Leading British manufacturer of interior building solutions, Armstrong Ceilings, has launched a scheme to build an eco-friendly army of approved ceiling and wall system installers with expertise in recycling projects.
The eco warriors, or Green Omegas, are an enhancement to Armstrong’s Omega network of approved installers which was launched almost 20 years ago and now numbers more than 150 companies with turnovers of up to £24 million.
Every Omega installer has the potential to become a Green Omega if they meet a range of criteria including having an environmental policy, completing Armstrong’s environmental survey and training, and enrolling in an environmental management system (EMS) such as ISO 14001.
Green Omegas also need to have worked on a project with Armstrong that involved the manufacturer’s Off-Cut (OCR) or End-Of-Life (EOL) recycling schemes.
The first specialist sub-contractor to quality for Green Omega status was Mansell Finishes, one of the largest dry lining and plastering contractors in the north-west. The Cheshire-based company worked on an Armstrong OCR project at Tameside schools.
This involved installing Armstrong ceiling tiles into six new schools being built by main contractor Carillion within a four-mile radius in Greater Manchester. Armstrong provided the one-tonne recycling bags, Mansell filled them with off-cuts and Armstrong collected them for return to its Gateshead plant to be re-integrated into the manufacturing process.
Mansell Finishes’ operations director Angela Mansell said adopting Green Omega status in theory had merely been a matter of being organised, since the company already had an environmental policy and ISO 14001 in place.
In practice, she thought that finding the right schemes to get recycling experience on was vital, and they had been fortunate to be working on a project with six schools in close proximity to one another.
“Everyone bought in and that makes a difference,” she said. “Contractors like to be able to tick all the boxes so the more badges we have the better. Because we were on site anyway we had buy-in from our workforce and recycling was relatively straightforward.
“I also wanted to become better known as a ceiling installer and this scheme has helped us to do that. I wanted to be ahead of the game and am very proud we are the first of Armstrong’s Green Omegas.”
Two more new Green Omegas are Roskel Contracts whose Cambridge office worked on an Armstrong OCR scheme at Peterborough City Hospital and Cheshire-based Sound Interiors who completed an Armstrong EOL scheme at South Cheshire College.
Armstrong Omega manager Wendy Frampton, who ran a series of forums around the country to launch the Green Omega scheme to Omegas, said: “Armstrong has a strong commitment to environmental issues and desires to help its contractors to improve their own environmental performance as part of its Green Omega scheme.
“The Omega programme is designed to develop the partnership between Armstrong and the specialist ceiling contractor, both parties committed to superior service and performance.”
Armstrong’s Green Omega initiative has now won an ECO Innovation award in the Best Practice Awards run by the AIS (Association of Interior Specialists). The judges said: “A clear winner as it demonstrated an excellent process in support of a good environmental innovation – it was the best all-round entry. Very good life cycle approach across the whole cycle. Education will get more people improving standards intelligently and faster.”