By Hugo Lara, RA-Cert, Client Care & Communications Associate
Earth Friendly floors
Earth Day is one day each year that people are asked to reflect on how they impact the planet, but we can celebrate Earth Day every day, and invite its values into one of the most overlooked places in our lives– the very floors we stand on. Whether for homes, athletic courts, or office buildings, the economic impact of flooring is difficult to deny with a global market worth of over 20 billion USD in 2016 and projected growth of 30 billion by 2020. The choices of flooring by individuals, institutions and businesses make a difference, and can have a meaningful impact on people and the environment.
One easy way to be confident in flooring (or any wood product) is to look for the Forest Stewardship Council®(FSC® )Certified seal. The Rainforest Alliance is one of the founders of FSC and continues to be a leading auditor for companies seeking FSC Certification. Among the companies offering sustainably sourced FSC Certified flooring are these three based in the US: The Hudson Company, Robbins, and Connor Sports. They provide sustainably sourced wood floors for stadiums, colleges, museums, restaurants, hotels and homes, demonstrating that beauty, functionality, and sustainability need not be mutually exclusive.
Robbins has been FSC chain-of-custody certified by the Rainforest Alliance to offer sustainably harvested hardwoods since 2012. Robbins certified hardwood is also verified and listed by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) High Performance Product Database. In business for over 100 years, they are a premier supplier of high performance hardwood flooring systems to the performing arts, education, religious, sports, and fitness markets.
Their wood sprung floors for performance can be seen in theaters, dance studios, auditoriums and arenas, including several NBA practice courts, According to Robbins, “In more than 65 nations on six continents, performers and athletes compete and practice on millions of square meters of Robbins’ flooring.”
Works of Art
Founded in 1995, The Hudson Company is a vertically integrated, FSC® Certified custom mill specializing in locally harvested and reclaimed wood flooring, paneling, and beams. The Hudson Company’s wood products are handmade and custom milled in New York’s Hudson Valley. Their projects have a premium, handcrafted quality and detail due to their team of craftspeople with decades of specialized experience
As they describe it, “Whether we are helping outdoor brand Patagonia create their Manhattan retail spaces, collaborating on private residences in Upstate New York, or partnering with Renzo Piano’s new Whitney Museum of American Art, all of our work is rooted in the belief that reclaimed pieces of our architectural heritage can bring richness and depth to modern design.”
Founded in 1872, Connor Sports, a Gerflor company, is considered the US market leader in portable and permanent wood sports flooring systems. Connor Sports operates from an FSC® Certified lumber mill in Amasa, Michigan, producing a wide range of flooring products. They were the first flooring company to provide FSC certified sports flooring back in 1996 and are the charter member of the Maple Flooring Manufacturer’s Association (MFMA) group certified by the Rainforest Alliance. Connor Sports has built maple hardwood courts for 14 NBA teams and countless NCAA universities and schools, with products for every level of competition. Connor Sports has also brought sustainable flooring to some of the most viewed athletic floors, including the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, and the RIO 2016 basketball courts, and is currently the Official Court of the NCAA Final Four® basketball tournament.
According to the company, “all Connor Sports products are manufactured with the goal of minimizing the environmental impact at every state of the product’s life. We have completed life cycle analysis on harvesting, manufacturing, installation, and maintenance and product removal.” Their dedication has led them to seek an Underwriter Laboratory EPD certification for full-life cycle assessment which helps institutions and universities earn credits for the LEED standard.
With our forests under increasing threat, it is important that these flooring industry leaders are demonstrating the positive impact that a seemingly simple product can have on the economy, the environment and our everyday lives. Flooring sets the stage for memorable events and every day activities, and by choosing FSC certified floors from companies like these three, institutions and individuals are supporting the responsible flooring industry and reducing environmental impact of the floors beneath our feet.