home remodeling contractors

Wood Flooring Goes Green

denver green remodelingDenver remodeling has gone green. Environmentally conscience consumers are driving builders and home product manufacturers to emphasize environmental responsibility. Even products like hardwood flooring - that might not seem to lend themselves to a “green” lifestyle – are getting an environment-friendly makeover.

“For some people, it’s understandably hard to imagine how you can cut down an old growth pine or hardwood tree, turn it into a beautiful floor and still feel you’re doing your part to protect the environment,” says Don Carlisle, owner and president of Carlisle Wide Plank Floors. “It’s only possible if the wood is harvested from a forest managed according to sustainable forestry practices.”

“That means carefully assessing the age and growth pattern of a tree before deciding whether or not to harvest it,” he says. “If the decision is made to harvest, then the sawyers must consider how to do that without causing trauma to surrounding trees or negatively affecting the area’s wildlife.”

Carlisle, whose family-owned business has been practicing sustainable harvesting for more than 40 years, says builders are discovering that environmentally conscious products also make good business sense. “Wood is an endlessly renewable resource if we take care of our forests,” he says. Harvesting trees that have reached maturity and begun the decline in their life cycles helps maintain the overall health of the forest. Declining trees continue to draw resources from the eco-system, resources needed for new growth to survive. Responsibly harvesting older timber allows new growth the opportunity to thrive.

Reclaiming used wood from old buildings is also recognized as a green building practice. “We also recycle old wood from buildings slated for demolition,” says Carlisle. The reclaiming process gives builders access to some rare, high quality antique wood, takes the wood out of the waste stream and often preserves a piece of a historic building that cannot be saved otherwise.

Beautiful, rare antique woods like chestnut, pine and hemlock are often found in old buildings, factories, farmhouses and barns. Carlisle, recognized as a leader in reclaiming wood by the 2004 National Floor Trends Magazine Market Study, salvages old wood piece by piece from old buildings. Wood used in nearly every part of a structure – from roof beams to barn doors – can then be turned into beautiful, durable flooring. “Reclaimed wood has a singular beauty and depth of character,” says Carlisle. “Putting it in your home is like taking part in a piece of American history.”

Reducing waste and pollution are also key concerns for green building practices. Manufacturing processes are becoming more refined to minimize discarded materials and by-products. Carlisle has also been pro-active in reducing the level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in its finishes. The practice makes business sense as well, enabling the company to ship its wood to every state in the country because the product complies with every state’s regulations on VOC levels.

“It’s important for everyone to take proper forestry management and the use of reclaimed wood very seriously,” Carlisle says. “You have to have the fundamental belief that we can live in harmony with the proper use of our resources. Then you can feel very comfortable using these resources in products for your home.”

By: Michael Sinclair

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To learn more about Carlisle Wide Plank Floors and green building practices, call (800) 595-9663 or visit the Web site at www.wideplankflooring.com. - ARA.

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