Saturday, January 21, 2012

Green Flooring Options

Going green can take some extra work on your part. Begin by finding a retailer who is knowledgeable about green flooring products. He or she can help identify products that are certified as environmentally friendly, assist in ensuring the installation meets healthy environmental standards and provide information about the various programs that promote the use of green products. Communities often have tax or other financial incentives to encourage green living.


Eco-Friendly Flooring


Cork
Cork isn’t just for wine bottles, anymore. It’s actually the bark of a tree known as Cork Oak. Once a Cork Oak tree reaches the age of about 25, its bark can be stripped without hurting the tree. It can then be split every nine to 12 years, making cork a renewable resource. Cork Oak is native to the Mediterranean region, where Portugal produces 50% of the world’s supply. And cork trees normally live 250 years or more. Did you know that some cork flooring is actually made from the pre-consumer waste generated in making wine corks? Learn more about cork flooring in our Designer's Corner.

Green Benefits of Cork:
Renewable resource
Recycled and recyclable product
Tree is not damaged when harvested
Can be finished using water-based products and installed with low-VOC adhesives


Bamboo
Bamboo is a rapidly renewing resource that matures in three years. Most bamboo flooring available in the North American market is made in China with bamboo harvested from natural and plantation groves. Bamboo certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) meets criteria for environmental sustainability and social responsibility. Several flooring products are available with this option. While transportation from China to the United States is a consideration, most tankers are fairly efficient.

Green Benefits of Bamboo:
One of the fastest growing plants on earth makes it rapidly renewable
The whole plant is not harvested, so there is no need to replant
Requires minimal fertilization or pesticides
Can be finished using water-based products and installed with low-VOC adhesives


Carpet
According to the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), the carpet industry is working hard to minimize carpet’s impact on the environment. The Green Label and Green Label Plus programs from CRI were instituted to improve indoor air quality by lowering or eliminating VOCs. The Green Label ensures that customers are purchasing carpet, adhesive and cushion products with the lowest VOC emissions currently possible.
In addition, more and more of the five billion pounds of carpet that is replaced annually are being recycled to make new carpet or other products.

Green Benefits of Carpet:
Greener manufacturing processes and CRI certification
Can be made from recycled materials
Can be recycled at the end of its life
Can be made from natural materials that are renewable: wool, cotton, hemp, sisal, seagrass, bamboo and jute
New fibers in the marketplace are completely recyclable or made from renewable resources


Stone
In the past, there was little generally accepted data studying the environmental impact of using stone as a building material. However, in the fall of 2009, the Natural Stone Council completed a three-year study on the environmental impact of using stone. The report included a look at water and energy consumption in quarrying and processing stone, yields from raw materials and reuse and recycling of stone.It’s clear there are certain advantages to using stone.

Green Benefits of Stone:
Natural material
Enduring lifecycle
No VOC emissions
Easy to maintain
Recyclable and salvageable


Hardwood
Hardwood is a natural, renewable and recyclable material. Not all hardwoods, however, are automatically environmentally sound choices. To make the decision easier, there are a variety of programs that certify which hardwood products are green. The most common product certification programs are the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), the American Tree Farm System (ATFS), and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). All certify wood from sustainable managed forests.
When shopping for hardwood flooring, look for certification and understand that most of the flooring will be imported. Only 4% of the United States’ own native, old growth forests are still standing.

Green Benefits of Hardwood:
Managed, sustainable, natural resource
Renewable
Recyclable
Low or no VOC emissions
Can be finished using water-based products and installed with low-VOC adhesives 3a

Article taken directly from WFCA.org
Americarpet sells the floor mentioned in the article, for more information go to www.americarpetfloors.com or visit us at 364 N.E. 167 St. Miami, FL 33162.

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