Nature’s Sustainable Flooring Resource

ST. LOUIS, Missouri (July 15, 2004)

A significant buzz has been generated during the past few years about environmentally friendly building products. One thing environmentalists agree upon is that hardwood flooring is the most abundantly renewable flooring material available. All other flooring options use more energy to reach end market than wood, through increased energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, and waste production. The bottom line is that sustainable forest management makes it possible to harvest wood without any serious impact on the environment. Why? Because trees are a renewable resource that can be replaced time and time again.

Wood is produced in a factory called a forest by a renewable source of energy: solar energy. Nonrenewable building materials such as steel, cement, and plastic must be produced in man-made factories such as steel mills, cement works, and oil refineries. This usually requires large inputs of fossil fuels, inevitably resulting in high carbon dioxide emissions. In other words, all other possible substitutes are more harmful to the environment. The answer to using environmentally friendly building options, then, is not to use less wood, but to grow more trees, and to promote sustainable forests.

According to a recent report appearing in the Construction Specifier, nearly twice as much hardwood grows each year as is harvested. In fact, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service indicates that the volume of hardwood in American forests has increased 90% since 1953 to about 352 billion cubic feet. The Construction Specifier report goes on to state that hardwood growth has exceeded removal every year since 1952. Obviously, forests are sustainable, making wood a sustainable resource, and an obvious choice for environmentally conscious consumers.

Want to know more about the benefits of wood flooring? The National Wood Flooring Association provides a variety of information on its interactive web site, Consumers can get detailed information on how to choose the right floor, how to maintain your floor, and even can use the interactive design-a-room feature to explore the possibilities that real wood floors provide.

Reprinted by kind permission of the National Wood Flooring Association.
Copyright, 2005 NWFA