Home » Blog » Green Flooring: Sustainable & Environmentally Friendly Flooring Options

Green Flooring: Sustainable & Environmentally Friendly Flooring Options

While LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) started out as a rating system for sustainable new construction, over the past nearly two decades, it has grown to now encompass nearly all types of building projects and is the most widely used green rating system in the world. The benefits to building owners of having U.S. Green Building Council LEED certification can range from tax rebates and zoning allowances, to better public image and higher shareholder satisfaction. Because of this, owners and managers are opting more and more for products and systems that can contribute to their facilities’ LEED credits and certification.

Museum visitor exploring the beautiful graphic with FloroPoxy 4805 topcoats installed by Aplika of Ecuador.

Virtually every aspect of a building’s construction—from design to materials—now has sustainable options, and flooring is no exception.

Why Polymer Flooring Options Are a Sustainable Choice

Virtually No Product Waste During Installation

Sheet goods, plank systems, tile or any product that must be cut to fit inevitably leaves unused and unusable scraps. Not only is this a matter of wasted materials, but these materials must be disposed of properly in accordance with local ordinances. Transporting these materials to the landfill adds to the cost of installation, since most locations now impose a variety of fees when accepting construction waste.

Fluid-applied polymer floor coatings, on the other hand, are mixed in the quantities needed for application onto each floor space. There is no cut off waste or factory finished product being sent to the landfill.

Sustainable Concrete Flooring and Long Lifespan

Epoxies and other fluid-applied floor resins, when produced by quality manufacturers and properly installed, demonstrate proven durability and can last for years—even decades—longer than many other types of flooring. With their extended replacement cycles, polymer coated concrete flooring can help reduce the use of resources, in terms of materials and energy, required to keep facility traffic surfaces in good repair.

Additional benefits to sustainable concrete floor coating use include the following:

  • Unlike many other flooring types that require complete removal prior to installation of a new floor surface, polymer floor coatings can often be applied over existing, well bonded and compatible systems.
  • If, down the road, a building owner decides to veer from coatings toward another type of flooring altogether (certainly not something we recommend!), the existing coating can usually stay in place underneath the new materials. This, again, saves time, money and resources.
  • Seamless and virtually impermeable, these systems protect the concrete substrate, which reduces the need to repair or replace the slab. Again, this provides a savings in the materials, energy—and cost—required to repair, remove, replace and dispose of the existing substrate.
  • In many cases, polymer floor coating systems can be used to restore and resurface damaged concrete substrates. Rather than having to destroy certain slabs with badly deteriorated surfaces, thus sending them either to a landfill or to an energy-consuming concrete recycler, installation of well-selected fluid applied flooring can often extend the usable life of the slab for many years to come.

Sustainable Flooring Can Contribute to LEED Green Building Credits

There are several areas in which the right polymer floor coating products can contribute to LEED Green Building credits. Under the category of Materials and Resources, a variety of topics are covered, such as Building Reuse, Construction Waste Management, Recycled Content and Regional Materials:

  • Building Reuse and Construction – This relates to the rehabilitation of older buildings, and the ability to maintain all or part of existing construction. The credits potentially available are MR 1.1 and/or MR1.2.
  • Waste Management – This encompasses diverting the building materials from a landfill, including packaging materials. The credit available is MR 2.1.
  • Recycled Content – There are eco-friendly resinous flooring components that have as much as 25% to 30% recycled content. The credit available is MR 4.1.
  • Regional Materials – If materials are purchased with a certain radius of the construction or renovation site, they are considered “regional” and eligible for LEED credits by reducing transport of the materials. The credits available are MR 5.1 and/or 5.2.

Within the category of Environmental Quality, Low Emitting Materials such as zero and very low V.O.C. products can contribute to good Indoor Air Quality or IAQ. For example, the use of 100% solids, solvent free epoxy flooring is often eligible for earning the LEED credit EQ 4.2.

Other Environmental Benefits of Polymers

  • Glossy, light colored coatings on floors can be highly reflective of overhead fixtures and can greatly increase room illumination within a space, while lessening the lighting energy consumption.
  • No waxing/stripping, polishes or harsh chemical detergents are required for cleaning.

Why Choose Florock for Your Green Flooring Options

We offer a complete range of environmentally friendly flooring products. In fact, all of our systems contain only extremely low to zero VOCs, so they are all qualified as “low-emitting materials.” Additionally, they comply with all federal regulations, as well as virtually all local EPS regulations. Call us today and let us help you select the system that will best meet your requirements and budget, as well as your customers’ and shareholders’ expectations for sustainability.