Made from rubber, vinyl, cork, or a combination of materials, these floors offer more than just a softer surface. Acoustics, indoor air quality, maintenance, and aesthetics are also important considerations for specifiers. — Rita Catinella Orrell

The Square One child-care center in Holyoke, Massachusetts (top); the Covenant Health System’s Lakeside Campus in Lubbock, Texas (middle); part of the expanded color range for noraplan environcare 3.0-mm flooring (above).

Health-care and education markets remain strong for rubber-flooring leader

Flooring firm nora systems was one of more than 800 exhibitors showcasing sustainable building offerings at last November’s GreenBuild in Boston. “We estimate that approximately 600 architects and other professionals came through our booth,” says nora’s marketing manager Carol Fudge. High-quality natural and industrial rubber are the basis of nora’s PVC-free floors; they are supplemented by raw mineral materials extracted from natural deposits and by environmentally compatible color pigments.

According to Fudge, nora is still faring well despite the recession. “Fortunately, the economy has not affected our business at all. We continue to grow and had a record year in 2008,” says Fudge. “The same is true of our two strongest markets, health care and education, which are still going strong.” Those two segments make up approximately 60 percent of the company’s total business. According to Fudge, both areas share similar issues for architects, including indoor air quality, maintenance, comfort, acoustics, and aesthetics.

Two recent renovation projects where nora figured prominently in the design include the Covenant Health System’s Lakeside Campus in Lubbock, Texas, and the Square One child-care center in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

Redesigned for the consolidation of the system’s women and children’s services, the seven-story, 457,000-square-foot Lakeside Campus serves as the region’s only licensed children’s hospital. After nora products installed in an operating room met with positive reviews, 3.0-mm noraplan mega flooring was placed in the renovated surgical suite, the pediatric emergency trauma center, and other areas where it withstands heavy equipment and betadine. As the flooring doesn’t require monthly maintenance, it helps improve IAQ and reduces downtime for the facility. According to Fudge, 67,000 square feet of product has been specified to date, but as the project is still ongoing, that number might increase.

As many children in the area suffer from asthma, improved indoor air quality was one of the main reasons nora flooring was chosen for the Square One child-care-center project in downtown Holyoke. The more than 15,000 square feet of noraplan environcare, noraplan classic, and noraplan uni that run throughout the facility are Greenguard certified and California 01350 compliant.

Coincidentally, Dietz & Company Architects chose a design of square inlays of brightly colored nora tiles against a neutral field before it was aware that the organization was planning to change its name to Square One. nora systems, Lawrence, Mass.

[Reader Service: January 2009 #218]


From real rubber
Allstate claims to be the only manufacturer offering a complete line of naturally sourced rubber flooring. Allstate Au Natural rubber tile is made from 100 percent plantation-grown sustainable rubber. It is available in 95 percent of the company’s current product line, excluding only the palest colors and certain special qualities. Manufactured in Dalton, Georgia, the line is available in over 80 colors, 35 textures, and any color combination in the Marble and Confetti styles. Allstate Rubber, New York City.

[Reader Service: January 2009 #219]


Windswept floors
Inspired by the natural patterns of sand dunes, LonElements Sahara flooring is ideal for corporate, hospitality, and retail spaces. The sheets are 100 mil thick, giving the surfacing added flexibility to accentuate and complement curvatures of floors and corners. Lonseal’s heterogeneous flooring sheet vinyl is composed of more than 35 percent preconsumer recycled content and constructed with GreenAir technology to emit low VOCs. Lonseal, Carson, Calif.

[Reader Service: January 2009 #220]