Environmentally responsible flooring

When I was looking to buy a home, one thing at the top of my list was the materials used in the home. Since I ended up buying new, I got a really close look at all the products used in my condo. A material choice that is a really easy way to be environmentally responsible with is your flooring.

Given that I have a dog, I was also conscious of needing flooring that was durable as well as a green choice. My condo building suggested using Kährs flooring. A few things made Kährs flooring very appealing to me as a homeowner:  

  • Kährs was the first floor manufacturer to be able to boast an entirely solvent-free production process.
  • The company had the world's first wood floors made from dual FSC® and Fairtrade-certified wood.
  • Because they use fast-growing wood species such as pine for their core material, Kährs’ engineered flooring is more eco-friendly than solid wood flooring.
  • They have developed a multi-layered construction that means they can use the whole log.
  • Kährs was the first wood flooring manufacturer to use a water-based lacquer system to reduce emissions.

As a bonus, the portion of the logs that they are not able to use for floor production are turned into biofuel. Some of this fuel is used to heat their facilities. The rest goes to a local energy company. 

I think that the idea of making your home "green" seems daunting, and can be expensive when you add it all up. But having environmentally responsible flooring can be a really affordable way to upgrade your home! A stepping stone (err, I mean board) toward future green interior decisions and practices.

Also, doing your research first can be super helpful before you commit to one kind of flooring.

  • Green Building Supply gives an overview of some different options, and also lets you order samples to check out first.
  • For an in-depth overview of all the possible choices, their pros and cons and what to look for, see Paul Kretkowski's article on GHG. He goes into how you can identify your needs and then match them up to an appropriate green flooring material.
  • If you are a visual thinker, HGTV provides 10 flooring options, with photos so that you can picture what your room could look like. They provide products such as PLAZA flooring, recycled carpet and outdoor options for porches. 

It's good to shop around, and really read about each product. Some claim to be eco-friendly, but might not meet your standards! Don't be afraid to ask questions.

More flooring resources from GHG