one new residential facility for international students did incorporate carpet tiles. Tandus Flooring, a company that manufactures carpet tiles for higher education and other markets, offers flooring products that contain between 25 and 75 percent recycled content but can also custom order broadloom carpeting with as much post-consumer material as the client requests, says Jonathan Stanley, vice president for higher education at Tandus, based in Dalton, GA. Yet he agrees that traditional rollup carpet is not always the popular choice for many colleges and universities. Options Are Available While half of Tandus' higher education clients use carpet tiles, the other half are opting for a product called hybridresilient flooring, which has a vinyl backing with a top layer of textile, making it look like carpet. The product is manufac- 58 COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT / MAY 2013 tured in sheets but can also be cut and installed as squares. "Carpet tile is not just the only product to be used in higher education for performance," Stanley says. When meeting higher education clients, Stanley recommends a range of products, including luxury vinyl, rubber flooring, hybridresilient flooring, carpet tiles, and broadloom, letting the school choose what will best meet its needs. Yet carpet tile may be more attractive to higher education institutions looking to "green" their supply chain, says Wendell Hadden, vice president for market development of Interface, a company that manufactures carpet tile in LaGrange, GA. Interface's carpet tiles contain between 40 and 70 percent recycled material, and the company also takes back all the carpet to be recycled when it needs to be replaced. Installing broadloom carpet also creates waste, ranging from 12 to 14 percent, because it is typically manufactured in 12-ft. rolls that must be cut to fit the rooms. The waste associated with carpet tiles is much lower — between 1.5 and 2 percent, Hadden says. "It makes no sense to throw out 12 percent of a new carpet into a landfill 30 days after you make that investment, particularly if it's a public investment," he says. Cornell University now uses carpet tiles as "standard practice" because of the price it has negotiated with Interface and because of the extended shelf life created when the University swaps out worn tiles for new ones in heavily trafficked areas, says Jeanne Boodley-Buchanan, Facilities Engineering architectural designer at Cornell. She estimates that carpet tiles are being used in 90 percent of new construction and in 75 percent of renovation projects at the University in Ithaca, NY. "We have an aggressive recycling requirement for projects on campus, and carpet tiles are typically returnable to the manufacturer for recycling," Boodley-Buchanan says. "This assists us in our efforts to deliver LEED-certified buildings and spaces." WWW.PLANNING 4EDUCATION.COM

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