For many homeowners, a house is more than just four walls and a roof over one’s head. It’s an extension of their personalities, a place that reflects their values and beliefs. There was a time when eco-friendly and carbon-conscious evoked Woodstock-like images of homesteaders living off the grid, their simple, log-cabin homes and rusticated lives like something dreamed up by Thoreau. But reducing an environmental footprint doesn’t necessarily mean going back to the land; it means using the land’s resources and sustainable materials to create simple and attentive designs -modern homes that are future focused and environmentally integrated.
Eco-friendly homes bring to mind futurist designs such as Hufft Project’s “Curved House” and Sebastian Irarrazaval’s “Caterpillar House.” But a house doesn’t need to be futurist, nor look like something out of Disney World’s “Tomorrowland,” to be committed to environmental principles of sustainability, integration and energy efficiency. Houses start from the ground up, which means you need to decide what type of flooring you want before you plan the roof’s solar array. There are several different design options when it comes to eco-friendly flooring, and each is stylish and modern in its own way.
Pop the Cork
Cork flooring has been used in Europe for over a century, but it’s only recently become a popular flooring choice for homeowners in America. The heightened interest in green living put cork on the radar, and it’s now in the midst of a decor renaissance. Cork is sustainable, nontoxic, and antimicrobial, which means it isn’t adversely affected by mold or mildew; its antimicrobial properties make it a popular flooring choice in kitchen and bathrooms. Moreover, cork doesn’t absorb dust or pollen, making it an ideal option for people with allergies. It also insulates heat and cold. Cork floors typically have a long life.
From harvest to installation, cork is a sustainable material. Roughly 50% of the cork bark is removed during each harvesting process. It then grows back, making it a self-perpetuating renewable resource. If you’re looking for flooring that’s stylish and eco-friendly, then pop the cork.
Bamboo flooring makes a statement without being fussily refined or pretentious. While you might think bamboo flooring is best suited for outdoor decking, it’s a versatile option that can be used in any room of the home. Bamboo is strong, durable, and less sensitive to temperature and climate changes than other flooring materials such as stone or tile. It’s widely available and easy to install, therefore making it a cheaper option than other flooring materials. Bamboo flooring is often used in living rooms, bedrooms, and home offices. It doesn’t do well, however, in bathrooms, basements, and other areas in the home prone to water and humidity.