Are Hardwood Floors Sustainable?

are wood floors eco friendly

Recently, homeowners have placed increasing importance on sourcing sustainable products for their projects. Wood floor manufacturers are expected to play their part in creating eco-friendly products, and hardwood floor contractors must also keep up with the demand, staying in the know regarding what’s sustainable and what’s not.

According to the National Association of Home Builders’ Green Homes Smart Market Brief 2020, almost 70% of builders believed that taking initiatives to create green buildings is much needed in today’s day and age. Around 50% of people in the survey indicated that they want to put their effort into creating healthier homes. A study by Simon-Kucher & Partners in 2021 revealed that 85% of consumers globally are now opting for sustainable products for their homes, and one-third are also ready to pay higher for eco-friendly products.

When it comes to flooring, it’s often thought that wood isn’t a “green choice” as it destroys forests. But the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Wood flooring combines many positive attributes through implementing renewable energy, extending service life, and reducing carbon emissions.

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So, let’s dive in with more findings, reasons, and initiatives that support the claim that wood flooring is eco-friendly. 

Recycled Or Reclaimed Hardwood

Hardwood floors are among the few flooring options that can be used more than once in various other projects.

Hardwood flooring lasts well beyond 100 years if proper care and maintenance are taken – but it doesn’t end here. They can be sanded and refinished multiple times throughout their lifecycle to extend the lifetime of the floors.

There are endless environmentally conscious recycling options for wood floors such as accent walls, furniture, and other decorative features. Reclaimed wood has indeed gained popularity these days. Many homeowners, manufacturers, and builders alike prefer the appeal of older, reclaimed wood, which can add a touch of character and personality to any space.

A study by IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute analyzed the environmental impacts of refinishing against the replacement of wood flooring in commercial buildings. The results clearly proved that refinishing wood flooring is more sustainable than replacing flooring material.

Sustainable Sourcing

Environmental compliance is necessary at every stage of the supply chain, and wood manufacturers are expected to make informed decisions.

Wood is a renewable resource, and there are government regulations in the U.S. specifically about the practice of wood harvesting.

Wood is a natural resource and not manufactured, contrary to other flooring materials like carpet. Apart from being naturally sourced, it offers traditional and timeless beauty, making it easy to refinish through the years rather than being completely replaced. And even if it ends up in a landfill, a solid hardwood floor is biodegradable. In fact, rather than ending up in a landfill, chances are it will be repurposed into something else like reclaimed flooring.

Harvesting trees have minimal environmental effects when managed carefully. On average, for every cubic foot of deforestation, 1.66 cubic feet of trees are planted to ensure the harvest rate stays lower than the average growth rate. Wood floors are one of the most environmentally responsible solutions to flooring as, unlike other flooring options, the raw materials used are trees. These trees can grow back even after being cut down, replacing the material used–the truest definition of a renewable resource.

Is Wood Flooring A Renewable Resource?

Without a doubt, wood is eco-friendly when harvested and manufactured appropriately, keeping in mind its environmental impact. Wood flooring is a sustainable, eco-friendly material to work with. Aside from the timeless beauty they add to the home, they are an environmentally responsible option for hardwood manufacturers and builders who place sustainability as a top priority.

Hardwood flooring is an intelligent solution for current wood manufacturers and home builders with one of the longest lifespans, a relatively small energy footprint, and a high recycling potential.

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