Once upon a time, bamboo flooring was all the rage. Next, recycled rubber floors took center stage. Now, the eco-world is buzzing about carpet that's free from environmentally unfriendly, stain-lifting perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) and durable, resilient flooring that contains no PVCs (polyvinyl chlorides). Non-PFC Interface Flor tiles and PVC-free resilient flooring from Finnish company Upofloor topped the Green Building Advisor's list of green building products for 2012 [source: Roberts].
If those types of flooring sound too high-tech for your tastes, you may be interested to hear that some environmentalists are also touting dirt as the wave of the flooring future. When leveled, dried, hardened, and coated with beeswax and linseed oil, dirt (or "earthen") floors resemble sealed, tinted concrete. Dirt has its downside, however. Unless builders stir together the perfect mix of dirt, lime and sand, these floors can crack and buckle over time. They also don't work well in moist rooms like bathrooms and kitchens.
Hands down, however, the real superstars among today's green building materials are windows. How smart can a window actually be?