Thursday 8 February 2024

The construction industry needs to embrace circularity, says sustainable design expert

The construction industry needs to embrace circularity, says sustainable design expert

Flooring is underappreciated in the design industry.

This is what Susana Lopez, CEO of flooring underlay company, ALDStone, told us in this week’s Net Hero podcast.

‘Each time that you want to renovate or refresh the space, the flooring can be removed. So, the only material that is assembled and disassembled are the tiles and our underlay remains in place for reuse.

‘With our high-tech underlay, we can remove the flooring in one piece, not destroying it and we can reuse it in another location.

‘The polyolefin underlay is recyclable and durable and also water and fire resistant and is compatible with most heating systems.

‘This makes the assembly and disassembly  of flooring faster and cleaner. And when you remove that tile to reuse it, you don’t have to level the subfloor which is so expensive.

‘We are also getting rid of concrete adhesives. Concrete adhesives are a big problem in putting down tiles. We [instead] have a self-adhesive underlay which is more sustainable.’

Susana told us that recycling is not the best solution.

Recycling has been an alternative for many years but it is not the best alternative. We need to look to reusing. If an asset, a tile that has been leased for x months or years can be reused without recycling because it is of good quality and has good performance, we need to maximise that.

‘Instead of a client being able just to buy a tile for a few days for an exhibition, for example, they can rent or lease a tile.

‘[Ultimately], we need to reduce the extraction of natural resources.’

But, Susana said, whether a material can be reused depends on a variety of factors.

‘Now, every material, whether it's a carpet, vinyl, natural stone, ceramics, marble, has a life expectancy and it degrades over time. It depends on where that material was used, the supplier of the material and [other] considerations.

‘A natural stone tile last 100 years and if they start to get scratched or broken, we can always repair those.

‘Repairing is a very important part of a circular economy in keeping materials in good performance and any material can be repaired.’

Watch the full episode below and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.


Written by

Garima Satija

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