Eco-flooring: Environmentally Friendly Options for your Business
Depending on the nature of your work, exploring environmentally friendly options for your business can attract a new contingent of conscientious consumers. If you run a daycare, or you sell children’s products, “green” techniques will address parents’ increasing concerns regarding their family’s impact. Restaurants are committing more and more to sustainable practices, which includes innovative eco-flooring choices. By doing your part, you’re contributing to a growing movement, which will enhance your appeal among forward-thinking buyers and clients.
The flooring industry is continually evolving to meet the demand for eco-friendly products. First, consider which flooring material will address your needs and the needs of the planet.
Eco-Friendly Flooring Options
Many business owners will be surprised to learn that old-school linoleum is, in fact, eco-friendly! Often confused with its synthetic lookalike vinyl (which is composed of toxic chemicals), linoleum is a combination of cork dust, resins, linseed oil, wood flour, and limestone fragments. This fire-retardant material is easy to clean and water-resistant, making it a long-lasting solution for any business where spills or stains are frequent. Recently regaining its former popularity, linoleum is now available is a wide range of trendy hues, and it is more resistant to stains than its predecessor.
This flooring material is composed of natural vegetation. Bamboo is a highly renewable resource since it reaches maturation in three to five years (the average tree takes around 20!). Good-quality bamboo will have a lifespan similar to hardwood, and it is less likely to sustain damage from stains or water. This is an incredibly popular option for a business — one sure to warrant attention by an ecologically-conscious clientele.
This is an obvious choice for gym owners or daycares. Rubber is water resistant, and it feels great under your feet. It’s also unlikely to be damaged by impacts. Any business where employees are on their feet for long hours would do well do consider rubber, due to its cushioning effect. It’s also remarkably easy to clean, which makes it well-suited to high traffic areas. Rubber flooring is made from recycled tires, and if your rubber floor needs to be replaced, it can easily be recycled. This material can be found in varying colours and textures.
- Reclaimed Wood
Because traditional hardwood floors are linked to deforestation, they aren’t considered eco-friendly. However, if you’ve dreamed about hardwood floors in your business, reclaimed wood will allow you to realize that vision without the associated environmental cost.Reclaimed lumber is old wood from trees cut down years prior (for other purposes). Wood creates a timeless, homey feel for rental cottages or hotels. If salvaged wood isn’t desirable, you could also consider wood that’s been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. This organization monitors the management of forests worldwide, promoting adherence to strict environmental standards.
- Reclaimed Wood
- “Green” Carpets
Look for carpeting that contains recycled materials. Some carpets are now being created using plastic soda bottles! The manufacturing process for these carpets utilizes less water and energy, resulting in a further reduction of your carbon footprint.If a carpet or rug does not contain recycled material, be sure to seek out natural, sustainable materials. This can include wool, seagrass, silk, cork, bamboo, hemp, corn, and linen. With so many options (in a wide range of prices) it’s easy to make a responsible choice. Rest assured that going green doesn’t mean compromising on comfort or aesthetics. These carpets are available in luxurious weaves and styles.
- “Green” Carpets
Concrete is growing in popularity among business owners due to its long-lasting versatility. However, owners will be thrilled to know it also scores well in the green department!Concrete is made from sustainable natural building materials, including limestone, an abundant resource. Most of the other components of a concrete floor are derived from manufacturing waste, further reducing its associated carbon footprint. Concrete’s smooth finish minimizes damage from salt, moisture, or chemicals while resisting mould and rot. The surface can easily be sanitized, which makes it hygienic for babies or toddlers.Polishing will enhance the durability of a concrete floor, and an epoxy coating will provide additional protection against moisture and bacteria. As a final eco-friendly boost, polished concrete will also help reduce your heating costs, since its surface is reflective.
Keeping Your Space Green
Once you’ve selected your flooring material, consider other ways to reduce your ecological impact even further. By adopting green practices, business owners have an opportunity to set themselves apart from their competition. These tips will help you avoid toxic chemicals and wasteful manufacturing practices.
- Avoid fibreglass – If you are constructing your business space from the ground up, you have the opportunity to incorporate other eco-friendly building materials during the process. Fibreglass contains non-renewables such as plastic foam.Alternatively, consider rockwool for insulation. Rockwool is durable, fire-resistant, water repellent, and it offers noise reduction. It’s also surprisingly cost effective! Rockwool is created by combining igneous rock with slag in an advanced, innovative process.
- Avoid standard particleboard – This is another key element in an eco-friendly building. Traditional particleboard contains formaldehyde, which is carcinogenic. It’s also known to irritate airways and is extremely flammable. Formaldehyde can off-gas, or be released into the atmosphere of a room, over time.To make sure all your materials are environmentally responsible, choose a newer form of particleboard comprised entirely of recycled wood fibres, corn stalks and hops. This innovative manufacturing process saves trees and has a significantly smaller carbon footprint.
[OVERLAY:] Increase your impact by using natural cleaning products
- Avoid Chemicals – Use environmentally friendly products on your property year-round. This includes cleaners and paints, which can now be found in most retail outlets. Avoid using chemical ice melters since ice-melting products have a high pH and will strip the finish off your floor. They can also permanently stain some floors.Magnesium chloride and calcium chloride are commonly used to melt ice; if you use one of the natural alternatives on the market, you reduce risk to your floors and the environment. Epoxy coating is an attractive and cost-effective guard against any chemicals that do make it into your business space.
Choosing eco-friendly materials is just the first step; for your actions to have a lasting impact, be sure to work with a flooring company that employs eco-friendly tactics. Inquire about their recycling practices, their commitment to sustainability, and their waste disposal methods. A professional concrete flooring company will polish your floors without the use of harsh chemicals.
It’s easy to be proud of your business when you’ve taken steps to limit your environmental impact. Knowing that you care helps people feel good about coming into your space, and purchasing your products. Every little bit counts; by working together as a society, we can instigate real change for future generations.
Concrete floors are a reliable, eco-friendly option, and they can be treated to achieve the look you want. To discuss which flooring option will work for you contact Concrete Epoxy 101 at (416) 838-5188 anywhere in the Markham area. With dust-free technology and overnight availability, we’ll minimize disruptions to your business operations, while giving you the eco-conscious upgrade you need.
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