Going Green in the Bathroom: 6 Ways to Keep Your Facility Restrooms Sustainable

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An environmentally friendly restroom provides major benefits for facility managers as well as patrons. With a sustainable restroom, maintenance costs become much cheaper, materials are more sanitary, and you work to support a healthier environment by reducing industrial waste.

In this day and age, an environmentally friendly approach can go a long way in a facility’s restroom, and we’re here to show you how. Read on as Scranton Products teaches you six ways to keep your facility restrooms sustainable.

1. Eliminate Painting

Repainting the materials in your restroom releases a variety of VOC emissions. This harms the air quality of your restroom, which will affect the people who use it. Partitions, vanities, and other restroom products that don’t require repainting will help your restroom stay sustainable.

2. Clean Smart

Various commercial cleaners have a significant number of chemicals in them. From the production of these chemicals to the application of them on your products, they don’t promote clean air quality inside and out.

Make sure that your restrooms can be steam cleaned or power washed for an environmentally friendly approach to restroom sanitizing.

3. Germ Resistant

Restroom materials that are naturally germ-resistant provide a major service for facility bathrooms. Mold, mildew, fungus, and bacteria occur in restrooms because of the high level of moisture and humidity. This also harms the air quality and creates an unsanitary place for your patrons. Germ-resistant materials are a must for supporting sustainability in your restroom.

4. Built from Recycled Material

When facility managers with recycled material, they do a serious service to our environment. With recycled materials, you reduce the amount of industrial waste and energy that goes into the building process.

5. Recyclable Material

When you use recyclable material for your restroom partitions, you also work to reduce industrial waste. Years after your materials are constructed to build your facility’s restroom, they can be reused and repurposed for another project. Check to see if your restroom material is recyclable.

6. Don’t Build with Added Formaldehyde Resins

While many bathroom materials are built with added urea-formaldehyde resins, there are significant drawbacks and health concerns that negatively affect the environment of your restroom. By negatively affecting the air quality, urea-formaldehyde resins increase the chance of respiratory infection or cancer when the chemicals are released into the air. For a more sustainable environment, choose a different material for your bathrooms.

What Material Covers All of These Sustainable Practices?

The answer is simple: HDPE plastic.

HDPE plastic bathroom materials are built with a homogenous color throughout so they won’t require repainting and can resist mold and mildew. They can be steamed cleaned or power washed, are built from recycled material, and can be recycled themselves. And, most importantly, they’re free of any urea-formaldehyde resins.

You can learn more about how to build an environmentally friendly restroom when you find out where you can buy Scranton Products’ HDPE materials near you.


Sustainable Building Products

Why Should I Use HDPE Plastic Materials?

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When choosing materials for your next project, you certainly have plenty of options. Since the 1950s, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) has soared in popularity in the US, although it first started in the UK about two decades earlier. Now it’s one of the most widely used types of plastic available.

But what exactly is it and why should you consider using HDPE in your next project? Read below to find out.

What Is HDPE?

HDPE is made by stringing together ethylene molecules, hence the name polyethylene. The ethylene molecules come primarily from US natural gas resources, and the resulting plastic is as versatile as it is durable, being used in a variety of applications.

One reason contractors, builders, and facility supervisors prefer HDPE over other materials is because it’s lightweight while also managing to be extremely strong. It’s also resistant to impact and damage. Bump into a locker made from HDPE and it won’t dent. Nor will it rot or grow mold as wood or other materials might, making HDPE plastics perfect for use where moisture is common, such as a commercial bathroom.

HDPE Is Environmentally Conscious

HDPE offers a relatively low environmental impact and substantial improvements to the indoor air quality both initially and in the long run.

In addition, HDPE materials from Scranton Products are GREENGUARD Gold Certified. This exclusive certification features extremely strict criteria and takes into account certain safety factors for sensitive individuals, making Scranton Products’ HDPE brands perfectly suitable for use in healthcare facilities and schools.

Scranton Products brands are made from recycled materials and are 100% recyclable themselves. Plus the plastic is solid colored throughout. That means no volatile organic compound emissions inside your facility, no chipping, and no need to repaint.

Lower Long-Term Costs

One of the biggest problems facing building officials is the cost to maintain their facilities. In this respect, HDPE holds a significant advantage over other common building materials, such as metal.

Take a locker, for example. Metal lockers may have a lower initial cost than lockers made from HDPE, but the cost of maintaining metal can surpass that of HDPE over time. When you factor in the cost of painting, cleaning, and other maintenance, HDPE lockers are less expensive than their metal counterparts.

That’s because HDPE is resistant to dents, germs, rust, corrosion, and even graffiti. Therefore, it requires minimal care to stay in good working condition. Not only that, but in the case of lockers, HDPE is significantly more effective at noise reduction than traditional metal lockers. In fact, HDPE lockers have been proven to be three times quieter than metal, making them perfect for use in schools and other shared areas.

If you’d like to learn more about HDPE or any of the brands offered by Scranton Products, contact us today.

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.

What Makes HDPE Sustainable?

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As a facility manager, you’ve probably heard about the benefits of choosing a sustainable material like HDPE for your next project. Utilizing sustainable building materials like HDPE not only pushes you closer to LEED certification, but having these types of materials can also lower your maintenance costs. But when it comes to HDPE products, facility managers tend to ask what makes HDPE sustainable?

We’ll gladly show you what makes HDPE sustainable and why you’d benefit greatly by using it in your next renovation or remodel project.

How HDPE Is Sustainable

A variety of factors make HDPE a sustainable material that you can use in your facility, the major ones being the following:

  • HDPE is made from recycled materials.
  • HPDE contains between 25% and 100% pre-consumer material.
  • Not only is HDPE sustainable by being made from recycled materials, but it’s also 100% recyclable.

Given that HDPE is made up of recycled material, it’s GREENGUARD Gold Certified, meaning that it’s an approved material to be used in schools and healthcare facilities. This certification requires stricter criteria, and HDPE makes the cut for its green construction.

Improving Air Quality

One of the biggest advantages that HDPE brings to your facility is through helping your air quality. HDPE is impervious to humidity and moisture, which can be abundant in areas like the restroom or locker rooms. Most plastic and metal partitions or storage compartments located in an environment with constant moisture will not only begin to wear, but they also run the risk of growing mold. Because of HDPE’s solid plastic construction, mold won’t find a way to grow, allowing HDPE to remain unaffected and helping to keep your air quality high.

Low-Cost Maintenance

Another major benefit of HDPE that you can add to the pros column is that it requires little maintenance. Not only does HDPE stand up to the elements, but it’s also a highly durable material. It can take a few hits and bumps and come out pretty much unscathed. Even graffiti doesn’t stand a chance against this solid plastic.

When it comes to maintaining your HDPE materials, you’ll be happy to know that it won’t cost you a lot of time or money. HDPE requires only a light cleaning now and then. The material doesn’t require repainting, which not only saves you more money, but it also won’t have a negative effect on your facility’s air quality due to the harmful VOC emissions.

On top of the lack of serious and involved maintenance, HDPE plastic can last for years, so you won’t be looking at a costly or involved replacement any time soon. HDPE pays for itself within two years due to the lack of costly maintenance and repairs that other materials would require.

Was this post informative for showing you what makes HDPE a sustainable building material? For more information, download Scranton Products’ eBook Sustainable Building Products: How to Make Your Facility Eco-Friendly from Top to Bottom.

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