Environmental Benefits of Wood FloorsPosted: September 5, 2016
Wood flooring is the most abundantly renewable flooring material available. Sustainable forest management makes it possible to harvest wood without any serious impact on the environment, because trees are a renewable resource that can be regrown time and time again.
- Average annual net growth for hardwoods is greater than average annual removals (Source: US Department of Agriculture Forest Service).
- Harvesting trees has minimal environmental impact. For every cubic foot of trees harvested, 1.66 are regrown (Source: USDA Forest Service).
- Standing US hardwood volume currently is about 328 billion cubic feet (Source: USDA Forest Service).
- Indoor air quality is better with wood floors (Source: US Environmental Protection Agency).
- Wood is a carbon neutral product that produces oxygen during its growth cycle and stores carbon during its service life (Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis).
- Wood floors use less water and energy to produce than other flooring options (Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis).
- At the end of its service life, wood flooring can be burned as fuel or recycled (Source: University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis).
- Wood floors last hundreds of years, so won’t need to be replaced as often as other flooring options (Source: National Association of Home Builders).
- While it takes most hardwood trees 40-60 years to mature, the inventory planted today won’t be needed for 100-plus years (Source: National Wood Flooring Association).
- Manufacturing wood info flooring does not contribute to global warming (Source: University of Wisconsin – Wood Products Program Solid Wood Flooring Life Cycle Analysis).
1. Purchasing wood floors depletes forests.
Wood flooring is the most environmentally friendly flooring option available.
Through sustainable forest management, wood can be harvested with minimal impact on the environment because trees are a renewable natural resource. According to the US Department of Agriculture Forest Service, for every cubic foot of hardwood harvested in the US, 1.66 cubic feet regrows in its place. This has resulted in a 90% increase in standing hardwood volume in the US since 1953, which currently is about 328 billion cubic feet.
In addition, because wood floors can last hundreds of years, they use fewer raw materials, energy and natural resources.
2. Cutting down trees to make wood flooring contributes to global warming.
The main cause of global warming is carbon dioxide, and wood flooring is a carbon neutral product.
During their growth life, trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen. This process makes wood carbon neutral. In addition, wood flooring also stores carbon throughout its service life, maintaining its carbon neutral status even after the tree has been harvested.
A study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison further indicates that wood flooring production has minimal emissions for carbon dioxide and no emissions for methane, nitrogen oxide and other particulates, all of which contribute to global warming.
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