Dividing to be Green

Julian Sargent, MD of partitioning wall experts Style, advises on specifying a flexible solution that positively contributes to sustainability goals

It can be argued that the decision to include a moveable wall within any public sector project is in itself, a positive step towards a more sustainable future. In these overcrowded times, space is invariable in short supply. However, with considered planning and design, a partitioning wall allows the use of the available space to be maximised, effectively increasing the density of people accommodated whilst ensuring comfort levels are unaffected.

To take the argument one step further though it is important to consider the individual elements of a partitioning wall and their contribution to a sustainable construction project. Certainly at Style we’ve witnessed a significant increase, in recent years, in requests for actual evidence to support the ‘green’ credentials of our moveable wall systems. So what should you be looking out for when specifying a sustainable partitioning wall?

An Environmental Product Declaration ISO 14025 (EPD) certified system is an excellent start. This delivers science-based, verified and comparable information about the environmental performance of a system and is the pinnacle of product sustainability for anyone seeking sustainable solutions for BREEAM, LEED and SKA rating certification. More specifically, a life cycle analysis is carried out for each product in accordance with ISO 14040 and covers a number of key criteria including global warming potential, cumulative energy demand arising from each product’s manufacture, total weight of the product waste recycled at the pre-consumer stage and at the end of the product’s life.

If an EPD is unavailable then consider recyclable content, aiming for at least 97%. Creative use of rapidly renewable resources such as soy or eucalyptus is an obvious plus, as are fabric finishes. For a long life span, individual elements of the partitioning wall should be easily separated, allowing for easy replacement or system upgrade in the future.

Finally consider who you specify to supply and install the partitioning wall. Ideally it would be reassuring if they have accreditation under the ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management System. This ensures all operational processes of their business maximise sustainability goals whilst limiting any wasted resources.