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Blog – How carpet can achieve a healthy and clean learning environment

With this week marking the return of some children back into schools across the country, there is great concern from all parties about the ability of schools to limit the potential spread of the virus.

There will be many restrictions imposed on the children and the removal of resources that could be seen as a hot spot for contamination. Children may not be allowed to sit on the carpet for group time with the teacher and whilst this may have something to do with social distancing I would like to address the fact that carpets, especially one from Danfloor, should not be seen any more of an infection control risk than any other hard surface flooring. There are many studies on this subject, but there are two important points that can be taken from a rigorous study conducted by Lankford et al (2006).

Firstly, the study suggests certain pathogens such as VRE (Vancomycin-resistant enterococci) survive less well and for shorter periods on carpet than on other floor coverings, including rubber tile, linoleum, vinyl sheet goods, and vinyl composition tile.

Secondly, in addition to discovering that carpet harbours less VRE, this research found that carpeting also transferred less VRE to hands, via contact, than rubber and vinyl flooring and performed just as well in cleaning as any other flooring tested.

So, with this in mind, let’s look at the benefits a carpet can bring to a school environment.

Indoor Air Quality

According to The World Health Organisation (WHO) one of the biggest risk factors for an asthma attack is the inhalation of substances and particles that may provoke the airways. With 1.1 million children in the UK receiving treatment for asthma reducing this risk factor should be a consideration within schools.

There are many studies which conclude that carpet can improve indoor air quality by capturing the allergens in its fibres, therefore preventing them from circulating back into the air. The allergens should then be removed through regular vacuuming.

There are other studies which suggest that walking on hard surfaces disturbs more particles causing them to become airborne into the breathing zone. In comparison on carpet more of these particles remain in the carpet fibres, resulting in less dust in the breathing zone

Reducing Noise

Carpet has a unique ability to reduce sound impact levels and research suggests that it is 10 times more efficient in reducing noise compared to other flooring options. Background noise from inside and outside the classroom negatively affects learning, especially for young children who require optimal conditions for hearing and comprehension.

A joint study by the University’s Institute of Education and the South Bank University into 2000 school children, aged 7-10, found that noise levels influence children’s performance and can adversely affect national test results; in fact, exam results were cut by as much as a third if they were taught in noisy classrooms.

Therefore, classroom acoustics have a direct impact on academic achievement and carpets can assist with creating an optimum learning environment.

Comfort

Carpets can be a useful way of creating flexible learning spaces, making it comfortable for students and teachers to sit, stand and lie down on the floor. With many teachers standing for a large proportion of their time carpet also increases underfoot comfort and reduces muscle fatigue.

In a survey carried out in 2001 the majority of public-school teachers surveyed said that they actually preferred carpet for its comfort, noise reduction and safety benefits.

Safety

Slips and falls are the leading cause of injury within schools, therefore the type of flooring installed could have a direct impact on the extent of any injuries incurred by a trip or fall. Hard surfaces can become wet and slippery, whereas carpet offers significantly more traction and reduces the likelihood of trips and falls occurring as a result of a wet floor.

Furthermore, research by Professor Alan Hedge of Cornell University shows that 46% of people who slip and fall on hard, shiny surfaces suffer injuries requiring medical attention, compared to 17% of people who fell on carpet.

Cost

All of the above provides compelling evidence that carpet is a good choice for an educational setting. However, with budgets always under close scrutiny, you need to ensure that the carpet will be a cost-effective investment. A specially selected carpet which is installed and maintained properly lasts up to 10 years, if not longer. However, a proper life cycle analysis is key to proving that carpet is more cost-effective than other hard flooring solutions on the market.

A 2002 report, “Life cycle cost analysis for floor coverings in school facilities” prepared by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification found that carpet could be 65% less expensive to maintain than a hard surface flooring.

In the study, buying and installing the hard surface flooring was less expensive than carpet, but when labour, supplies and equipment costs were calculated over the 22-year life cycle, carpet proved to be more cost-effective.

22 Years was the life expectancy of the hard surface flooring so the cost of replacing carpet after 11 years was factored into the analysis. The study also found that hard surface floors take two and a half times longer to clean than carpet and that hard surface cleaning supplies are about seven times more expensive than supplies for carpeted floors.

Antimicrobial Yarn Coating

In addition to all of these facts, many of danfloor’s carpet ranges include a permanent antimicrobial yarn coating, which achieves a 4-log reduction of 99.99% in the reduction of harmful bacteria including those that cause MRSA, E-Coli and C-Diff. To find out more about this innovative yarn treatment view our video.

 

Visit our Education Carpet range for more information.

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