The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has taught many lessons to many people. In the construction and architecture fields, a new focus on healthier buildings and environments is a positive from all the COVID negatives. No longer limited to healthcare facilities, the concepts of a healthy indoor environment and strong disease prevention are moving into homes and commercial properties, on the drawing board and under construction.
While HVAC and air purification lead the charge for healthier buildings, a more robust structure with fewer entry points for viruses and other illness producing particles is also being investigated. At CES 2022, Piana Technology, a 439-year-old textile company—which began in 1482 in Biella, Italy—won the Innovations Award for design and engineering. The Award was in honor of E/Smart–a high-performance nonwoven fiber technology that surpasses the qualities of polyurethane foam while reducing its negative impacts.
Circular by design, E/Smart is crafted using a singular, certified non-toxic, and recyclable material, allowing for easy integration into the circular economy. From conception to end-of-life recovery, fibers are selected based on performance, material content, and recyclability to deliver a zero-waste product to consumers. When it’s time to upcycle, it can be recycled, sanitized, and reshaped into endless possibilities.
E/Smart offers uncommon integration of digital wellness and product sustainability. Its recyclable, nontoxic fibers are vertically lapped to provide even pressure point distribution, unprecedented airflow, and antiviral capabilities that outperform those of conventional materials. Even at its reduced weight, it boasts superior compressional and thermal resistance for extensive applications.
E/Smart’s moldability, recyclability, and adaptability tied with intuitive molecular technology has the potential to move the country one step closer to a user-driven circular economy. For example, replacing the 1.3 million metric tons of annually landfilled polyurethane foam with E/Smart would eliminate an estimated 4 million metric tons of CO2 each year, leading to reduced impact on quality of life, health, productivity, and slowed environmental decline.
In their approach, Piana Technology provides processed and treated fibers that are upcycled from t-shirt and denim scraps and cuttings, diverting 20 million-lbs of waste from landfills in 2020 alone. The C/Smart treated fibers are used in fire retardant, acoustic interior applications that make cars safer, quieter, and reduce weight, meaning less fuel and fewer CO2 emissions. This functionality is also available for building insulation.
V/Smart molding technology is poised to disrupt the polyurethane foam market’s control of a variety of applications in buildings and consumer products. In addition to insulation products, Piana Technology supplies C/Smart treated fibers for filtration and other processed fiber applications. And, at its end of life, it can be 100% reclaimed and molded for endless customer possibilities.
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