If you're concerned about the environmental footprint of the surfaces you walk on with your own two feet, consider the eco-friendly flooring options covered in Green From the Ground Up. This book covers all facets of sustainable, healthy and energy-efficient home construction, including a run-down of green flooring options for your home's interior.
COVER: TAUNTON PRESS
Cork flooring comes from the bark of the cork oak, a tree that lives for up to 250 years and can be stripped of some of its bark every decade without harming the tree. Harvesters remove about 50 percent of the bark in any one harvest and age it for three to six months before turning it into a variety of products, including bottle stoppers.
Carpeting made from natural fibers is preferable to carpeting whose binders off-gas indoor air pollutants. There are several varieties of carpet made with recycled content. Most common is recycled “pop bottle,” or PET, carpet. Polyethylene terephthalate is what water bottles and soda bottles are made from. It has been an alternative to nylon for many years and is easily recycled into fabric and carpet fiber. While it is a recycled product, it still uses synthetic latex as a binder so it doesn’t enhance indoor air quality. Inexpensive, low-fiber-count carpets have been known to crush in high traffic areas like stairs and doorways.
Bamboos are from a large family of grasses, not wood. There are 1,000 or so species that grow in a variety of climates and terrains. Some can grow 4 ft. per day and are large enough in only a few years to be turned into a variety of building products. Bamboo is a solid green choice for flooring, but look for a brand from a reputable supplier with a solid track record.