Ensuring the living surface created inside your home reflects and respects the living surface nature created outside your home
By Monica Breeden and Megan Webb
At Eco News Network, we’re committed to showcasing the companies that demonstrate the highest regard for our Earth’s precious natural resources. This month, we chose Carlisle Wide Plank Floors as our green company spotlight because of its 40-year commitment serving as both environmental stewards and social advocates for the sustainability movement long before being “green” became mainstream.
The leading producer of the finest restoration and reproduction wood floors in the world and honored as North America’s foremost supplier of antique woods, Carlisle is a company with a rich family history stemming from its love of the authentic wide plank floors of our country’s heritage.
In the 1960s, Carlisle founder Dale Carlisle was building homes reminiscent of those he remembered from his childhood in New Hampshire — the old center-chimney colonials, saltboxes and traditional capes that still grace New England today. In each home, he found one common theme–wide plank floors. Dale dreamed to recreate these authentic wide plank floors for the homes he built and restored. And so Carlisle was born.
Adopting the passion statement, “One board at a time, one project at a time, one customer at a time,” Carlisle is dedicated to offering the highest quality product with the highest quality customer service. Each hand crafted wide plank board is sold to a variety of customers including homeowners, architects, designers and builders.
Important to this effort, is the accountable and responsible use—and reuse—of the Earth’s natural resources. According to the Carlisle Web site, “When we craft our antique flooring, we are not only giving this treasured resource the second life it deserves, we are also helping reduce the stress on our forests.”
Carlisle is a pioneer in sustainable forest management and only does business with a select group of timber growers that share its commitment. Carlisle does not contract with those that decimate forests by clear-cutting and doesn’t cut any tree if doing so would seriously damage or impede the growth of surrounding healthy trees. Selectively taking older trees allows more sunlight and nutrients to reach younger trees and thus maintains the overall health of the forest for the future. This means that the trees are grown and harvested in the greenest possible manner.
Carlisle floors have also received full Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifications earning FSC Chain of Custody for 100% Post-Consumer Reclaimed Antique Wood. A 100% certification is the most elite in the antique recycled wood category and means that every single board Carlisle uses has had a full previous life cycle before being reclaimed for new usage. Homeowners have come to fully appreciate this process. Each reclaimed antique floor owner receives a commemorative personalized folio that tells the complete history of the wood including where it was procured, the species it represents and the building it came from.
Architects, builders and designers also appreciate the sustainability of Carlisle wide plank floors, as they qualify for LEED credits. As more and more homeowners become aware of their carbon footprints, building professionals turn to Carlisle. Reusing and repurposing natural resources is what makes Carlisle so unique. Using wood from old abandoned buildings, older trees, and barns allows for a smaller impact on the environment and flooring that will last more than 200 years. And you can’t get much greener than that.
Preservation of historic homes and landmarks is another way Carlisle embraces its commitment to our nation’s history and the environment. Many of the first homes built in America during the 1600s and 1700s used a variety of wood floors that would stand the test of time. When these homes needed to be restored with historically accurate floors, only Carlisle was trusted to do the job right. Some of the projects that Carlisle has transformed include:
- Canterbury Shaker Village (National Historic Landmark in Canterbury, N.H.)
- Jethro Coffin House (Oldest home in Nantucket, Mass.)
- Miller Chapel (Second building constructed on the Princeton University campus)
- Molly Stark House (Home of Molly Stark, the daughter of the first postmaster of New Hampshire)
- White Haven (National Historic Landmark, former home of President Ulysses S. Grant)
Being family owned and operated, Carlisle also makes it a priority to give back to its second family—its community. Special projects such as the Ronald McDonald House, Katrina rebuilding, and donations for ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” allow the company to find even more ways to spread its labor of love. Carlisle also provides employment that helps generate valuable revenues in small rural areas where local sawmills may have closed.
Few companies can truly claim “green” status. Carlisle Wide Plank Floors sets the standard for sustainability representing a family-run business built on protecting Earth’s precious natural resources and creating personal relationships with each and every one of its customers.