Buzz words like “renewable”, “100% recycled” and “eco-friendly” seem to be everywhere we look, from coffee cups to building codes. This preoccupation with all things “green” has long passed the point of being just another fad. The desire for environmentally responsible products has shifted from being simply in vogue to being firmly requisite.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification has become a standard benchmark for most modern buildings. To achieve the most points towards a LEED certified building, many architects are looking for “green” materials that show a commitment to the environment and responsible, eco-friendly practices. This includes the focus on materials that go beyond how much is used; to get a better understanding of what’s in the materials they specify for buildings and the effect those components have on human health and the environment. LEED certification also requires a more performance-based approach to indoor environmental quality to ensure improved occupant comfort. Specifying Sound Channels® acoustic wall fabric can help designers realize the above goals.
Obviously, specifying acoustic materials that use recycled content gets big points towards LEED certification. That said, the use of recycled content for acoustical products is not necessarily unique. For example, the fiberglass substrate for our Sonora Panels are made of 52 percent pre-consumer and 5 percent post-consumer recycled content. What is truly unique is the extent that Sound Channels® utilizes the waste product of one of our most widespread habits: the use of plastic water bottles.
Sound Channels – Recycled Textiles by the Numbers:
One yard of Sound Channels® acoustic wall fabric utilizes 15 post consumer plastic bottles. Recycling one ton of plastic from bottles saves approximately 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space. This means that 36.5 million pounds of Sound Channels® fiber saves 365 million bottles from landfills, 91,250 barrels of oil and over 64,000 tons of emissions!
How does a discarded plastic bottle become wall fabric? Let’s take a look at the process…
First, bottles are picked up at recycling centers then sorted by type and color. Then labels and caps are removed; the bottles are washed, crushed and chopped into very small pieces called “flakes”. These flakes are melted down and color is added. Lastly, anti-microbial technology is added before the product is made into Sound Channels® acoustical wall fabric. Sound Channels® then can be recycled back into fiber at the end of its life cycle.
Besides the “green” benefits, there are performance advantages with Sound Channels® acoustic wall fabric. The anti-microbial technology incorporates silver and copper ions into the root fiber which naturally attack microbes. This technology works against the types of airborne bacteria that we are most concerned about, making this product ideal for hospitals and classrooms.
Recently, an improved design has increased its sound absorption by 25% (NRC of .25). The uniform coverage you get with treating the walls with Sound Channels® eliminates the flutter/slap from reflective parallel walls, while helping to control excessive reverberation and noise buildup.
Whatever your application, Sound Channels® acoustical wall fabric and Acoustics First can help you towards your “green” goals!