Healthcare Interior Designers Take a Fresh Look at Vinyl
Jane M. Rohde, AIA, FIIDA, ASID, ACHA, CHID, LEED AP BD+C, GGA – CIEB
At the recent Design Connections for Healthcare conference in Ponte Verde, Florida, healthcare interior designers said loud and clear that vinyl is both needed and desired in healthcare environments.
The hot topics among designers at the conference included durability, building service life and maintenance to meet the 7-15+ year life expectancy of a product in the healthcare sector. Vinyl is well suited to meet these needs – and designers are interested in learning more about vinyl production methods and creative uses of vinyl applications.
Indeed, designers thinking about sustainability and material selection asked a number of questions about vinyl and how it fit in with healthcare needs, product longevity and return on investment. This increase in understanding how vinyl supports healthcare environmental objectives is a welcome change from a red-list approach to material selection.
Both board meeting presentations and one-on-one discussions took place at Design Connections – providing manufacturers and designers an opportunity to build relationships and exchange information.
Manufacturers are maximizing sustainability.
Vinyl manufacturers are investing in sustainability, and they took the opportunity to talk with interior designers about the topic.
Metroflor, for example, has substantially stepped up to meet the sustainability needs of the design community. The company has reach NSF 332 Platinum certification for flooring products and completed EPDs (environmental product declarations), PTDs (product transparency declarations) and HPDs (health product declarations) – all supporting the direction Materials and Resources sections are taking in green building rating systems, sustainability standards, and the International Green Construction Code (IgCC). In the healthcare design environment, reaching a Platinum certification for flooring products is an outstanding manufacturer achievement, akin to for design firms and healthcare providers reaching a LEED® Platinum or 4 Green Globes® rating for a building.
There is also a trend toward manufacturers being solution providers rather than just product suppliers. One example is Kwalu furniture. Kwalu is stepping up and looking not only at the durability and sustainability of its furniture in all types of healthcare settings but also at the entire cleaning and infection control processes of an overall environmental solution.
Additional participating manufacturers at Design Connections included:
- Envirawood – a 2D and 3D vinyl surface material manufacturer that provides films and materials for all types of casework and interior applications that require a durable, cleanable surface supporting a substantial building service life.
- Flexco – a flooring and base manufacturer dedicated to providing products for the healthcare industry and fulfilling some product gaps that support environmental services and infection control.
- Mannington Commercial – a flooring manufacturer that is focusing on integration of flooring products for healthcare environments – carpets that works well with resilient flooring palettes, providing a comprehensive system for designers to use. Not to mention a great “walk-off” mat – a seemingly simple product, but aesthetically providing a great resource for designers.
- Mohawk Group – an organization that has a family of brands that provide various types of products for different applications within healthcare settings. In the spirit of transparency, they use the “Declare” label for disclosure of ingredients.
- Roll-A-Shade – a window treatment manufacturer that has created products that can reflect the sun and provide automated sensors for operation – allowing less expensive window glazing solutions to be specified in conjunction with an interior application that supports resident and patient control, sustainability, and maximization of sunlight utilization.
- Roppe Corporation – a company creating and developing a new line of vinyl and rubber base profiles – supporting the trend of residential care settings needing to look and feel like homes while supporting extreme durability and building service-life requirements for a long-term care environment.
- Tarkett Brands – a company providing flooring that integrates with Tandus Centiva, Desso and Johnsonite to provide overall system solutions for healthcare environments. The detail of product integration is key in comprehensive maintenance.
- Shaw Contract Group – an organization introducing new LVT products and manufacturing into the U.S. to round out their product offering for healthcare interior designers.
- Visa Lighting – a company introducing combination lighting products that support different applications and needs in all types of healthcare settings. Their Serenity Series includes an acrylic with a vinyl material that provides a fiber, linen look shade for a beautifully aesthetic solution for wall-mounted sconces that can also double as amber night lights when used within a patient or resident room.
Vinyl is well suited and, as we found at Design Connections, well received and accepted by healthcare interior designers. Critical thinking and the meaning of sustainability is seriously intersecting with healthcare needs, product longevity, and return on investment! Viva la Vinyl!