March 19th, 2012
Everyone knows tile is green. So why is the new Green Squared standard and certification program launching at Coverings so important to the industry? How did it come together, who took part in the development process, and what is likely to be its impact over time? TileDealer is excited to preview this new program and share some important basics with you.
Why it’s important
The tile industry has long recognized that its products are inherently sustainable, says Bill Griese, manager of standards development and green initiatives for the Anderson, SC-based Tile Council of North America (TCNA). Tile is selected in building and remodeling projects because it endures and is made from natural materials, which is “the very definition of green,” he asserts.
“But we wanted to take it to the next level, and continue to improve from a manufacturing standpoint, a material and resource standpoint, and an energy standpoint,” he adds. “We also wanted to look beyond the environment and focus on social issues. What it came down to is we are really an industry rooted in standards. That’s how we set expectations for ourselves. We have a long history of very good standards for both products and installation.”
There were other reasons for pursuing the establishment of a standard, says Tom Bruursema, sustainability director for Ann Arbor, Mich.-based NSF International, one of three certifying bodies for the standard. “This initiative around building materials and sustainability has been ongoing for a number of years,” he says. “Standards for flooring materials like carpet and resilient flooring have been around for some time, so it’s only natural for the tile industry to have its own standard . . . You often hear sustainability referred to as the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. These standards are comprehensive in that sense. They look at product and corporate initiatives as well.”
Dan Marvin, director of quality assurance and technical service at Florida Tile in Lexington, Ky., who served as the chairman of the Green Initiative Committee, worked closely with Griese to put together the standard and ensure stakeholders from architects, manufacturers and the green community would be represented. Creating a standard was essential to give tile a voice, he says.
“There were a number of single-attribute green accreditations, such as GreenGuard, but none that addressed manufacturing or corporate governance or some of the other big picture aspects,” Marvin reports.
The multi-attribute quality of Green Squared is also emphasized by Noah Chitty, the Crossville, Tenn.-based technical services director for StonePeak Ceramics. “The standard was important for the tile industry to undertake,” he says. “It’s clear green rating systems in the U.S. are going away from a single-attribute criterion and toward multi-attribute criteria. We’ve put together a pretty comprehensive standard for the industry that goes beyond just criteria of products, and also addresses corporate strategies and facility strategies.”
In addition, it’s important to understand that had the tile industry not created Green Squared, two things would have likely occurred, Chitty adds. One is that some certifying company would have written a standard for green tile, without seeking the input of the tile industry. Second, in the absence of a standard set forth by the tile industry, other industries that did have standards would look increasingly enticing to those involved in green building projects.
Asked if the standard and Green Squared certification will most impress architects and the U.S. Green Building Council, Atlanta-based U.S. Gypsum field marketing and technical services manager Steve Rausch responded in the negative. “Absolutely not,” says Rausch, who sat on the TCNA Green Initiative Committee. “You have stakeholders, people who need to understand how to interpret and validate products. You have consumers demanding that, home builders, remodelers, as well as the architectural community.”
Creating the standard
The first meetings concerning what would result in the standard’s creation and the Green Squared program were convened in 2008, and grew exceptionally intensive in 2011 as efforts were made to “get people to buy in,” says Marvin, who adds “Florida Tile is the first to go through the process.“
Industry representatives were assembled to discuss and define what it meant to be a green product, Griese adds. The result was the establishment of the standard, ANSI A138.1 American National Standard Specifications for Sustainable Ceramic Tiles, Glass Tiles and Tile Installation Materials, covering not just tile, but everything in a tiling system. That includes mortars and grouts, liquids and paste goods, sheet goods like membranes and panel goods like backer boards, as well as tile. The consensus-based standard requires an evaluation of products in five performance categories: Product characteristics, manufacturing, corporate governance, innovation and end-of-life.
The standard was created by the ANSI ASCA 108 committee, comprised of representatives from manufacturers, designers, the green building community, architects, and distributors. “It was a consensus process that included all stakeholders, and was approved unanimously,” Griese says.
*To Be Continued in March/April TileDealer Issue
May 3rd, 2011
In the heady days before the Great Recession, the subject of “going green” was about as popular as an aardvark at an ant convention. It seemed like an unnecessary impediment to sales. Why make the buying process even more complicated for the consumer? And, anyway, the thinking went, give it a couple of years and this fad will go the way of acid-washed jeans.
Fast-forward to 2011. The only construction segment to grow through the recession was green building. At Coverings, every booth focused at least some attention on sustainability and entire seminars were devoted to the subject. So let’s take stock. How does the tile industry stack up on green? There’s good news and there’s bad news.
First the bad news. Competitive goods like carpets and hardwoods got a head start on going green. They were the early target of criticism by green advocates (rightfully) for an utter lack of sustainability, while tile did not receive much criticism. As a result, their industry leaders responded quickly and decisively, rolling out recycling programs, retooling factories, and ramping up major green marketing and PR efforts. Meanwhile only a few tile industry leaders were examining the question of sustainability. This shortsightedness gave our competitors a head start, and, although great strides have been made over the last couple of years, we are still playing catch up.
Now the good news. We may have come late to the green game, but we’re fi elding an all-star team. From production to usage to disposal— throughout the entire product life cycle—tile matches or exceeds the performance of every other fl oor or wallcovering category. Our factory partners have invested in closed loop technologies to reduce waste, energy consumption, and pollution at the point of production. As an example of how effective these closed loop factories are, one of my suppliers reports that the single greatest source of wastewater coming out of its factory (one of the largest in Italy) is the employee restroom.
Even more important than green production methods is tile’s performance when installed. Tile requires no harsh cleansers or periodic refinishes, can last hundreds of years, and contributes to healthy indoor air quality. And when it comes time for disposal, tile is inert, creating no danger of toxins leaching into the local groundwater. In addition, tile can be recycled which keeps it from reaching the landfill in the first place.
The task that remains is to educate the consumer on why tile is the best choice for the green-conscious. Start by educating yourself. Read through the green resources on the CTDA and TCNA websites. Make sure to attend one of Bill Griese’s seminars during the next trade show or management conference. Highlight the green efforts of our factory partners such as participation in Greenguard or other third party certifications. Create a page on your website that outlines what makes tile green. Finally, and most importantly, get your employees on board too—especially the sales staff—so that being green becomes a part of your organizational DNA.
May 3rd, 2011
by Kathleen Furore
There’s a lot of “green” in the tile world these days. There’s “green” manufacturing, “green” home improvements, and “green” buildings that get “green” LEED certification. There is also a green impact beyond selling green products. First, green businesses save energy and other valuable resources and this adds up to real dollars saved on the bottom line. Green businesses are mindful of the waste they generate, recycle as many materials as possible, and focus on creating a healthy environment for employees and customers. Along with saving resources and money, they are demonstrating an increasingly important environmentally responsible attitude. In today’s competitive marketplace, there are benefits to maintaining a green business. As more and more consumers patronize environmentally friendly businesses, crafting a green business plan, then promoting it to the marketplace, can distinguish you from your competitors.
“There are plenty of reasons for tile dealers and distributors to make an effort to ‘green’ their businesses, but the most important may be that it can save them money,” says Mark Newberg, Office of Policy and Strategic Planning, US Small Business Administration. “Whether it’s sealing leaky windows or ductwork in their shops, or installing energy efficient lighting in their showrooms, combining energy efficiency upgrades with regularlyscheduled maintenance cycles can help reduce the time and effort associated with making these money-saving improvements.”
Taking the first green steps for your business.
Do your green research.
Use the resources here and elsewhere on the web to identify where your business has the most impact on the environment and human health. Are you using toxin-free raw materials where possible? Are you recycling or reusing applicable products? Is your office energy and resource efficient? Are you providing your staff with safe working conditions? Recruit a “green team.” Implementing green practices takes time and commitment. It’s not a one-person job and you may find that “buy-in” from employees will lead to greater success. Look for green leaders among your employees and ask if they would like to lead and/or participate in your greening efforts. Work with them to develop a company green mission statement and list of your top five green initiatives.
Benchmark and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.
Many of the choices we make as individuals and as organizations have both direct and indirect impacts on greenhouse gas emissions. For example, driving a car directly impacts emissions, releasing CO2 into the air. Purchasing 100% post-consumer content recycled paper has an indirect impact on emissions by helping to preserve virgin forests, which process CO2 in the atmosphere. (EPA’s Climate Leaders Program and Carbon Disclosure Project offer additional resources.)
Saving Energy = Saving Dollars
Volatile energy costs – like current gasoline prices – have a significant impact on businesses. The impact is even more significant at times like the present, when the economy is limping out of a recession. Right now, energy conservation is one of the most significant ways businesses can save money, combat climate change, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers a number of valuable tips to saving energy and your bottom line.
Heating and Air Conditioning.
Tune up HVAC systems before each cooling and heating season. Change (or clean if reusable) HVAC filters as prescribed by manufacturer. Install ENERGY STAR programmable thermostats to optimize your HVAC system based on your schedule. Control the amount of direct sun coming through your building’s glass windows. Use fans to maintain comfortable temperature, humidity and air movement, and save energy year round. Plug leaks with weather stripping and caulking.
Turn off lights and equipment when not in use. Adjust lighting to your actual needs; use free “daylight” during the day. Replace incandescent light bulbs with ENERGY STAR compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), wherever appropriate. Install switch plate occupancy sensors to automatically turn off lighting when no one is present and back on when people return. Install ENERGY STAR qualified exit signs and save up to $10 dollars per sign annually in electricity costs while preventing up to 500 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions. Upgrade to T8 (1-inch diameter) fluorescent lamp tubes with solid-state electronic ballasts.
Green Business Resources
The resources below are a good starting point for tile dealers and distributors interested in creating and promoting an environmentally friendly “green” business.
The SBA’s Green Business Guide.
Offers information on topics including Green Marketing, Green Business Case Studies, Green Business Practices, Green Certification and Ecolabeling, Green Marketing Regulations, America’s Green Cities, Environmental Grants and Loans, Green Commuting and Green Product Development. For more information, visit www.sba.gov/category/navigation-structure/starting- managing-business/managing-business/runningbusiness/ green-business-guide
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Green Business Initiative is a group of projects specifically aimed at helping small to medium enterprises (SME’s) save money and reduce their environmental impacts. The projects aim to actively help SME’s to become more “resource efficient.” This means that they will use less energy, less water and fewer raw materials, in turn producing less waste and costing the business less money. The program even offers an opportunity to meet a Greenbusiness Advisor who can visit your business and identify money-saving steps you can take. To register and use the online audit tools that can help your business begin measuring resource use and identify where savings can be made, visit www.greenbusiness.ie.
EPA’s Quick Start to Green Programs (www.epa.gov/greenkit/ quick_start) can direct visitors to resources such as GreenBiz.com™, Business Voice of the Green Economy (www.greenbiz.com). It is the leading source for news, opinion, best practices, and other resources on the greening of mainstream business. Launched in 2000, its mission is to provide clear, concise, accurate, and balanced information, resources, and learning opportunities to help companies of all sizes and sectors integrate environmental responsibility into their operations in a manner that supports profitable business practices.
Turn off machines, including computers, when they are not in use. Unplug appliances, or use a power strip and the strip’s on/ off switch to cut all power to the appliance when not in use. Many appliances draw a small amount of power when they are switched off. These “phantom” loads occur in most appliances including VCRs, televisions, stereos, computers, and kitchen appliances. Unplug battery chargers when batteries are fully charged or chargers are not in use. Use rechargeable batteries for products like cordless phones and PDAs.
Fix leaks. Use water-saving faucets, showerheads and urinals. Buy the most efficient water heater possible. Consider “tankless” water heaters to reduce “standby” storage costs and waste. Set water temperature only as hot as needed (110-120 degrees). Landscape using plants native to your climate that require minimal watering and possess better pest resistance. Consider “gray water” for irrigation.
Examine all waste streams—process wastes, hazardous wastes, non-hazardous wastes, solid wastes, and office waste. Look in trashcans and dumpsters to see what materials are being discarded and consider wastes poured down the drain such as rinse waters and process waters. Examine your energy and water consumption and look for high and low usage trends in your utility bills.
- Characterize each waste stream. Determine where the waste comes from, what processes generate it, and how much is being discarded.
- Evaluate all wastes for possible reduction. Determine how you can reduce each waste, evaluate your purchasing policies, and determine what you can reuse.
- Identify potential production changes that would improve efficiency, including process, equipment, piping, and layout changes.
- Investigate opportunities for new products or ingredients that prevent waste generation.
- Identify resources that will help you conduct a waste reduction assessment. Trade associations and regulatory agencies might be able to provide technical assistance, and your equipment vendor might have suggestions. Also consider hiring a consultant who specializes in identifying potential waste prevention measures.
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. email@example.com
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.
May 3rd, 2011
Ceramic tile has always been green. It comes from the earth, is combined using age-old techniques, lasts indefinitely, and can be recycled into more tile. Long before it was stylish to do so, tile manufacturers had learned to recycle water and other byproducts. In fact, some industry leaders might say other construction materials have been playing catch-up to compete with tile’s green qualities.
As green building and sustainability became more important, tile reached farther to better meet green demands. Many tiles meet a number of the United States Green Building Council’s LEED point requirements, such as Recycled Materials Content, Regional Materials, Low-Emitting Materials, and Heat Island Effect. Depending on the project and the materials choice, there is potential for even more valuable LEED points to help achieve the desired LEED rating.
This issue features a look at some of the most recent green innovations in the tile industry, including new materials and Carbon Offsets. Stylistically, some of the most popular green innovations, like super slim tiles and those made from recycled materials, continue to morph with newer, more appealing colors, textures and finishes.
Environmental awareness goes well beyond the choice of an environmentally preferable tile. It increasingly means making conscious choices to reduce our carbon footprint and save energy, including in your business. Operating a greener showroom and/or warehouse is a money-saving proposition in the long-run (though it may require some initial investment). More importantly, however, it delivers a green message to the consumer choosing to do business with green companies.
According to the U.S. EPA, a green business holds a marketing edge over its non-green competition, is recognized as an environmental leader, and improves its bottom line with operating efficiencies that result from energy and waste savings. Employees benefit from improved health and morale. All of that sounds great in today’s marketplace where you need every advantage to distinguish yourself from the competition. But, greening your business is not a simple task. It’s a process, and we give you some tips to get started in our feature on Eye on the environment: Distinguish your business by going green.”
Greening your bottom line.
Finally, we have all had experience with the “tire kickers” who stop by our showrooms, drink our coffee and generally take up valuable time comparing and pricing products, only to leave and order from an Internet e-tailer who offers a seemingly lower price per foot (if you don’t count their delivery, handling and stocking charges) and no customer service. This issue’s Sales & Marketing feature, “Converting Bait and Switch Customers,” offers some practical insight on meeting – and beating — this competition.
Wishing you a very green season!
April 1st, 2009
Green Building, 2009
This spring I had the privilege of attending my son’s college graduation from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. His major was Appropriate Technology, which is the study of wind power, solar power, biodiesel and similar green technologies. Who knew five years ago (yes, he graduated on the five-year plan) when he selected that curriculum how much the emphasis on sustainability would grow throughout government, industry and popular culture. Now green building is having a major impact on the tile industry.
The CTDA is committed to educating our members, their customers, and consumers about green building. The association has enjoyed a great deal of success with our relatively new Green Building Committee. The committee is approaching green building from a number of different angles. Here are just a few of their current initiatives:
- Developing a white paper on the sustainability of ceramic tile, which we can all use to help promote the green aspects of tile to architects, designers and building owners.
- Developing an educational promotion piece appropriate for consumers.
- Developing green building pages for the CTDA website, www.ctdahome.org.
A number of committee members are also participating in the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) on the Chapter Level in their own cities. This is a wonderful way to network with others committed to green building and to stay well-informed on a topic that is constantly evolving. It is, of course, also a great way to promote tile—and your business—as a green product at the local level. You can learn more about the USGBC, including the location of chapters, by going to their website, www.usgbc.org.
Going green in our businesses
The recent Coverings exhibition and trade show in Chicago provided numerous opportunities to learn more about green initiatives in business. I attended an inspiring seminar on green practices for companies with many great ideas for our business. At our company we are turning off lights and appliances when not needed, including the lights in our warehouse with skylights. We are also working on reducing unnecessary printing and using mugs for coffee instead of disposable cups. I’m sure that with some creative thinking we could all make changes that would add up to quite an impact.
My wife and I stayed in Chicago for the weekend after Coverings. We were able to participate in a fascinating green building tour of downtown Chicago put on by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The city of Chicago is definitely an inspirational leader in construction sustainability with rooftop green spaces to reduce heat, natural lighting to reduce electrical consumption, and use of recycled materials.
As a tile industry leader, CTDA is committed to being at the forefront of education on ceramic tile sustainability and LEED qualification. CTDA will also be a leader in promoting the green aspects of ceramic tile to the construction and architectural community as well as the overall flooring industry.
Those of us in the tile business can all do our part to educate ourselves and others on the great, inherent sustainability of ceramic tile. The Ceramic Tile Distributors Association will be there to help.
April 1st, 2009
Green Building, 2009
When we first started talking about green building five years ago, it was not a mainstream issue. Today it is. If you were among the attendees at Coverings this year, you know what we mean. Everyone is promoting the green qualities in their products, whether it’s recycled materials, local manufacturing, low- or no-VOCs.
(In case you have been living without access to any newspapers, magazines, television or radio, according to Wikipedia, green or sustainable building “refers to designs focused on increasing the efficient use of resources while also reducing the building’s impact on human health and the environment.” Though we may—correctly—think of this as the efficient use of water, energy and other resources, it also refers to protecting occupant health, improving employee productivity, reducing waste and pollution and other activities that would adversely affect the environment.)
If you have not yet had customers asking for green products, you will.
But getting your hands around green building – as we have learned in putting this issue together – is a tough task. First, there is a wealth of information – some of it reliable, some of it not. Second, it’s a very dynamic topic with new products and developments daily (or so it seems)! For example, take a look at Zoe Voigt’s feature on green tile on page 12, which points out newly developed tile options that also clean carbon monoxide from the air!
Beyond science, green building has an economic component as well. Saving resources like water, energy and even shipping costs saves money. In today’s sagging economy, green products offer a new market opportunity. Distributors and dealers who stock and sell green products have an advantage over those who do not, and that advantage is expected to grow as the marketplace recovers.
We’re all going to have to work hard to keep up with green building developments. TileDealer will continue to report on the green building story well beyond this issue. But we hope this is a good start.
Green building is not the solution to all of our economic problems, but it is important to note that one of the reasons for its growth is that municipal and commercial buildings are increasingly required to incorporate green products, particularly if they are aiming for LEED certification. Homeowners who are genuinely concerned about the state of our environment and frustrated with the cost of energy are now also onboard the green movement. Expect green building to play a significant role in the recovery.
Annually at Coverings, the Tile Council of North America presents an industry update on the marketplace. As you can imagine, the numbers this year were down, but, as TCNA points out, this comes “after more than a decade of growth.”
Here are some highlights from that report:
Total U.S. tile consumption for 2008 decreased 21.5% (vs. 2007) to 2.10 billion sq. ft. This is approximately the same consumption level as 1999.
Most of this decrease came from imports, which fell 22.6% from 2.18 billion sq. ft. in 2007 to 1.69 billion sq. ft. in 2008.
Import penetration decreased each of the last two years—from an all-time high of 82.4% in 2006 to 80.2% in 2008—the lowest import penetration has been since 2004.
In 2008, Mexico surpassed Italy to become the top tile exporter to the U.S. (in sq. ft.), constituting almost a quarter (24.9%) of U.S. imports. This was the first time a country other than Italy has held the top exporter position (in sq. ft.). However, in dollar value, Italy retained the top exporter position.
Approximately two-thirds (66.1%) of U.S. imports in 2008 (in sq. ft.) came from three countries: Mexico, Italy and China.
April 1st, 2009
Green Building, 2009
By William & Patti Feldman
Green has gone mainstream. Increasingly, builders, owners, specifiers, and governments are attuned to the benefits of sustainability and environmentally friendly products.
Ceramic tile itself is an inherently green material and cementituous tile installation materials have no or low VOCs, as well. Many manufacturers of tile installation products give especially high priority to eco friendly manufacturing processes and materials and often make that clear on their websites. For example, they may be made of recycled materials and they may meet recognized stringent indoor air quality standards and employ dust-free technology.
While greenness cannot be seen, certain aspects can be certified against known standards, whether by the manufacturers themselves (which is first-party certification), via assessment by a trade association or other organization within the field (second party certification) or by an unbiased independent testing organization (third party certification). Manufacturers who have gone to the effort of earning certification for their products will likely put that information into their marketing and on their websites.
“Gaining certification that materials and manufacturing processes are green is becoming extremely important and will continue to grow,” says Howard Pryor, chairman of the green building committee for CTDA and director of architectural services for Conestoga Tile (www.conestogatile.com.) “Not only are architectural firms building green libraries, but for many commercial projects they are only specifying products recognized as green through certification.” This, he points out, avoids reliance solely on comments that might be considered greenwashing. “If this trend continues, you are going to see a lot of companies moving toward getting certified.”
Another way to show greenness is to register a project to receive certification credits from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program, a nationally recognized and widely accepted performance oriented rating system evaluating sustainability and the environmental impact of new construction and of renovations in existing buildings.
Last year, the numbers of LEED-registered and LEED-certified projects doubled over the previous year, jumping from approximately 10,000 registered projects at the end of 2007 to over 20,000 registered projects by the end of this past January.
The use of LEED compliant products can help contribute to a project earning credits in one or multiple of the six environmental categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Material & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation & Design Process. The credits accrue per project and the total number of points determines the earned designation. Platinum is the highest, followed by Gold, Silver, and Certified. The characteristics of an individual product can help contribute to the overall point collection within each project.
Selecting green products
Architects and specifiers often look for certification that a product can help contribute to the overall point collection within each category.
“Product selection is a key to sustainable design,” suggests Steven Rausch, field marketing and technical manager for the substrates and specialty products division, USG, and a member of the CTDA Green Building Committee. “Ideal materials are those that reduce, recycle and renew— which are the three R’s of sustainability.”
For purposes of tile installation materials, the issues, as noted by LEED, include reducing the amount of raw materials and energy needed for manufacture (with lighter products generally requiring less energy to transport); recycling discarded material into new products, reducing raw material consumption and energy use as well as minimizing landfill deposits; and renewing the environment by using materials that can be regenerated easily or offer other environmentally friendly benefits.
While tile installation materials may be only a small part of an overall large building project, in a mall or other large square footage job, they could be a more significant component.
“Showing that specific installation materials can contribute to sought-after LEED points can give a flooring contractor an edge when bidding a job,” says Dr. Emphraim Senbetta, LEED AP, of the Quality Management Systems and Environmental Health & Safety Department at MAPEI (www.mapei.us). MAPEI, a manufacturer of installation systems for tile and stone, carpet, vinyl, wood and decorative concrete flooring, uses local materials and recycled materials in its manufacturing processes wherever possible.
Green floor installation materials and their packaging may contribute to LEED credit in, for example, the following categories.
- MR (Materials and Resources) 2.1 and MR 2.2: Construction Waste Management
- MR 4.1: 10% recycled content of total building materials (post consumer + ½ pre-consumer)
- MR 4.2: 20% recycled content (post consumer + ½ pre-consumer)
- MR credit 5.1 and 5.2: 10% and 20% regional materials respectively (if the materials are manufactured within 500 miles of the project jobsite, reducing the environmental impacts from transportation)
- MR 6: Specifying rapidly renewable building materials for 5% of total building materials (e.g., for purposes of this article, cork underlayment)
- MR 7: Certified wood (e.g. use of a minimum of 50% of wood-based materials certified in accordance with Forest Stewardship Council guidelines)
- EQ (Indoor Environmental Quality) 4.1: Low Emitting Materials, Adhesives & Sealants
- EQ 4.4: Low Emitting Materials: composite wood and agri-fiber products (e.g. containing no added urea-formaldehyde resins)
Though the tile industry doesn’t typically pursue third-party certification, evaluating flooring installation materials against a standard, where possible, can be helpful in differentiating among options to meet specific goals.
“The criteria used to label as green should be based on a standard. The best standards are typically those that have been developed by a voluntary consensus organization that has industry support,” suggests Kirby Davis, Senior Architectural Specialist at LATICRETE®. “Non-biased third-party certification of a product against an established and stated standard avoids conflicts of interest.”
Some tile installation products carry third-party certifications from two well respected independent organizations, Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) and GREENGUARD.
Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) is an internationally recognized certifier of environmental, sustainability, and food quality and purity claims, in Emeryville, California. In the green building arena, SCS (www.scscertified.com) is known for its Indoor Advantage Gold certification of products conforming with requirements specified under California 01350, the Collaborative for High Performing Schools (a non-profit organization focused on improving the design of schools to make them healthier facilities), and LEED rating systems. Other programs include recycled and material content certifications.
GREENGUARD Environmental Institute (GEI) (www.greenguard.org) is a non-profit organization that oversees a testing laboratory which offers certification to building materials and other products that meet the GREENGUARD established acceptable indoor air standards for indoor products, environments and buildings. One certification is GREENGUARD IAQ Certified for low-emitting indoor building materials, furnishings, and finish systems. The more stringent GREENGUARD Children & Schools certifies building products tested for chemical emissions performance according to California’s stringent Section 01350 IAQ standard.
Products & manufacturers
The list of green products and manufacturers who pay attention to green concerns grows daily. Many offer materials that carry certification and/or can contribute to LEED points.
MAPEI’s (www.mapei.us) Ultraflex 2 polymer-modified thin-set mortar for walls and floors features dust-free technology that produces up to 90 percent less dust during pouring, mixing, and use of the product and enables easier jobsite cleanup. This technology helps contribute to LEED EQ 3.2 “Construction IAQ Management Plan: Before Occupancy.”
MAPEI’s Ultralite Mortar for large format tiles contains more than 20% post-consumer recycled content and can contribute up to two points in MR 4.1 and 4.2.
Because MAPEI has eight manufacturing plants in the U.S. and four in Canada located within 500 miles of many North American population centers and jobsites, often its products can contribute credits under MR 5.1 and MR 5.2.
LATICRETE® (www.laticrete.com) manufactures a wide range of LEED compliant products, including thinset, medium bed, and thick bed mortars, various types of grout and grout enhancer, and epoxy adhesive. Approximately 24 products are GREENGUARD Certified. For example, LATICRETE 125 Sound & Crack Adhesive is a flexible lightweight Kevlar reinforced sound deadening and anti-fracture mortar made of 30% recycled content and is GREENGUARD Certified. LATICRETE 170 Sound and Crack Isolation Mat is a high performing acoustical underlayment system that muffles impact noises through ceramic tiles, stone and other hard surfacing material and minimizes transmission of cracks from the substrate to the tile installation up to 1/8″ non-movement cracks. The 3 mm thick rubberized membrane is comprised of 89% post consumer recycled content. Both products can contribute to MR 4.1 and MR 4.2 for recycled content.
TEC, a manufacturer of tile installation systems (www.tecspecialty.com), offers a family of eco-friendly lightweight mortars that also delivers installer benefits. “Not only do we offer green alternatives that contribute to LEED points, we create high performance products with advantages for our customers and their clients,” says Kristin Cattaneo, Senior Brand Manager for TEC.
For example, she points out, the one-step 1/8″ IsoLight Crack Isolation Mortar is manufactured with a minimum 10% recycled materials and no VOCs. That the lighter weight product provides significant handling and application benefits compared to regular mortars and can contribute to LEED certification under MR 4.1, 4.2; MR 5.1, 5.2 (there are three US manufacturing locations), and EQ 4.1.
FiberBacker, by MP Global Products (www.mpglobalproducts.com), is an environmentally sustainable eco-friendly acoustical and insulating flooring underlayment engineered for use under ceramic tile, porcelain and natural stone flooring. Odorless, hypoallergenic, and containing no VOCs or liquid adhesives, the product carries the SCS Indoor Advantage Gold seal, SCS’s highest level of indoor environmental quality certification and the most stringent indoor air quality certification in the country, and SCS’s Recycled Content seal certifying minimum 95% pre-consumer recycled textiles.
Adding an insulating R-value of .50 to the floor system that acts like a thermal “break” to the flooring assembly, FiberBacker helps keep floors warm in the winter and cool in the summer, minimizing energy consumption.
Under ceramic tile, the elasticity of Fiberbacker suppresses lateral cracks from the concrete subfloor to the tile above. The product also insulates the transfer of noise to lower level rooms and deadens sound. The randomly air laid filaments create a three dimensional matrix that helps to absorb impact sound, explains Bob Pratt, technical director at MP Global, and the 3/16″ thickness helps smooth out little subfloor imperfections while adding only minimal thickness to the total flooring installation.
USG Fiberock Tile Backerboard and Underlayment (www.usg.com) is manufactured from a combination of synthetic gypsum and cellulose fibers and has a SCS Green Cross certified recycled content of 95% pre-consumer material, contributing to LEED MR 4.1 and MR 4.2 for recycled content. The panels are manufactured in Gypsum, OH, possibly contributing to LEED MR 5.1 and 5.2, depending upon project location.
Intended for use in both dry and wet areas, including tub and shower surrounds, the panels are engineered for durability, strength and resistance to moisture and mold.
Other green attributes accrue in the manufacturing process, with attention paid to water efficiency, energy consumption and the effect on the atmosphere, points out Steven Rausch, field marketing and technical manager for the Substrates and Specialty Products Division, USG and a member of the CTDA Green Building Committee. “USG also aims to qualify for LEED points in the category of innovation and design.”
AcoustiCORK sound control underlayments (Amorim Cork Composites, www.acousticorkusa.com) for tile and other hard surface flooring, made from rapidly renewable cork bark, are approximately 85% post industrial recycled content by weight, use only low emitting materials and contain no added urea-formaldehyde. The product line includes five different sound control underlayment products, to fit nearly any application requirement. The AcoustiCORK line includes the new CRC 950 High Performance Composite Sheet Sound Control Underlayment and the RC Series Roll products which contain both cork and post consumer recycled rubber; as well as perimeter isolation barrier; and a crack suppression membrane. Used in a green project, AcoustiCORK products help qualify for LEED points under MR 4.1; MR 6; MR 7; EQ 4.1; and/or EQ 4.4.
The Noble Company’s Sheet Membranes (www.noblecompany.com) contain an average of 11% post-industrial scrap, which could contribute to points in MR 4.1. The membranes are made from a core layer of chlorinated polyethylene (CPE), an inherently flexible elastomer sheet with fiber laminated to both sides. Noble sheet membranes are guaranteed not to rot, crack or deteriorate due to microorganisms for the life of the original tile installation. The products do not use urea-formaldehyde binders in the manufacturing process or contain any other VOC off-gassing materials, potentially earning credit in EQ 4.1. Water used in the manufacturing process is recycled and biodegradable inks are used in the stamping process whenever possible.
Noble Company’s ready-to-tile waterproof shower niches are made from extruded polystyrene (XPS) and are not considered VOC emitters in the LEED certification process (EQ 4.1). The XPS in the niches contains up to 40% post-industrial recycled content.
Raw materials for both sheet membranes and shower accessories are purchased locally, reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emissions necessary during transport.
PermaFlex Lite 525, from Bonsal American’s line of ProSpec (www.prospec.com) products, is a lightweight thin set mortar for tile and natural stone installations that offers the coverage of a typical 50 lb. bag of thin set in a 25 lb. bag. The product incorporates post-consumer recycled glass microspheres, rather than sand, making the product much lighter than typical thin set mortars. The reduced weight per bag facilitates easier lifting for the installer. These design features contribute to LEED project points in EQ and MR.
Flex-Guard and Speed-Flex, “peel and stick” crack isolation membranes, also from ProSpec, are manufactured using non-hazardous materials per EPA 8260 and EP A5030B. Since they require no priming, they can be installed quicker and are more cost effectively than typical crack isolation membranes. These products contain no asphalt, PVC, CPE or other harmful, toxic outgassing materials.
Grout Boost liquid grout additive (www.groutboost.com) mixes with any standard Portland cement grout to make it stain resistant, eliminating the need to ever seal the grout. When grout is enhanced with the product, liquids bead up, oils do not penetrate, and ground-in dirt leaves no trace. Because the stain resistance is integrated throughout the grout, Grout Boost provides permanent stain protection that will never wear away, as sealers do. The water-based product has low VOCs and no solvents and is California VOC compliant.
EasyMat Tile & Stone Underlayment from Custom Building Products (www.custombuildingproducts.com) has no VOCs, contributing to LEED credit EQ 4.1. The product, which features impact and sound reduction capabilities, is 97% lighter than traditional floor backerboard. The company’s MegaLite®Crack Prevention Mortar, which is 40% lighter than other mortars, also has no VOCs (EQ 4.1). Made with at least 20% recycled material, it contributes to EQ 4.1 and 4.2. On many projects, because there are 10 manufacturing plants around the country, potentially minimizing transportation emissions, the products can contribute to MR 5.1 and 5.2.
Alliance for Healthy Homes
American Chemistry Council
American Concrete Institute
American Indoor Air Quality Council
Build It Green
Ceramic Tile Distributors Association
Department of Energy
Ecological Design Institute
Energy Efficient Building Association
Green Building Pages
GREENGUARD Environmental Institute
Marble Institute of America
National Tile Contractors Association
Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance
Scientific Certification Systems
Solutions for Remodeling
Tile Council of North America
U.S. Green Building Council
April 1st, 2009
Certification is one way to compare the characteristics of different building types on the same green playing field
Green Building, 2009
By Kirby Davis
Going Green is definitely the hottest trend in America right now. At the heart of all green movements is the mantra “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” If these 3 choices are applied to the selections made then theoretically, the green wheel keeps turning. The challenge is determining the immediate and future impact of all the decisions—both individual and global.
With every buying decision there is usually the option to “go green.” Sometimes this choice is seemingly easy—paper, plastic or your own reusable shopping bag? Using the same shopping bag over and over again, versus a bag that will end up as trash in a landfill, is an easily defined metric. Even this choice has a cost factor—bags from the store are FREE, versus having to buy your own reusable shopping bag at roughly 99 cents each.
Building green is based on the same basic framework as all buying choices, but with a much more complex set of metrics. Comparing the environmental impacts of one type of building against another type of building is a very complicated process. The rise in importance of green building certification programs is largely due to the need to normalize all the characteristics of different building types to the same playing field. The various certification programs provide choices that give value and measure green building practices.
One of the most well known green building certification programs is the USGBC Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™. Over the past 10 years, LEED has become the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. The parameters within LEED are derived from the basic green building construction elements – conserve land, water, air, energy and natural resources. The resulting measurement systems provide a whole-building check list approach to sustainability.
With the rise in popularity of green building, lots of other certification and measurement systems have developed. The most recent trend for these programs is the development of focused programs on certain building segments such as schools, hospitals and homes. These newer programs may be more or less detailed than LEED, but one thing is clear: these programs will continue to diversify in the market place.
A strong new player in the green home building certification arena is the ANSI approved ICC-700 National Green Building Standard (ICC-700 NGBS).
In 2007, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) partnered with the International Code Council (ICC) to fast track a nationally recognizable standard definition of residential green building through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) consensus committee process.
Using the 2005 NAHB Guidelines as a starting point, the NAHB and ICC gathered together a broad assortment of builders, architects, manufacturer’s representatives, and code officials to gather public views and hold forums for comment. In January of 2009, the two year efforts of this committee were released as the first of its kind, ANSI approved ICC-700 2008 National Green Building Standard.
Similar to the NAHB Green Home Building Guidelines, this new ANSI standard guides home builders, developers and remodelers in minimum requirements to green their projects, while still allowing for regional best practices. The scope of the standard was broadened from the single family home, to cover site design, multi-family and residential remodeling. The point categories are divided between Lot Design and Development, Resource Efficiency, Energy Efficiency, Water Conservation, Indoor Air Quality and Homeowner Operation and Maintenance.
Similar to LEED for Homes, the ICC-700 has four compliance levels termed Bronze, Silver, Gold and Emerald. Within each point section, there are a set of mandatory measures for each project that are tied to minimum code requirements. Additional points can be accrued in the sections to reach the next tier of certification. Homes over 4000sf will need to accrue more points in each point section.
The ICC-700 point structure is largely applicable across the US, although it does suggest some regional differences. Energy use by climate zone is one of the biggest variations. There are also some points that are only applicable based on the termite zone map, radon map and rainfall map. The new standard is also coupled with an online scoring tool, which allows a user to determine the applicability of the point requirements to their project prior to committing to the certification.
NAHB Green Scoring Tool
The free online Green Scoring Tool http://www.nahbgreen.org/ScoringTool.aspx is a key element for builders to determine if they want to pursue certification. It allows a builder to enter their project online, based on their best building practices, to determine if they have enough points to pursue certification. The initial walk-through of the scoring tool uses easy checkbox items to give a broad overview of the compliance with different sections. A builder can then analyze their point selections and perform a few calculations to determine if certification is feasible for their project.
If the builder determines they would like to go forward, then they submit an application online which goes to a third party NAHB accredited verifier. The verifier makes sure that the information is consistent, and then will check the work in progress on the jobsite at rough-in and then at a final inspection.
The verifier is trained and certified by the NAHB Research Center to perform the certification of projects to the standard. The verifier function is somewhat unique to the ICC-700 standard. Most other rating systems certify more on the “honor system” and submittal of documents versus actual onsite inspections. Even when an onsite function is required, such as the commissioning of systems, it is fairly broad as to who can perform the onsite evaluations. Just like the home building inspection process, the verifier will perform a final inspection and then submit a final report to the NAHB Research Center. After approval, and before closing, the builder will receive a Green Certificate on the home.
Costs to certify LEED-H versus the ICC-700 NGBS
In a 2008 NAHB Research Center report on the differences in costs between the ICC-700 and LEED-H it was calculated that registration, verification, and certification of projects for a small builder would be about $900 per home for ICC-700 and around $3700 per home for LEED-H. The costs for a large builder were dramatically reduced for LEED-H to around $1400 per home.
An NAHB Builder will pay a certification fee of $200 ($500 non NAHB) and then several hundred dollars for third party verification. A USGBC member will pay a registration fee of $150 and $225 for certification, and then fees for a LEED-H AP and onsite inspections.
Comparison of Rating Systems
So is the ICC-700 in direct competition with LEED for Homes? It is too early to discern at this point, but there are some differences between the programs that it would be good for you to be aware of:
Point Spread—In the LEED suite of certification programs minimum certification level to maximum point attainment is 45 to 136 points. In the ICC-700 those levels spread out from a minimum threshold of 222 to well over 900 point options that vary based on locale and new construction versus renovation.
Resource Efficiency—ICC-700 has a point option for using products with a Life Cycle Analysis. Points are also awarded for using product manufacturers that are compliant with ISO 14001.
Energy Efficiency—Both systems place a major emphasis on this category. LEED-H has 2 Prerequisites for EA and 0 point requirements versus ICC-700 that has a long list of code associated mandatory requirements and 30 minimum points. To achieve the basic bronze certification, a home must achieve 15% better performance than the Energy Star Equivalent.
Verification—LEED-H requires that a LEED Accredited Professional be involved with the project from early design phase for each house type. A separate independent certifier would verify implementation in the field for each house. ICC-700 requires the verifier in the field for each house built.
Origin—LEED-H evolved from the original LEED for new construction. ICC-700 was created specifically for homes. This difference in development creates unique knowledge requirements for the builder to master.
By now, you probably are considering a question that I am often asked—Are all these certification programs just a big scam to make money?
Most knowledgeable people in the green building industry would agree that we need a baseline for the goal of achieving sustainable growth. In the past, our construction industry has always dug up, cut down, mined, refined and gobbled land to acquire the resources needed to create our structures. As construction methods have evolved and intertwined with technology, a new door has opened that allows the reuse of existing resources. Couple this with an owner’s financial desire to have more energy efficient structures, and a natural new course appears—we can’t build buildings like we have in the past.
To a large degree, rating systems and certification programs are creating a framework for innovation in building design. As technology develops, processes and measurements will need to grow and change. Standards tend to get people motivated to figure out a way to get something done, but they are only one element. We have to fundamentally change the way that we do business and manufacture products. The growth of standardized certification programs will only help guide us down the path of change.
So there remains one daunting question—will certification programs, stricter codes, and environmentally preferred products help us to achieve a natural balance between the things that we want and the balance the earth needs to evolve? Only time, trial and error will tell, but one thing is for certain—green growth has been woven into the fabric of our lives and it is here to stay.
Kirby Davis LEED AP, CSI, CCTS, CDT is a Senior Architectural Specialist for LATICRETE International in the South Central USA
April 1st, 2009
“The key for me is healthfulness and impact on the environment.”
Green Building, 2009
By Jeffrey Steele
If you wanted to learn about green building and tile’s role in this movement, one of the best advisors you could find is Howard Pryor. Director of architectural services for Harrisburg, Pa.’s Conestoga Ceramic Tile, Pryor also chairs the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association’s (CTDA) Green Building Committee, and serves as a member of the Green Initiative Committee of the Tile Council of North America.
Importantly, he’s no Johnny-come-lately to issues of sustainable building. Pryor has long been interested in sustainable design, and works on a daily basis with some of the nation’s most outstanding LEED AP professional architects to help disseminate word of green building’s role in today’s commercial and residential construction.
Pryor recently set aside an hour for a wide-ranging One-on-One discussion with TileDealer. In this candid interview, he reflects on his growing interest in green building, the importance of membership at a local level in the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and finally what the CTDA’s Green Building Committee can do to help tile dealers and distributors better grasp the issues impacting sustainable construction.
What is your position and how did you become interested in Green Building?
My title is director of architectural services for Conestoga Ceramic Tile in Harrisburg, Pa., with additional locations in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. We celebrated our 50th anniversary in business last year, and as a distributor we represent 37 ceramic tile manufacturers. We sell to dealers and ceramic tile contractors, but not to the direct consumer. My position focuses on the commercial market. We also have a director of sales and marketing, and his focus is on the residential dealer market.
Years ago, I had a very good friend named John Becker who was an architect, and he was actively involved at the very beginning of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). He was heavily into the movement that was then in its infancy. We would have long conversations and talks about architecture, design and the future of our country. The concern was that all the natural resources were being taken away, and we needed to conserve natural resources for the future.
Many architectural reps in the past just showed product and tried to get their products specified. I took a different approach, becoming a Certified Construction Specifier (CCS). I was chairman of certification for the Mid-Atlantic Region for the Construction Specification Institute (CSI), and taught architecture spec writing for seven years. And then I decided to take the exam to get the CCS certification. The pass-fail rate for architects on that exam is about 30-70 percent, and today you can’t even qualify to take it unless you are a construction specifier. I started writing my own construction specifications, and in so doing began incorporating my own manufacturers’ products as products that would be used in these specifications. Rather than selling ceramic tile to architects and interior designers, I sold my construction specifications. The area architects really became interested in how to install it, and how to put it in commercial structures without failure. That’s why I got involved in the Tile Council.
What I’m leading up to is I’ve always been interested in the technical side of ceramic tile. And when I saw that sustainable design was going to be the future of architecture, it was natural for me to become interested in that.
TileDealer: When and how did you get educated in green building?
Two years ago when I saw the rush by all my architect and interior design friends to get LEED certified, and also when I became aware of architectural libraries being created specifically for green products only, I thought it prudent to read and learn all I could about LEED. Many people even today do not understand what LEED is, what it stands for, and how points are accumulated, for instance.
TileDealer: What was most helpful to you?
I went online and learned all I could about the USGBC. Next, I downloaded the study guides to the manuals for LEED certification. The committee members of the Green Building Committee of CTDA have been extremely helpful in supplying information and feedback on anything relating to Green construction.
(The committee members are: All Tile, DavidJones; American Olean Tile, Tom Facca; Anthony Bogo Ltd., Lisa Bogo; Arizona Tile, LLC, Mark Huarte; Bonsal American, Kevin McFadden; Cleftstone Works, Peter Galgano; D & B Tile, Carole Schafmeister; East Coast Tile, Frank Donahue; Fin Pan, Inc., Lisa Schaffer; Florida Tile, Inc., Dan Marvin; Florim USA, Matteo Casolari; Florim USA, Jana Gatlin; Jaeckle Wholesale, Richard Deutsch; Laticrete International, Kirby Davis; Laticrete International, Mitch Hawkins; Mediterranea, George Larrazabal; Miles Distributors, TomMiles; Noble Company, Eric Edelmayer; Orchid Ceramics, Kurt Graves; Orchid Ceramics, Brian McKeown; Schechner Lifson, David Mack; Schluter Systems, Earl Maicus; Jason Neu; Specialty Tile, Gary Moore; Statements Inc., Ryan Calkins; StonePeak Ceramics, Noah Chitty; Sun Touch, Tracy Hall; Tile Council, Bill Griese; Tile Outlets, Curt Rapp; and United States Gypsum, Steve Rausch.)
TileDealer: Is membership in the USGBC at a local chapter level helpful, and if so how so?
Membership is very helpful. Changes are occurring every day, and new information is constantly being disseminated. Also networking among the membership enables you to stay on top of the important issues regarding green construction.
For instance, I just heard some think you can just assemble product within a 500-mile radius and that would qualify you for the MR 5.1 & 5.2 points. Manufacturer reps are telling their contacts this, and I’m not sure that’s correct.
There are two areas that you can get LEED points with ceramic tile. The main area within LEED certification is materials and resources (MR). MR 4.1 and 4.2 have to do with recycled content. MR 5.1 and 5.2 have to do with regional manufacturing. In others words, if your source manufacturer is within 500 miles of the project, you earn points based on the total value of the cost of materials being used. Some reps are putting the label on their architectural binders saying this product will give you LEED points. But LEED does not give points for products, only projects. The problem is people do not understand the LEED rules, and that’s why education is so important.
TileDealer: Are thereother resourcesdealers and distributors should tap for Green building information?
The first resource I’d suggest is www.usgbc.org. Second, they should contact CTDA. Our committee has developed a Green Building Powerpoint presentation that all members may use to educate themselves and their customers—including retail ceramic tile dealers, commercial architects and interior design firms—on the LEED movement. This Powerpoint presentation was created as a program for members to put on for their customers, explaining how ceramic tile fits in with green building design.
TileDealer: How do you reachout to architects and specifiers to let them know you have Green products?
Many manufacturers are promoting green aspects of their products. Florida Tile and Laticrete, Inc., for instance, have their products certified by Green Guard, an independent third party testing and certifying firm recognized by the USGBC, which tests and certifies products for recyclable content.
Florida Tile and Laticrete provide stickers for their architectural binders that reflect this certification. My architectural reps and myself are placing these stickers in prominent areas on the architectural binders, and also asking the firms if they have a green product library in which those binders can be placed.
TileDealer: How do you choose Green products for your company?
At the Coverings show this year, every time you walked into a booth and talked to a manufacturer the first thing they talked about was the recycled content of the product offerings they were showing. This tells me that is foremost in their minds as manufacturers. When you’re talking about recyclability, there’s a distinction between post-consumer and pre-consumer recycled content. Post consumer is something that’s been used already. Almost all ceramic tile manufacturers’ products include pre-consumer recyclables. In LEED certification you get a half point for pre-consumer recycled material and a full point for post-consumer recycled material. I feel that manufacturers need to begin talking about lifecycle analysis of their product offerings, meaning the entire history from the extraction of the raw materials to the end of the useful life—cradle-to-grave lifecycle analysis of the products they offer. That’s what we examine when selecting products to promote. The key for me is the healthfulness of the products for end users, and the impact those products exert on the environment.
TileDealer: How much green education do your employees need?
Everyone needs to understand what the movement is all about. Ceramic tile has been around since 575 BC. Archaeologists use ceramic tile shards to date civilizations. We have taken our product for granted. We know our products are made from dirt. How much greener than that can you get?
Weassumed everyone knew this and remained silent while the carpet, vinyl and wood industry were out tooting their own horns about their recycled content to the USGBC. What has happened is, our products have taken a backseat when one is looking for floor and wall selections on their green projects.
But carpet or resilient floors could be reprocessed dozens of times before a tile floor would wear out. And petrochemical content in carpets and resilient and other engineered floor materials is a serious detriment to indoor air quality, and a health threat to people who live with these materials. We haven’t been getting that word out.
But that is now changing. CTDA along with TCNA and NTCA are becoming very active in promoting our features and benefits to the Green Building communities. Everyone involved in the ceramic tile industry needs to play parts in getting this message out. They have to be careful, though, not to “Greenwash” their claims.
TileDealer: What’s the best way for employees to be trained?
The best way for them to be trained is by participating in CTDA Management Conferences, and industry trade shows where educational seminars are being held on green building with ceramic tile. Participating in CTDA webinars that offer current information on what is happening within the green movement is also advisable.
TileDealer: Any last thoughts?
I think Anthony Bogo stated it best in his graduate field report for his CTC certification with CTIOA. He wrote, “We must recognize and seize the opportunity that the green building movement presents our industry, above and beyond many other competing surface materials. As an industry, we must direct our energy on educating the American public with regard to what makes tile a wise choice for the health and benefit of our homes and businesses. We preach to ourselves within the confines of our own trade journals, when we should be aiming our message at a greater audience.
“We have assumed our market would spontaneously understand the nature of our product category, but it does not. Americans, unlike Europeans and other cultures, do not have a historical reference or traditional connection to tile. It’s our responsibility to get the correct and truthful information into their hands. Our products truly help end users to solve real problems and create healthier work places and homes. We can feel good about being part of the solution.”
Howard Pryor, director of architectural services
Conestoga Ceramic Tile, Harrisburg, PA