A study conducted by Swedish researchers, which compared the impacts of linoleum, vinyl and untreated hardwood floor coverings, concluded that wood flooring is the most environmentally friendly, among other things, since linoleum and vinyl require the most inputs. According to the study’s authors, wood coverings produce fewer emissions into the air and water, use less energy and generate less waste than coverings made of linoleum and vinyl.
A German study on four types of wood floor highlighted the fact that these floors have “significantly less” impacts (by factors of 5 to 50) than all other products on the local market when it comes to global warming, acidification and eutrophication of watercourses, photo-oxidant formation and ozone depletion.
Lastly, two other studies conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin in collaboration with the Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Material (CORRIM) reached similar conclusions. They pointed out that wood is a “desirable” floor covering with respect to the environment due to lower emissions into the air than other coverings, along with lower water consumption and lesser use of primary energy. They also emphasized the durability of floors. “The shorter service life [of other coverings] means that they will have to be replaced more often, and that supposes new environmental impacts,” reported the researchers, who also focused on “desirable” end-of-life scenarios for wood from floors, and also on the renewable nature of the resource and net carbon balance of the material.
(Source: The many virtues of hardwoods)