Two Paws Up For Rubber Floors

The noraplan environcare foor from Nora Systems Inc. provides the center with a number of performance features that are important to the LSPCA, beginning with a simple cleaning regimen. The noraplan environcare foor from Nora Systems Inc. provides the center with a number of performance features that are important to the LSPCA, beginning with a simple cleaning regimen.

Louisiana SPCA’s new 40,000-sq.-ft. Adoption Resource and Clinic Center replaces the 21,600-sq.-ft. Animal Rescue and Care Center on the 11.2-acre Dorothy Dorsett Brown Campus in Algiers, one of the oldest neighborhoods in New Orleans.

Today the original building houses animal-control operations and drop-offs for found pets, while the new, much larger facility is home to a variety of services, including a community animal clinic with four exam rooms, a cat colony, 24 dog adoption rooms, two surgery suites to support spay-and-neuter efforts, a fetch room, play yards, quarantine and grooming spaces, classrooms for humane education and obedience training, a grief room, a photo studio, and a laundry room.

Accommodating these services, and the specifications unique to an animal shelter, required careful planning, including the selection of floor coverings.

“A lot of thought went into making sure the space looks nice and is easy to clean,” said Joe Young, communications associate, Louisiana SPCA. As a result, the center selected noraplan environcare from Nora Systems Inc., Salem, NH, to cover much of the new space. Available in 48 colors, the rubber flooring offered unlimited design options that contribute to the happy feeling that pervades the facility. “When you go to adopt, you don’t want to be depressed,” said Young. “You want to feel happy, because you’re making a happy decision.”

The floor also provides the center with a number of performance features that are important to the LSPCA, beginning with a simple cleaning regimen. The floor’s dense, nonporous surface helps repel dirt while resisting staining. As a result, the floor tends to stay clean longer and can be maintained with regular dust mopping or a mop and tap water. The floor’s natural density also allows it to stand up to chemicals and other liquid spills without absorbing them.

“The nonporous surface is easily sanitized, which is so important in combatting the spread of contagious conditions among the animals,” explained Young. “For example, ringworm is a big issue in animal care facilities. We need to ensure that ringworm is contained, because it’s very difficult to treat and it can be quite common, especially when our human law-enforcement folks bring in animals off the street.”

The center also appreciates the fact that rubber flooring never requires waxing, labor-intensive stripping, or the application of sealants. This means significant time savings when it comes to maintaining the floors and eliminates the need to close large areas of the facility while waiting for irritating fumes to dissipate and wax to dry. Even emergency spills can be cleaned up quickly, without the need to move animals and staff and the fear of compromising the quality of the air they breathe.

The floor must stand up to a steady stream of foot and paw traffic—as many as 350 animals on any given day. The floor must stand up to a steady stream of foot and paw traffic—as many as 350 animals on any given day.

In fact, rubber flooring can contribute to improved indoor air quality for animals and staff. Because rubber flooring does not contain PVCs, the floor covering does not generate any hydrochloric acid, dioxins, or furans, it contributes to healthy indoor air quality. Nor do rubber floors contain plasticizers (phthalates) or halogens (e.g., chlorine), and some, like nora products, are Greenguard Gold Certified for low-VOC emissions. This high-level certification offers stringent criteria to meet the strict emissions levels as presented by the UL Environments, which focuses on healthy indoor environments.

Meanwhile, the floor’s durable surface stands up to a steady stream of foot and paw traffic. According to Young, the LSPCA can accommodate as many as 350 animals on any given day. In addition, it can perform about 60 spay-and-neuter procedures and welcome between 50 and 60 animals for wellness visits on a daily basis, which means the center impacts somewhere between 400 and 500 animals each day. Dogs, in particular, can be hard on the floor as they play and roughhouse, but since the center opened a year ago, the noraplan environcare has withstood the abuse and shows no signs of scratching or other degradation. What’s more, its projected long life cycle (as long as 30 years) contributes to the center’s sustainability goals.

Sustainability goal

The LSPCA is seeking LEED certification, meaning it must meet rigorous standards that ensure it is energy efficient and environmentally friendly. “Every aspect of the building is energy and environmentally efficient,” said Young. In addition to the choice of rubber flooring, the facility boasts a number of features that will support this goal:

large retention garden to help slow rainwater drainage in the area and prevent floodingabundant green space and landscaping that includes a number of trees indigenous to the areanatural light throughout the facilitytimers and sensors that control lighting to limit the amount of electricity the building consumeslow- or zero-emissions materials for improved indoor air qualityresponsible disposal of construction waste, including recycling whenever possibleaccess to public transportationparking for bicyclesfaucets that turn off automatically to limit water use.

The result of these and other design elements and finish selections is a center the LSPCA is proud to call home. According to Young, the space functions well and looks beautiful, thanks in large part to the flooring. “Having flooring that’s easy to clean, doesn’t get marked easily, and looks nice is hugely important,” he said. “The rubberized flooring has been a great fit for this facility.”

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