If you are new to Green Building, there is a very simple but often overlooked segment of the design program called walk-off, walk off area or walk-off matting. No matter what you call it, a carefully designed foyer or vestibule will accomplish a lot in terms of Indoor Air Quality or IAQ for your building occupants.
Long considered just a means to prevent slip and fall liabilities or a way to reduce cleaning costs after storms or seasonally dusty or dirty conditions, the well-planned and carefully executed walk off area will accomplish that and much more.
Foyer mats or matting is not commonly considered a driver in the formula for clean indoor air by most building designers but consider the following:
- 1. What is coming in? Everything that enters the building on your shoes in a wet form, whether it be mud, snow, ice or rain carries with it a whole host of bad things like hydrocarbons from road tires, asphalt residue, organic residue from our fields and forests but also pesticides, herbicides and chemicals from ice melting as well as free silica and ash that is in the air naturally. The drying out process often allows thermal drafts to pick these nasty little particles up and put them into the air in our occupied spaces.
2. What to do about it? It’s not just practical to have negatively pressured and vented air locks for buildings to keep dust and particulate always on the way out, but also to have a good run of abrasive, semi-absorbent and absorbent materials to clean shoes and boots and prevent it from coming in.
3. What’s to gain? When you factor in the cost of putting out and taking up mats, cleaning, sweeping and maintaining floors, premature wear of carpets and resilient flooring, it really does make sense to have a carefully designed walk-off system in a building.
Might we recommend a look at the Coral, Coral Duo and Grip systems from Forbo Entrance Systems as an alternative to throwing time, money and energy away?