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Transforming Learning Spaces: Shaw Contract’s Innovative, Sustainable Flooring Solutions Elevate Educational Environments

EDUCATIONAL facilities are confronted with numerous challenges, from crafting ideal learning environments that foster individual growth and knowledge acquisition to adhering to sustainability standards and ensuring the wellbeing of all users.

Insights from the University of Salford, Manchester, underscore the profound impact of classroom design on student performance. Their study, ‘The Impact of Classroom Design on Pupils’ Learnings,’ highlights how elements like colour, light, texture, and acoustics can enhance learning progress by up to 16%.

Says Shaw Contract: ‘Shaw Contract’s range of innovative flooring solutions, including carpet tiles and luxury vinyl tiles (LVT), significantly improves educational spaces, positively affecting the learning journey from libraries to classrooms.’

Case study: Castle Mead Academy
When Castle Mead Academy, a large educational institution along the River Soar in Leicester, needed a robust flooring solution, Shaw Contract’s Auxiliary carpet tile collection was described as the ideal product.

Says Shaw Contract: ‘In alignment with the school’s and the Department for Education’s ESG credentials, Shaw Contract’s products, rigorously tested for material health and environmental impact through the Cradle-to-Cradle certified product programme, were the optimal choice.’

Creating an atmosphere for learning
Working closely with the contractor BAM and with BAM Design, the lead architect for Castle Mead Academy, Shaw Contract identified the Auxiliary collection as ideal for the project, using styles Complement and Feature in grey and blue tones to introduce a calming yet stimulating interplay of colour and pattern.

Pattern and colour have been carefully considered throughout this project, with the carpet tiles reportedly offering functionality and style.

Shaw Contract continues: ‘This carpet tile collection, featuring Shaw Contract’s UK-manufactured TaskWorx backing, enhances acoustics by reducing impact sound and improving sound absorption, thereby aiding concentration and creating a more effective learning environment.

‘On average, TaskWork carpet tiles offer 25dB in impact sound reduction, and Shaw Contract’s ComfortWorx carpet tiles provide an impressive 36dB reduction.’

Sustainable and flexible solutions
From the outset, sustainability was a critical aspect of the school’s construction phase. Carpet tiles were selected for their durability and ease of installation, and the ability to be easily lifted and relocated, supporting the school’s dynamic needs.

In addition, Shaw Contract’s Take-back scheme, reTURN, reportedly exemplifies the company’s commitment to reclaim and recycle carpet tiles at the end of their lifecycle.

Case study: Aston University – The John Cadbury House
Aston University’s transformation of the Victorian Citadel building into John Cadbury House in Birmingham demonstrates innovation and sustainability.

This refurbishment, designed to foster an inclusive environment aligning with Aston University’s strategic goals, now spans more than 46,000sq ft, incorporating office, retail, and social spaces, operating with a net zero carbon footprint.

Carpet tiles and LVT aid in navigation
In collaboration with Robotham Architects and the Commercial Flooring Company, the design choices in John Cadbury House reflect an acute awareness of inclusivity and sustainability.

The flooring selections from the Simply by Nature Carpet tile collection, in Arrange and Array styles, coupled with Nordic LVT in refined Elm wood tone, are said to ‘not only enhance the aesthetic appeal but also aid in navigation and spatial orientation without explicit signage’.

Material health and indoor environmental quality
Both Aston University and the Mead Education Trust prioritised indoor environmental quality to promote a healthy and productive learning environment.

Shaw Contract says it’s committed to material health, ensuring collections are low in VOCs (volatile organic compounds), certified Indoor Air Comfort Gold, and accompanied by an environmental product declaration (EPD).

The carpet tiles are Cradle-to-Cradle certified, optimised for low embodied carbon and carbon neutral, utilising Shaw Contract’s EcoSolution Q100 yarn—a 100% recyclable yarn.

‘Cost-effectiveness and time efficiency’
Educational facilities often face budget constraints, particularly in flooring selection. Shaw Contract addresses this by offering cost-effective, design-led, and functional flooring solutions that meet the needs of rapid turnaround projects.

The In-Stock UK programme enables flooring contractors to select from a specially curated selection of high-quality flooring options, with 24-hours dispatch on receipt of acknowledgement (terms and conditions apply).

Nordic LVT, and selected carpet tile collections are part of Shaw Contract’s In Stock programme for fast turnaround projects

‘Versatility and durability for modern education’
Says Shaw Contract: ‘Shaw Contract’s modular carpet tiles and LVT are not only practical but highly versatile, ideal for frequently updated environments. When fitted with adhesive free solutions, Shaw Contract carpet tiles and LVT are easily removable, facilitating quick replacements and the repurposing of any space.

‘Shaw Contract flooring solutions are supported by a 15-year warranty that guarantees long-term durability and quality, and when installed with IOBAC adhesive-free solutions, Shaw Contract is the only manufacturer to offer a 2nd location warranty.

‘This adaptability is essential for educational facilities facing evolving educational needs. Shaw Contract is leading the way in developing and providing flooring solutions that meet the diverse and demanding requirements of educational settings.’

Concludes the company: ‘By enhancing learning environments through sustainable, design-led, cost-effective products and dedicated service, Shaw Contract is establishing new benchmarks in educational flooring, making it the preferred choice for educational institutions across the UK.’

Shaw Contract products are available to view in the Shaw Contract showroom, 33 Great Sutton Street, London EC1V 0DX.
020 79614120

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