For many people the end of winter signals the start of allergy season. Spring and summer allergies affect almost 25% of the U.S. population according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, contributing to lost time from work and school, increased medical bills for doctor visits and allergy medications, and generally decreasing quality of life. With allergies on the rise, many scientific studies have concluded that the general decrease in the nation’s air quality is a big contributor to the problem.
Wood flooring can actually improve air quality on two fronts: outside in the environment and in your home. Emissions from materials directly impact the quality of air both indoors and out. In a recent study, the University of Wisconsin conducted a Life Cycle Analysis of solid wood flooring to compare the four major harmful emissions that can be attributed to wood: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen oxide and particulates. All of these are elements identified as contributing to Global Warming as well as in illnesses of the respiratory system. The results showed that wood had minimal emissions of carbon dioxide and zero emissions for the other three factors.
In addition, manufacturing processes to make a wood floor require fewer chemicals and use less energy than artificial flooring materials. In addition, most plastics are derived from petroleum, putting even more strain on the environment.
By its nature, wood is a carbon neutral product. The same University of Wisconsin Wood Products Program study mentioned above shows that trees produce oxygen during their growth cycle and actually store carbon dioxide during its service life. Wood can also end its useful life as fuel by burning or can be recycled. New programs are being developed to re-purpose the salvageable parts of wood products into smaller items, further extending the life of the product.
Unlike carpeting, wood flooring has nowhere for allergens, dust, particulates, animal dander, mold, microorganisms or other allergy triggers to hide. Wood flooring is also less likely to trap odors such as tobacco smoke, pets and food. The smooth surface of a wood floor is easily mopped and cleaned helping to keep the indoor air quality at its highest level.
If the thought of the approaching allergy season has you dreading the warm weather, consider allergy-proofing your home with beautiful new wood floors. Sequoia can provide an in-home consultation to bring the health benefits of wood flooring to you, your family and the world around you.