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Case Study: Intensive Care Medical Facility

Colorado Fetal Care Center Chooses Well Engineered, Sustainable Vinyl for Looks and Performance

Situation Analysis

Designers for the new Colorado Fetal Care Center in the East Tower of Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colo., understood the imperative of leaving nothing to chance in this healthcare facility intended for high-risk pregnancies and deliveries. That’s why ZGF Architects LLP carefully vetted building products, right down to the vinyl flooring, which was chosen over other alternatives because of its sustainability, durability and ease of maintenance characteristics.

Before building the center, the project team conducted a small-scale renovation within the hospital, as well as a full-scale mock-up in an offsite warehouse for the 12- bed center with two operating rooms. The mock-up test changed some initial design decisions: Patients wanted more space in the patient bathrooms, including a tub and shower. White oak wood veneer chosen for the casework was too inconsistent. The wood-looking flooring chosen in the original plan proved to be too dark, and it easily showed marks.

Application Insight

When designing the Colorado Fetal Care Center, and any project for that matter, ZGF has high standards for building product performance and sustainability.

ZGF decided to incorporate a different flooring— Lonwood Natural vinyl flooring with Topseal from Lonseal—for several reasons.

“The hospital had the traditional Lonseal flooring in the original building, which opened in 2007,” says Claudia Styrsky, Associate Partner with ZGF and the top designer on the Fetal Care Center project, “and they were happy with the performance, so this was a big plus.”

The center has installed Lonwood Natural flooring in the Gentle Wind finish, which is made of 40% recycled content, can contribute to LEED MR 4.1/4.2, and comes standard with Lonseal’s Topseal factory-applied urethane finish that protects the floor, reduces scuffing and simplifies routine maintenance.


Vinyl Benefits

In addition to high performance and aesthetics, environmentally friendly advantages contributed to ZGF’s decision to recommend vinyl flooring to the project owner.

“We were looking for sustainability,” says Stryksky, which she readily admits is not what everyone equates with vinyl. “Some feel vinyl is not a viable part of sustainable design. But to me, the flooring is going to perform well because it’s well engineered, which means it will stay in place and look good for many years. This means less material and energy is used to manufacture new replacement material and less waste.”

Reduced cleaning and maintenance needs are other great advantages. “No waxing or stripping is needed, which is costly and time consuming,” says Stryksky. “Plus, the vinyl flooring would minimize their maintenance; that’s half the money. It has a finish that mostly needs a damp mop and requires very little buffing, which was key. Also, you don’t want to use cleaning chemicals that put unhealthy elements and odors in the air.”

  • ​Project Name: Colorado Fetal Care Center in the East Tower of Children’s Hospital Colorado
  • Location: Aurora, CO
  • Date Completed: 2012
  • Architects: ZGF Architects LLP (design architect), H+L Architecture (architect of record)
  • Engineering: Cator Ruma & Associates, S. A. Miro Inc.
  • Construction: Phipps/McCarthy
  • Flooring Product: Lonwood Natural vinyl flooring with Topseal
  • Manufacturer: Lonseal
  • Vinyl Benifits: Vinyl flooring used in this project contains 40 percent recycled content and may contribute to achieving credit under LEED MR Recycled Content. Vinyl flooring also provided reduced cleaning and maintenance, better indoor air quality, long service life and high performance.

Information for this study prepared through interviews and research conducted by Interline Creative Group, Inc. on behalf of The Vinyl Institute©