The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) recently announced two industry-wide Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for tile mortar and tile grout made in North America.
These EPDs are based on a comprehensive analysis by Thinkstep, Inc. (formerly PE International) of over 2.25 billion kg of products produced annually in North America. After further review, the EPDs will be submitted to UL Environment for certification. Both Thinkstep and UL Environment are well-established leaders in the field of sustainability assessment and validation.
“These two new EPDs provide lifecycle-based data on the main materials used to set tile,” stated Bill Griese, TCNA’s Director of Standards Development and Sustainability Initiatives, “and when used along with the existing EPD for North American-made ceramic tile, they provide the environmental impact of the full installed system. No other industry is providing that.”
According to Griese, this effort was made possible through the leadership of TCNA’s installation materials members, comprising the vast majority of grout and mortar manufacturing in North America, and through the support of the Materials Methods and Standards Association (MMSA) to whom these manufacturers also belong as members. A leading organization in the field of technical research and standards development for tile installation materials, MMSA’s support adds another layer of credibility to the industry-wide data being reported for tile grout and tile mortar.
Like TCNA’s industry-wide EPD for North American-made tile, the EPDs for North American-made tile mortar and tile grout can be used by specifiers and other building and design professionals to evaluate and understand these products’ environmental footprint. Additionally, the EPDs can bring immediate benefits such as contributing toward points in LEED and other green building standards and rating systems, including Green Globes, ASHRAE 189.1, and the International Green Construction Code (IgCC). Having submitted data for the industry-wide EPDs, participating manufacturers will start to develop and release product-specific EPDs, which could potentially qualify those products to contribute toward additional points in LEED and other green building standards/rating systems. Technical detail on the sustainability of North American tile products (tiles, mortars and grouts) based on industry-wide lifecycle data, will be available. This type of information is increasingly requested by the green building community.
The EPDs for tile mortar and tile grout are based principally on lifecycle assessments which address numerous aspects including sourcing and extraction of raw materials, manufacturing processes, health, safety and environmental aspects of production and installation, production waste, product delivery considerations, use and maintenance of the flooring and end of product life options such as reuse, repurposing and disposal.
According to Griese, “With EPDs for tile, and now for tile mortar and tile grout, along with Green Squared® multi-attribute product sustainability certification, specifiers are fully equipped with the information they need to specify green tile industry products in 2016 and beyond.”
You may also be interested in this article about green business ethical issues.