Ventilated façades enhance a building's energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality and site sustainability. Because the air chamber behind the façade creates thermal insulation, ventilated facades help prevent fluctuations in temperature that normally occur during the change of seasons thus decreasing its heat load. This can result in a 25-35 percent decrease in energy savings. The air chamber also creates a "chimney" effect that provides natural ventilation to help eliminate condensation. Since ventilated facades are relatively easy to install over an original facade, they offer an ideal solution for existing buildings.
Because of its durability and performance, ceramic tile is better suited to ventilated façade applications than other, more traditional materials. It doesn't expand or contract significantly in extreme temperature fluctuations because of its superior dimensional stability and homogeneity. A building's structural integrity and sustainability can be enhanced with Tile of Spain manufactured tile. Ceramic tile ventilated façades are much lighter in weight, therefore, the reduction of load on wall is considerable. Ceramic tile is one of the strongest mechanical finishes available and is resistant to UV rays, corrosion, and acids as well as fire. Since its porosity is low, it requires little or no maintenance, which is a great advantage in urban settings. It is made from chemically inert materials that inhibit the growth of mold, mildew, fungus and other organisms. In addition, manufacturers under the Tile of Spain umbrella use flash-coating technology which produces products more resistant to external forces and at the same time affords flexibility in effects and finishes.
By innovating energy efficient solutions, the Spanish tile industry continues to produce technology that is environmentally friendly. For instance, Tile of Spain manufacturers are developing tiles that detect humidity and human presence and respond by switching on a light or sounding an alarm. Research into antibacterial glazes and tile with photovoltaic systems that transform solar energy into electricity continues. Tile of Spain manufacturers are also researching alternative energy sources such as wind-energy and oxycombustion.
Apavisa Porcelanico offers porcelain solutions for ventilated facades in two new series called Stonetech and Newstone which offer sizes of 6-by-6, 6-by-12, 12-by-12, 12-by-24, 18-by-18, and 24-by-24 inches. Colors vary in shades of beige, gray, green, copper, and sienna. Both are 4 to 5 times more resistant to water than marble and offer a flush appearance and a practically waterproof system. Their products have been used for interior and exterior applications on offices, hotels, public buildings, commercial areas and car dealerships.
Tau Ceramica offers ventilated facades such as the Tautech Collection which is offered in several color choices and is available in 8-by-8, 12-by-12, 16-by-16, 24-by-24 and 24-by-48 inch formats. TAU materials have been used for ventilated façade systems on several successful structures such as the Humanities building at the University of Castellon, its own headquarters and various hotels.
"An important advantage of these systems is energy efficiency coupled with the 10-20 percent reduction in exterior noise pollution," said Guillermo Puente, managing director of Alcalagres America in Dallas, TX. Puente also added that the actual installation of the ventilated facade is relatively simple and does not always require changing the original façade.
The Porcelanosa Group, after proven and successful experience installing ventilated systems all over Europe, is now offering them in the United States. A wide range of through-body porcelain tiles, especially designed for this application are available in countless finishes and sizes that go from 17-by-17 inches up to 22-by-44 inches, in polished, matte and stone looks. The newest in their collection is the Ston-ker Facades.
Roca Ceramica offers the Rock & Rock collection with formats up to 46-by-20 inches and has an engineering department to research and apply the best technical solutions for each project. Ventilated facades in ceramic allow for more authentic restoration styles, plus energy efficiency, ease of maintenance, aesthetic uniqueness and durability.
Tile of Spain manufacturers are breaking boundaries with formats and standards. The use of ceramic in ventilated systems has already taken off in Europe and is now becoming more popular in the United States. As the design community embraces this savvy solution for cladding, the benefits of ceramic tile ventilated facades will continue to prove environmentally friendly while saving money.
For more information on ceramic ventilated façade solutions, contact the Tile of Spain Canter, at the Trade Commission of Spain, 2655 Le Jeune Rd., Suite 1114, Coral Gables, FL 33134. Call 305-446-4387 or visit www.spaintiles.info.