Choosing a Floor with a Clean Conscience

Choosing a Floor with a Clean Conscience

You don’t have to build a whole new building to make green construction choices. When you remodel, choose eco-friendly materials for your home in order to make the most of your remodel – you can save money on utilities, have a beautiful living environment, and have the peace of mind that comes with lessening our impact on the planet.

One of the easiest but perhaps most overlooked methods of incorporating green construction into your home is using eco-friendly flooring. If you want hardwood flooring, there are a range of green options to meet your needs. But first, let’s have a look at the reasons for choosing to use green construction techniques.
Green Construction
Green construction practices are on the rise despite the economic slump, according to an article in Green Real Estate Investing News. Rob Watson, a green building “pioneer,” has projected that the total floor area certified using LEED green standards will continue to rise as people realize the very real benefits of green building, including:
· Increased productivity and fewer sick days. The University of San Diego and CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc., found that tenants of green buildings were more productive than those living in more traditional environments, and even used fewer sick days. The net impact of such increased productivity was almost $25 per square foot.
· Significant energy savings. A 2009 study by the United States Green Buildings Council (USGBC) estimated that between the years of 2000 and 2008, green construction and retrofitting created a total of $1.3 million in energy savings.
· Ethical satisfaction. A home built using green construction practices gives the family living there the satisfaction of knowing that they’re living in a sustainable fashion. Parents teach their children ethics to live by simply through talking about the details of the house they live in. Companies who use green building practices are protecting the Triple Bottom Line of People, Profit, and Planet.
· Market-driven demand. More and more, consumers are demanding green construction and choosing to retrofit their homes with green options when they remodel. More businesses are also choosing to offer green options in the face of this popular opinion.
Your New Hardwood Floor

Companies like iFloor, Bella Cera, and Green Building Supply offer hardwood flooring that’s created using sustainable practices. The wood for these floors may be harvested using eco-conscious logging practices; re-claimed from old buildings such as dilapidated barns; or may even be hardwood look-alikes from quicker-growing, more sustainable options such as bamboo or cork.

Your new floor may be solid or engineered hardwood. Solid hardwood is harvested or recycled from solid wood sources; a little research will help you determine whether the company’s harvesting practices are sustainable. “Engineered” hardwood floors are layers of wood adhered together and finished with a veneer on top. Not all engineered hardwood floors are eco-friendly; they can be built with glues containing formaldehydes or other chemically dangerous compounds.
How to Choose a Green Hardwood Floor

When you begin looking for a hardwood floor, look specifically at companies that advertise green, sustainable practices. But don’t just take them at their word. You’ll want to find a company with flooring that is:
· Sustainably harvested or recycled;
· “FSC certified” using the Forest Stewardship Council standards by independent, third-party certifiers;
· Compliant with California’s “CARB Rule” for formaldehyde certification; and
· “LEED” or “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” certified. If you’re looking for a new home rather than retrofitting your existing house with green products, you’ll want to find a home that is built to environmentally friendly standards.
After Your Green Hardwood Floor is Installed

Don’t stop with green construction! Using green products on your new eco-friendly floor can help preserve its beauty while protecting your health and that of the planet. Larry West’s article on green and eco-friendly floor wax options can help you keep your new floors beautiful for years to come with products as ecologically sound as the floor itself.
Is Green Flooring Right for You?

In an interview with “This Old House,” homeowners Simon Lewis and Wendy Smith said their new flooring choice “had to be beautiful” but they also wanted to be sure they were “conserving nature.” They chose EcoTimber’s WhiteTigerwood flooring, a tongue-and-groove floor carved from trees grown organically and cut one at a time using selective logging. Buying ecologically friendly wood, said Lewis, “was the socially responsible thing to do.”
Customers like Lewis and Smith are the reason that green flooring options – and green construction in general – are growing even during hard times. Green construction practices can help you save money in the long run, but are often more expensive in terms of up-front cost. Take your time in making the decision to be sure you find the eco-friendly flooring option that fits your tastes, your budgets, and your family’s needs.

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