“Green Flooring” – What Does That Mean, Exactly?
Here at Cardoza Flooring, we are getting a lot of inquires about green flooring. Many of our customers are curious about these more eco-friendly types of flooring, and if they are as durable and cost effective as more traditional varieties.
Generally speaking, the following factors will help determine if a floor covering is truly “green.” Please note, the flooring must fit into at least one of these categories, but not necessarily all of them:
• It is eco-friendly
• It is renewable
• It is recyclable
• It is sustainable
• It contains recycled content
• It leaves a small carbon footprint during the manufacturing process
• It contains no or low amounts of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs
• It is locally grown
Renewable is the gift that keeps on giving. Natural materials like wood, bamboo, cork and wool are all wonderful renewable sources for flooring. “Renewable” means that gathering what is needed to make the flooring will not kill the source of the product. Wool is obtained by shearing sheep. Bamboo can be cut to the ground and is flush with new growth in the same season. Renewable flooring products can all be re-grown, and all tend to be harvested in a sustainable fashion.
Recycling has been a sustainable earth practice for decades. Only recently however, carpet manufacturers like Mohawk and Dupont have begun using recycled polymers from soda bottles to create a superior plush carpet product. This fiber, known as PTT, has all but made PET fibers used to make nylon carpeting obsolete. So popular is this carpet product, that the FTC have created a new classification for these fibers called “Triexta.” Even a small percentage of recycled plastic, like the 10 percent or so that is found in some brands of new plush carpeting, can make a huge difference in the 5 billion or so pounds of carpet that is replaced every year.
Bringing it home. The way flooring is installed can also be done in a “green” fashion that will not impact the air quality of the room. Many homeowners are looking for water-based glues and finishes that are low in VOC’s to be used when having new flooring installed in their homes. It’s not just homeowners who are driving the market for green building practices. The United States Green Building Council has created a rating and certification program called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (commonly known as “LEED”) for all aspects of construction. For example, a LEED certified building project buys locally- no further than 500 miles away from the construction site. This cuts down on transportation costs and the gas and vehicle emissions that are created when the materials are driven to the factories.
For more information on LEED building practices, visit the US Green Building Council website here: http://www.usgbc.org/leed