Get Green with Style Blog

Definition and Product of the Week 05.15.2010

Courtesy of Wicanders Cork Flooring

by Hilary Sopata

Each Saturday, we post a definition and a product of the week so that you can learn more about going green and what makes particular products green. This week, we’ll define what is EMBODIED ENERGY and the product of the week is WICANDERS CORK FLOORING.

Definition: EMBODIED ENERGY (in our own words)

How much energy does it take to make an aluminum can vs. a plastic bottle?  These items affect many people every day.  According to Pablo Paster on, aluminum takes more energy than plastic.  We’re talking about embodied energy here which means to mine, manufacture, transport, store, use, and discard.  Hopefully, you’ll recycle, but according to William McDonough and Michael Braungart in Cradle to Cradle, the tops of aluminum cans are made of a different material than the bodies so recycling them reduces the quality lessened so they can’t be made into cans again.  They call this downcycling.  I’m thinking we go back to the days of glass bottles.  Glass has lower embodied energy, and the manufacturers use the bottles over and over again.  Yes, there are still companies that do this.  The Double Cola Company produces an all-natural soda (pop) called Ski.  In the meantime, drink filtered tap water!


Cork flooring is fantastic, and this is the best choice in my opinion.  Cork grows on trees around the Mediterranean Sea that are in the oak family but are also evergreen.  When cork is harvested, the tree is not hurt so it keeps growing more cork.  (Look at the picture above of a harvested tree.)  This is better than hardwoods or bamboo because the tree still lives!  Cork does not grow everywhere, though, so it does have to be transported.  In this case it is best to transport the raw materials to a factory local to where the product will be installed.  Cork flooring is maintained like wood.  It has a little more give to it making it great for the kitchens of people who love to cook since they’re on their feet a lot.

For more information about ordering this product or any of the products mentioned on our blog, contact Interior Visions Designs at 847.825.0450.

Wicanders Website: 
Interview with Susan Olson, Sustainable Flooring Systems,


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