There are a multitude of reasons why installing energy-efficient flooring is more than viable, and saving money is only one of them. However, there are many options to choose from, and not only in terms of material. What better way to protect our environment than by opting for comfort and something that will definitely pay off in the long run? Here are some ideas to get you started.
This trend has been around for quite some time now, but the main difference is that nowadays it is no longer a luxury of the richest. As a matter of fact, floor heating can turn out very energy efficient, especially if you opt for radiant floor heating. How does this technology differ from the typical forced-air and baseboard heating? Well, duct losses account for a ton of wasted energy and the mentioned radiant floor heating completely eliminates this detriment.
As for the downsides of this phenomenal piece of technology, it hugely depends on the floor material. Here’s an example: wood is an insulator, it doesn’t let heat pass through; ceramic tiles, natural stone and laminate, however, can fit the radiant floor heating solution perfectly.
While floor heating can be an awesome solution for laminate, natural stone and ceramic surfaces, wooden materials still account for the majority of households. A sustainable timber floor alternative, bamboo shares similar characteristics with hardwood, while being more durable, widely available, easy-to-install and, quite frankly, gorgeous! It is also light, convenient and offers a wide variety of shades and colors to perfectly match your décor!
You may wonder what it is exactly that makes this flooring trend sustainable. Quite simply, bamboo grows very fast – it reaches full maturity in five years at most!
Despite the fact that bamboo is essentially a durable, more available alternative to hardwood, sustainability is reflected in more than market availability. First of all, hardwood is significantly more energy efficient than bamboo. Why? Well, hardwood floors are perfect insulators; install them properly and this flooring option will retain the hot/cold air inside during winter/summer, which plays a key role in decreasing electricity usage.
Hardwood enables you to go even more out of your way to properly insulate your home; for example, some options include pre-installed foam base, which is an excellent vapor barrier.
While bamboo may be incredibly sustainable and gorgeous on sight, cork is definitely its worthy competitor. Firstly, cork has great acoustic and thermal qualities and is fire-resistant, insect-resistant and hypoallergenic. Stable and renewable, cork has an insulating R-value of 1.125 to brag about, and there’s a solid explanation for this – it tends to have 60 to 100 million cells per cubic inch that essentially act as air pockets. What does this mean? Well, these cells put cork at the top of the non-conductor list in terms of heat!
There’s more to carpeting than floor-protective and decorative purposes. For example, opt for those made out of wool and you’ll have an even more insulated home! One of the main benefits here: they can be easily moved for potential plumbing/cleaning needs. Practical, warm and stylish, carpeting is an excellent addition to your home that both decorates and protects your flooring. There are many Australian experts in flooring installation in Sydney who also offer carpeting services – this is the best option.
In addition to being a perfect match for radiant floor heating, natural stone also has insulating properties; although, of course, nowhere near those that hardwood offers. So, here’s how natural stone helps retain heat/cold: it warms up/cools down and radiates heat/cool air for extended time periods. Best used in areas that are subject to varying climates, natural stone is an excellent option for bathrooms.
Bear in mind that all of the mentioned flooring solutions only insulate – even wool carpeting cannot generate heat. This is why you should start with radiant floor heating and only then pick your flooring material in accordance with your comfort and aesthetical needs and preferences. This being said, all of the mentioned options are eco-friendly, but can be combined into an ultimate sustainable combo!
Guest post by Carolin Petterson
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