Green Flooring in Alexandria Va
TOTAL FLOORING, LLC (Green Flooring) In the LEED A personal insight on” Green” Flooring To be defined as “green,” or environmentally friendly, a floor needs to satisfy certain standards. Some of these standards include; sustainability, low VOCs (volatile organic compounds), recycling capability or creation from recycled materials. Over the past decade, major advancements have been made in manufacturing floors using these standards. These have created a wonderful means of improving the indoor air quality in your home and reducing the depletion of our planet’s natural resources. Some of the common misconceptions, are that "green products" are different than traditional, or that they are more expensive, these are both untrue. Eco friendly floors range from modifications to traditional floors such as hardwood and carpeting to the new and beautiful floors made from cork or bamboo. Sustainability applies to a natural resource that can replentish itself within ten years or less by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards. The materials highest in sustainability include cork, bamboo, eucalyptus, and linoleum. Another major factor in the production of sustainable flooring is the diversion from landfills. Is the floor made from post-consumer recycled materials? Can it be recycled? Is it biodegradable? Low-emitting, or low VOC, is a measure of the chemicals used in manufacturing that “off gas” or release toxic gasses into your home after installation. Many of these chemicals top the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) list of extremely hazardous substances, including Benzene, Toluene, and Urea Formaldehyde. Third party testing and green labeling programs have greatly reduced, if not eliminated, the use of these chemicals in flooring products. The carbon footprint is defined by greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere through extraction, manufacturing, and shipping of your flooring. Whenever possible, search for a local dealer for your new floor. The less shipping involved, the smaller the footprint. Cork floors are quickly becoming a favorite among customers due to their uniquely beautiful look and their durability. Cork is bark that is harvested from the cork oak tree after it has matured to 25 years of age. The harvesting does not harm the tree and it replenishes itself every 8-10 years. Cork floors have a great insulation value (R-value) and are warmer/ softer than most hard surfaces. Cork is also moisture friendly, making them mold and mildew resistant, and a great option for kitchens or basements. Bamboo floors are also very unique and beautiful. Bamboo is a grass that is harvested every 3-5 years, making it a highly sustainable product. The bamboo harvested for flooring is different from that eaten by pandas. Bamboo comes in three styles: vertical, horizontal, and strand-woven. Vertical and horizontal bamboo floors are similar in hardness to American Red Oak floors, whereas strand-woven bamboo is often harder than Brazilian cherry. When shopping for a bamboo floor, make sure you find a reputable, knowledgeable dealer; this will insure that your floor will be Urea Formaldehyde free, meet or exceed the E1 standard, and be a stable product. Bamboo will add a beautiful and unique look to your home, and is very reasonably priced. Hardwood floors have always been an American favorite. In 1993, an independent, non-governmental, non-profit organization called the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) was established. Their mission is to stop deforestation globally, and is widely regarded as one of the most important initiatives of the last decade to promote responsible forest management worldwide. They prohibit the destruction of natural forests and habitats, the use of hazardous pesticides, and the cultivation of genetically modified trees (GMO’s). They also respect the rights of indigenous people to preserve their tribal lands. We carry and promote FSC hardwoods as well as reclaimed. Reclaimed hardwood floors come from old barns, mills, and factories that are torn down. The salvaged wood is manufactured into new flooring and are some of the most beautiful/ unique hardwoods available. We use local mills in West Virginia to cut the footprint to a minimum Carpeting is your highest emitting floor. Originally, over 400 toxic chemicals were used in the manufacturing. Many improvements have been made in the last decade, but I would still recommend selecting a carpet labeled CRI Plus. This is the Carpet and Rug Institutes most stringent indoor air quality testing label. Other than un-dyed, natural-backed wool, that have no VOC’s, one great option is Mohawk’s Dupont Sorona. It is also known as Smartstrand; Smartstrand with Dupont’s Sorona is made from naturally occurring corn sugars and renewable crops. 37% is made from recycled sources instead of petroleum-based ingredients. Every 7 yards of Smartstrand produced saves 1 gallon of gasoline. The production also requires 30% less energy than nylon and reduces greenhouse gasses by 63%. The carpet is extremely durable, stain-resistant, and cost-effective. Linoleum is one of the most environmentally conscious floors on the market. The ingredients include linseed oil, natural tree resins, wood flour, and jute. The plants that contribute to the raw materials also contribute to the production of oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Linoleum comes in three forms; tiles, sheet, and click (Floating floor). The first two are glued down with a solvent-free non-toxic adhesive. Linoleum does not off-gass in your home and is fully biodegradable. There are more than forty colors available and it can be installed in numerous patterns. It is an incredibly green option to add color to any room or office. The growing trend to “go green” reflects a desire to live a healthy and productive life while minimizing our impact on the planet for ourselves and our children. The demands of lowering our environmental impact is leading us towards resolving the growing concerns about global warming, depletion of natural resources, pollution, and the disruption of natural habitats. American households account for about 1/5 of America’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Many organizations and manufacturers are making efforts to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and develop renewable energy. Please do your research on a particular floor before putting it into your home or around your families. Always find a knowledgeable, local dealer, that is implementing best practices into their company. At Total Flooring, LLC, we not only continue to educate ourselves on best practices, but are also a working part of the communities that surround us. We volunteer, donate, and give back whenever possible.