Is bamboo flooring really 'green'?
Bamboo can be a good alternative to hardwoods, but consumers must know what to look for and what questions to ask suppliers.
Bamboo is one of the "it" floors of the moment. The grass that looks like wood has everyone aflutter: chic designers, eco-trendy condo developers, value-conscious homeowners, as well as banks, post offices and showrooms seeking the mighty green seal of approval.
And why not? Bamboo is strong, good-looking and, above all, kind to the environment. Or is it?
First, the basics behind the eco-hype: Bamboo is a good alternative to wood because it replenishes itself quickly and on its own. When the stalks are harvested, the root system remains, protecting against runoff and sprouting new growth.
Bamboo grows like the weed it is: as much as a foot a day, reaching full height within six months and harvest strength in four years. A tree, by contrast, must be replanted and takes 20 to 120 years to mature to harvest.
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According to the American Forest & Paper Association, the average American uses wood and paper products equivalent to one 100-foot, 18-inch-thick tree every year. Home-building projects account for two-thirds of that consumption.
Given the importance of trees in protecting wildlife, water and air, not to mention their near-magical countereffect on global warming, any and all conservation is indeed a good thing.
But before piling onto the bamboo eco-wagon, keep in mind that any mass-produced product in the Industrial Age comes with potential environmental and health risks. Just because bamboo is good doesn't mean that it is always treated well during processing. The way a particular bamboo supply has been harvested, treated and delivered could knock it down a shade of green.
"The hidden cost of so much of our building materials is petroleum," says Erika Zekos, an architectural designer. "So you might have a lovely renewable resource but it costs a great deal to get it here."
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Zekos and her husband, Derek Noble, chose dark bamboo for 600 square feet of their western Massachusetts home before learning about a lumber cooperative that's harvesting trees in an ecologically sustainable manner just a few miles from their house. Nearly all of the commercial bamboo imported to the United States comes from China.
So although Zekos and Noble are happy with the floors — they're "absolutely beautiful" and are holding up well — Zekos says, "Had I done the floors today instead of three years ago, maybe I wouldn't have made the same choice.
"If you want to truly go green, you've got to go local, too."
Going for the green
Distance is not the only factor. Individual producers obviously have latitude in their methods of production, and it's up to you to snoop them out.
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Bamboo flooring earns builders a point with the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. But oversight of specific bamboo producers is lacking. What the Forest Stewardship Council does for wood products, rating suppliers for sustainability practices, has yet to be established for bamboo.
"Just because bamboo can grow fast doesn't mean it's necessarily a green product itself," says Dimitri Rechevskiy, a partner in Pacific Custom Flooring, a San Francisco Bay Area flooring company.
Bamboo flooring combines elegance, versatility, form and function, making this natural product an ideal flooring solution for you. And now offered in new colors, stains, grains, and textures, Bamboo floors will complement rooms of any style.
The demand for bamboo flooring has been increasing for many years because of its unique beauty and elegance. Bamboo is now one of the preferred materials for interior designers. Trend-setting and aesthetically pleasing, Bamboo combines hard wearing capabilities and ecological considerations. Bamboo presents an unmistakably high quality surface appearance giving any space a great, fresh look!
Bamboo flooring has many advantages over hardwood flooring. Bamboo Flooring is certainly one of the upcoming materials in today’s floor market. With many advantages over traditional hardwood flooring, bamboo flooring has certainly been a kind of shooting star amongst the different new floor types used.
Bamboo flooring is an environmentally flooring for home, hotel and store. Bamboo flooring is becoming a popular choice for all kinds of customers who realize its benefits. Bamboo grows mainly in China but can be easily purchased in North America and Europe.
Bamboo flooring has high density and low formaldehyde emission. Density of bamboo flooring is 750 kg/m3 and formaldehyde emission of bamboo flooring is only 0.015 mg/m3.
Bamboo flooring is extremely hard, durable and dent-resistant.
Caring for you bamboo flooring is really important to keep it look new and shiny. Most manufacturers provide you with a simple set of guidelines to follow. These guidelines help you care for your bamboo flooring, but incase you do not get these tips with your bamboo flooring it is important to call your bamboo flooring manufacturer, and find out what to do in this situation.