Green building is one of the hottest topics in architecture and home remodeling today. With new, recycled products and materials, homeowners have more choices than ever before. With these choices, however, come questions as homeowners begin to educate themselves on the various materials and how using them can have an impact on the environment. Because flooring covers such large sections of the home’s interior, one of the goals of many green-conscious homeowners is to find a sustainable or green flooring product. And while there are many advances in recycled tiles and reclaimed products, one of the most frequently overlooked products that ranks high in both sustainability and low environmental impact in manufacturing is wood flooring.
A Sustainable Choice
There are many natural and recycled products on the market for flooring today. Some, like stone or ceramic, are derived from materials that cannot be recreated or reproduced once gone. Even recycled clay can’t be infinitely sustainable without a lot of other manufacturing concerns and drawbacks. Wood is entirely renewable and a truly sustainable choice. Some companies choose to use fast growing trees and products like bamboo, while others choose to plant additional trees to replace those harvested, ensuring that the product remains sustainable.
Studies carried out by the University of Wisconsin have found that wood floor manufacturing has one of the lowest impacts on the environment of any flooring type. The biggest drawback is the kiln drying of the wood, which is required to create a stable product.
Most of the off-gasses produced during the production of the wood flooring have either a neutral or a negative greenhouse effect, meaning that they either do not contribute to greenhouse gasses, or they help reduce them.
This combined with the fact that while the trees are growing they help to clean the air and reduce CO2 levels makes wood flooring a surprisingly green choice for many homeowners.
Make the Right Decision
When you set out to find an environmentally friendly flooring option for your home, don’t overlook wood floors. While wood may not seem as green a choice as a recycled flooring product, its sustainability and low manufacturing impact make it a far greener choice than any other flooring on the market today.