Associate Professor Xudong Wang holds a prototype of the researchers’ energy harvesting technology, which uses wood pulp and harnesses nanofibers. (Photo: Stephanie Precourt)

Flooring can be made from any number of sustainable materials, making it, generally, an eco-friendly feature in homes and businesses. Now, flooring could be even more “green,” thanks to an inexpensive, simple method developed by University of Wisconsin–Madison materials engineers that allows them to convert footsteps into usable electricity.

Heavy-traffic floors in hallways and places like stadiums and malls that incorporate the technology could produce significant amounts of energy. The technology could be easily incorporated into all kinds of flooring once it’s ready for the market.