Green Influencers: USFloors
USFloors is a flooring manufacturer and distributor based in Dalton, Georgia. It is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and is the only supplier of cork and bamboo flooring with manufacturing facilities in the United States. The company recently applied for LEED certification for its manufacturing plant. Gary Keeble is its product marketing manager and Mark Brunelle serves as national sales manager for USF contract commercial.
Interior Design: What are some of the things that USFloors does to stay green in its manufacturing?
GK: As an importer manufacturer we have a two-step factory where we can do plank milling, staining, and finishing. We are very conscience of indoor air quality and we received GREENGUARD GOLD Indoor Air Quality Certification for our finishes for our cork, bamboo, and COREtec Plus vinyl flooring. We’ve also made significant investments in solar power, and collect more than half a megawatt of solar energy at our facilities. This helps offset some of our carbon footprint.
MB: We also reuse our stains and finishes, so nothing goes into our wastewater. We sell our dust and wood chips to other companies to convert to fuel.
ID: USFloors uses bamboo and cork in its flooring. What makes them so sustainable?
GK: By definition they’re rapidly renewable products and can be harvested in a 10-year cycle. Our bamboo is harvested every five-and-a-half to six years. When you cut down a stand of bamboo, multiple stands will regenerate in its place. Cork is from the bark of tree and is peeled every nine to 10 years. A single tree can produce for more than 250 years.
ID: USFloors is the only supplier of cork and bamboo flooring with manufacturing facilities in the country. With green living becoming so popular, why do you think more companies haven’t followed suit?
GK: It’s typically a costly enterprise. We don’t do everything at our facility, we usually do things that are more custom and specialized. It’s turned out to be a worthwhile enterprise for us, and differentiates us from any other cork or bamboo supplier.
MB: We’re not new to market either, we’ve been here in the states for many years. We are able to integrate our experience plus our sourcing into our work.
ID: How has sustainability changed the industry since USFloors was founded in 2001?
GK: It’s much more accepted, particularly bamboo, as a legitimate flooring type, and there’s a growing acceptance for cork. We’re educating consumers about the benefits of cork and that it’s not just for bulletin boards, and that there’s a lot of distinct styling to it. Some of our cork products have a similar look to hard wood and ceramic tile. I think there’s a desire to do more green product work in the industry.