> Energy efficiency.
Because of its durability, vinyl flooring does not require replacement as often as many other types of flooring. Durability is a significant benefit for the environment because less energy and other resources are needed to make and install new floors.
> Resource conservation. Both environmentally and economically, vinyl composition tile (VCT) outperforms two other flooring products – linoleum and recycled-content ceramic tile – based on the criteria developed by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Building for Environment and Economic Sustainability (BEES) lifecycle assessment model. These criteria include indoor air quality, solid waste, acid rain, global warming and natural resource depletion. The BEES model for evaluating building products is being used by architects, builders, contractors and other specifiers to select products with reduced environmental impact. For example, a study conducted under the BEES program with funding from the EPA compared “natural” linoleum and VCT flooring and concluded that, when life cycle considerations were “quantified and combined using the EPA importance weights, the net effect is environmental scores slightly favoring vinyl composition tile.”¹
> Indoor air quality. Vinyl flooring will not adversely impact indoor air quality when installed according to the manufacturers’ recommended procedures. Low-level emissions and odors associated with new vinyl flooring typically dissipate within the first 48-72 hours after installation. Low VOC products can be specified if needed.
> Infection control. Vinyl flooring products provide easy-to-clean surfaces, crucial in controlling pathogens and promoting a clean environment. In addition, sheet applications can be specified to have welded seams and coved corner joints for areas requiring sterile environments, such as operating rooms and bone marrow transplant units. Vinyl interior products are frequently specified in patient care areas as well as the public spaces of healthcare facilities for this specific reason.
¹ B.C. Lippiatt, “Economic and Environmental Performance for Tile/Glass, Linoleum and Vinyl Tile Using the BEES Model,” National Institute of Standards and Technology, 1998.