As an inert material manufactured from natural raw resources, Italian tile will break down naturally at the end of its life cycle. Here are additional ways that Italian tile contributes positively to the environment:
Cleanliness:Maintenance is simple. Often, warm water and neutral cleaners are the only cleaning products required. Additionally, tiles are inert and do not release any substance; therefore they do not increase the level of toxicity of cleaning products that, after use, are flushed into the ecosystem such as chemicals, and solvents. This easy maintenance contributes to consumer cost savings over the life of the installation.
Ceramic tile is a hygienic product that is suitable to be used even in a sterile environment.
Cost-Efficiency:Tile can be installed in a building to function as a heat sink. When the sun hits the tile, it absorbs the thermal energy and exhausts it over time, thus acting like a natural heater and reducing heating costs.
Durability:A product’s lifespan is an important factor to consider. Floor finishes such as carpet, sheet vinyl and natural hardwood have an expected life cycle of six years, 10 years and 15 years respectively, while the expected life cycle of porcelain, ceramic and mosaic tile is 50 years ( TCNA Study of Floor Covering Costs, 2006).
Energy-Saving:Italian manufacturers produce ceramic products suitable for ventilated wall façades. Tiles are one of the best options for this cladding system as they are mechanically strong and physically resilient to most of the hardships that deteriorate exterior walls. A building with this system is up to 30% more energy efficient.
The *triple bottom line benefits of this value system include:
- Planet: Reduced Energy Consumption; Reduced CO2 Emission; Reduced Resource Consumption; Long Lasting Solution.
- People: Better Air Quality; Greener Building (Contributes to LEED Commercial and Residential Standards); Lower CO2 Footprint.
- Profit: Reduced Energy Bills; Longer Life Cycle; Increased Productivity; Reduced Liability. *Source: Paul Shahriari, founder GreenMind
Recycled:A growing number of new products contain a percentage of recycled content, pre- and post-consumer, and therefore can contribute points towards USGBC LEED certification. Additionally, it is a recyclable product through the reuse of the material in the manufacturing process (minimizing natural resource use and waste).
Resistance:Tile is resistant to extreme weather conditions, chemicals’ impact, fire, water, moisture, temperature change and UV rays; giving ceramics the edge in hard environmental stress situations.
Responsibility:Italian ceramic tile manufacturers are organized in industrial districts and are directly involved in the responsible management of their territory. They have direct control on the environmental and social impact of their manufacturing operations (air, water, waste, corporate social responsibility, etc.) and on the local trade of their products.
There are a growing number of certifications that are either management or product focused. In order to stay up-to-date, visit:
- Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS): www.ec.europa.eu/environment/emas/index_en.htm
- International Organization for Standardization (ISO): www.iso.org/iso/iso_catalogue/management_standards.htm
- European Union Eco-labeling Board (EUEB): www.eco-label.com
- LEED certification: www.usgbc.org/leed/
- Ceramic Tiles of Italy: www.s-tiles.it