It's costing us more to carpet two bedrooms than it cost my parents to carpet their lounge, dining, and three bedrooms! Please excuse me if I'm starting to sound a little obsessed about the almighty dollar, but our spreadsheet of costs is looking a little red, and I'm not talking in terms of my politics (though they do match nicely).
Our plan vis carpet was to spend more on "something nice", by which I basically meant just any old wool carpet that we liked the look of. I know carpet has a bad rap in terms of allergies, but I really wanted a few soft floors! (Having read up on this, I now know that is contested - see links from carpet institute below).
I had also read of indoor air quality specialists saying that carpets are bad in terms of VOCs (see this for example), but Jeremy at Positive Footprints wasn't aware of any low VOC carpet products, only low VOC underlay. (BTW Ours is Bridgestone Airstep)
Then somehow I found Velieris. Definitely the most gorgeous and luxurious carpet I've ever had the pleasure to stand on. It's made mostly from Alpaca wool, and it's undyed and untreated. So no anti-microbial agents, no insecticides, etc etc. Lovely natural colours too.
Unfortunately, all this comes at a price goes well beyond our price range.
As a compromise, we settled on their 'budget' product, Willaura, which is still costing us $360 a broadloom metre ($100 m/2). It's also undyed and untreated, but comprises a mix of 60% wool, 20% alpaca and 20% synthetic. Meets Green Star low voc standards. It's not quite as lovely underfoot as the Alpaca, but it's still pretty nice and, costwise, it is only a bit more than what we were thinking of paying for just plain old wool.
So there you go! Mind you, in all my reading on carpets and vocs, I still can't tell really how much to be concerned. For example, whilst this mob are clearly have a vested interest in greenwashing, it doesn't necessarily follow that everything they cite or say is problematic. I like what we've bought, but I don't think I would have been fretting hugely if we'd ended up with regular carpet. Anything has to be an improvement on the vile once-was-umm, beige? carpet that we live with now.