Corporate Facility Managers Green Products

Five Ways Hardwood Flooring is the More Sustainable Option for Your Venue

by Jason Brubaker

Business owners love hardwood flooring for many reasons. For starters, it brings a look of warmth and elegance to their venues, and this high-quality look can go a long way in making that crucial first impression with clients and potential customers. There's also the ease of maintenance, their durability and the various different options that business owners have when it comes to choosing the right flooring to outfit their facilities with. But one other big benefit that doesn't get enough publicity when it comes to hardwood floors as they compare to alternative types of flooring is that this option is also very sustainable.

1. FSC Certification

It's worth noting that if you're not careful about the hardwood floors that you choose, then they may not be sustainable from a harvesting standpoint. That's why we advise that you make sure that any hardwood floor you're having installed in your venue is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC. The FSC's mission is to protect and preserve the forests so that they can survive - and thrive - for future generations to come.

Unfortunately, this core FSC mission is often challenged by illegal logging and the inability of local governments around the world to adequately enforce and regulate it. Illegal logging is a main driver of deforestation, not to mention the economic and social issues that come with improperly harvesting woodlands. The FSC, on the other hand, ensures that the forests are still able to be harvested, but in a smart, sustainable way so that they're never in risk of disappearing and are constantly regenerating. That's why it's important to select only wood that has FSC certification for your facility, as it provides peace of mind that your venue's floors will look great with minimal impact on the environment.

2. Wood Flooring over Alternatives

Wood is carbon neutral, so when new trees grow, it can also help reduce carbon dioxide emissions that are present in the atmosphere. When forests are sustainably managed, as is the case with the Forest Stewardship Council, new trees are always growing to replace any that have been previously harvested to keep the carbon neutral benefits of trees intact. Another big benefit as it pertains to a sustainably managed forest is water conservation.

It's a fact that forests are a great resource for filtering and storing water, and when mature trees are removed via sustainable forest management, a greater amount of sunlight and water is permitted to reach the forest's floor, thereby keeping the eco-system flourishing, helping with seed germination and helping to release more water following harvest. As you can see, much to the contrary of what many people may perceive, it's not a bad thing to harvest wood from a forest - as long as it's done with sustainability in mind and said harvesting is properly managed.

3. Hardwood floors are long-lasting

Compared to other types of flooring, hardwood floors might be the most long-lasting of them all. In fact, with the right care and maintenance, it's not uncommon for hardwood floors to last a lifetime - perhaps even outlasting several generations. The fact that there's a good chance that hardwood floors don't need to be replaced as often as other types of carpeting makes them a more sustainable choice, as it means they're not likely to wind up in landfills as frequently as other flooring types. This is especially true when you compare hardwood to carpeting, which usually lasts 10-15 years, and various types of tile, which may last for up to 20 years. Now, it's worth mentioning that there's a lot tied to hardwood flooring's longevity, notably a quality sub-floor, proper care and maintenance and the amount of traffic - and what type of traffic - it's likely to receive, but generally speaking, hardwood floors are built and installed to last.

4. Better indoor air quality within the venue

Unlike carpet, it's impossible for the likes of dust and allergens to embed themselves into hardwood flooring. For this reason, hardwood floors are the ideal floor for those who suffer from allergies, as you're less likely to have such triggers occur when there are hardwood floors in a commercial setting.

Now, this isn't to say that allergens and bacteria aren't still present in an environment that has hardwood floors compared to carpeting, but these particulates are more easily cleaned up through routine cleaning and don't require professional deep cleaning as is often the case with carpet. Yes, hardwood floors help promote better overall indoor air quality in a venue or facility, which can be a big benefit for employees, customers and business partners alike.

5. Energy-efficient manufacturing process

Not only is FSC certified wood the sustainable choice when it comes to the product, but it's a fact that manufacturing timber into wood flooring is one of the most sustainable production methods. That's largely because advanced technology has made these processes extremely efficient, so efficient that there's little energy used. What's more is that any wood waste is also often turned into a wood byproduct, like mulch or animal bedding, to further conserve the wood resource so that it's 100 percent used and no scraps are discarded.

Yes, business owners love hardwood floors first and foremost for their beautiful look - and rightfully so. But when you really dig deeper beyond the surface into the benefits of hardwood floors, you'll find that there's a bevy of advantages to choosing this flooring material over the alternatives beyond just the look. Sustainability happens to be a big benefit, and it exists all throughout the supply chain, from how the timber is harvested, to when logs are processed into floors, to the indoor air quality benefits after it has been installed.