Going green is good for the planet and good for your health. But did you know it can be good for your home, too?
EPA studies have shown that indoor pollutant levels can be between 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor levels. One of the biggest sources of these pollutants is right beneath your feet – the floor.
Installation of new flooring and carpets can fill the air with hundreds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can include dangerous carcinogens like benzene and formaldehyde. Carpets are treated with toxic chemicals to repel moisture and stains, and carpet fibers trap VOCs that are carried in from outside. Plus, carpets can also be havens for mold and allergens.
Not only are these pollutants bad for your health, but the process of manufacturing wood floors and carpets is very damaging to the environment. We can all do little things every single day to be a little “greener” and a good place to start is with eco-friendly floors.
Cork flooring is a great green-alternative to traditional hardwood, and its natural elasticity is easy on the feet. Cork has thermal and acoustic properties that help keep spaces insulated and cut-down on noise. It’s also insect repellent and fire-resistant, and won’t attract dust or allergens. Plus, this eco-friendly option is made from the bark of cork oak trees which grows back every 3 years. Most hardwoods take 40 to 60 years to mature.
Although it might not be the first material that comes to mind when choosing wood floors, bamboo is actually more durable and can withstand more than traditional hardwoods. In fact, bamboo is 13 percent harder than maple and 27 percent harder than northern red oak. It’s naturally resistant to water, mildew and insects, too. Plus, bamboo is known for its incredibly fast growth rate and can grow 35 inches in a 24-hour period.
If you plan to go with a hardwood floor, look for options that come from sustainable, socially-responsible sources. Wood that’s been certified by the independent, nonprofit Forest Stewardship Council comes from forests in which trees are responsibly regenerated, ecosystems are conserved and air and water quality are closely monitored. Foresters that are FSC-certified also respect the rights of workers and indigenous communities.
There are plenty of eco-friendly flooring options to choose from in a variety of different materials. Tiles and carpet made from recycled materials are readily available and tend to come with a lower price tag as well.
So next time you’re looking for new flooring, go with a greener option. Your body and the planet will thank you.