Going Green: Eco-Friendly Bamboo Floors and PET Carpets

My "Going Green" series has been focusing a lot on what to look for if you are building new. But what about the homeowner who wants to renovate and still save the earth? Well, if your renovation includes a new floor for your room, consider bamboo instead of hardwood, or PET carpet instead of nylon or wool.

Bamboo instead of hardwood? You bet! Bamboo floors are actually harder than conventional maple hardwood, and yet conserve our dwindling hardwood forests. While bamboo works like hardwood for your floors, you are actually using a "grass" and not a wood. Fast growing bamboo goes from shoot to full length in a few months, and will mature to its hardness in about 5 years. That's quite a difference compared to the decades spent growing a mature hardwood tree! Another advantage is that bamboo, despite growing so quickly, is harder than hardwood, and so makes a better floor. Despite the quality finish, most bamboo floor products are actually less expensive than hardwood, although installation costs would run about the same.

If you are a hardwood floor installer, get on the bandwagon with bamboo! You don't need any additional training in order to install this eco-friendly floor.   

Another environmentally friendly flooring is made from your PET plastic pop bottles. No kidding -- pop bottles! While PET carpeting keeps plastic out of our landfill sites, it also has all the advantages of other synthetic fiber carpets, with a few additional benefits. In fact, you'll get better stain resistance and better indoor air quality because of less out-gassing. You'll also find that this flooring, despite its humble beginnings, is actually heavier and more luxurious underfoot than nylon carpeting.

So, if you are in the midst of creating that perfect kids playroom in your basement (as we are), consider these innovative floor products. And if you need money, consider adding an energy efficient bathroom with a low flow toilet. You could get a few nice rebates from the US government, your state or local utility! You might just qualify for an Energy Efficient Mortgage (EEM) in the process, to help pay for your renovation.

You'll also add to your home's value. And when it comes time to negotiate that next mortgage loan, that could help -- especially if your home's value has dropped in this soft housing market.  

Michael Chantrel  

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