With the increasing growth of the Green Movement, tile manufacturers are lending their support by creating Eco-friendly tile products and developing production processes that do not have harmful effects on the environment.
In what seems like virtually overnight, the “Green Movement” has risen to the forefront of many sectors, including the tile industry. Environmentally friendly products as well as ways to “go green” are being promoted in radio spots, television commercials and print ads. Almost every architect and designer is looking to incorporate green products into their designs in some shape or form. As a result, tile manufacturers are investing time and money to meet this demand and show their support to the Green Movement.
Words such as “LEED,” “sustainable” and “green building” are more often than not being used to describe new architecture. Therefore, tile manufacturers are working to increase the options of green products on the market. Glass mosaics are being made with recycled glass from bottles and car windshields and porcelain toilets are even being recycled to make mosaic tile.
“It’s a very exciting time,” said designer Anna Marie Fanelli of Floor & Décor in Tenafly, NJ. “My viewpoint on green is that it might be more costly up front for the product, but in the long run it will pay off.”
The designer explained that she believes that even contributing in smaller ways supports green building. “Not every part of a design has to be green,” she said. “People across America should think in little strides.”
Fanelli recently completed a girl’s bathroom in an upscale home in New Jersey using recycled material for the floor. “The entire floor is made from recycled glass bottles,” she said. “I did it in clear glass. It just gives a whole new fresh idea. The glass resembles pebbles. You really get an organic feeling.”
According to Fanelli, the recycled glass tiles are called Jelly Bean Rocks, and they are manufactured by Fireclay Tile of San Jose, CA. The process of making the recycled glass tiles involves taking consumer bottles and crushing them into small pieces, giving them a tumbled finish and then placing them on mesh-mounted sheets.
Fanelli went on to point out that CaesarStone, a manufacturer of quartz surfaces, recently received GreenGuard certification from the GreenGuard Environmental Institute (GEI). The company’s quartz products, which come with a residential lifetime warranty, are non-porous as well as stain-, scratch- and heat-resistant.
Environmentally conscious manufacturingTile manufacturers are also taking greater measures to ensure that the technology used during production is environmentally conscious. Water treatment systems that recycle wastewater are a common thread in factories today.
Questech Corp. of Rutland, VT, recently eliminated one major type of emission from its tile-manufacturing process, and adopted a highly effective control strategy that reduced another emission by approximately 96-percent. “Questech employed changes using a unique combination of chemistry, process and engineering,” stated the company.
The tile manufacturer was one of only three companies recognized for Environmental Excellence in Pollution Prevention for 2007 by the state of Vermont.
“This award reflects our commitment to pollution prevention, waste management and recycling, and we hope this project inspires other businesses to join in our clean-air efforts,” stated Barry Culkin, president and ceo of Questech Corp. “We are committed to being a responsible corporate citizen, and that means caring about the well being of our employees, the community where we are located and our customers.”
Another large tile manufacturer that demonstrates environmental awareness is Roca Ceramica - the largest Spanish ceramic group. The company belongs to Roca Corporación Empresarial, a multinational company founded in 1917, which currently has a sales network spread out over 80 countries.
Roca Cerámica also developed the “Green Tiles” philosophy to proactively carry out its initiatives designed for environmental management. In keeping with this philosophy, the company recently created Prêt-á-porter, a tile line made with 100% reusable pieces, according to ISO 14001 standards, reports the company. The environmentally friendly tile line can be installed without residue or waste, and it improves heat and sound insulation.
Providing information on sustainable buildingGranitiFiandre, an Italian tile manufacturer, has also taken great strides in the Green Building Movement. The company has launched a website - www.gflegacyof green.com - for its customers.
“Our sales team has been flooded with questions about the meaning of environmental statements in the media,” stated Jeanne Nichols, vice president of sales and marketing for GranitiFiandre in the U.S. “Customers are eager to make environmentally responsible purchases, but often lack the understanding of the many factors that contribute to the production of a sustainable product. The Legacy of Green web site is one more way that we can give our customers the support they need.”
“The Legacy of Green web site is the newest piece in a complementary package of environmental efforts that bring together the people, systems and values of GranitiFiandre’s organization,” stated Nichols. “Our environmental achievements continue to move forward, and that’s a legacy we’re proud of.”