Green Building Guide

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1007208_mat_textureWhatever the material, floors have a huge impact on indoor air quality, the look and feel of a home, as well as its environmental performance.


There is a wide variety of flooring materials available that vary in their health and environmental impacts on your home. When choosing flooring there are a number of areas you need to consider:


Embodied energy

The amount of energy consumed by all processes associated with the production of a material. Embodied energy is measured from the mining, harvesting or manufacturing of a material through to its transportation. While estimates on embodied energy vary, generally the more highly processed a material is, the higher its embodied energy. For example, timber is lower than plastic.


Life-cycle assessment

Life-cycle assessment measures the total environmental impact of a material. This means following it through every step of its life; from obtaining raw materials all the way through the manufacture, transportation, installation in a home, and finally disposal or recycling.


Reduce, reuse, recycle

Construction waste contributes up to 40% of rubbish that goes to landfill each year in Australia. There are a number of things you can do to prevent waste: use only as much material as you need, reuse existing buildings and materials where possible, and choose materials that can be recycled at the end of their useful life.


Indoor air quality

The air within a home can be more polluted than the outdoor air. Unhealthy indoor air can cause health problems such as headache, fatigue, coughing, sneezing and eye, nose, throat and skin irritation. Indoor air pollution can be caused by synthetic building materials, finishes and furnishings, the use of household cleaners and the presence of insects, pests, moulds and other fungi.


Passive solar design

You need to consider your climate when selecting floor material. Choosing a suitable material for your climate will increase the comfort of your home, lower your building costs and reduce the overall environmental impact.

Listed suppliers are a guide and are not endorsed by Green Cross Australia or the Alternative Technology Association.

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