Navigation Menu+
Commercial Flooring News

Wood & Sustainability

Craig Pawson on sustainability

As I write this column, it is EU Sustainable Energy Week. So why is it so important to source sustainable wood? Sustainable materials and renewable energy are now key for most consumers who are, more than ever, concerned about protecting the environment and saving money.
However, when it comes to flooring, consumers don’t always consider wood to be a sustainable material. However, as it is derived from a renewable source and has low embodied energy, it is an ecological choice for flooring. Wood, particularly hardwood, is incredibly durable with a service life of over 50 years. Wood can also be recycled. This is important in terms of storing carbon through the life of a product and its transformation.
With the government encouraging the use of these materials, it is down to flooring contractors to ensure they work with suppliers of sustainable wood. Some manufacturers only source wood from sustainable forestry in Europe that is of exceptional quality and evident sustainability benefits.
Contractors can check whether timber they use is from sustainable sources by employing independently certified suppliers, or simply asking them if they use certified timber.
The wood industry offers third party certification schemes which guarantee the wood has been sourced responsibly from sustainable forests. Well-known schemes are operated by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC).
Wood finishes: The best protective oils and waxes are virtually solvent free and contain quality organic ingredients such as linseed oil, candelilla wax and thistle oil. Such finishes make flooring look great, while prolonging the treatment and appearance of the wood. Quality finishes also prevent the need for regular treatments, decreasing chemicals normally involved in surface maintenance.
There are many standards for floor finishes, and companies conforming to these can be considered eco-friendly manufacturers. For example, German standards, DIN EN 71.3 (for children’s toys) and DIN 53160 (fast to saliva and perspiration) ensure products are harmless to humans, animals and plants. There are also certifications, DIN EN ISO 9001:2000 (quality management) and 14001 (environmental management system).
Sourcing sustainable wood prevents deforestation and ensures customers receive the best eco-friendly products.
Craig Pawson is the flooring specialist at Osmo UK

This article has been reproduced from the Contract Flooring Journal. You can find them at