We, at Elements of Green, are the experts in sustainable flooring with many options to choose from. But what makes a sustainable floor, and what makes a floor healthy to your environment? Lets take these questions one at a time. A sustainable floor must 1) not off-gas toxins or VOC’s, 2) last a long time with minimum maintenance, 3) have a low cost of ownership over the life of the floor, 4) be manufactured from materials harvested in a sustainable manner, 5) be produced locally if possible 6) provide the appropriate esthetic for the space we are finishing. As there is no perfect, sustainable product, we must place a value on the sustainable elements of each product and make our selection. For you the most important criteria might be zero VOC’s while for me it might be that the product is completely sourced from sustainable raw materials. The following are products that all qualify as sustainable “green” building products however, each does so on it’s own merits.
Marmoleum – the original linoleum made from pine rosin, wood flour, linseed oil, limestone, jute and pigments from nature.
Bamboo – Cali Bamboo, US Floors and Higuera it grows in Asia to a size usable for flooring. It is a rapidly growing grass harvested annually and dried carefully in a controlled environment to make flooring.
Cork – Cali Bamboo and US Floors grows in the Mediterranean region. The bark from the Cork Oak tree may be harvested every 6-9 years depending on the age of the tree. Cork floors are as quiet as a carpeted floor and warm to the touch.
Carpet – Wool, natural fiber and recycled fiber, from Godfrey Hirst, Hibernia and Design Materials
Area Rugs – Design Material and Hibernia
Tile – recycled content as well as self cleaning are available from Crossville, IRIS US, StonePeak, Florida Tile to name a few.