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preview: Eco De Vita


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A preview of an interesting sustainable material recently launched in the US.

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preview: Eco De Vita

  1. 1. eco de vita 1 preview: Eco De Vita At the Los Angeles edition of Go Green Expo in late January, we learned of a Japanese wall covering just recently launched in the United States. Not long thereafter, Kevin and I were welcomed into the Orange, CA offices of Shikoku International Corp., the company that designed and still produces the product, Eco De Vita, and which now sells it in this country. We met with Rosann Allenbaugh and Yoshiyuki Oyama, who gave us a bit of company background and walked us through a detailed look at Eco De Vita. The company was founded on the island of Shikoku, Japan, after which it was named, in 1947. In 1970, it introduced a wet wall finishing material that results from mixing sand, pigments, a binder, and water. The tradition of mixing natural materials to create interior wall coatings is long- lived in the Japanese culture, but the quality of the coatings varied from one plasterer to another. Shikoku’s product, manufactured in a single location, immediately offered uniform pigmentation, texture, and quality upon its introduction, and over the past thirty years it has become a market leader in Japan. Thirteen years ago, Shikoku expanded its wall coating offerings by introducing a diatom soil-based plaster. Under the Eco De Vita brand, Shikoku now offers two collections of coating options: the Sand Wall Series (the original 1970 product) and the D.E. Wall Series (introduced to the Japanese market in 1997). During our meeting, our focus centered on the latter due to its potential to positively affect indoor air quality. The “D.E.” in the name stands for diatomaceous earth, a naturally-occurring, soft, and sandy-like sedimentary rock that is composed of the fossilized remains of diatoms, which themselves are a type of algae encased in cell walls made out of silica. Diatomaceous earth has a variety of modern applications. For example, similar to activated carbon, it boasts high porosity, so because of its large surface area and resulting high adsorption it is used as a filtration aid. It also has wide applications as a mild abrasive, thermal insulator, and even as an insecticide. Eco De Vita’s D.E. Wall Series has two distinct product lines: KRM and KRT. Both are incredibly beautiful, offer a range of 60 color options, from the subdued to the truly eye- popping, and can be applied to plaster board, cement mortar, and gypsum board.  Because they are made of natural materials, these products release no harmful substances. Rather, owing to the inherent properties of diatomaceous earth, internal tests have shown that both of these wall coverings actually adsorb odors, adsorb and break down formaldehyde into harmless components, and help to control humidity. ➜ threadcollaborative 11250 morrison street no. 201, north hollywood ca 91601
  2. 2. eco de vita 2 All of the test results were obtained through controlled laboratory experiments conducted under specific conditions, so actual field results are probably going to vary. But, during the tests, KRM has shown to adsorb 40% of unwanted odors (such as those coming from a pet or produced by a smoker) in just 15 minutes, while KRT adsorbs and breaks down 99% of those smells in the same amount of time. Formaldehyde faces an equally quick destruction: KRM reduces formaldehyde levels to 1/7 the original in 60 minutes; KRT takes only 30 minutes to bring that level down to an impressive 1/20 of the original presence. In high humidity spaces, when KRM is applied to the walls and KRT to the ceiling, both products absorb the equivalent of one gallon of moisture in a 24-hour period, and can release the same amount during the same length of time if a dry condition is introduced, thus helping to control internal humidity levels. One additional benefit of these two products is that, again owing to the characteristics of the diatomaceous earth, they offer natural fire retardant properties (they are Class A fire rated). Once applied, KRM offers the smoothest finish to the touch. It is composed of 94.8% diatomaceous earth, 3.9% of a bonding emulsifier, and 1.3% pigment. It can be spray- coated, but hand troweling allows for artistry and can yield beautiful patterns, such as the fan, feather, and linen weave finishes. KRT, although clearly the one with the most absorptive properties, is a little rougher to the touch and not recommended for just any application. It is very porous, containing 87.9% diatomaceous earth, 11.6% bonding emulsifier, and only 0.5% pigment. It cannot be cleaned or scrubbed, so a wall application is encouraged only where its cleanliness can be somewhat guarded, like in private homes, high wall areas, or even high end retail. It is, however, ideal for ceilings everywhere, and it, too, can be either spray-coated or applied with a trowel. For an even more unique look, small aggregates such as straw fibers or tiny glass beads can easily be added into the mix for both KRM and KRT. Shikoku sells these aggregates, but it provides only a limited selection of sizes and colors so it encourages clients to substitute their own. The entire Eco De Vita product line is SCS Certified Indoor Advantage Gold, and meets the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) and the CA 01350 standards for indoor air emissions. The product is in fact produced exclusively in Japan, so anyone looking to use only locally-sourced wall coatings needs to keep that in mind. And while there are stocks in Southern California, if an order should need to come directly from Japan, it would carry a 60-day lead time. ➜ threadcollaborative 11250 morrison street no. 201, north hollywood ca 91601
  3. 3. eco de vita 3 Eco De Vita was launched into the U.S. market earlier this year, and the team behind it is actively organizing a national distribution network. If you would like to learn more about Eco De Vita, purchase it, or even become a distributor and/or product representative, please contact Mr. Yoshiyuki (Yoshi) Oyama directly. If you are in the Sacramento area and would like to see this product line in person, Shikoku will be an exhibitor at the upcoming Green California Summit and Exposition, taking place March 15-17 at the Sacramento Convention Center. Thank you, Rosann and Yoshi, for introducing us to this great product! ➜ threadcollaborative 11250 morrison street no. 201, north hollywood ca 91601