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Lifestyle : The Ultimate Flooring Guide 2011
1HERSA1 C024 SPECIAL REPORT A green grounding Renewable . . . the fast-growing nature of bamboo makes it an eco-friendly choice, though it can have a downside. Don’t walk all over the environment; choose an eco-option underfoot, writes Amy Mitchell. W hen it comes to choosing the best flooring material for your home, the good news is that looking stylish and being kind to the environment are not mutually exclusive. There is a plethora of options for the environmentally conscious consumer, from cork and carpet to lino and bamboo. Many products are now made using recycled components, too. There are carpets made, in part, from recycled plastic bottles and rubber flooring that’s manufactured using car tyres. But choosing an eco-friendly product is not as straightforward as it might seem. Bamboo, for example, is often held up as the gold standard of eco-friendly floor choices because of its fast-growing, renewable nature but the glue that holds it together sometimes contains formaldehyde. So how can savvy consumers ensure they’re making an environmentally sound choice when it comes to flooring? The chief executive of Good Environmental Choice Australia (GECA), Judy Hollingworth, says the simplest way is to choose a product that bears a credible eco-label. GECA, an independent, not-for- profit organisation, has a stringent assessment and auditing process for companies hoping to be certified. ‘‘We look at cradle to cradle – we’re interested in everything that happens all the way along the supply chain,’’ Hollingworth says. ‘‘We ask the manufacturer to account for their raw materials, how they source them and fabricate them, assemble them and supply them. We look at the environmental impact that arises from all that – emissions, whether hazardous materials are involved and also how durable it is. And at the end of its usable life, what happens then – can the product be broken down and components re-used?’’ Companies that bear the GECA eco-label include some that manufacture cork, bamboo, linoleum and rubber flooring. ‘‘A label allows people to cut through all the questions they have to ask; because it needs some expertise, most don’t even know what questions they should ask,’’ Hollingworth says. According to Planet Ark, sustainably sourced wood is the hands-down winner when it comes to green flooring options – and recycled timber is even better. The manager of timber carbon storage programs for Planet Ark, Chris Philpot, says this is because wood stores carbon and has a low embodied energy compared with other materials, such as concrete, tiles or plastic. ‘‘Once a tree has been harvested sustainably, that wood then stores the carbon used and it remains in the building material rather than going into the atmosphere,’’ he says. To ensure the timber used is from a sustainable source, consumers should look for floorboards that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, Philpot says. The chief executive of the Australian Timber Flooring Association, Randy Flierman, also recommends people check out the environmental credentials of different types of wood. ‘‘Cork is a good option because only the bark of the cork tree is used – you’re not cutting down a tree to get the cork so it’s constantly regrowing,’’ he says. ‘‘Cork had its heyday in the 1970s and 80s but there’s been a bit of a resurgence.’’ If you decide to go for timber floorboards, the good news is, many species have similar eco- credentials, which means it often boils down to personal choice. A Herald Special Report ■ Editor Bellinda Kontominas ■ Advertising Sterg Ayeni, 9282 1120; firstname.lastname@example.org or ■ Readerlink 9282 1569; email@example.com SPECIAL REPORT July 16-17, 2011 The ultimate flooring guide D.S Prestige Floors Coverings prides itself on over 15 years experience in a wide range of timber services. As an owner operated company we guarantee a friendly and professional service and only employ qualified & licensed tradesman for safety and security in your own home. Servicing all of the Sydney metropolitan area, we supply and install all Australian and American Hardwoods and offer very competitive prices with a high standard of workmanship guaranteed. We specialise in: • Solid Timber Flooring • Sanding and Polishing • Parquetry Flooring • Cork Flooring • Floating Floors • Levelling of Subfloors Call 1300 05 44 86 or Damien on 0416 133 737 www.dsprestigefloors.com.au Enjoy the beauty of nature in your own home... Exclusive Sydney Morning Herald offer : To supply install sand and polish Tasmanian oak select grade hardwood timber flooring over a concrete slab for $115m2 Inc G.S.T www.rainescarpets.com.au www.rainescarpets.com.au RETAIL SHOWROOMS COMMERCIAL DIVISION BELLEVUE HILL Cnr Bellevue and Victoria Rds Bellevue Hill NSW 2023 Phone: 02 9386 9599 NEUTRAL BAY Shop 8, 27 Grosvenor St Neutral Bay NSW 2089 Phone: 02 9908 5211 BOTANY 11 Aylesbury Street Botany NSW 2019 Phone: 02 9316 8030 AG4155844AA-160711
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