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Sustainable buildings have laminate floors

4 October 2012

Protecting the environment, curbing energy consumption and recycling used materials: ecological aspects in the construction industry are gaining in importance for many private individuals, architects and public bodies. Sustainable construction is very popular and the European laminate flooring industry, under the umbrella of the EPLF, is playing a key role in this trend. Laminate flooring has good green credentials, as is proven in specific environmental product declarations (EPD), which makes it the preferred choice of flooring and explains why it is increasingly being used in sustainable homes.


But what makes laminate flooring environmentally-friendly and sustainable? What makes it so green? The materials used to make laminate flooring have a minimal impact on global resources and energy consumption for production and logistics has to be low. The product is made exclusively from wood sourced from sustainably managed domestic forests. The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) or PEFC (Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification) seals are evidence of this. Decorative finishes are printed on certified paper with a high proportion of recycled material and natural water-based inks. Eco-friendly resins are used as the binder. Packaging is made from recycled paper.

Given the fact that almost 40% of CO2 emissions come from buildings (construction, use, maintenance, modernisation and demolition), sustainable housebuilding is very important. The choice of environmentally-sound construction products such as insulation, paint or flooring has a great impact on all phases of a building's life cycle. Thanks to its high wood content, laminate flooring scores well in terms of using renewable resources and greenhouse potential in particular, because wood produces CO2, a greenhouse gas, during plant growth. All details of green issues of relevance to architects are provided in the environmental product declaration (EPD) for construction products. This declaration calculates a total figure and provides a well-founded assessment of a building's sustainability.

In the USA and many Western European countries, there are already certification systems for sustainable building. In Germany, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für nachhaltiges Bauen e.V (DGNB) launched a quality seal for sustainable building in July 2010. It is awarded in gold, silver and bronze.

EPLF is committed to sustainable building and was one of the first organisations in the flooring industry to call for environmental product declarations for laminate flooring. The EPLF has been a member of the Institut Bauen und Umwelt e.V. (IBU) since 2009. This body is made up of more than 80 international companies, service providers and organisations from Germany and the rest of Europe. The industry is fully aware of its responsibility to the environment and buyers of laminate flooring. "Green flooring" is the order of the day.

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