Marmoleum: Striving towards a fully sustainable future

As the nation works towards a net zero future, Lewis Cooper, segment marketing manager for education at Forbo Flooring Systems, explains why its Marmoleum floor coverings can help to reduce the carbon emissions of educational buildings, while contributing to a safe, hygienic and comfortable environment

In June 2019, the UK government announced a statutory target of net zero for UK greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. If these climate change targets are to be met, decarbonisation of the built environment will need to intensify over the coming years. For the education sector, this means making a conscious effort towards reducing the environmental impact and carbon footprint of buildings both during construction and whilst in operation.

In the building lifecycle, embodied carbon is the greenhouse gas emission associated with the non-operational phase of the project. This includes the construction materials and interior fixtures and fittings, before the building is even used. CO2 is emitted at each stage of a product’s life cycle: from raw material extraction and manufacturing to transport, usage, cleaning and end-of-life disposal, therefore minimising the embodied carbon of a building is a fundamental step in our journey towards achieving net zero.

To help decision makers make responsible choices, manufacturers are continuing to look for new ways to be more sustainable and to minimise the environmental impact of their products and processes wherever possible. Indeed, the path to carbon neutral buildings is made from natural raw materials, not plastic – and thanks to solutions like Forbo Flooring Systems’ Marmoleum range, building a carbon neutral world can begin with the floor.

Manufactured from 97 per cent natural raw materials, including flax, jute and linseed oil, which are grown and harvested annually, as well as wood flour and pine rosin sourced from sustainably managed forestry plantations; Marmoleum is one of the most sustainable floor coverings on the market. In fact, 62 per cent of the natural ingredients are renewable, of which 29 per cent are rapidly renewable, meaning they will grow back within one year. Marmoleum also boasts 43 per cent reused and recycled content to reduce the demand for virgin raw materials.

Quantified with an independent Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), the weighted average of our Marmoleum product range is confirmed as CO2 neutral (cradle to gate) – without offsetting. This shows that the CO2 produced in the extraction, transportation and manufacturing processes of Marmoleum is balanced out by the removal of CO2 through the growing of its natural ingredients. This means that, using Marmoleum on a 10,000 sqm education project could typically equate to a 66,200kg/CO2 saving when compared to a PVC vinyl floor, for example.

The results of the EPD reinforces the many environmental labels Marmoleum already holds such as Nature Plus, Blue Angel and Nordic Swan.

Creating better environments

When choosing floor coverings for educational establishments, in addition to sustainability, multiple aspects need to be taken into account such as noise reduction, hygiene, colour choice and ease of cleaning. A natural winner, Marmoleum is also associated with durability, high quality and innovative design, therefore it is little wonder it is the desired flooring solution for many educational projects around the world.

Available in over 300 colours across a variety of designs and formats, ranging from marbled to linear and concrete, in sheet, tiles and planks, Marmoleum offers true design freedom to create subtle or stand-out education interiors. Thanks to its natural raw materials, namely linseed oil, Marmoleum is naturally bacteriostatic and independently proven to inhibit the growth and spread of infection, helping to contribute to a healthier and more hygienic environment. Marmoleum also contains no phthalates, no plasticisers and no mineral oil, providing a safe and low emitting floor.

Featuring a high performance UV-finish, which is applied to all Marmoleum floor coverings, Topshield prevents staining, scuffing and scratching for lasting appearance retention and provides for easy cleaning and maintenance. These characteristics are perfect for classrooms where foot traffic and movement of chairs requires a durable floor covering. And in order to reduce noise in areas of a school building, acoustic Marmoleum floors create a healthy environment by combining sustainability with excellent sound reduction properties.

What’s more, a report by Allergy UK estimates that there are at least 12 million people ‘allergic to their own home’ with 58 per cent citing house dust mites as a key trigger. This is an issue that should not be ignored by educational establishments, as nurseries, schools, colleges and universities are places where students and staff spend a prolonged period of their time. Indeed, Marmoleum has been awarded with the prestigious ‘Seal of Approval™’ from Allergy UK, as with the correct cleaning regime, it will not harbour allergens or house dust mites.

With growing interest in the way that education buildings are being designed, and the interior products that go into them, careful consideration needs to go into the specification of flooring. As the country strives towards achieving net-zero over the next 30 years, Marmoleum combines ecological values with contemporary design and offers an important contribution to a sustainable world, ensuring that our schools are fit for the future

For more information about Forbo Flooring Systems’ Marmoleum Live Forward campaign, please visit www.forbo-flooring.co.uk/liveforward or for more information about its work in the education sector please visit http://www.forbo-flooring.co.uk/education.