Bamboo Flooring

April 3, 2008

Bamboo Flooring

by Mariann Ilaria-Stackelberg

Bamboo flooring is an ideal flooring option and in terms of “green” building it has many attributes. From a design standpoint, it is very attractive because it is contemporary and classy, affordable, installs just like a hardwood floor and there are a myriad of choices available to the consumer. Bamboo is also very hard, strong, dimensionally stable and long lasting. It is considered an organic resource because it is generally grown without pesticides, herbicides and other synthetic chemicals. In terms of being “green” it is an excellent example of a highly renewable resource, harvestable only four to six years after being planted. Its low moisture absorption properties make it ideal for humid climates and applications where moisture might pose a challenge for other types of flooring. It also gets “green” points for being non-toxic when it is installed using low or zero VOC (volatile organic compounds). Since bamboo is rarely local, it is grown in Asia – China and Vietnam, it gets “green” demerits for having “high embodied energy.” This means that it is an energy-intensive product, because it is shipped on fuel guzzling boats from Asia before it is even manufactured into a product which requires more fuel. At this time, there is no fair trade certification for workers on bamboo plantations.

In researching the healthiest options or suppliers I came up with the following suppliers who offer low or formaldehyde- free bamboo flooring:

www.ecotimber.com

www.bamboomountain.com

www.greenfloors.com

www.bamboohardwoods.com

In terms of the company’s practice, the leading supplier of high quality wood products, EcoTimber, considers itself “the only pure player” in the flooring industry exclusively devoted to green values. EcoTimber, based in San Rafael, California claims to be “the first company in the world dedicated to selling wood products only from sound environmental sources.” CEO, Lewis Buchner states: “We don’t just have a green product line. We’re a green company. Our commitment to green issues goes all the way to the core of the company and our customers get that.” EcoTimber Bamboo flooring is made with a low-VOC adhesive that easily meets the strict European E1 standard for indoor air quality.

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