ILLUSTRATION: MARK FISHER
What options do I have when it comes to selecting Green exhibit flooring?
If you're like many people, the first thing you think of when you hear "Green flooring" is a surface made from natural, renewable products like wood, bamboo, cork, sea grass, and sisal. These options certainly can be used to create a beautiful, upscale look, and natural products are more available and convenient than ever. In fact, several products meet some of the more stringent trade show requirements (e.g., portability, durability, and ease of assembly), such as BruCork Renewable Cork Flooring and Titan Raised Floor.
Aside from these traditional product options, flooring also qualifies as Green if it is made from recycled or recyclable materials. Many standard flooring products are now available with these options, including carpet manufactured from recyclable plastic bottles and tiles made from recycled rubber or woven vinyl with recycled content. Plus, some carpet padding even comprises reused mattress parts and previously used carpet.
Another way to go Green is with sustainable products, which generally include those that are long lasting or reusable and have a minimal long-term impact on the environment. Sustainable flooring can be made from natural, recycled, or recyclable materials. But other considerations, such as how a product is manufactured, whether it emits potentially hazardous chemicals, and whether it is installed without the use of toxic adhesives, also factor into determining if a product is considered sustainable and doesn't harm the environment.
Bottom line: If you're looking for Green flooring products, you can go natural or renewable, recycled or recyclable, and/or sustainable or reuseable. Today, there are tons of products available from most flooring suppliers, so it's up to you to find one that fits your objectives and budget.
But if you want to be just a little bit radical and super Green, you could forego flooring altogether and use the venue's concrete as your "carpet." I've seen some exhibitors simply polish the concrete under their exhibit spaces while others have adorned the surface with floor-attached vinyl graphics. Also consider using various colors of tape to mark off product areas within your booth, communicate messages, and direct traffic. Granted, the no-flooring concept isn't appropriate for every industry, but it can certainly provide an eco-friendly and somewhat industrial vibe to your booth.
— David Walens, president, Brumark Total Flooring Solutions, an Exploring Inc. company, Atlanta