Thursday, November 30, 2023

Housing NZ takes a new look at carpets

Neal Wallace
Solution dyed nylon under scrutiny after outcry over school carpeting.
Andy Caughey says the wool industry has to work to re-educate consumers about wool carpet, highlighting improvements that allow it to compete with synthetic.
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The material used in carpets and furnishing in state houses is under review by Housing NZ (Kāinga Ora).

Andrea Morton, the organisation’s director of procurement and supplier management, said that, like many businesses and organisations, Kāinga Ora is pursuing a more sustainable path.

“We regularly review our product performance requirements.

“The current process is expected to be finished by the end of the calendar year and includes looking at our carpet performance requirements.

“We have been installing solution dyed nylon carpet for well over a decade in our homes due to its durability and price.”

It estimates around 600,000sqm of carpets has been installed in new builds over the past six years. 

Farmers Weekly approached Kāinga Ora seeking details about its policy on using wool carpets following the Ministry for Education’s decision to install synthetic carpet in schools.

The ministry sought a supplier for 300,000sqm of floor coverings for 800 small and remote schools over the next three years. Its decision to go with synthetics provoked an uproar and claims of hypocrisy.

Nine suppliers, including Wools of NZ, tendered for the contract, which was awarded to a United States supplier of synthetic carpets due in part a substantial difference in cost.

While declining to release details, the ministry said there was a substantial difference in price between the successful tender and wool alternatives.

Sam Fowler, the Ministry of Education’s head of property, said the performance requirements had clear criteria to ensure the carpet is safe, contributes to a healthy internal environment and prioritises sustainability.

“We assessed tenders on these criteria, which included durability, moisture retention, environmental impact and ongoing supply and maintenance.

“Based on the information and analysis we conducted, the solution dyed nylon not only met our product performance requirements but also fulfilled our recycling and carbon footprint goals.” 

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