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Setting Sustainability and Durability Criteria for Flooring

Sponsored content by NORA SYSTEMS, INC.

Capilano University is an undergraduate-focused, public, coeducational, teaching-intensive university located in the District of North Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. In addition to the 34-acre North Vancouver campus, the university operates two regional campuses — the Squamish campus and the Sunshine Coast campus in Sechelt.

Capilano University encourages, appreciates and actively promotes sustainable behaviors among its students, staff, faculty, administration and the broader community. This commitment to sustainability also impacts the choice of building materials and finishes used in renovation and new construction projects across all three campuses. Floor coverings are no exception.

As a result, Susan Doig, director of facilities for the university, searched for a flooring product that would meet the school’s sustainability goals, offering the durability to stand up to foot traffic and an extended life span. “I did extensive research and solicited peer recommendations,” says Doig. In the process, she was introduced to rubber flooring from nora systems, Inc.

Although Doig was impressed by what she read about rubber flooring, it was important that the university test the product before recommending it and eventually adopting it as a flooring standard for its three campuses.

“We tested norament® grano three years ago in a couple of washrooms to see how it stood up. Washrooms are typically one of the most challenging places to keep nice clean floors. Because the floor performed well in that space, we began to install it in classrooms.”

nora® has since been named the standard resilient flooring for use across all three campuses, outfitting classrooms, entryways, washrooms, the bookstore and the recently renovated Center for International Experience on the North Vancouver campus, which houses the university’s library.

Most notably, nora flooring is included in the university’s showcase Bosa Center for Film and Animation, which Doig shares, is, “our new, award-winning film and animation building, recently featured in the July 2013 issue of Canadian Architect.” This state-of-the-art building offers 97,000 square feet of sound stages, editing and mixing suites, green-screen technology, a theater and classroom and support spaces designed to accommodate up to 400 students per year. The film center has achieved Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

When asked to identify the characteristics of nora flooring that she most appreciates, Doig points to its ease of maintenance. “I like the fact that you can actually clean it, and do so with very little buffing,” she says. “It always maintains a fresh look. With carpet, as soon as the first person walks on it with dirty shoes, it’s dirty. So, from a hygiene perspective, I much prefer the nora flooring to carpeting.”

And Doig is not alone in her opinion. “The janitorial staff is very happy with the floor,” she adds. “It doesn’t stain, and it doesn’t hold a smell. It’s important to us to ensure a hygienic environment for our students.”

By installing nora flooring, Capilano University has also come to appreciate the benefits of a floor covering that offers a long product life span, which means the school will not need to replace the flooring for decades. In addition, the school values the versatility of a flooring product that can be used in a variety of applications to ensure a number of important performance benefits — everything from durability, slip resistance and comfort underfoot to acoustical benefits and resistance to stains and spills. At the same time, the flooring supports individual design ideas with a broad palette of colors and textures.

For Capilano University, the choice of nora flooring as the school’s standard resilient flooring has been a good decision. Says Doig, “It’s attractive, while also meeting all of our functional needs.” As a result, the rubber flooring continues to be incorporated in projects campus-wide, reinforcing the university’s commitment to sustainability without sacrificing the design and performance benefits that are so important in a busy, high-traffic environment.

This article originally appeared in the January 2014 issue of College Planning & Management.

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