When employees of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) began occupying their new buildings in Alexandria, VA, in Fall 2004, their focus was probably not on the floor. But, that’s where the office space’s design and durability began - with carpet backed with polyurethane technology from The Dow Chemical Company (Dow).
This $885-million office complex, which now houses all PTO employees in one location rather than 18 different sites, is the largest single-office lease ever undertaken by the U.S. General Services Administration. Given the scope of this project, the design and specification was lengthy with specific budget, style, and use constraints, plus the involvement of many manufacturers. For the flooring, 125,000 square yards of carpet (made by Shaw Carpet’s Patcraft Commercial) were installed throughout the space, which consisted of mostly offices and a few open areas. Some of the key considerations for the flooring included budget, durability, design, and life span.
“The look and budget were big concerns,” says Terri Barnhart, senior associate at Gensler, the firm that designed the buildings. “The carpet needed to feature a tweed, loop look and retain its appearance for about 10 years or until it would be replaced by the leasing company.”
That’s where polyurethane carpet-backing technology from Dow came into play. Patcraft’s EVERBOND® EL, a high-performance backing made with DOW™ ENFORCER™ Technology, offered the Patent and Trademark Office key benefits, including strong tuft bind, aggressive wear and tear, extended appearance retention, and even sustainability. In this particular space, it was important that the carpet would hold up under intensive use situations like heavy foot and roller-caster traffic, including rolling office chairs - without the use of chair pads. ENFORCER™ Technology was an ideal solution to address this issue. The polymeric bond of the polyurethane backing with the primary backing reduces the likelihood of delamination, even under roller-caster traffic. Plus, the adhesion to the nylon yarn maximizes bundle wrap around individual tufts, which reduces pilling and fuzzing, as well as edge ravel and disfiguring snags and pulls. To further extend the carpet’s appearance, the backing’s functional liquid barrier impedes dirt and spills from penetrating the subfloor.
“The Patent and Trademark Office needed something other than just the standard carpet,” says Patcraft Sales Representative Curt Brandland. “The addition of a high-performance backing created a flooring that exceeded expectations for appearance and long life.”
The carpet needed to look great from the moment it was installed - not an easy feat, considering the tweed pattern. The specification of backing made with Dow polyurethane technology helped facilitate the installation process by allowing for seaming and pattern match. Sold and installed by Commercial Carpets of America, the carpet was successfully laid in all buildings without the need to file any claims.
Going beyond the durability and appearance of the carpet, the backing offered the added benefit of sustainability. This is an important factor for government agencies like the PTO, since they are encouraged to select bio-based products whenever possible, according to provisions of Executive Orders 13101 and 13134 and the 2002 Farm Bill. In the case of the PTO carpet, polyurethane backing systems supplier, Universal Textile Technologies, applied BioCel™ Technology to the carpet backing, making it an environmentally sensitive product. BioCel is manufactured with an annually renewable resource (the soybean plant) and recovered materials. Plus, the backing complies with the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Green Label standards.
“Universal is committed to the principles of sustainable development,” says Tom Peeples, Universal Textile Technologies president. “With BioCel, we have a green product with improved performance, and no increase in cost. We’re extremely proud of the advances BioCel brings to sustainable technology.”
From start to finish, the basis for a quality carpet for the Patent and Trademark Office began with the backing made with ENFORCER™ Technology. By specifying a high-performance backing made with Dow polyurethane technology, the end result is a durable and beautiful carpet that will last for years to come.
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For additional information:
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