Raised Floor Systems: What Are They?
A raised floor is just that – a structural floor elevated above a solid substrate. Hidden below a raised floor system is a void for air, power, voice, and data distribution. These flooring systems are also called “access flooring” due to the ease of access they offer to mechanical and/or electrical components.
Raised floors are found in a variety of applications – workplaces, data centers, schools, libraries, and many other spaces that benefit from the efficiency of raised flooring. Though typically found in LEED-certified buildings, raised flooring can help anyone achieve sustainable and flexible design, regardless of green goals.
What Are the Benefits of a Raised Floor?
- Better Air Quality
Under floor air systems offer greater local control of temperature and provide cleaner air. A continual supply of clean, newly-conditioned air is introduced directly into the occupied zone where people breathe. With conventional systems, conditioned air is blown down from overhead, passing through and mixing with the stale air and contaminants that collect near the ceiling.
- Increased Sustainability
Raised floors are more energy efficient. Under floor air distribution systems operate at very low static pressures as compared to conventional overhead systems. This lower pressure can reduce energy consumption from 12% to 27%.
The materials that make up these raised floor systems can also contribute to sustainability. For Rockford’s renovation of a Brownfield site into our LEED Platinum corporate headquarters, we used Haworth’s TEC-CRETE raised floors. The TEC-CRETE materials have a post-consumer recycled content of 9% and pre-consumer recycled content of 49%.
- Greater Efficiency
Raised floor systems also offers greater flexibility in relocating different users and technology infrastructure as spaces change. Easy access to mechanical and electrical systems let you reconfigure your office layout quickly to adapt to new needs. Industry experts suggest you can even reduce electrical installation labor hours by 30-40% with underfloor utilities. The result is shorter construction schedules and reduced costs.
With West Michigan furniture leaders like Haworth and Steelcase developing raised flooring systems from all different types of materials, it’s only a matter of time before people recognize the major benefits and choose to include them as part of their next construction project.