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Striving towards a CO2 neutral future

AS the nation works towards a net zero future, Mark Bauer explains how contractors can contribute to reducing carbon emissions on their projects and why Marmoleum is the sustainable floorcovering of choice.

The building sector is a huge contributor to global carbon dioxide emissions; not only due to operational energy consumption, but also as a result of embodied and upfront carbon. If global climate action targets are to be met, de-carbonisation of the building sector will need to intensify over the coming years. This will require a conscious effort and commitment from all stakeholders, including flooring manufacturers as well as contractors, who are choosing and installing the products.

When it comes to producing certain flooring types, such as carpet, PVC, rubber, along with many PVC-free options, the manufacturing process of these all generate CO2 at each stage of the product’s life cycle: from raw material extraction and manufacturing to transport, usage, cleaning, and end-of-life disposal.

For the most part, these products contain no natural ingredients. As a result, manufacturers are continuing to look for new ways to minimise environmental impact and optimise carbon footprint limitation in their products and processes wherever possible. This in turn, provides contractors with more options to make responsible choices.

Indeed, the path to a real carbon neutral building is made from natural raw materials, not plastic. Forbo’s own brand of linoleum, Marmoleum, is one of the most sustainable floorcoverings on the market. Made from 97% natural raw materials, including flax, jute and linseed oil, which are grown and harvested annually, as well as wood flour and pine rosin that are sourced from sustainably managed forestry plantations.

In fact, 62% of the natural ingredients are renewable, of which 29% are rapidly renewable, meaning they will grow back within one year. Marmoleum also boasts 43% reused and recycled content to reduce the demand for virgin raw materials.

To help with informed decision-making, contractors should look out for products that hold independent, third-party verification. An environmental product declaration (EPD) for example, is a helpful tool for comparing the environmental credentials of one product over another. An EPD communicates transparent and comparable information about the lifecycle environmental impact of products, based on a product lifecycle assessment (LCA).

A standard LCA will assess five stages: production (including raw material extraction), transportation, installation, use and end-of-life. In fact, the carbon neutrality of Marmoleum (from cradle to gate without offsetting) is confirmed by an independent EPD, which shows that the C02 removed from the atmosphere during the growing of its natural ingredients balances out the C02 produced in the extraction, transportation, and manufacturing processes. This means that, for example, using Marmoleum on a 10,000sq m project could equate to a 66,200kg/C02 saving when compared to a PVC vinyl floor.

From how they are made to how they perform, choosing floorcoverings with the lowest possible impact on the environment should be a key priority. As the country strives towards achieving net-zero over the next 30 years, Marmoleum combines ecological values with contemporary design and offers an important contribution to a sustainable world.

Forbo is offering a free Marmoleum Taster Box which includes samples and information about the collection, as well as a Sprout Pencil – a pencil which can be used as normal and then potted to grow a plant! To find out more visit: https://www.forbo.com/flooring/en-uk/marmoleum/free-sample/sample-package/pl749w
Mark Bauer is environment specialist, Forbo Flooring Systems

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