The Low Down On Green Living
April 1st, 2009
If you’re tired of the same old bamboo flooring, some wonderful flooring materials have come out in the last year or so. These relatively new products are exciting, beautiful, environmentally friendly and are certain to bring warmth and style to your remodel or new home. Here are our suggestions for some beautiful new flooring materials.
Kirei is well known for its interior finish materials, including the well-known Kirei Board, an engineered panel made from sorghum stalks that is used for wall panels and cabinetry. Kirei is now making tiles from leftover coconut shells that would otherwise be sent to the landfill or burned. Coconut shells have a rich, nutty brown color that make for a durable tile that can be cut and designed into these beautiful patterns. An FSC certified wood is used for the backing material and the tiles are coated with a low-VOC resin to help protect them. These handsome tiles can be used for floors, headboards, walls, cabinets and decorative pieces.
While EcoDomo’s line of leather tiles is certainly not new, we thought them worthy of mentioning here on LIL. EcoDomo’s expansive line of tiles includes eight different colors, four different textures and a variety of shapes and sizes. The tiles are made from at least 65% post-industrial recycled leather, which has been ground up into fibers and reprocessed with natural binders like natural rubber and acacia wood bark. The leather pulp is then sheet extruded from a machine with coloring and texture. Tiles are very easy to install much like cork or vinyl, naturally sound absorbent and very luxurious looking. These tiles are not recommended for bathrooms or other rooms exposed to water and they should also be waxed occasionally to retain their natural shine.
Expanko is a well-known manufacturer of cork flooring and has recently come out with a few new styles for their Traditional Cork Flooring. Cork is sustainably harvested from the bark of cork trees every nine years, leaving the tree healthy and alive to regrow its bark. To make their flooring even more sustainable, Expanko uses 100% post-industrial cork for its traditional flooring line. Their newest styles include colored cork tiles rather than the traditional browns and also two new cork patterns designed by Italian Artisans. These new and nontraditional looking cork floors bring a fresh new look to a already great flooring choice. The style shown here is the Spinato Veneer.
EnviroMODE is a new line of recycled porcelain floor and counter top material made by EnviroGLAS. This colorful, resin-filled material is made from toilets and sinks that are crushed then formed into tiles and counter tops. Resin colors include red, blue, tan, black, gray and white. EnviroMODE is naturally heat and scratch resistant, has no VOCs and does not require a seal, which makes for a very low-maintenance and healthy material.
Showercork is yet another new cork flooring option that uses recycled cork material to create a rich mosaic tile. Sustainable Flooring uses post-industrial wine stoppers, cuts them into thin rounds and sets them onto a special backing material, which can easily be installed much like traditional mosaic tile sheets using glue and grout. A water-based polyurethane coating can then applied for water-resistance.
Mulberry is another post-industrial material sprouting up as for interior materials. The Mulberry tree and it’s leaves are used throughout China as food for silkworms. Each year silk worms devour the leaves off the tree, which stops the tree from growing anymore. To encourage new growth, the branches of the mulberry are trimmed, leaving a lot of leftover mulberry limbs behind, which can be processed into engineered composite wood similar to Kirei Boards. Mulberry makes for very interesting patterns and can even be naturally dyed for use as flooring, wall panels and cabinets. A number of companies have this product, but we like Engineered Timber Resources best.
To see many other excellent green flooring options, click here.
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