Improving Air Quality in the Workplace

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It goes without saying that air plays a big role in our daily lives, both at home and at work. So it’s no surprise that indoor air quality (IAQ) is a major concern for workers across the country. IAQ can significantly affect the health, comfort, and productivity of your workers, so it’s important to make sure that the air is clean and comfortable.

Although it’s rare for poor IAQ to cause serious health problems, it’s not uncommon for employees to perceive the air as dangerous or unhealthy when the quality is low. In this post, we’ll help you to further understand exactly what poor IAQ is and how to improve the quality of the air inside your facility.

What’s Good IAQ?

Since breathing is an automatic action we do without much thought, good IAQ goes relatively unnoticed. However, the moment that dust, pollen, foul odors, or other pollutants enter the air, it’s noticed almost immediately. However, contaminants aren’t the only things that can lower the air’s quality. Air temperature, humidity, and even stillness can attribute to its overall quality.

To achieve good IAQ in your building, you need to focus on the following criteria: ventilation, temperature, humidity, volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions, cleaning, and maintenance.

What Are the Most Common IAQ Complaints?

Since most employers concentrate on providing a safe working environment, it should come as no surprise that the most common complaints concerning IAQ don’t involve pollutants but rather employee comfort. For instance, most complaints have to do with the temperature of the air being too hot or too cold. Following that is complaints about drafts or still air. The third most common complaints have to do with dry or humid air.

Serious health-related complaints, such as eye or throat irritation, dizziness, or nausea, are much rarer and typically hard to blame on the IAQ of the workplace unless the issues are persistent and felt by numerous employees. Sometimes, these symptoms can be brought on by allergies to mold or dust that may be present in the air.

What’s Causing My IAQ Problems?

To identify the cause of poor IAQ, you need to listen to the complaints. Still air can easily be improved by adding more ventilation. However, mold or mildew will need to be handled thoroughly by a professional cleaning team to ensure that the problem is resolved and possibly the inclusion of a contractor if this is a reoccurring problem due to some structural design issue.

So where exactly can you look to find the cause of your IAQ problems?

  • Tobacco smoke
  • Cleaning products
  • Dust
  • Malfunctioning HVAC unit
  • Printers or copy machines
  • Fragrances and cosmetics
  • Pesticides

While most buildings will likely have a little bit of all these, they only really become a problem when levels accumulate faster than they can be ventilated.

How to Solve and Prevent Poor IAQ

Once you understand the source of your building’s poor IAQ, it’s fairly easy to correct the air quality problem. To prevent future instances, like in the case of mold or mildew, you can use materials around the office that are resistant to these factors. High-density polyethylene (HDPE), for example, is naturally resistant to mold, mildew, and bacteria. Plus, it has no VOC emissions, making it perfect for any workplace that wishes to improve the overall IAQ.

The Right Questions to Ask When Shopping for New Restroom Partitions

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Whether you’re conducting a thorough renovation of your facility’s restrooms or the partitions have succumbed to wear and damage, it’s important to choose the right restroom partitions. There are plenty of options out there, but you don’t want to make the same mistake twice. That’s why you should come prepared with questions so you can make the right decision towards the new stalls in your facility’s bathrooms.

Here’s the right questions to ask when shopping for new restroom partitions.

What Do These Partitions Offer in Terms of Durability?

Regardless of what type of facility you oversee, you’ll want to be sure that you’re choosing reliable materials for your restroom. Durability is important because you want the doors and frames to be strong and not endure any unnecessary damage due to an occupant closing the door a little rough. While there are plenty of strong and reliable materials out there, HDPE rises to the top due to its scratch- and dent-resistant surface. This material can take quite a few hits and not show any surface damage or cosmetic issues.

Is There a Paper Core Interior?

Most run-of-the-mill toilet partitions feature a paper core interior. However, you’ll want to avoid this for a variety of reasons, but mainly to avoid any costly replacements down the road. Paper core interiors may seem cost-effective at first, but due to the constant exposure to humidity and moisture, they can end up absorbing the moisture. Soon after they absorb the moisture, they can begin to sprout mold, resulting in foul odors and bacteria. Eventually, a replacement of the entire affected partition will be needed. For the best results, you’ll want to seek out a solid non-absorbent material like HDPE.

Do These Partitions Require Considerable Maintenance?

There’s no way to avoid routine maintenance; however, choosing the right material can greatly reduce the costs and the time spent on repairs and adjustments. What you want to look for is a material that can withstand the elements, provide a strong structure, and have a great screw retention. Another factor to consider is finding a material that doesn’t have to be repainted, so you don’t have to take the time to not only paint, but close off your restroom until the harmful toxins and emissions have dissipated.

How Long Will These Partitions Last?

When you’re investing in new toilet partitions, you’ll want to be sure that it’s money well-spent. That means choosing a material that not only meets your criteria, but a material that will last you the years without needing frequent replacements. HDPE solid plastic is warranted for 25 years, meaning that it can last, and is covered should an unforeseen event occur that requires a replacement of your partition.

It’s good to ask these questions when you’re browsing different materials that can be used as your next toilet partitions. You’ll want to make the right decision by choosing a durable and low-cost maintenance material that will last. Want to learn more about finding the right materials? Check out this free eBook, Choosing Bathroom Materials, from your friends at Scranton Products.

How You Can Prevent Bacteria Growth on Bathroom Partitions

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When you’re in charge of a public or commercial bathroom, you want to be sure that it remains clean and free of any harmful bacteria. It’s especially important to keep your bathroom partitions clear of any bacteria in order to create a sanitary space for its users.

But with all of the moisture and humidity in bathrooms, how can you prevent harmful bacteria growth, such as mold and mildew, on bathroom partitions?

You can have a clean, presentable, and sanitary bathroom thanks to the help of Scranton Products. Read on to learn how you can prevent bacteria growth on your bathroom partitions. Read more

4 Ways to Be More Environmentally Conscious without Remodeling

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It’s important to attempt to be environmentally friendly as much as possible, and that includes commercial restrooms and public locker rooms. Even a few minor tweaks and changes can go a long way in terms of supporting the environment.

You don’t have to completely remodel your restroom or locker room to boost your eco-friendly aspects. Scranton Products is here with four ways that you can be environmentally conscious without remodeling, so read on to learn how.

Read more

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 Importance of Sustainability in Restroom Partitions

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Sustainability is a factor that all facility managers strive for, especially in todays’ top leading industries. The need for using sustainable products or executing green practices is important towards building a better future, and it can start with your facility! Utilizing sustainable building materials can be very beneficial towards your facility, especially when it comes to the restroom. There are a few types of materials you can use in your facility’s restroom, but when it’s time to decide, you’ll want to find reliable and sustainable materials for the job.

Making sustainability a priority for your bathroom is crucial, so here’s a list for the importance of sustainability in restroom partitions.

Choosing Materials That Will Last You

One of the most sustainable aspects of choosing the right toilet partition materials is finding one that can outlast the standard types and materials. Most toilet partitions are subject to wear and damage over time; however, some endure these deteriorations much too early.

By choosing a sustainable material, you’ll be selecting partitions that are designed to last and withstand the elements. The goal is to not only put off a replacement but also rely on a material that doesn’t require significant maintenance over the years. When you have a durable material for your toilet partitions, they won’t incur any damage that most standard materials are susceptible.

Finding Post-Consumer Materials That Can Be Recycled

Everyone is familiar with the importance of recycling, but have you ever utilized building materials that have been through the process of recycling. A lot of plastics, like HDPE (high-density polyethylene), are recycled and then redistributed, whether they’re the same product or formed into something new. By using recycled building materials, you’re helping reduce waste while relying on a material that can not only last you, but when it’s time for a replacement, the material can be recycled once again.

Reducing Harmful Emissions in Your Restroom

Another major benefit to utilizing a sustainable material like HDPE plastic is that this material doesn’t require any painting. If graffiti somehow shows up, your first instinct is to get a paint match to cover over the drawing; however, with HDPE, you can simply wipe away the marker or spray paint. Since HDPE is non-absorbent, you don’t have to buy additional paint and perform any touch-ups. Due to the lack of repainting, you won’t be exposing your restroom, or its occupants, to the harmful VOC (volatile organic compounds) that are present in most paints.

The Benefits of Using Sustainable Building Materials

There are plenty of benefits to going green and sustainable. There are many environmental benefits, such as not using up any valuable resources. By using sustainable materials, you’re doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint. You’ll also enjoy the benefit of having reliable materials that are durable, low maintenance, recyclable, and great for the environment.

Want to learn more about utilizing sustainable building products to take your facility in a greener direction? Check out this free eBook, Sustainable Building Products: How to Make Your Facility Eco-Friendly from Top to Bottom, from your friends at Scranton Products.

Not All Bathroom Partitions Are Created Equally: The Differences Between Phenolic Core and Plastic (HDPE) Core Partition Materials

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All bathroom partition materials are the same, right? It’s just a door and a privacy separator between stalls, so why should you even bother looking into partition materials?

These misguided ideologies about bathroom partitions make for poorly constructed commercial bathrooms and public gyms that are susceptible to many types of damage. In fact, the materials for your bathroom partitions do matter, and Scranton Products is here to show you why.

Two common materials for bathroom partitions are phenolic core and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic core. While they may perform the same function, these materials are very different in their durability and longevity.

Let’s compare the two materials so you can see the differences between phenolic core and HDPE so you can make the right choice for your bathroom. Read more

A Business Owner’s Primer on Commercial Restroom Renovations

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Renovations to your commercial restroom can be time consuming and stressful, and they can require a lot of planning to make sure that your new project is perfect. One of the last things that business owners want to find out after completing a commercial restroom renovation is that the materials selected won’t hold up over time and will require maintenance, thorough cleaning, and even additional renovations.

Whether your bathroom renovations require new stall partitions, vanities, or shower stalls, don’t make the mistake of choosing the wrong products that won’t satisfy your needs. No matter what kind of renovations you’re make, read on for Scranton Products’ primer on commercial restroom renovations to learn how you can avoid some costly mistakes. Read more