Tile Products Go Greener
May 3rd, 2011

The tile industry may be thousands of years old, but it enthusiastically embraces new technologies with each new collection and introduction. For the last several years, green building and sustainability have been among the most significant technology drivers. As a result, the industry is offering cutting-edge solutions to environmental challenges.

Custom® Building Products has adopted one of the most innovative approaches by taking its longstanding Build Green® program to the next level with its new Emerald System™ of products. All Emerald system products comply with the standards of all five emerging green building agencies. Emerald system products have recycled material content and low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) content. These products are manufactured to reduce their energy footprint and comply with all major green building initiatives, including ANSI (American National Standards Institute), CALGreen (California Green Building Standards Code) and USGBC (United States Green Building Council). Emerald products are also eligible for Custom’s System Warranties, including its Lifetime Warranty. In addition to simplifying compliance standards, Emerald Systems also offers an industry first — Carbon Offset Credits. During the manufacturing of Portland cement, which is used in many construction products including tile installation products, carbon dioxide (CO2) is released into the atmosphere. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions are believed to be a major contributor to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. When a project using Emerald System Products is registered for a warranty, Custom Building Products will purchase Carbon Credits to offset the amount of CO2 created from the cement used in its products. Custom has partnered with TerraPass®, a leading social enterprise to obtain the carbon offset credits that Custom will then issue to the project owner. TerraPass then uses the funds to support projects that reduce CO2 emissions.

Custom has been using pre- and post-consumer recycled materials in manufacturing its tile and stone installation products, all of which carry Custom’s Build Green® logo, for almost a decade. As a result, more than 100 Custom products help contribute to LEED® certification in at least one of three categories. “Custom Building Products is continually searching for ways to minimize our environmental impact. With the introduction of the Emerald System, we are taking action today to made green compliance easier and move forward on reducing CO2 emissions,” said Steve Taylor, Director of Technical Marketing, Custom Building Products. www.customemeraldsystem.com

New entries to the category EcoSpec Tile LLC was launched in February of this year by a group of experienced, time-tested tile professionals who feel a strong responsibility to their industry and to their planet. The initial product offering includes sustainable tile material composed of 50% pre-consumer waste, 20% post-consumer waste and 30% new material recycled contents, all obtained in the Southern California area. Tile formats range from mosaic tile sized 2” x 2” up to 12” x 12” field tile. “Brick sizes” from 1” x 8” to 4” x 8” are available, as well. The company is also adept at producing custom colors and a choice of matte, gloss or crackle finishes. Ecospec expects to continue to launch additions, all meeting or exceeding its current recycled content, to its product line throughout the year. According to Kathy Stoffer of EcoSpec Tile’s sales and marketing department, “EcoSpec Tile has been strategically developed to make customers’ projects sustainable without sacrificing control or expense. We intend to not only meet, but clearly exceed, clients’ expectations within the green arena. “ Prior to its product launch, the EcoSpec team was determined to develop products which were LEED-certified. www.ecospectile.com.

Crossville®Tile has moved beyond traditional recycled products with Mixology, a new metal line crafted to replicate cast metal sculptural pieces as affordable and earth-friendly tile. Each tile in the collection contains a minimum of 50 percent post-consumer recycled content, making the line not only an attractive choice, but the responsible choice for our environment. Seven field tile designs in two sizes – 4” x 4” and 6” x 6”, plus 10 trim options and two random mosaics are available in four distinctive finishes, providing 98 pieces to “mix” and match for commercial or residential installations. All tile and trim in the Mixology line are given a protective, clear coating to ensure a durable, virtually maintenance-free finish. Mixology is just a fraction of the weight of solid metal and considerably more affordable; the series also cuts and installs as easily as porcelain or ceramic tile. “Mixology was designed for interior, vertical applications,” states Frank Douglas, Crossville’s vice president of business development; “the tile and trim are especially suitable for accent walls and molding, ceiling trim, chair rails, window and door borders, countertop edging, backsplashes, showers and other wet interior wall areas, fireplace surrounds… and the list goes on. www.crossvile.com

Marazzi’s Essentials’ sophisticated colors like taupe, smoke, coffee and gray are not just skin-deep. This strong glazed porcelain is designed to out-perform expectations. Indoors and out, commercial and residential, the broad palette of eight neutral-to-bold choices become either subtle backdrops or dramatic accents, solely based on individual preference. The duo of large sizes plus cove base and single bullnose trim only add to the versatility of the line. Create a stunning hotel lobby that is accessed from an outdoor valet area; or a family living area that transitions to a beautifully landscaped outdoor pool/spa/ dining space; or a formal restaurant that fosters a more casual feel for customers who want just a drink and appetizers on the outdoor terrace. Essentials meets current green qualifications with recycled content, no VOCs and domestic production that can contribute to LEED credits, making “eco-friendly” not only achievable, but also very exciting from a project design perspective. www.marazzitile.com

Slimmer is greener

Ultra-thin tiles, like Nanotech from Apavisa, offer a host of green benefits. A product with the technical and static advantages of porcelain tiles but with just 4,8 mm. nominal thickness, Nanotech is easier to ship and install, especially the bigger sizes. It’s easier to cut and drill which also makes installation easier. Nanotech has the technical characteristics of porcelain tiles, having an excellent resistance to abrasion, an almost zero water absorption value (+/- 0,1 %), frost proof, chemical and stain resistance properties.

Lea Ceramiche offers an even thinner product in Slimtech, the ultra-thin 3mm laminated porcelain that comes in extremely large formats. The collection has a total of 23 colors presented in 7 product series: Lines and Waves designed by Patrick Norguet; Mauk and Gouache.10 designed by Diego Grandi; Slimtech Basaltina, Slimtech Arenaria and Slimtech Shade. Thanks to the innovative porcelain compaction technology that revolutionized the traditional production process, Slimtech is produced in full slabs of 3×1 meter without using any mold. Starting with an accurate selection of raw materials wetgrinded and made into an atomized powder, manufacturing proceeds with compaction and pressing with a strength of 15,000 tons. The slabs are then sintered at 1200 Celsius through firing in kilns, reducing the CO2 emissions and the dispersion of think powders. It is available in a number of options: Slimtech 3 mm for wall covering only; Slimtech Plus 3.5 mm reinforced with fiberglass backing for both floors and walls; Slimtech Twin 7 mm with a double layer of material and fiberglass in the middle for extremely heavy traffic areas. info@ceramichelea.it

Slimtech and Nanotech both offer the option of installation on top of an old surface, avoiding demolition and resulting waste. This drastically reduces installation time and the existing doors don’t need to be cut or filed. They are easy to cut, shape, perforate and install, thanks to reduced thickness. Large sheets mean fewer joints less joints, reducing the problems linked to maintenance and sanitation, particularly in public areas.

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