As part of its ongoing commitment to educate and promote green design, Ceramics of Italy, the trademark of Confindustria Ceramica (the Italian Association of Ceramics), together with the Italian Trade Commission and the Italian Ministry of Economic Development sponsored the ReVISION House™ – a sustainable case study house presented by Green Builder Media. To retrofit the residence, Interior designer and eco-expert Patricia Gaylor selected nine Italian manufacturers including Casa Dolce Casa, Emilceramica, Floorgres, Cooperativa Ceramica Imola, Marazzi, Ragno, Refin, Trend, and MAPEI. When searching for products that provide real, environmentally appropriate, cost-effective solutions, Italian tile was a natural choice for the project.
One of the first impressions a visitor gets when walking into home is the tile flooring. All of the common areas – from the covered patio and kitchen to the baths and living areas – are surfaced with ceramic tiles imported from Italy. According to Gaylor, not only does Italian tile offer unlimited design choices, it also satisfies all of her criteria for a green product: it takes advantage of recycled materials, it contributes to good indoor air quality, and it’s affordable.
Some of the tiles in the home have slim formats, which require less energy and raw materials to produce. Because more tiles can be shipped in each container or truck, they generate less harmful emissions per square foot of tile during transport. The slim format can also be installed over existing tile, which “helps keep old tile out of the landfill,” according to Gaylor.
Italian companies are also creating tiles with an increasing amount of pre and post-consumer recycled content. For example, the backsplash tile in the kitchen of the ReVISION House Orlando uses a percentage of glass from recycled bottles and discarded cathode ray tubes (CRT’s) from TV monitors. The packaging is also often 100% recyclable.
Gaylor insisted that none of the surfaces in the home have problems with chemical off gassing. “I think that indoor air quality is probably one of the most important things to a buyer regarding green design,” she says. As an inherently inert material containing no VOCs, Italian tile was a clear winner here.
With Italian tiles you can add a lot of color and style to a space for very little money. According to Gaylor, the ceramic tile in the ReVISION House was very reasonably priced, with some of it costing as little as $8 per square foot.
The bottom line? “It’s a material that gives you a lot of bang for your buck,” she says. That’s obviously true in more ways than one.