If you are involved in the construction, design or architecture business you know that there is a rapidly increasing demand for sustainable design. Sustainable flooring, roofing, insulation and other building materials along with low-energy lighting and appliances and low water usage fixtures are all highly sought after by consumers. They are considered to be a mark of practical and ethical thinking about our resources and our natural environment, and they can be a selling point in and of themselves. Of these many different ways to improve how “green” a building or design is, one of the most overlooked is through the use of sustainable flooring.
One of the reasons sustainable flooring is so overlooked is because saving energy is one of the leading issues in the press right now. Often when people think about how to make their home more sustainable, electricity and gas usage are the first place they look. Making the switch to LED lights is a popular first choice and so is investing in energy saving washing and drying machines or other appliances that will reduce the total amount of energy used. A second way of streamlining energy usage is to seal or replace old windows and doors, upgrade or replace siding and add insulation. These steps all help reduce the total amount of energy being used both in the cold of the winter and the heat of the summer.
However, energy saving only goes so far. There are many other aspects to making a building sustainable. One of the most important of these, especially for architects and developers looking to bolster their green reputation, is to focus on using materials that are themselves sustainably made and produced. This can include the level of energy that goes into the manufacture of these products but more often refers to things like avoiding pollution by not using toxic chemicals and not putting out filth into the air.
This is where sustainable flooring materials like rubber and vinyl come in. Both materials have a very low impact on the environment and are made in a way that is ecologically responsible. Beyond that however these materials are also incredibly durable and long lasting. Since they don’t need to be replaced as often as other flooring materials they not only save money for the end consumer but also result in less waste being sent to landfills. Rubber flooring is often made from recycled tires and vinyl flooring can actually help a project qualify for some LEED certifications.
Both of these materials have a strong reputation as eco-friendly forms of sustainable flooring, and for good reason. If they aren’t already in your company’s arsenal, it might be time for you to add them.