Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of flooring options. There are dozens of tile options, including some unique and creative green products such as recycled leather and waste coconut shell tiles, as well as a variety of stone, linoleum and vinyl products.
It is hard to generalize about these products, but it’s a fairly safe bet that most stone is natural, but has plenty of embedded transport energy. Vinyl flooring is typically a weak environmental choice, as most vinyl is made with petroleum products and other chemicals. Linoleum, on the other hand, is typically made with natural and renewable inputs and minimal toxins.
For the most part, we didn’t cover these choices in detail as hardwood alternatives because they are more often used in kitchens, bathrooms and other spots where hardwood is less popular. It’s also hard to generalize about carpet and laminate, which are very popular flooring options.