Your ‘greenest’ flooring choice. For stylish flooring, you can’t get much more environmentally friendly than wood. That’s a bold statement, but true. The environmentally responsible story applies not only to solid wood flooring, but also to engineered formats.
Let’s start with the fact that the wood in your floor is completely renewable. Better yet, at least as much wood can be grown as is harvested. In fact, for every 100 trees harvested for wood flooring, 166 are planted. Because of responsible forestry practices, the number of trees standing in North America today exceeds that of the 1950s, and standing hardwood alone has increased by about 90 percent to nearly 328 billion cubic feet. Want more? Research by the Consortium for Research on renewable Industrial Materials declares that solid wood flooring has less environmental impact than other flooring options it studied. Not only are most professionally managed forests in North America responsibly harvested, a growing number worldwide are, as well. Because only a specified percentage of trees are removed, the ecosystem remains intact.
From a manufacturing perspective as well, wood flooring is quite “green.” Hardwood flooring uses less water and energy in manufacturing than other flooring alternatives. Solid wood flooring has no emissions of methane, nitrogen oxide or other offensive particulate gases, has minimal carbon dioxide emissions and, because wood produces oxygen during its lifetime, it is de facto carbon neutral. Engineered wood floors consisting of multiple plies of wood with the fashion species on top actually get more productivity from the tree and help precious wood species go farther. Dimensionally stable core plies form the foundation of an engineered wood floor. Various thicknesses of the top fashion layer are used; this provides the look and performance of an exotic species, for example, yet each board foot of wood goes a lot further than planks of the solid variety (As a bonus, the stability and strength of engineered wood flooring mean the wood look you crave can be installed in more places in the home, such as more moisture-prone rooms below grade.)
Your home’s Ecosystem
From the standpoint of living with wood floors, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency states that indoor air quality is better in buildings with wood floors. Furthermore, wood floors won’t provide hiding places for allergens like pollen, animal dander, mold, mildew, bacteria or other airborne allergens.
Finally, with regard to replacement value, wood is hard to beat. Hardwood flooring can last hundreds of years, versus other categories which can last up to two decades or more, but which tend to lose their fashion-ability in about seven years. And at the seeming end of its useful life, usually when a building is obsolete, wood flooring often can be reclaimed and re-used over and over. When the final day comes, maybe in 200 years or more, surviving wood floors can be used for combustible bio-fuel, or, to complete the cycle, returned to soil nutrients via composting.
With wood flooring there’s no reason you can’t have it all – timeless, tasteful and tempting floor fashion plus the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing the right thing for your environment.
NWFA Verified Renewing Forest Seal
…means the wood flooring you select is from a managed forest that is fully sustainable and renewable as designated by the US Department of Agriculture.
NWFA Verified Legal Seal
…means that your wood flooring is harvested legally according to the laws of the country of origin, and is imported into the United States in compliance with the U.S. Lacey Act.