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Flooring Options For LEED Certified Projects

By Michael Hilton

Due to the increased demand for "green" homes and buildings, the number of LEED certified building projects is growing in the United States. A certified LEED project, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is one that has met certain standards which measure building sustainability and has been independently verified by a certified LEED consultant. The LEED rating system, which was created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), offers builders and others a verifiable way to demonstrate that their building projects are truly green and meet some of the highest environmental standards in the building industry.

LEED certified projects need to achieve points, based on a standardized rating system, in 5 different categories which have to do with all aspects of the building process from site selection to building materials used in the project. Choosing the right flooring for a project can earn LEED points in the categories of Indoor Environmental Quality and Materials and Resources.

LEED Certified Flooring Options:

  • Purchasing bamboo flooring or cork flooring for a building project can earn LEED points because these flooring materials are made from rapidly renewable resources, which means that the raw plant materials are harvested within ten years of planting.
  • Installing a wood floor which has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is another way to earn LEED points for a building project, because wood which has been certified comes from manufacturers who harvest their wood products in an environmentally sustainable way.
  • A wood floor which is made from salvaged or recycled wood can also earn a project LEED points, especially if the salvaged wood has come from a local regional source, which is considered a location within a 500 mile radius of the building project.
  • Carpeting made from recycled content is eligible for LEED points, as is low-VOC carpet adhesive, because it does not off-gas toxic fumes which can effect indoor air quality.

While some people will strive for a LEED certification for their building project because of available tax incentives or good press and sales marketability, others work within the LEED rating system simply because it is the right thing to do. Traditional construction methods and materials are often damaging to the environment and sometimes even unhealthy for the building inhabitants. The increased awareness of building sustainability has been caused by both consumer demand and industry leadership, and all market indications show that this trend will continue well into the future.

About the Author
Michael Hilton was the original creator of Carpet Buyers Handbook. Having owned and operated a carpet wholesale company, Hilton has a vast knowledge about all-things carpet related as well as other types of flooring.

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