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Six Steps to Sustainable Success

Ted Todd on sustainably-sourced floors for commercial spaces

Wood floor experts Ted Todd explain why it’s worth investing in sustainably-sourced floors for commercial spaces.

The importance of specifying sustainable choices is more important than ever. With climate change and the environment high-profile topics in the media, consumers are making their voices heard and effecting positive change across the commercial industry. 

However, recent reports suggest that sustainability is not being carried through by commercial designers and specifiers, and that there is a significant disconnect between those that claim to be sustainable and those that apply this in a full circle capacity. 

As the demand to adopt sustainable working practices, specify more carbon-neutral projects and select more environmentally-friendly options during the design stage becomes more important, indications are that there will be more pressure to also consider end-of-life arrangements upfront to ensure materials can be properly redeployed instead of sent straight to landfill.

To help deliver on this important initiative, consider these six points when you are next specifying flooring:

1.Limit carbon intensive materials by only using FSC and PEFC certificated floors that are harvested as part of responsible and sustainable forest management. Wood farmed from a managed woodland has a fantastic impact on our industry and our environment as it helps to achieve carbon neutrality. Look for FSC and PEFC certification and don’t forget that a company being FSC certified does not mean that your floor is. This just gives them the right but not the obligation to supply certified material, so be sure to check each floor individually for certification details – even within Europe, wood without the correct certification can be illegally harvested.

2.Choose carbon capturing materials by specifying long-life wood products that lock away carbon and can be regenerated. This is about moving away from single-use floors to those that can be refurbished over decades, and being prepared to take into account cost, quality and environmental impact when choosing wood floors. We would always encourage you to see a wood floor as a long-life option and not a single use, non-recyclable, short-term solution.

3.Use high-recycled content materials. We constantly reclaim centuries-old wood. Its humbling to see this natural material, which will probably outlive us all, put to use time and time again and be enjoyed just as much by future generations. Our Antique, Reclaimed and Rare Finds portfolios for example already have a story behind them, with the next chapter just waiting to be written.  

4.Specify wood floors that can be easily reused and recycled. For example, consider wood floors with thicker wear layers (at least 3 or 4mm) so that floors can be re-sanded. With the correct care and attention, a 20mm floor can last a lifetime, not just a decade. This is due to many of our 20mm floors having a 6mm hardwood wear layer, meaning the boards can be sanded multiple times if necessary. 

5.Solid wood floors can last hundreds of years and some engineered wood floors are designed to last decades, but despite best laid plans, there are times in the commercial industry that wood floors reach the end of life. The importance of specifying a wood floor for your project means that if this unfortunately does occur, you can rest assured that your chosen floor is fully biodegradable and 100% recyclable. 

6.The best opportunity to influence customers is at the design stage so educate your team and your customers. Our sales team is happy to work with you to provide the information needed. We also offer a programme called {TED}ucation which sets out to deliver insights across a range of subjects including Natural Floors for Healthy Buildings, a talk which covers topics including; improving your eco credentials by going green from the ground up, considering VOCs, and BREEAM. Plus, we offer a RIBA-accredited Specifying Sustainable Flooring CPD.

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