VOC emissions consist of a range of volatile organic compounds which at room temperature may be released from materials or products in the form of gases.
Some of the common sources of VOCs in the indoor environment are cleaning agents and polishes, cosmetics and deodorants, dry cleaned clothing, building materials (e.g. adhesives, laminates, caulking compounds, medium density fibre board), furnishings (e.g. furniture, drapery and floor coverings), office equipment (e.g. photocopiers and laser printers), cigarette smoke and air drawn from outside.
Carpets and VOC’s
As part of the manufacturing process, carpet passes through a finishing oven at 150°C to 170°C. This drives off most of the volatile chemicals including solvents in adhesives and raw materials, leaving a product with a low VOC content.
When compared to other building materials with significant indoor exposure, carpet is a minor contributor to VOC emissions. Approximately 90% of VOCs discharged from carpet dissipate within a few days of installation.
In addition, carpet has a purifying impact on indoor air quality by absorbing VOCs e.g. formaldehyde, and trapping particulates present in indoor air.
Note: During installation of new carpet, the area should be adequately ventilated.
Flooring and stairs can be a risk factor for slips and falls in buildings. And the most common hazards are hard slippery surfaces that do don’t absorb energy impacts when falls occur.
Most injurious falls occur in the home and those most at risk are the elderly and children.
Carpet is slip resistant because of the product’s piled surface. This is confirmed by the results obtained from commissioned testing carried out by independent laboratories. 60 carpets were tested in accordance with the requirements of Australian standard AS 4586:2013 – Slip resistance classification of new pedestrian surface materials. All carpets tested achieved P4 or P5 slip resistance ratings. For dry surfaces which is the majority of carpet installations only a classification of P3 is required (other than ramps steeper than 1:14).
Carpet, with or without underlay, can also reduce the severity of slip and fall injuries because the surface provides greater impact attenuation than hard flooring.
Wall to wall carpet and carpet tiles provide a safe, slip resistant surface option.
Carpet softens harsh sounds and creates a quieter and more productive indoor environment.
Carpet is the only method available for eliminating excessive noise generated by floor impacts such as noise produced from footfalls and also helps to reduce sound reverberation to acceptable levels. While there are other sound absorption alternatives such as acoustic ceiling tiles and panels, they do not reduce floor impacts and for this reason cannot achieve the same overall reduction in noise levels.
Noise attenuation is yet another reason why carpet is an excellent floor covering choice where functionality and fashion are important.
Carpet is an exceptionally good thermal insulator.
The insulation value of carpet is similar to fibreglass insulation and can be up to ten times higher than that of other floor coverings. Further increases in thermal insulation are obtained when carpet is installed over underlay.
Carpet can help to significantly reduce energy costs in heating and cooling, and hence greenhouse gas emissions, when there is a temperature differential between the indoor air and that under the floor. Uninsulated floors account for 10 to 20% of heat loss from a home.
A carpeted floor feels warmer underfoot and does not require the heating that a room with a smooth surface may. This will add further energy savings.
The greatest benefit from a carpet is obtained when as large an area as possible, preferably wall to wall, is covered. This is because the reduction in heat loss is proportional to the area carpeted.