How to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle

Living a more sustainable lifestyle starts at home. Bamboo floors and panels can be a part of that process.

In today's more eco-centric world, the word "sustainability" gets thrown around a lot. But what does it mean?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, sustainability is a basic principle meaning, "Everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. Sustainability creates and maintains the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations."

Applying the principle of sustainability
Even without a definition from a government agency, most people can come up with their own relatively similar understanding of sustainability. The problem is figuring out how to apply it to everyday life.

Sustainability requires more than just recycling and turning off the lights when you leave a room. To truly practice it, you have to make a conscious effort to utilize sustainable practices as often as you can in every facet of your life. That means thinking about it when you go to the grocery store, buy clothes and consider renovations to your home.

Sustainability in the home
Since your home is probably where you spend most of your time, it affords you the greatest opportunity to practice sustainability. Conserving energy by switching to LED light bulbs, turning thermostats down in the winter and up in the summer, and avoiding the use of appliances like dishwashers and microwaves whenever possible are just a few steps you can take.

But sustainability also extends to the way you design your home in the first place. Using products that are less harmful to the environment, like bamboo flooring, bamboo panels and bamboo plywood, provide significant sustainability advantages over traditional wood, and can be a major step toward leading a more ecologically productive lifestyle.

Using bamboo products to live a more sustainable lifestyle
With the ability to naturally regenerate on an annual basis, bamboo doesn't have many of the dangerous deforestation effects Dr. Seuss warned us all about in The Lorax. Nor does it use the kinds of pesticides, fertilizer or erosion-causing artificial irrigation techniques that go into growing many other materials.

Bamboo also helps avoid erosion with its rhizome root structure that holds loose soil in place. The climate change benefits are also stunning, as bamboo forests can capture up to 70 percent more carbon per year than their hardwood counterparts.

Certain bamboo products, like Plyboo, from Smith & Fong, even eliminate formaldehyde from the adhesive process, leading to better indoor air quality.

Living a more sustainable lifestyle is a matter of awareness and effort. Fortunately, new products are becoming available every day that make that goal more attainable.