March 24, 2023

Sustainable Hardwood Flooring in 2023: An Assessment on their Sustainability

Old plank of wood isolated on white background with Clipping Path

Sustainable and biophilic designs are some of the trending interior styles in 2023. More people have started incorporating sustainability into their lifestyles and aesthetics in the past few years. Wastefulness in resources and materials are out of fashion, and homeowners want their projects and additions to serve them a lifetime. Due to this, hardwood floors are the ideal home improvement project for remodeling houses. While flooring timbers are eco-friendly, they still go through an assessment to ensure that they’re environmentally sustainable materials. Here is how they do that. 

What Makes Hardwood Flooring Sustainable?

When you’re a homeowner looking into hardwood flooring options to match your biophilic interior design, the first consideration you check is the material’s sustainability. Sustainable hardwood floors look like they’re accessible and readily available, but most times, they’re hard to procure. The wood you’ll be using for your floorboards should be able to reduce significant levels of carbon footprint within your home.

Contrary to popular belief, finding a flooring option with this capability that is also eco-friendly and aesthetically pleasing takes thorough research and second opinions from hardwood flooring installers. When considering a sustainable product like hardwood planks, experts suggest you assume they’re 100% recyclable or reusable.

In addition, they should also cover other aspects, like the following:

  • Manufacturing process
  • Supply chain impact on the environment
  • Proper natural resource usage

Most domestic hardwood planks and several exotic hardwood species fit the sustainability factors. Due to that, these wooden floorings are in high demand for sustainable and biophilic interior styles.

Assessing Hardwood Plank Sustainability

All wood, including hardwoods, are sustainable materials because of the tree timber’s carbon sequestration potential and carbon offset value at the product’s end life cycle. Carbon sequestration potential happens when the lumber captures and stores atmospheric carbon dioxide. This natural method reduces the amount of CO2 within the area and helps reduce global climate change. Carbon offset refers to greenhouse emission reduction. It’s also the credit a person or organization can buy to decrease its carbon footprint.

All hardwoods are capable of this, but some wood species are better at doing it as flooring inside your homes. One of the ways experts assess the sustainability of hardwood floorings is to review their life cycles and gauge the sustainability of each stage.

The Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA)

Many companies and wood professionals in the flooring industry use the LCA or life-cycle assessment to evaluate the environmental effects of every product and material. For decades, much LCA-assisted research helped create more sustainable flooring options.

In the LCA, experts examine the five life cycle stages of hardwood floorings used inside several U.S. homes. To get the best analysis, researchers also consider data from cradle-to-gate assessments. Here are the five life cycle stages of hardwood floors.

  1. Growing the hardwood
  2. Hardwood plank manufacturing for flooring
  3. Hardwood plank transportation and shipping
  4. Hardwood floor usage
  5. End of the life of hardwood floors

During the life-cycle assessment, the studies also cover some or all environmental impacts of hardwood tree farming, cutting, and restoration. Although the test encompasses these effects, not everything has a direct relation to the sustainability of hardwood floors. Here are some of the impacts they consider.

  • Global warming potential
  • Primary energy demand from resources
  • Acidification potential
  • Freshwater eutrophication potential
  • Marine eutrophication potential
  • Photochemical ozone creation potential
  • Resource depletion

Among all environmental impacts considered, global warming potential is the effect that experts find significant. Global warming’s potential impact shows the risk of rapid climate change increase through greenhouse gas emissions. They focus on carbon dioxide and other gases released throughout the product’s life cycle, measuring and calculating the carbon footprint.

Carbon Footprint and Hardwood Flooring’s Sustainability

Carbon footprints are the number of greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide, discharged by human activity, product manufacturing, or transportation at a certain period. Hardwood floors handle these emissions every day from heavy foot traffic within the house.

Besides the daily wear and tear, other factors increase or lower the carbon footprint of hardwood floors. Some of the most notable features to consider are the drying requirements of hardwood planks and the distribution of timber trees.

Due to the tree’s carbon sequestration potential, floors can compensate for the carbon emissions during their life cycle with the carbon they capture and store. Depending on the tree’s size, growth rate, and durability, its carbon storage can be high or low.

Hardwood planks with higher carbon storage and natural durability are more sustainable. They can handle heavy wear and tear and still control the amount of carbon footprint emitted inside the home.

Assessing the Sustainability of Hardwood Flooring in Austin, TX

Hardwood floors are some of the most sustainable flooring options available. But that doesn’t mean that all hardwood planks offer the same level of sustainability in your house. Despite what many believe, hardwood flooring goes through thorough assessments to ensure they’re within the standards suitable for biophilic and sustainable interior styles. By understanding this process, homeowners can choose which hardwood specie is best for their home.

Find out more details by contacting Kelly Hardwood Floors today!