Increasing resource efficiency in the Swedish flooring industry through floor refinishing

Lengthening the service lifetime of products before being disposed could be an effective solution in achieving reduced impact on climate change and improved resource use. In the flooring industry, floor refinishing has been part of the business model for a long time. But floor owners and other stakeholders in the industry do not always recognize that floor refinishing is a viable alternative to installing new flooring. This results in that flooring, which technically can be refinished for continued use, is often disposed and replaced by new flooring. If the share of refinished flooring is increased, the impact on climate change and resource use is expected to be significantly improved.

The purpose of this project was primarily to generate information for stakeholders in the flooring industry about resource efficiency and the impact on climate change as a result of floor refinishing in Sweden. In addition, the aim was to identify barriers which prevent floor refinishing and propose potential actions for the industry to overcome these barriers. The project further aims to increase the knowledge base among stakeholders in the industry regarding the environmental impact of floor refinishing and whether it can lead to greenhouse gas emission savings and reduced resource use compared to installation of new flooring. The scope of the project was the Swedish flooring market with specific focuses on commercial properties.

The result of the project demonstrates that floor refinishing significantly can reduces emissions of carbon dioxide and improve resource use compared to production and installation of new flooring. It is also shown that several barriers exist in the flooring industry which prevent floor refinishing, but that enhanced knowledge and information sharing in combination with new circular business models and maintenance services could help in overcoming those.

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Last updated: 2021-05-05

IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute

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IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute has a wide environmental profile. We combine applied research and development with close collaboration between industry and the public sphere. Our consultancy is evidence-based, and our research is characterized by interdisciplinary science and system thinking.

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