Tarkett Hosts Second Healthy Building Summit

To create dialogue around the biggest challenges in designing and maintaining schools, Tarkett recently hosted its second annual Healthy Building Summit.

The collaborative two-day workshop, held at Tarkett’s Chicago showroom, brought together dozens of professionals from a variety of disciplines, including architects, school administrators and facility managers, creating a space for these diverse perspectives to be heard and understood.

“Each role within the education system brings a unique perspective and experience of the space, but too often we’re giving design teams conflicting direction without understanding each other’s points of view,” says Jonathan Stanley, director of education for Tarkett. “We just don’t know what we don’t know. But getting on the same page helps us move forward with more educated and purposeful decisions and gives our students healthier buildings in the process.”

Among the key takeaways from this year’s event was the role of facility managers and their need for greater support from the architectural and design industry. Facility maintenance departments have an enormous impact on the health of a school building yet are often underfunded and left out of initial design and construction decisions. Attendees of the summit discussed the need for facility managers to have access to stronger collaborative partnerships in the industry that can provide training and follow up post-occupancy.

“The attendees at our Healthy Building Summit identified several paths forward for championing healthier school buildings, particularly in disadvantaged communities where students are most at risk,” says Stanley. “From involving the community early in building projects to incorporating public health research into design, there are many practical actions we can take.”

Flooring contributes to several areas that can impact people’s overall well-being within a space, including indoor air quality, acoustics, maintenance procedures and design aesthetic. For example, flooring can aid in creating flexible spaces that support a neurodiverse student body by establishing collaborative versus focused zones, wayfinding and more. Also, products that carry the certified asthma and allergy-friendly designation by Allergy Standards Ltd. can help reduce indoor pollutants that exacerbate these issues.

Tarkett established the Healthy Building Summit in 2022, with the goal of un-packaging the complex problems faced while creating and modernizing future-ready educational spaces so all students can thrive.

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