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What to Consider When Selecting Sustainable Flooring

So you’re building or remodeling, and it’s time to pick the perfect flooring materials for your home or business. Of course, you want your new floors to be as sustainable as your budget allows. What should you be looking for?

First, let’s agree that sustainability is a very complex topic. Every product impacts the environment in different ways, so when comparing flooring products you may have to compare apples to oranges to a certain degree. Some factors to consider when evaluating a flooring material for eco-friendliness include:

  • Is it made from renewable resources?
  • Product end of life: is it recyclable? Reusable? Or will it end up in a landfill?
  • What is the embodied energy of the material due to manufacture?
  • What are the byproducts of manufacture and how are they dealt with?
  • How local is it? How much energy is required to distribute it?
  • How does it affect your indoor environment and occupant health?
  • How does it affect your home’s energy consumption?

Another essential factor is product longevity – how long the product is likely to remain in use once installed. Long-lived products are obviously more sustainable both for the environment and your budget. This means choosing a product that is not only durable, but that you will be happy with for years. Choosing a high quality floor with a classic look that can complement alternate décor can help ensure that it stays in place even in the event of future change of ownership and/or remodeling.

If you are planning to install a new floor, you’ll want to carefully consider your different options and how well each available product meets your needs. There’s a lot to consider: aesthetics, durability, intended use, lifestyle, maintenance, and, if you are having your project LEED certified, potential LEED credits. And let’s not forget overall sustainability! We’ll introduce some of the most popular sustainable flooring options in the next few blogs. Or, to learn more right away, give us a call or fill out our Flooring Questionnaire and we’ll be in touch!