Jessup, Md. -- In addition to the traditional benefits associated with an access floor which an institute of higher education may want to take advantage of, there are also potential benefits for the students themselves. According to EPA research, the environment of an educational facility has a great impact on the academic performance of its students, with both air quality and overall comfort in the classroom having a significant impact on their learning potential and productivity. Access flooring systems utilize underfloor service distribution (UFSD) for wire and network cabling and underfloor air distribution (UFAD) to provide a cleaner, healthier, and more energy efficient air supply.

An example of this can be found on the Baltimore campus of Johns Hopkins University. The campus’s desire to both maximize comfort and address the diverse needs of students and researchers was one of the driving forces behind the decision to utilize an access floor for their newest on-campus facility. Malone Hall is a four-story, 69,000 sq-ft building located on the University's Homewood Campus. The interior is a sleek, stylish, open floor design that blends three floors of flexible computer lab, office, and collaboration spaces with one floor of wet research labs. The evolving needs of Malone Hall's students and faculty were satisfied by the layout flexibility provided by access flooring, but the decision was also informed by environmental goals and specific application needs.

The University works from an internal edict to design for high efficiency in new construction. Also, the multiple branches of the Computer Science department located in Malone Hall share the space with the new Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI), which conducts testing requiring tightly controlled pressurization, air distribution, and thermal control. UFAD addressed this need by enabling highly customizable airflow management that can readily evolve to new requirements.

In addition to practical considerations, the University also wanted Malone Hall to have a modern and vibrant feel to it. Tate manufactured a stunning terrazzo access floor providing a modern, interactive, and cross-disciplinary environment that maximizes student comfort and building flexibility while impressing occupants and visitors alike.

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