BYU Research Shows Polyurethane Technology Adds Life to Carpet

June 15, 2003
A research project was conducted at Brigham Young University (BYU) by Dr. Jeffery Campbell, Chair of the Facilities Management Program in the College of Engineering and Technology. The goal of the research was to determine whether or not polyurethane attached cushion from Dow technology added life to carpet installed at the University.BYU has over 8.7 million square feet (SF) of building space on its main campus in Provo, Utah. Of that square footage, approximately 3,200,000 SF is carpeted with approximately 75% of that area having the polyurethane attached carpet cushion (2,400,000 SF). BYU began installation with the polyurethane attached cushion in approximately 1991. The carpeted space is used for a wide variety of purposes including academic facilities, administration, library, housing, sports areas, and a health care center. The facilities are also heavily used on weekends for religious meetings. With a student population of approximately 30,000 plus faculty, staff and administration of 10,000 there are approximately 40,000 who use the campus and its facilities.Research Methods:
The study included investigating current research and literature for key variables and best practices of life-cycle costing for carpet. 15 variables were identified. Those variables were: surface preparation, installation methods, carpet cushion, carpet type, fiber and brand, maintenance, usage, moisture, appearance standards, style/color obsolescence, ergonomics, ecology and recyclability, business interruption, safety, acoustics and energy savings. Existing records and data collection practices were reviewed and qualitative interviews were conducted to discover what impact the 15 variables had on the life of the carpet and how they impacted the polyurethane attached carpet cushion.
It was revealed that 4 of the 15 variables had a direct financial impact on carpet life. Those variables are carpet cushion, maintenance, ecology and recyclability, and business interruption. The other 11 variables were found to provide positive results from the polyurethane attached cushion but existing records and current data collection practices did not provide adequate information to draw any significant conclusions.Results:
It is estimated that carpets having the polyurethane attached cushion from Dow technology saves the University $364,919 annually. This amount is a $.15 savings per SF. It is believed that this is a conservative estimate. Refer to Table 1 for details.
Carpet Cushion
The BYU Capital Needs Analysis Center is in the process of establishing a new life expectancy for carpet life, partly due to the polyurethane attached carpet cushion. The expectation was 5 to 10 years (average of seven years), and the proposed life is now 8 to 15 years. This is based on different locations and the usage factor at those locations. For this analysis an average of 11.5 years was used as the desired life-cycle period. That is an increase of 64% or 4.5 years from the previous standard. This extended life shows an annual savings of $268,621 per year.
The qualitative research showed that carpets having polyurethane attached cushion do have an impact on carpet cleaning. This is due primarily to the flexibility of the cushion that helps loosen dirt and stain deposits. It is concluded that there is a savings range from $.02 to $.15 per SF. Unfortunately, there were not adequate records to provide conclusive evidence. There are so many variables in carpet cleaning that until controlled research is undertaken overall cleaning savings will not be known. From this reasoning, the lowest value of $.02 was used in the calculations. This represents an annual savings of $48,000. Repair cost was found to remain constant between the direct glue-down conventional latex backed carpets and carpet backed with the polyurethane attached cushion.
Due to the extended life of the carpet, there is a direct savings from carpet removal and disposal at landfills. Due to the extended life, the annual savings is $8,050. It is believed that as landfill costs increase and more recyclable programs are available, more savings will be realized in the future. It is important to note that carpet represents 2% of all debris in U.S. landfills today. Actions to lengthen the life of carpet will continue to promote product sustainability.
Business Interruption
Moving and business interruption is the cost of moving existing furniture then replacing it when the new carpet is installed. It is very difficult to calculate the loss of productive time and it was not included in the study. The actual cost of the moves was calculated. A typical 5,000 SF space move including computer movement and reconnection typically costs approximately $1,500. Therefore, the square foot cost is approximately $.30 per SF. It was found that the business interruption savings from the extended life was $40,250.
It is concluded that using technology from The Dow Chemical Company to provide polyurethane attached cushion to carpet has made a significant impact on the life cycle cost of carpet at BYU. It is believed that the $364,919 annual savings from the attached carpet cushion, maintenance, ecology/recyclability and business interruption represent a conservative value. The other 11 areas also provide value to the University in yet to be determined ways.TABLE 1LATEX BACKINGFONT face=verdana>DIRECT COSTSDIRECT GLUE-DOWNDOW CUSHIONVARIANCEAttached carpet CushionSurface Prep/Install per square yard (SY)$4.00$4.50$0.50Carpet Cost SY$21.00$21.00$0.00Attached Cushion Cost$0.00$4.00$4.00Total Cost SY$25.00$29.50$4.50Conversion: Total Cost per Square Foot (SF)$2.78$3.28$0.50Carpet Year Life7.011.54.5Total BYU SF2,400,0002,400,0000Initial Cost$6,672,000$7,872,000 $1,056,000ANNUAL COST$953,143$684,522-$268,621INDIRECT COSTSMaintenanceCleaning Cost per SF$0.85$0.83-$0.02Repairs Cost per SF$0.03$0.03$0.00Total Cost per SF $0.88 $0.86 -$0.02Total BYU SF2,400,0002,400,0000ANNUAL COST$2,112,000 $2,064,000 -$48,000Ecology/RecyclabilityTearout/Landfill Costs per SF$0.06$0.06$0.00Carpet Year Life7.011.54.5Total BYU SF2,400,0002,400,0000Annual Replacement SF342,857208,695-134,162ANNUAL COST$20,571$12,522-$8,050Business InterruptionCost For Moving Per SF$0.30$0.30$0.00Carpet Year Life7.011.54.5Total BYU SF2,400,0002,400,0000Annual Replacement SF342,857208,695-134,162ANNUAL COST$102,857$62,609-$40,249ANNUAL TOTALS$3,188,571$2,823,652-$364,919ANNUAL COST PER SF$1.33$1.18-$0.15REFERENCES:
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"This study was conducted independently by Dr. Jeffery Campbell, Brigham Young University. Actual performance of Dow products may vary in other applications."

NOTICE: No freedom from any patent owned by Dow or others is to be inferred. Because use conditions and applicable laws may differ from one location to another and may change with time, Customer is responsible for determining whether products and the information in this document are appropriate for Customer's use and for ensuring that Customer's workplace and disposal practices are in compliance with applicable laws and other governmental enactments. Dow assumes no obligation or liability for the information in this document. NO WARRANTIES ARE GIVEN; ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXPRESSLY EXCLUDED.

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