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Renovation of Lab Space Yields Positive Results

When the University of Colorado decided to renovate Ekeley Sciences Building, the school looked for a floor covering that would meet a variety of performance requirements—durability, stain resistance, comfort and ease of maintenance.

by nora systems

Their search led them to noraplan environcare™.  nora systems, Inc. used input from professionals in the design and healthcare communities to develop this resilient rubber flooring. Featuring a smooth, slip-, bacteria-, fungi- and microorganism-resistant surface, the high-performance floor covering offers a portfolio of 48 soothing, nature-inspired colors.  Available as sheet flooring or 24-inch square tiles, noraplan environcare is PVC-free and GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD Gold certified. 

Erected in 1970, the University of Colorado’s Ekeley Sciences Building houses teaching and research labs and recitation rooms, which until recently featured many of the building’s original finishes and materials. Outdated everything, from fume hoods to flooring, motivated the university to embark on a long-anticipated renovation.

The search for materials that supported safe and modern learning spaces included flooring—but not just any flooring. “We wanted something that was going to be durable, even after years of wear,” said Larry Hill, project manager. And it needed to resist the acetone, acids and bases used in the lab.

This prompted the chemistry department to conduct stain resistance tests on several flooring samples. “That was the ultimate test—what stained the most or the least from commonly used lab chemicals,” said Hill. “Based on those results, we chose nora®.” 

The university was also concerned about safety, slip resistance and comfort underfoot, something the original concrete floors could not provide. Hard, unforgiving flooring can cause fatigue and negatively impact performance. Softer, more resilient rubber flooring absorbs the pressure of footsteps differently, helping to prevent foot and leg fatigue and enabling students and teachers to focus on work rather than their discomfort.

Those working in the renovated building recognize the comfort the rubber flooring delivers. “The new flooring seems a lot more forgiving on the knees,” said Jacqueline Richardson, Ph.D., director of the organic chemistry teaching labs. Hill agreed, adding, “I think it’s much more comfortable, especially for users when they have long periods of lab use.”

The floor’s acoustic properties are also important. “The labs are noisy from the fume hoods,” said Tad Koch, Ph.D., professor emeritus. “nora met that need better than anything else we looked at.”

In addition to labs, the flooring covers recitation rooms and corridors. Denise Thomas, building manager, noted, “We have a lot of activity with palettes and movement of carts through corridors. A floor that can withstand the extra weight, movement and traffic is very important.”

nora’s reduced maintenance regimen, requiring little more than water, represented another significant benefit to the university. “We have very limited funding on this campus for maintenance and custodial services,” explained Hill. “So, we try to stretch our dollars by using products that are easy to maintain and require fewer chemicals.”

The university is pleased with the outcome. Said Hill, “This is a modern lab, so the safety and health of all the people who work and study in that space is just leaps and bounds beyond what it ever was before.” 

nora systems, Inc.
9 Northeastern Blvd.
Salem, NH 03079
Phone: (800) 336-5096