Tired of seeing granite in every home? Want something a little different? Interested in bamboo or cork flooring? Can’t decide? Why not try Corboo-a bamboo and cork combo. Check out the Columbus source for green products –greenovate
following taken from Columbus Monthly
For kitchen and bath
Greenovate claims to be Ohio’s leading supplier of green building materials, serving both residential and commercial customers. Owner Tyler Steele says there are a lot of environmentally friendly—and beautiful—options available for homeowners.
“A popular option we’re seeing is recycled glass countertops,” says Steele. “We’ve been working with a number of manufacturers of these.”
The countertops are made by mixing glass with concrete. “At the end of the curing process, they are all custom made for the needed kitchen space and the surfaces are ground down,” Steele says.
Because the countertops often are locally made, the customer can contribute to the construction. “The homeowner can provide their own beer bottles,” Steele says. They also can add other personal touches, like their children’s handprints, in the concrete.
“These days, in a world of granite being standard, we see a lot of folks that are interested in making more of a personal statement in their home and this is a great way to do that and create a durable, long-lasting surface,” Steele says.
When it comes to eco-friendly flooring, the two most popular options are bamboo and cork, Steele says.
A popular bamboo floor made by EcoTimber recently received high marks from Consumer Reports when it was compared to all prefinished flooring—not just green flooring, Steele notes. It’s made with fibrous bamboo that been compressed and prefinished.
“This one particular line of flooring has incredible durability,” Steele says. “And it comes in good price points.”
Cork flooring is actually made from the same material as cork stoppers for wine bottles, according to John Woods, hard surface buyer at Levi’s 4 Floors. “The wine stop would take the premium part of the cork and what’s left over would get ground up and manufactured into flooring,” he says.
Like bamboo, cork is highly renewable. In recent years, it’s been gaining in popularity, but cork as a flooring option actually has been around a long time.
In fact, Woods says that part of its appeal is its longevity. He notes that cork flooring installed in the main building of the Mayo Clinic in 1912 is still in use today, as is cork flooring installed in the Toledo Museum of Art in 1931.
If you’re having a hard time choosing between bamboo and cork, you soon will be able to pick both. Woods says that Levi’s 4 Floors likely will start carrying Corboo (cork plus bamboo) within the next few months.
Meanwhile, various floor coverings made from natural fibers are growing in popularity. Carpets made of jute, sisal and seagrass are among those found on the market today. Another choice that’s becoming more abundant includes rugs created from recycled plastic.
But for those who prefer a softer feel under foot, Steele says that wool is making something of a comeback as a green option. Greenovate has wool carpets available as both rugs and wall-to-wall. Wool was a popular floor covering in the 1930s and 1940s before inexpensive synthetic carpets mostly replaced them.
“What we’re seeing are folks looking for more natural materials, and one of the easiest ways to make it more natural is to incorporate a wool carpet in your space,” Steele says. “These wool carpets are sustainably created.”
Another old-school flooring that is gaining interest is linoleum. Linoleum is made from renewable, natural materials like solidified linseed oil and pine rosin. It largely has been replaced in modern home construction with flooring made of synthetic materials. “These things are coming back in vogue,” Steele says.
Around the house
When it comes to green furniture, many manufacturers are offering more environmentally friendly choices.
Carolyn Mann, at McVay’s Ethan Allen, says the furniture store offers several products that involve all natural fibers. The company also is moving away from stains that contain toxic chemicals.
“There are water-based stains that we’re putting on more and more of our [furniture] and, within a year, we’re hoping that all our finishes will be water-based stains,” she says.
Piras says that while making choices about furnishings, consumers should think about their longevity as well as their materials. She notes that antiques are the original “recycled items.”
Buy things that last, she says. “You should be trying to buy the highest quality that you can afford and get the best products,” she adds. “Good design lasts a lifetime.”
But, be alert. Knowing what’s green isn’t always easy. Environmentalists use the term “greenwashing” to describe businesses or products that tout themselves as green without truly adopting green practices. Sometimes greenwashing is deliberate; other times it may simply be an ignorance about what makes something environmentally friendly.
Some designers confuse the terms “natural” and “green,” Piras says. Cotton, for example, is natural, but often is very costly environmentally because of farming techniques used to grow it.
Many synthetic fibers may not seem green, but they might be made from recycled material. And, again, durability also is an environmental issue. “You have to weigh those things because [a product] may have ‘green’ roots, but if it wears out in five years, rather than ten years, then it’s not so green,” Piras says. “Because then there’s one more thing in the landfill.”
This story appeared in the October 2009 issue of Columbus Monthly Homes.