Even with the best teachers, and the best curriculum, it isn't always possible to guarantee the best outcomes for students. In many instances, it's the learning environment which plays a crucial role, helping - or hindering - student progress.
The subtlest nuances of classroom design have a dramatic impact on learning, so today, we're looking at six ways your choice of carpet can contribute to a healthy, productive learning environment.
1) Good Acoustic Profile
In a study of 570 separate lessons, the average classroom was found to have noise levels of 65dB - loud enough to cause elevated stress levels, which can lead to serious health risks later in life.
This happens because of the Lombard effect, a kind of "escalation" of noise levels that commonly occurs in reverberant spaces, as students and teachers have to struggle to make themselves heard.
Thankfully, carpet tiles with certain types of backing material (known as open cell cushion backing) have excellent sound absorbing properties. A reduction in noise of as little as 5dB has been shown to improve recall and reading by 10%, and attention and memory by up to 3%, making noise-reducing carpet tiles a hugely worthwhile decision.
2) Design Freedom
Whether it's a school pride-infused design recognizing your champion football team, or geometric shapes and block colors designed to catch the eye of the youngest students, carpet plays a big role in determining the look and feel of your school.
When deciding between different carpet types, be sure to look out for:
- Custom design flexibility: bring any design to life, from sharp and defined, to nuanced and poetic.
- High-resolution digital design: create awe-inspiring visuals to do justice to your school environment.
- Durable, long-lasting colors: create a perfect design that lasts for years.
Learn more: Can a Facilities Redesign Improve School Pride?
3) Excellent Moisture Management
From mold & moisture wreaking havoc with indoor air quality, to sodden carpet and peeling carpet tiles, the costs of moisture management in schools can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Thankfully, a smart carpet choice can eliminate moisture problems, without the need to spend extra budget on costly moisture products. As Snohomish Library discovered, choosing carpet that deals with moisture problems, head-on, can save a huge amount of time and resources - and as Snohomish discovered, create cost savings of $130,000.
4) Unparalleled Durability
A compelling, unique design is only half of the equation. Carpet tiles need to stand-up to the rigors of a demanding school environment, year in and year out, so it's important to look for these hallmarks of durability:
- Open-cell cushion backing, to protect the carpet's fiber from distortion caused by foot traffic.
- Durable fiber type, like nylon 6,6.
- Dimensional stability, a by-product of certain design processes, like digital dye infusion.
5) Ease of Cleaning & Maintenance
In an active school environment, it can be a real challenge keeping stand-out flooring installations looking as good as new. To make life significantly easier for your school's maintenance team, there are a few traits that are worthwhile looking for in carpet:
- Stain resistance, offering innate protection against stains bonding with carpet fiber.
- Stain repel, making it easier to blot-up spills before they become problematic.
- Soil release, making it quick and easy to vacuum up dust and dirt.
- Antimicrobial agent, to prevent mold, mildew and other microbial activity.
6) Ease of Installation
Some carpet products have serious issues with plasticizers and PVC, resulting in slow, complex and expensive installation procedures. Other products quickly rack-up labor costs, with small adhesive "dots" that can be a real headache to install in a large space.
Thankfully, some modern carpet tiles forgo these problems entirely, combining non-reactive chemistry with truly adhesive-less installation. In some cases, these products can even be installed overnight, to minimize disruption to the school environment.