Of the many creatures that have walked this planet before us, the fact that we are leaving the biggest environmental footprint of all time is a sobering thought.
Slowly, the realisation comes that as individuals we can reduce our collective impact on this planet by adopting sustainable practices within our homes. We must.
In ‘Australia’s Guide to Environmentally Sustainable Homes’ (www.yourhome.gov.au), author Caitlin McGee refers to the importance of giving consideration to our choice of materials when aiming for sustainable living. McGee says, ‘Important factors that may influence your choice of construction systems include durability, life cycle environmental impact, life cycle cost effectiveness. Also, our role in improving thermal performance and reuse or recycling potential.’
With this in mind, we can make responsible choices when constructing or replacing the floors in our homes. Opting for the following flooring types will make a difference:
Carpet made from natural or renewable fibres
100% pure wool carpets are natural and an excellent flooring choice for insulation. In a sustainability sense, carpets natural insulation properties reduce the need for artificial heating in the home.
Leading carpet manufacturers such as Cavalier Bremworth and Godfrey Hirst are providing a range of certified eco-friendly options such as the beautiful Natural Formations and Parklife collections found at Carpet Court. These luxurious carpets are accredited with an Environmental Certification (ECS) provided by the Australian Carpet Classification Scheme (ACCS).
Innovative research into renewably sourced textiles has produced the Lifestyle Plus carpet collection. The collection is constructed from a renewable biopolymer known as Sorona. This range is made with 37% natural corn sugar! So it leaves a lower environmental footprint than other polymers on the market.
Alternative sustainable carpet fibres which are eco-friendly and plant-derived include cotton and jute. These popular fibres are also used in the manufacture of rugs, helping to improve the thermal performance of hardwood flooring.
Choosing FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified timber flooring such as Carpet Court’s Stockmans Ridge collection means our precious native flora and fauna hasn’t been impacted in the harvesting of this sustainably manufactured product. Stockmans Ridge yields up to five times more finished product than other timber flooring types. And the unique click and lock system means the boards can be removed and reused where required. Combined with their 25 year residential warranty, this makes great sense.
Nothing short of mud, sand or straw floors can meet a rating of 100% sustainable with zero environmental impact. At least these ideas above offer some solutions when choosing flooring products. So we can leave a slightly lighter environmental footprint than we have thus far.
By Kate Willson.
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