Professional Retail Store - July/August 2010 - (Page 15)

management Preventative Maintenance for Sustainable Floors BY MATT HEW LAWRENCE WHELAN, W SERV I CES GROUP In today’s world, where sustainability is driving the materials we use and the practices we follow, it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of initiatives with sustainability as their goal. More specifically, we must ask, “How do we repair and maintain composite wood, laminated stone, plastic carpet, vinyl sheetrock, PVC plumbing pipes, water-less urinals, syndecrete, paperstone, and even soft metal?” With the current economic focus on overall cost savings, environmental awareness and innovative store designs, long term maintenance is often overlooked. Sustainable materials can be less expensive, better for the environment and easier to install, repair and maintain. However, if these materials are not properly maintained, their life expectancy can be dramatically reduced and the cost of ownership will quickly increase. Retailers and maintenance companies alike can partner to ensure a sustainable, preventative-maintenance program is created to preserve and extend the life of these emerging materials. While developing these programs and moving toward becoming a sustainable entity, we must take a balanced approach and understand how some materials or practices can hinder sustainable growth and development. The largest difference, outside of the manufacturing process, between a sustainable and non-sustainable material is the preventative-maintenance approach and its effect on long term durability and life expectancy. For example, a luxury vinyl tile (LVT) with a wood appearance will cost less to maintain than a urethane-finished wood. However, the average life expectancy can be much less with the wrong preventative-maintenance approach. One can argue that an LVT floor will last 20 years with limited maintenance in the right environment and that most urethane-finished floors are too expensive to install and maintain. Yet, as a group, we should always remember that the life expectancy of any material is dependent on its environment, maintenance program, and the characteristics of that material. This is not to say that a urethane-finished floor, or any natural material, is better or worse than a sustainable material, but that the differences between the two products must be realized. Sustainable materials do not eliminate or standardize maintenance programs; they create the need for strategic, consistent, interim-maintenance programs that maintain cost-benefit ratios. As sustainability drives design, we need to understand the true costs surrounding these new materials and how they are affected by different influences. Manufacturers supply recommendations for the care and maintenance of their products, so, now more than ever, consider these recommendations prior to construction. If we choose to ignore these recommendations, we could be setting ourselves up for additional, longterm costs. Enlightened with this information, our approach must change by utilizing different July/August 2010 I 15

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Professional Retail Store - July/August 2010

Professional Retail Store - July/August 2010
President's Message
Executive Director's Column
Management: Preventative Maintenance for Sustainable Floors
Retailer Q&A: Keeping it Green
Mid-Year Conference Preview
New Members
Standards, Certfications and Legislation, Oh My!
What's Your Sustainability Strategy?
The Greenest of the Green
Tips & Trends
Advertisers' Index
Retailer Profile: Best Buy

Professional Retail Store - July/August 2010