Flooring choices: make an ecological difference: tread lightly on our environment with flooring expert Michelle Garrison.There is nothing like a wood floor. Its amazing a·maze
v. a·mazed, a·maz·ing, a·maz·es
1. To affect with great wonder; astonish. See Synonyms at surprise.
2. Obsolete To bewilder; perplex.
v.intr. character holds it own unique patterns, textures, and colors that only nature can provide. It is durable, easy to clean and, most of all, gorgeous. Wood is a magical material that we sometimes take for granted. Many of us have seen and experienced the effects the growing demand for wood has had on our land. From the destruction of our local forests to the rainforests in Brazil, we are continuously witnessing the effects of irresponsible logging. Numerous studies have shown that sustainably harvested forests will actually yield a higher quality wood over a much longer period of time while still maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Fortunately, we are beginning to seek answers about where our wood is coming from and how it is harvested, which in turn has led to better, more ecologically friendly alternatives for the flooring industry.
For years people have turned to reclaimed wood sources, wood that has already been used in old buildings, as an ecological option. Reclaimed wood gives us the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of older superior quality wood without sacrificing our remaining forests. Recent growth in the reclaimed market has made a wide variety of exotic and domestic species available. Though some choose reclaimed wood for its beauty, unique character, or to make an ecological statement, the labor required to reuse wood is so intense that it drives prices above many people's budgets The 1909 People's Budget was a product of Herbert Asquith's Liberal government that introduced many unprecedented taxes on the wealthy and radical social welfare programmes to Britain's political life. , sometimes making it difficult to make an ecological choice when faced with cost. Fortunately, there are other options for those who are concerned about the health of our forests.
See: Foreign Sales Corporation CERTIFIED WOOD
The last decade has given rise to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), a means by which consumers can guarantee that their wood has been harvested from sustainable sources. The Forest Stewardship Council The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-profit organization based in Bonn, Germany. The Council's stated mission is "to promote environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable management of the world's forests". is a non-profit third party organization that certifies sustainably harvested wood, while taking into consideration a wide variety of factors including local economy, indigenous rights, selective harvesting, and the forest ecosystem Forest ecosystem
The entire assemblage of organisms (trees, shrubs, herbs, bacteria, fungi, and animals, including people) together with their environmental substrate (the surrounding air, soil, water, organic debris, and rocks), interacting inside a defined . They certify every step of the industry from the forests to the supplier, providing a chain of documentation for the buyer. The increasing popularity of FSC certified wood has brought the cost to only 0-15% higher than non-certified market prices, creating an affordable environmental choice for concerned consumers. FSC is the only certifier currently recognized by the Green Building Council and many widespread environmental organizations When purchasing sustainable wood, make sure to do your research because other certification systems are industry or government backed and do not provide legitimate proof that their wood is actually from sustainable sources.
BAMBOO FLOORING Bamboo floors are manufactured from the bamboo plant. The majority of today's bamboo flooring products originate in China and other portions of Asia. The species of bamboo used for flooring is commonly known as "Moso".
Along with the rise in popularity for FSC certified wood, bamboo has also grown to be an important addition to our sustainable flooring options. A bamboo floor is harder than an oak floor and the species of bamboo used for flooring takes only four to six years to reach maturity. If they are not cut in six years, typically these plants will stop growing and fall down; bamboo is a great renewable resource Noun 1. renewable resource - any natural resource (as wood or solar energy) that can be replenished naturally with the passage of time
natural resource, natural resources - resources (actual and potential) supplied by nature . Bamboo flooring is not only sustainable, it is also beautiful. It generally comes in two colors, a lighter natural color and a darker amber color (achieved by pressure steaming, which darkens it by carbonization car·bon·i·za·tion
1. The process of carbonizing.
2. The destructive distillation of bituminous coal, done in the absence of air in order to obtain coke and other fractions having a greater percentage of carbon than the ), and it is available in solid engineered tiles, finished or unfinished. Woven bamboo flooring is a new product that utilizes bamboo scraps by laminating lam·i·nate
v. lam·i·nat·ed, lam·i·nat·ing, lam·i·nates
1. To beat or compress into a thin plate or sheet.
2. To divide into thin layers.
3. them together to form a richly dense flooring that is extremely durable.
Bamboo flooring is made by slicing the hollow round tubes into strips and boiling them to remove the starch. The strips are then kiln dried and laminated into solid boards that are milled for flooring. There are a few experienced bamboo flooring manufacturers, however, recent demand has flooded the market with manufacturers that are producing poor quality flooring made with toxic adhesives Typically, newer manufacturers are rushing the process by choosing premature bamboo stalks and not kiln drying their bamboo enough to meet quality standards. In addition, some are using smaller poorly-operated mills that result in reduced control over the products and treatment of mill employees. Don't let this prevent you from using bamboo in your home. Many bamboo floors outperform hardwood flooring and are a good way to help preserve our natural forests. Look for manufacturers that have been making bamboo flooring for many years, use low-VOC adhesives, and mill all of their flooring in one place.
Popular in the Fifties and Sixties, cork flooring is emerging again in the market as another sustainable alternative to hardwood flooring. Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork oak cork oak, name for an evergreen species of the oak genus (Quercus) of the family Fagaceae (beech family). The cork oak (Q. suber) is native to the Mediterranean region, where most of the world's commercial supply of cork is obtained. tree every nine to eleven years, allowing the tree to live its full life expectancy Life Expectancy
1. The age until which a person is expected to live.
2. The remaining number of years an individual is expected to live, based on IRS issued life expectancy tables. of 150 to 250 years. Cork flooring is a byproduct by·prod·uct or by-prod·uct
1. Something produced in the making of something else.
2. A secondary result; a side effect.
Noun 1. of the bottle stopper industry. The waste is collected, ground up, and formed into sheets using minimal amounts of adhesive to bind the particles together under high pressure. Cork is soft, colorful, and amazingly beautiful. Its unique cellular structure has natural thermal and acoustic insulation, creating a warm and quiet surface to walk on. Cork, with its 100 million prism-shaped air-filled cells per cubic inch Noun 1. cubic inch - the volume equal to a cube one inch on each side
capacity measure, capacity unit, cubage unit, cubature unit, cubic content unit, cubic measure, displacement unit, volume unit - a unit of measurement of volume or capacity , creates a low impact surface that is great for the back, feet, and joints. Parents love cork because it is naturally antimicrobial antimicrobial /an·ti·mi·cro·bi·al/ (-mi-kro´be-al)
1. killing microorganisms or suppressing their multiplication or growth.
2. an agent with such effects. , and it creates a comfortable atmosphere for those living and playing closer to the ground.
FSC certified or reclaimed wood, bamboo, cork, and other natural flooring alternatives provide consumers today with a choice to tread lightly on our environment.
Michelle Garrison is owner/partner of Conscious Flooring, LLC (Logical Link Control) See "LANs" under data link protocol.
LLC - Logical Link Control and has a degree in sustainable design. If you are interested in more information about any of the products mentioned in this article visit www.consciousflooring.com or call 888-8-FLOORS (835-6677). Visit www.fscus.org and www.certifiedwood.org for more information about the FSC.