The importance and impact of healthy spaces for all of us, including our learners, is undeniable. The education sector has embraced the research that shows spaces can impact physical and mental health, as well as our ability to learn effectively.
Two key factors impact the success of educational spaces in terms of learning outcomes and, inextricably intertwined with that, the well-being of the students and teachers:
– the physical environment
– the process of learning
STANDARDS FOR THE PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT
In New Zealand, we have mandatory standards for new and refurbished education spaces, the Designing Quality Learning Spaces (DQLS) series from the Ministry of Education.
The standards for internal environmental quality factors outline requirements for acoustics, lighting and visual comfort, indoor air quality and thermal comfort.
Lighting and Visual Comfort
– Functional lighting levels
– Notably, research tells us that quality daylight correlates with better student comfort and performance
– Optimising sound absorption to prevent echo and support clear communication from the teacher results in better student comfort and performance
- Lower frequency noise is absorbed by materials 40mm or thicker
- Higher frequencies are absorbed by thinner materials like carpet and acoustic pinboards
- Usually, a combination of thick and thin materials is required to achieve a balance
Indoor air quality and thermal comfort
– Materials should be easy to clean, moisture resistant and mould-resistant with no Red List materials that affect air quality.
– Plenty of fresh/clean air, an appropriate temperature and plenty of natural daylight results in better student comfort and performance
“A holistic approach is essential, and no single internal environmental quality factor should be altered without assessing its effect on all the others. This is because they interact with one another e.g. achieving good daylighting must be balanced against possible uncomfortable heat gain from the sun, and the need for ventilation can increase noise levels inside.”
Flooring is a major tool for designers in establishing both the look, feel and culture of education spaces, but also to meet the requirements for building standards, and even better, strive for Green Building certification.
A link to the mandatory standards from our Ministry of Education here in New Zealand is here:
We discuss designing for the process of learning in our follow-on blog Education Design Part 2: Designing for the Process of Learning
Browse some of our local education projects
If you are a designer looking for expert advice on flooring choices that can support positive learning spaces, contact us to learn more.
Heritage Carpets is the exclusive distributor of modulyss, Bentley Mills and Fletco Carpets in New Zealand. We offer a custom colour, or fully custom rug and broadloom design service. Our Carpets have been used in education settings globally for decades, and within New Zealand for multiple education projects.