In Australia, the environmental impact of construction activities is a hot topic among industry professionals. In recent years, the construction sector has accounted for an alarmingly large proportion of Australia’s CO2 emissions. According to an article published by industry journal Procedia Engineering journal in 2017, when direct and embodied emissions are factored in, the construction industry is among the largest carbon emitting sectors in the country. Consider also that despite having a relatively small population compared to other countries, Australia is one of highest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions per capita.
Against this backdrop there is growing consumer and industry demand for solutions that minimise environmental harm. Designers and specifiers are looking for innovative, sustainable products that mitigate the environmental impact of construction activity and deliver functionality, style and performance to their clients.
In this regard, floor coverings is a product category with great potential, with products such as Carpets Inter EcoSoft® carpet tile offering a flooring solution that meets all the performance criteria required for high density, high traffic applications while also contributing to better environmental outcomes. Distributed by Above Left, EcoSoft® is the original, 100% recyclable carpet tile backing system made from 80% post-consumer material re-engineered from discarded drinking water bottles and 5 to 10% post-industrial recycled polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Where they would otherwise become landfill waste and contribute to increased air pollution, in EcoSoft® these discarded drinking water bottles are put to practical use.
In production for 14 years, EcoSoft® has recycled over 700 million PET bottles, with numerous projects benefiting from its stylish, functional design while making measurable contributions to a better, more liveable environment.
An ideal option for commercial interiors due to its sound absorption properties, resistance to pile crushing and excellent underfoot comfort, Frasers Property Australia has installed EcoSoft® in various projects. The carpet tiles specified nationally contain over 2.5 million recycled PET bottles, ensuring that the same amount of waste would not become landfill or harm oceans and air quality.
Located in Melbourne’s Narre Warren commercial precinct, CubeOne is a large office building that chose EcoSoft® for its high quality and substantial benefits. Among those benefits was versatility in design, which ensured that the style and colour options fit into a consistent aesthetic throughout the building. The carpets specified in this project contained approximately 240,000 recycled PET bottles.
Over 1 million recycled PET bottles were used in the carpets specified for Wesley College in Melbourne, making a substantial dent into the final number of discarded bottles that end up in landfills or the ocean. Importantly, the use of EcoSoft® aligned with the College’s commitment to improving the environment through sustainability, an initiative that is consistent with Wesley College Policy and Standards and curriculum.
These projects all benefited from EcoSoft® high performance in a number of key categories including superior acoustic performance, dimensional stability and thermal insulation. EcoSoft® outperforms traditional hardback carpet tiles by more than 150%-175% in terms of sound absorption effectiveness, meaning it can help a room satisfy the Green Star IEQ-10 Internal Noise Levels requirement. EcoSoft® carpet tile is also 150% more thermally efficient than other comparable solutions.
EcoSoft® can improve the liveability of any given indoor environment as it complies with the Indoor Air quality requirements set out by the Carpet Institute of Australia and the Carpet and Rug Institute in the USA. With a reduced amount of volatile organic compounds, this product meets strict air quality needs enhancing occupant health and wellbeing.
EcoSoft® is a design solution that delivers functionality and style backed by a proven environmental track record. This product has been certified to the highest Environmental Certification Scheme rating (ECS4) and provides 100% Green Star points on the Mat-2 calculator.
For more information and to learn more about EcoSoft®, visit Above Left’s website at: https://www.aboveleft.com.au/products/ecosoft
Product: Carpets Inter EcoSoft® plank carpet tiles - Breaking Ground Mesa Lona and Arusha
Design: Watson Young Architects
Photos: MAB Corporation / Kit Haselden Photography