In the world of flooring, hardwood holds a special place, not only for its aesthetic appeal but also for its green credentials. As an eco-friendly flooring option, hardwood emanates sustainability from its source in responsibly managed forests, to its installation in homes, and eventually to its end of life. This blog post delves into the environmental benefits of hardwood flooring, bringing to light how this popular choice of flooring contributes to a healthier planet.
Renewable and Responsible
The journey of hardwood flooring begins in sustainably managed forests, where species like oak, maple, and cherry are responsibly grown for timber harvesting. These forests adhere to sustainable forestry practices, including replanting trees after harvesting to ensure a continuous supply of wood. By choosing hardwood flooring, you are indirectly supporting these practices, contributing to the preservation and growth of these forests, thereby promoting biodiversity, and maintaining natural habitats.
Carbon Sequestration and Sustainable Sourcing
Furthermore, hardwood trees play a pivotal role in mitigating climate change by acting as carbon sinks. They absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their trunks, branches, and roots, a process known as carbon sequestration. Hardwood flooring, therefore, continues to store carbon that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere long after it has been installed in your home.
When choosing your hardwood flooring, it is crucial to opt for sustainably sourced wood. Products certified by recognized organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) guarantee that the wood originates from responsibly managed forests. These certifications ensure that the rights of indigenous communities are respected, wildlife is protected, and the ecosystem is conserved. Choosing certified hardwood flooring is a way to preserve natural resources and support ethical practices in the industry.
Indoor Air Quality and Longevity
Another environmental advantage of hardwood flooring lies in its positive impact on indoor air quality. Unlike synthetic flooring materials, hardwood does not emit harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can contribute to indoor air pollution. Moreover, hardwood flooring is easy to clean and does not harbor dust, dander, or allergens, making it an excellent choice for individuals with allergies or asthma.
The environmental benefits of hardwood flooring extend to its longevity. With proper care and maintenance, high-quality hardwood flooring can last for several decades or more. By investing in a long-lasting flooring option, you reduce the need for frequent replacements, thereby minimizing waste and conserving resources. Additionally, the longevity of hardwood flooring reduces the overall carbon footprint associated with the manufacturing, transportation, and installation of new flooring materials1.
Hardwood flooring also contributes to energy efficiency. The extent of this contribution depends on the subfloor and the wood flooring itself. By ensuring that wood floors and skirting boards are well insulated, you can save significantly on energy costs. This is particularly true for old wood floors that have gaps or lack insulation under suspended wooden floors.
By repairing gaps in old wood floors using natural resin filler and sawdust of the same color and species as your floor, you can significantly reduce draughts and make your floor more energy efficient. Additionally, insulating your wood floor can considerably increase its energy efficiency, especially if you are laying a new wood floor over a concrete subfloor.
An ideal way of enhancing the energy efficiency of your hardwood flooring is to install it over an underfloor heating system. However, for underfloor heating installations, it’s important to choose the right type of wood flooring. For instance, solid wood flooring isn’t recommended for installation over underfloor heating due to the inevitable fluctuation in temperatures. Engineered wood flooring is a more suitable choice as it is structured to withstand extreme temperature and moisture fluctuations without warping or cupping. An engineered floor that’s well fitted over underfloor heating will be a highly energy efficient solution.
In conclusion, hardwood flooring is not just a choice of style and durability, but also a commitment towards a sustainable future. With its renewable origins, carbon sequestration capacity, air quality benefits, longevity, and energy efficiency, hardwood flooring is truly a sustainable choice that contributes significantly to a greener planet. Let your flooring reflect your values and choose hardwood for its inherent environmental benefits.