Sustainable construction materials are becoming more widely developed and produced.  While this is great for the industry these new materials and products for sustainable renovations and new construction must be assessed by consumers and contractors on many different levels.  The problem with the advancing market is that companies start producing items that appeal to green consumers because they merely have to in order to stay in business.  But are these green building products and materials really sustainable?

Truly unique sustainable materials and products are produced locally by companies that are founded on environmentally sound principles.  For example, it is not sustainable to buy bamboo flooring that is manufactured in china, loaded with high VOC epoxy resin and shipped half way around the world.   Bamboo flooring is a sustainable material because it is durable, and grows rapidly in abundance, but supporting a company that harms the earth in such a manner does more harm than good. 

So how does a consumer decide which sustainable renovation materials to choose?

When choosing sustainable materials, spend a good amount of time researching the companies that are producing and providing the products.  As a consumer you can only account for a small percentage of trees that are cut down for your cabinets or flooring.  So mathematically, buying 100 square feet of Brazilian Maple hardwood flooring is negligible when it comes to destroying the rainforest.  And besides, the trees used to make that hardwood flooring have already been cut down when you place your order.  However, by supporting the company you have now given them more money to go out and cut more trees down.  

Remaining on the topic of sustainable flooring, consumers can look for reliable certifications that label certain companies and products that are sustainable.  The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a respected certification service that identifies wood products that come from controlled sources, usually companies that farm their trees, growing as many as they cut down.  One particular type of wood flooring that consistently gets FSC certified is engineered wood flooring.  This flooring is made using a thin lam wood on top of multiple layers of ply.  It dramatically reduces the amount of trees needed to achieve a desired aesthetic in your home and is also very durable,

To summarize, search for sustainable materials and products that not only bring a sustainable asset to your home, but also support sustainable businesses that are caring for the environment in the same way; not just trying to pull in green consumers’ money.