The Importance of Low Impact Flooring

Decades of industrialization have emitted harmful pollutants into our atmosphere, contributing to advanced global warming and potentially affecting future generations way to life. The basic issue is too much carbon in the air, and so, as a manufacturer that contributes carbon, we are acting now to try to reduce the co2 output. If each company and individual globally, considered this carbon contribution, the positive effects would be considerable.

One method of assessing a companies manufactured product carbon impact can be calculated in an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). An EPD is a full, open study of the products, processes, materials, energy and raw materials used in the manufacturing of a product, including raw materials source, transport, etc. Next step, bring these outputs down to a quantifiable figure. CO2e stands for carbon dioxide equivalent, a lump term to describe all the greenhouse gases under one common unit. It signifies the amount of CO2 that would cause the same amount of global warming, allowing for different bundles of greenhouse gases to be easily compared. In the case of flooring, it is KgCO2e/sqm.

Regarding impact, there are two routes for environmentally responsible companies.

The first is to do an assessment of product impact down to a single unit figure and review working methods to reduce this as much as is feasible. Opportunities include sourcing locally, limiting transport impact, using as little energy as possible, making energy renewable and innovating the process as far as possible to lowest possible impact.

The second is to consider offsetting the necessary carbon footprint to become carbon neutral. The most common method being the planting of trees which sequester carbon from our atmosphere. The carbon converting power of trees is already proven, roughly 50% of the dry weight of wood is carbon removed from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. According to some estimates, an acre of new forest can absorb around 2.5 tons of CO2 per year, more than half the carbon footprint of the average person (around 4.8 tons per year).

The published companies EPD results provide openness to clients as to the process and resources used and the resultant impact on the environment, allowing clients to make an informed choice on their selected products when the impact is a priority to them. Low impact carpet tiles will become more of a deciding factor in the selection of coverings in the future. Rawson Carpet Solutions have undertaken EPD’s and have found the assessed tile products to be low impact with the lowest result coming from a new carpet tile and sheet product released last year called ‘Recover’.

Recover is a single polymer carpet tile with no additives or adhesives. The low impact carpet tile, ‘Recover’, is made from up to 80% recycled PET which is Global Recycled Standard accredited (GRS). Once used, Recover can be very simply recycled back into PET for a multitude of further life uses. The KgCO2e usage for Recover is 5.36KgCO2e. Recover offers excellent sound and thermal properties and is half the weight of bitumen tiles, meaning lower transport costs and easier to handle. The results of other ranges we also found to be low and now Rawson looks to the opportunity to offset this impact through the above-mentioned routes. Indeed, all designer nylon carpet tiles from Rawson Carpet Solutions are produced in a facility which is now carbon neutral.

Durability is another key factor in deciding on a low impact floor covering. When working on a workplace flooring design or a school carpet tile installation, Rawson provides coverings which offer assured durability. A covering with half the life expectancy of another would need to offer half the impact in manufacturing to be a viable choice if impact was the specifiers primary deciding factor. Unless the lifted product moved to a further life use. All commercial standard carpet sheet and tile coverings from Rawson Carpet Solutions come with a 10-year warranty as standard, which has been raised on certain projects. This assurance of durability is a key factor Rawson plans for in the design and manufacture of new carpet sheet and tile solutions that they bring to market. Rawson Carpet Solutions has an experienced sales team who are always keen to discuss the environmental standpoint and impact of company and products.

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