What Is Sustainable Design in Architecture?

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Sustainable design, also known as sustainable architecture or ecological design, is a school of thought that focuses on creating buildings that feature social and ecological sustainability. The main goal of this design philosophy is to promote the health of the building’s occupants as well as reduce the building’s negative effects on the environment.

By minimizing waste, limiting the consumption of non-renewable resources, and using environmentally friendly materials, building designers can create greener, more energy-efficient facilities.

Understanding Sustainable Architecture

One of the key principles behind sustainable architecture is optimizing the potential of the site. For example, if the facility is located in a windy area, windmills could be constructed to help generate power. This example would also help with another principle: minimizing the consumption of non-renewable energy.

A third goal of the design practice is to enhance indoor environmental quality. This could include using materials that have a low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions rating. This also includes using environmentally friendly products in other areas of the design process.

All of these principles are designed to inform every stage of the facility’s life cycle, from planning to operation, to limit the negative impact it has on the surrounding environment.

Is Sustainable Design Cost-Effective?

Every building designer or architect knows that staying within budget is a primary concern during the construction stage. So it’s no surprise to learn that many worry if trying to design an eco-friendly building will exhaust the budget. The simple answer is no. In fact, there’s evidence that sustainable buildings actually provide many financial rewards to the owners and operators.

For starters, annual operating costs are typically lower in sustainable buildings because of the principle of energy efficiency during the design process. This means that electricity, water, and even maintenance expenses are considered and optimized.

Additionally, these reduced long-term costs don’t necessarily mean higher initial costs. When planned strategically with the right materials, the initial costs of a sustainable design can mirror or beat the costs of a traditional building. Although, some sustainable features may have a higher initial cost, these additions typically pay for themselves quickly through lower maintenance and operational costs.

Aside from monetary benefits, green building design can also benefit building owners and occupants in other ways. For one, occupants of eco-friendly buildings typically experience better overall health, which often translates to better attendance and less absenteeism due to illness. Building owners can benefit from longer building life spans and increased support from the local community.

Using Sustainable Materials

Using sustainable materials is a great way to reduce your building’s carbon footprint. Materials like high-density polyethylene (HDPE) can be used for a variety of applications throughout the facility. HDPE, for example, can be used for bathroom partitions, vanities, and lockers. It’s 100% recyclable, is naturally resistant to bacteria and rust, and produces no VOC emissions.

Using HDPE products can also help your facility to earn points toward Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. This rating system helps to evaluate the environmental performance of a building.

How to Choose Commercial Bathroom Partitions for Virtually Any Facility

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As a professional contractor or building administrator, you’re faced with a number of important decisions. When it comes to sourcing materials for bathrooms, you want to be sure the that materials you choose are durable, require little routine maintenance, and fit within your budget, which can be easier said than done.

So in this post, we’ll teach you how to choose commercial bathroom partitions for just about any facility, from schools to stadiums to office buildings and more.

bathroom materials

 

Selecting Cost-Efficient Materials

One of the most important factors when choosing bathroom partitions is cost. There are many different materials available, with varying initial and long-term costs to consider. The five materials we’ll look at are enamel painted steel over paper, phenolic core, stainless steel, reinforced composite, and high-density polyethylene.

Baked Enamel Painted Steel Over a Paper Honeycomb Core

The most inexpensive of these is definitely baked enamel painted steel over a paper honeycomb core. This type of partition is frequently found in schools and office buildings because of its low initial cost. However, the life expectancy of enamel painted steel is extremely low given its propensity to rust when exposed to moisture.

Solid Phenolic (Black Core)

Solid phenolic core, sometimes referred to as black core because of its color, features a resin-impregnated kraft paper core. This material is very dense and composed of many compressed layers, similar to how fiberglass is created. However, this material is easily damaged by scratches.

Stainless Steel

Many designers for high-end establishments and sports clubs favor stainless steel because of its clean and modern look. However, stainless still is also prone to rust and high costs, both initially and in terms of routine maintenance. Stainless steel partitions are also known to show smudges and fingerprints easily, making them harder to keep looking clean.

[READ MORE: Commercial Bathroom Trends]

Solid Color Reinforced Composite (SCRC)

You’ll commonly spot SCRC in high-traffic areas such as sporting arenas, schools, and train stations. This material is durable like black core partitions. The two biggest downsides to SCRC are the high cost, as it’s much more expensive than solid plastic or stainless steel, and its limited color options.

High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE)

HDPE is a type of solid plastic that’s perfect for use as commercial bathroom partitions. About 1 inch thick and solid color throughout, HDPE is highly resistant to graffiti, scratches, mold, mildew, and even bacteria. Given that this material is environmentally friendly and doesn’t negatively impact the indoor air quality, it’s a favorite for schools, medical facilities, and restaurants. It also requires little long-term maintenance.

Installation Types for Your Commercial Bathroom Partitions

Depending on the design of your commercial bathroom, there are four different methods for installing your bathroom partitions. The fastest and most economical option is to have the partitions floor mounted and overhead braced. This type of installation process works well with either wood or concrete floors and works by mounting the pilasters to the floor and the panels to the wall. An anti-grip aluminum headrail is positioned along the top of the partitions to offer additional support and stability.

If your bathroom has a low ceiling, you can choose to have them floor mounted only. This method requires at least 2 inches of concrete flooring in order for the pilasters to be mounted firmly. The panels are then mounted to the wall. The top of the partitions will be flush.

For a modern and unique look, or if the floors of your bathroom aren’t adequate for mounting, ceiling-hung partitions are a great option. You’ll need steel ceiling supports to withstand the weight and installation process. The pilasters are mounted to these supports, and the panels are mounted to the walls. One benefit of this installation method is that it makes the floor of the bathroom easy to clean.

[READ MORE: 9 Things to Consider Before Designing Your Commercial Bathroom]

The final installation method is floor-to-ceiling. In this scenario, pilasters are mounted to both the floor and the ceiling for maximum strength. It’s suggested that the facility have concrete floors and steel ceiling supports.

Choose a Color That Compliments

The last step in choosing commercial bathroom partitions is selecting the color. Materials like HDPE come in a wide variety of colors and textures so you have plenty of options to choose from. You can either go with a shade that matches the interior of the bathroom or pick a different color that compliments the theme. Either way, you’re sure to be left with one terrific-looking bathroom.

Want more information about building a cost-effective bathroom? Download our eBook The Professional’s Guide to Commercial Bathroom Renovations and Remodels. This FREE resource is full of useful information that will teach you pro tips for choosing materials, how advances in materials are leading to more fluid designs, and which must-have amenities your commercial bathroom needs.

How to Fully Embrace LEED Standards in Your Building Concepts and Designs

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When designing and building a new facility or upgrading one, taking advantage of new concepts and designs will lead to more comfort for your patrons and a facility that doesn’t negatively impact the world around you.

Certain products and materials that you use to build your facility can have a significantly negative or a significantly positive impact on the world you live in, and you want to be sure that you know which way your building concepts and designs will lead. However, you can be certain of this when you get LEED certification for your facility, and we’re here to show you how.

What Is LEED Certification?

LEED certification for your facility’s restroom or locker room ensures that the products and building concepts you choose live up to beneficial environmental standards. For example, LEED certification makes note of using sustainable building materials that reduce waste because they’re created with recycled materials and can be recycled as well. LEED certification also promotes water efficiency, good air quality, construction approaches, and sites that are sustainable and don’t negatively impact the ecosystem.

Why Do I Need LEED Certification for My Buildings?

When you embrace the requirements of LEED certification, you work to promote a more environmentally friendly facility. Each step you take toward a more sustainable facility, the more points you’ll receive towards LEED certification. And if you receive said certification, your facility will be recognized as clean, environmentally friendly, and sanitary.

Certification from LEED is globally viewed as the premier mark of achievement for a sustainable building, which goes a long way for your business with customers.

How Can Scranton Products Help My LEED Score?

Many times green opportunities can be missed when designing your facility. A majority of the facility managers working to create an environmentally friendly building only focus on reducing the amount of water, energy, or heat produced by the facility.

While this is a deserving focus, spending all of your efforts on those elements makes it easier to miss out on some green opportunities that you’ll need to increase your LEED score so it can be considered certifiable.

Scranton Products can help your facility or business become LEED certified by working with you to incorporate environmentally friendly materials into your restrooms or locker rooms. Whether it’s new lockers, bathroom partitions, or sink vanities, our HDPE plastic materials tend to fly under the radar as a green opportunity but support a healthier environment and help to reduce the total amount of industrial waste.

HDPE materials from Scranton Products are made from post-consumer recycled content and are 100% recyclable on their own. By using these materials in your building concepts and designs, you’ll be that much closer to receiving LEED certification and being recognized by a leading environmental company as having a green building.

You can find out where you can purchase Scranton Product materials near you.


Sustainable Building Products


The Top Ways to Save With Your Commercial Restroom

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Have you noticed that the expenses of the restrooms in your facility are leading to high costs? Whether it’s excessive maintenance and repairs or unnecessary waste, those dollars and cents can add up to an overwhelming total. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can cut back on costs and save money by changing some things in your commercial facility’s restrooms.

We’re going to help you cut the costs with some of the top ways to save with your commercial restroom!

 

Reduce Your Energy Consumption

You may not realize it, but your lightbulbs are costing you a fortune! You can easily combat this by swapping them out with LED lights, which not only last longer than incandescent bulbs, but they also use way less energy to light up the restroom. You can reduce the costs even further by installing motion sensors, which will turn out the lights when there’s a lengthy period of inactivity in your restroom.

 

Utilize Motion-Sensing Faucets and Hand Dryers

Sometimes, the unnecessary expenditure of water can show a spike in your water bill. Whether an occupant leaves the water running or there’s a drip occurring throughout the day, it can end up adding to your overall costs. Installing motion-sensing faucets can greatly reduce water waste. Occupants won’t forget to turn off the faucet or fail to tighten the valve enough, reducing the water that gets wasted throughout the day.

Another way you can save with occupants washing their hands is by getting hand dryers. This prevents you from having to reorder paper towels each month. Not only will you notice a drop in expenditures on toiletries, but you’ll be taking your restroom into a greener direction.

 

Install Cost-Efficient Toilet Partitions

You may not realize it yet, but your toilet partitions can be a big red flag when it comes to the high costs of maintaining your restroom. Traditional partitions with a paper core are left susceptible to the elements, namely humidity and moisture, which can sprout mold within the partition and call for an entire replacement. Since mold is nearly impossible to remove from the interior of a partition, the entire partition needs to be replaced, which leads to high costs.

You can forgo replacing your partitions by choosing a material that can stand up to the moisture and humidity. HDPE (high-density polyethylene) plastic is one of the best materials for commercial restrooms due to its solid construction, non-absorbent exterior, and the fact that they’re built to last and are warranted for 25 years. These partitions are also low-maintenance, which saves you money over time by spending less man hours and money in the restroom. These partitions pay for themselves in just a few years due to the money you saved on maintenance.

 

Learning More About Saving Costs with Your Restroom

In this guide, you learned that when it comes to cutting costs in your facility’s restroom, you’ll need to utilize the right materials to truly see the money you’ve saved. Want to learn more about HDPE and how it can benefit your restroom? Check out this blog post, How HDPE Partitions Can Save You Money, from your friends at Scranton Products!

 

Take your HDPE research even further by seeing how it would look in your facility with our 3D Partition Visualizer!

Summer School Cleaning & Maintenance Plan

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During the typical school year, your building experiences a lot of use. However, performing the maintenance and large-scale cleaning that’s needed isn’t always an option when school is in session. That’s why many educational facilities wait until the summer recess to complete large-scale projects. However, this still leaves two possible conflicts.

The first conflict occurs when a school is still used during the summer months. Some schools, for instance, run summer camp programs, while others serve as pseudo community centers for public meetings or for clubs and organizations. Although it’s terrific that the school is being used by the community throughout the year, it makes it even harder for building officials to perform the needed cleaning and maintenance.

The second conflict arises from the mere effort of trying to complete multiple major projects in such a short span of time. This puts additional pressure on administrators to plan and coordinate with project leaders thoroughly ahead of time to make sure that the maintenance and cleaning can be completed within the time frame before students and faculty return to class.

Cleaning and Maintenance Plan

1.      Clearly define the objective.

The first step to designing a successful cleaning and maintenance plan is to clearly define the object. For instance, “Clean the entire building, top to bottom” isn’t a clear object.

Ambiguity is the enemy of effective planning, so be specific. Do the floors and carpeting on all levels need to be cleaned? Do the lockers need to have graffiti removed or need repairs?

Making a clear plan will also help when determining cost and balancing the school’s budget.

2.      Consider the stages and order of maintenance and cleaning.

You should also consider the order in which the maintenance and cleaning is performed. It’s highly recommended that, in most cases, cleaning is performed after maintenance. This is because some maintenance can leave behind dust and debris.

locker checklist

If the cleaning team came before the maintenance was completed, they would have to come back and perform a second cleaning. This redundancy can result in an inefficient use of the school’s budget and unnecessarily extend project timelines.

3.      Prioritize cleaning and maintenance projects.

Planning major cleaning and maintenance over the summer gives your teams only a few months to complete these projects. As a result, you may need to prioritize which projects are done at the beginning of the summer and which are done later. You may also need to determine which projects should be done right away and which ones, if any, can wait until next summer if time constraints require them to be postponed.

Most experts agree that your primary focus when thinking of cleaning and maintenance should be on areas of safety or health concerns. Many times this involves restrooms, locker rooms, and cafeterias. For example, bathroom partitions or lockers that have been damaged by rust can pose a serious safety risk, as corrosion can weaken the structure and leave sharp edges exposed.

4.      Identify materials that need to be replaced and the timeline needed to replace materials.

When choosing replacement products, be sure to select cost-effective materials that provide adequate durability and low maintenance costs and don’t negatively impact the indoor air quality of the school.

One material that features all of these characteristics and more is HDPE. Used in the making of bathroom vanities, partitions, and lockers, HDPE is a highly versatile and dependable material.

The High Cost of Cheap Construction Materials in Your Facility

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When you’re choosing materials for your bathroom, locker room, hallway, or any other part of your facility, it’s easy to cut costs and go with the cheapest, simplest option. However, your facility construction needs to be approached with care and attention to detail to ensure that it’s built to the highest degree and will stand the tests of time.

At Scranton Products, we hate to see facility construction gone wrong due to the inadequacies of commonly chosen materials. To help you build the most durable, long-lasting facility available, we’re here to show you the high cost of cheap construction materials in your facility. Read more

How to Build an Eco-Friendly Building

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As industrialization continues to expand, increasing pressure is placed on businesses to reduce their carbon footprints and become more environmentally conscious. This responsibility has given rise to the eco-friendly building, a design strategy that promotes recycling and sustainability in an attempt to leave a positive impact on the surrounding environment.

Wondering how to build an eco-friendly building and the benefits of eco-friendly building? Check out these five methods that many companies are already using.

Use Wind Power to Make Your Building Eco-Friendly

The great thing about wind is that it costs nothing to manufacture, is abundant, and can provide a renewable energy source for green-focused buildings. By catching the wind’s power, windmills can convert that power into usable energy that can provide your building with electricity. Windmills also help businesses to reduce the production of greenhouse gases.

Turn to Solar Energy

If wind power isn’t a practical option for your building, there’s another renewable energy source that’s been powering the world’s greenest machines for millions of years: the sun.

Similar to how windmills are used to convert wind power into electricity, solar panels allow engineers to convert solar energy from the sun into electrical energy that can be used to power anything from lights to small electronics and even entire buildings.

What’s even better is that a building’s most underused area, the roof, is also the ideal spot to install solar panels. However, if the roof of your building doesn’t get enough sunlight during the day, solar panels can be installed elsewhere and then have the electricity sent to your building.

Recycle Rain Water

Some innovative architects have been able to use rainwater to reduce a building’s need to rely on city water. Collection reservoirs placed on the roof can channel water through filtration systems to help cool the building or to use it to flush the toilets. This same water would otherwise likely pool on the roof or around the building, only to be evaporated by the sun.

By recycling the water in this way, the building can use the rainwater instead of it potentially going to waste.

Turn a Portion of Your Building Green

Dedicating space in your building to promote plant life is a terrific way to build an eco-friendly building. This can be as simple as installing a rooftop garden or as drastic and eye catching as a green wall.

By making your building more hospitable for plants, you’ll help to increase the production of oxygen in the area and also keeping your building cooler, in the case of rooftop vegetation, than a concrete rooftop.

Use Recycled and Sustainable Materials

One of the easiest ways to build an eco-friendly building is to use recycled and sustainable materials during the construction stage. By using recycled concrete, steel, and other materials, your future building is helping to reduce the amount of waste and pollution normally created during the manufacturing stage of these products. You’ll also be reducing the use of non-renewable resources.

High-density polyethylene (HDPE), for example, is one popular material made from recycled materials and is itself recyclable. HDPE is also easy to clean, helping to reduce the need for harmful cleaning products or excessive water. Since the material is colored throughout, no painting or repainting is necessary, helping to improve indoor air quality.

Use one or all of these tactics when building your eco-friendly building.

To learn more about HDPE materials and how to use them within your building, contact us at Scranton Products.

The Key to Reducing Restroom Maintenance Costs in Stadiums

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Blueberry Bathroom Partitions

Operational costs can significantly impact the budget for any type of facility but especially for sports stadiums. Frequent heavy use by fans and visitors takes a particularly heavy toll on the restrooms.

However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways for administrators to keep the cost of both short- and long-term maintenance low. In fact, reducing restroom maintenance costs is simple when planned properly.

Understanding the Trouble Areas

To learn how to reduce the costs of restroom maintenance, it might be best to first understand where most building officials are spending more on maintenance costs. Primarily this is in the repair and replacement of bathroom partitions. The partition, or stall, typically houses a toilet and features a locking door.

The majority of commercial bathrooms features partitions made from steel. This is due partly because steel is easy to manufacture and therefore provides a lower upfront cost to contractors and architects. However, steel needs proper routine maintenance to continue looking and functioning properly.

One major problem that steel has is rust. Rust occurs when metal is subject to oxygen and moisture. With excited sports fans spilling drinks and frantically washing their hands to get back to the big game, it’s not a question of if steel partitions will rust but when.

Another common problem with metal bathroom partitions is denting. The metal panels aren’t solid steel but instead thinner sheets attached to a frame. These thin sheets are easily damaged when treated carelessly. Their smooth surface also creates a perfect area for graffiti or scratching, which can be an eyesore to an otherwise stylish restroom.

To help administrators cut the costs of routine maintenance, they need to consider alternatives to the materials they’re using.

Lowering Maintenance Costs with HDPE

HDPE, or high-density polyethylene, is a type of plastic that can be manufactured into bathroom partitions. This material can also significantly reduce the cost of routine maintenance in stadium restrooms in several ways, the first being its resistance to rust.

It’s also resistant to dents and scratches. Plus designers can choose HDPE partitions in a variety of colors and designs to match the theme of any stadium. They can even be made to resemble the look of traditional steel without the negative drawbacks.

Not only is HDPE resistant to rust, dents, scratches, and corrosion, but it’s also easily washable. Cleaning staff can even use a power washer to clean HDPE partitions, helping to make cleaning the restrooms more efficient.

This is how stadiums with HDPE partitions can spend less on replacing or repairing their restroom partitions and less on cleaning the restrooms as well.

Want to know more about how HDPE bathroom partitions can help to reduce the cost of restroom maintenance in your stadium? Contact Scranton Products today or read our Ameritrade Stadium Case Study to see how this facility reduced their maintenance costs through HDPE bathroom partitions.

Want Your Building or Facility to Make a Good Impression? Focus on Your Restroom Design

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The restroom in your building can make or break someone’s opinion of the entire building. This room is a private area that people need to visit, so it’s important that it’s adequate and all of their needs are met there. They also want it to be a pleasant, convenient experience, which all comes from the design.

When a restroom is designed properly from the beginning, it’s likely that it will be functional for many years after. To make sure that the restroom in your building or facility is an attractive, enjoyable space for all who use it, consider some of the tips below.

Adhere to Requirements

There are many requirements that you’ll need to adhere to when laying out your restroom. The layout must meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), which requires adequate space in the stalls and the walkways of the bathroom for those who are in wheelchairs.

It’s also important to consider the height of the sink, soap dispensers, and paper towel dispensers or hand dryers to make sure that someone in a wheelchair can reach them. It’s crucial that the restroom design adheres to the regulations set by the ADA to be accommodating to guests and to avoid legal and regulatory issues.

Your design must also adhere to OSHA’s sanitation standards. This act includes various rules and regulations that discuss water, toilets, housekeeping, and other related factors.

Choose Quality Materials

After function comes product durability and reliability. You’ll want your products to hold up over time so you can avoid replacement costs, so installing quality materials from the beginning will be beneficial. Solid high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic is made with a homogenous color throughout and resists dents, scratches, corrosion, graffiti, and mildew and will never rust.

Other common bathroom materials include plastic laminate, stainless steel, and baked enamel. However, with all of these materials,moisture or bacteria seeps through to the core of the partition or vanity and the material can begin to disintegrate and fall apart. You’ll need to repair or replace it, costing you even more money.

Choose a durable product that resists moisture and bacteria to prevent this from occurring.

Maintain Your Design

As you develop your design, you need to consider the maintenance that will be required to keep the design efficient.

For example, add touchless faucets and flush valves that are automatic, so the amount of water being used is restricted. It’s not possible for someone to leave the water running, which drastically reduces the amount of water being used.

In addition, automatic hand dryers eliminate the waste that’s created by paper towels. In addition, there won’t be paper towels strewn around the restroom that need to be cleaned up. These hand dryers can also reduce energy use because the time that a dryer operates is limited.

If you’re designing a restroom for your building or facility, keep these tips in mind in order to please everyone who uses it. Click here to find out where to buy Scranton Products HDPE plastic materials for your restroom.

The Long-Term Building Management Expense You Shouldn’t Be Paying

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When you’re running a facility, you understand how expensive building management can be and how quickly the costs can add up. Bathroom partitions, lockers and other products can need repair or replacements. Some of these costs are mandatory when you own a building and need to keep it in the best shape possible, but are you wasting money in areas that you shouldn’t be? As a business, it’s always a priority to cut costs when necessary and save wherever you can. Scranton Products can identify these areas and help you reduce your expenses.

New Paint

Metal lockers and bathroom partitions face a lot of wear and tear, constantly being opened and closed day after day. This kind of wear and tear can chip the paint making your facility look unkempt and old. In order to fix this, you’ll get the lockers and partitions repainted. Not only does this require a lot of time, it also requires a lot of paint. Purchasing paint can be costly especially based on how often you’re purchasing it to make your lockers and partitions look like new.

Repairs and Replacements

Wear and tear can be more damaging than just chipped pain – it can require repairs and entire parts may need to be replaced. Think of the locks or lockers on a door, the doors and handles on the door of a bathroom partition. These all must be working properly and if they’re not, it costs money to get them repaired or replaced.

Maintenance Workers

In addition to the paint, replacement pieces, and other products it takes to keep your lockers and partitions working correctly and looking great, you’ll need to rely on workers who can get the job done. You’ll need to pay painters to cover the chips and you’ll also need a handy person to install new pieces or repair damages products. There are also times when your facilities need to be cleaned. In schools and bathrooms, it’s not uncommon for lockers and bathroom partitions to get covered in graffiti, markers, stickers or other unwelcomed items. Depending on the material of your products, it could be nearly impossible to make sure the items are removed properly. Hiring a staff of professionals to get the job done is costly.

Scranton Products

The solution to this problem is to invest in quality product materials that do not need frequent maintenance. Scranton Products are made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE). This material provides one of the longest life cycles in the industry and is made with one solid color throughout. This solid color ensures that there won’t be any paint chips so you won’t have to save on money and materials for paint. HDPE also allows graffiti to be cleaned off of it easier, eliminated the time and money you’ll spend on removing unwanted marks. It also holds up against dents and damages and has a resistance to impact that’s 59 times greater when compared to metal. Installing Scranton Products in your facility will reduce the extra building management expenses that you shouldn’t be paying. Click here to find out where to buy Scranton Products.