Having an ecological floor, yes it is possible!

The era is one of recovery of recyclable materials, reuse and environmental

protection of the environment. Did you know that it is also possible to apply this popular maxim when it comes to changing your floor?

Indeed, it is possible to consume better even for your floor, and this in many ways! Despite what you may think, there is nothing complicated about it. All you need to do is get informed.

Ecological products

When we think of ecological products, we immediately think of recycled products, which is quite right. However, it is not only the recycling aspect that should be considered, since some natural products are just as ecological as recycling.

Recycled materials

With a growing demand from consumers, products containing recycled materials are more and more present on the market. However, there is an important distinction to be made between pre-consumer and post-consumer recycled products. A product whose materials are qualified as pre-consumer is made from waste that never even made it to the consumer. For example, it may be scrap material (industrial waste) that the manufacturer will reuse for other purposes rather than discard. Post-consumer recycled products, on the other hand, are made of materials from consumer waste sources, meaning that the consumer has already used it and then put it into recycling. For example, you could choose a carpet or rubber membrane made from recycled tires. So when you choose a product that contains recycled materials, you are helping to reduce your environmental footprint and that of the manufacturer as well. It's a great way to go green with your flooring.

Natural materials

It is also possible to opt for an eco-friendly raw product. Have you considered cork or bamboo flooring? These are two natural materials that are recognized as being eco-responsible and whose renewal is much faster than other types of natural materials.

Certifications and standards

On another note, another way to ensure that you choose an eco-friendly floor is to look for certifications. We often talk about flooring, but you should know that installation products such as cement-glues, membranes and adhesives can also be ecological.

LEED Certification

One of the most recognized green certifications in the world is without a doubt the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. It consists of an evaluation of the buildings on various aspects of their construction so that they are more sustainable, more ecological, that they use resources more efficiently, etc. In concrete terms, the certification is based on five performance criteria focused on human and environmental health: sustainable site development, efficient water and energy management, choice of materials and resources, and the quality of interior environments. In the field of floor covering, LEED certification is equally applicable. This means that all products used to manufacture or install a floor must be designed to meet the five performance criteria. When it comes to flooring, there are many LEED-certified cements, adhesives, and membranes. Manufacturers are proud to list such certifications on their packaging and data sheets, which can make your choice of product easier.

Iso Standards

Iso standards are just as important as certifications and are another good benchmark for green product consumption. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) "brings together experts to share knowledge and develop voluntary, consensus-based, market relevant InternationalStandards that support innovation and provide solutions to global challenges.They give world-class specifications for products, services and systems, to ensure quality, safety and efficiency. They are instrumental in facilitating international trade"[1].In the field of floor coverings there is, among others, the ISO 13007 standard.The objective of this standard is to establish a product classification code in order to effectively communicate to an architect, contractor, tiler or distributor how the product has been designed and how to use it. This standard requires an adhesive to pass certain minimum performance tests before it can be accredited with a performance classification. This performance classification is expressed in letters and numbers in a code that is easy to use and understand[2] (for those in the field). In short, if you see that an installation product has any ISO identification, rest assured that it is an environmentally responsible product.

FSC Certification

FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification states that a product is made and/or sourced from "environmentally and socially responsible forest management "[3]. In flooring, this certification applies to all types of wood-containing flooring, including hardwood, engineered flooring, laminate (floating flooring) and WPC vinyl. If a floor containing wood is FSC certified, it means that it comes from forests managed in accordance with the guideline of responsible consumption.

GreenGuard Certification

For environmentally friendly and healthy products, look for Greenguard certification. It is about helping manufacturers create, and helping buyers identify, interior products and materials that have low chemical emissions that improve the quality of the air in which the products are used. In addition to flooring, varnishes, stains, and cleaners can also be Greenguard certified.

In short, if you are looking for an environmentally friendly floor covering, you will find it. The certifications and standards presented above are not the only ones, there are many more. That said, manufacturers proudly display the various certifications and standards to demonstrate to consumers that they care about the environment. Look for the certification seals on product packaging, on information posters, on manufacturers' websites, ask the consultants in store, the information is there for you. Having a "greener" floor is definitely possible.

[1] L’ISO, About us,[Online], https://www.iso.org/about-us.html (page viewed january 14 2020)  

[2] Laticrete, ISO 13007 Classifications – Technical sheet, [Online], https://laticrete.com/~/media/support-and-downloads/technical-datasheets/tds137iso.ashx?la=en (page viewed january 14 2020)

[3] FSC, About us, [Online], https://ca.fsc.org/en-ca/about-us (page viewed january 16 2020)