Inspiration and DIY Tile, Good for the Environment!

Photo features Woodbridge Spruce 4 x 28 on the floor.

Photo features Woodbridge Spruce 4 x 28 on the floor.


Tile, Good for the Environment!

You've heard of the carbon footprint. You know that all kinds of products are evaluated based on the footprints they leave behind and tile is no different. Luckily, tile is an easy sell when it comes to its environmental impact. It has always been, and always will be the best choice for floor coverings. Here's why.

Tile Has One of the Lowest Environmental Impacts among Flooring Choices
The TNCA evaluated the environmental impact of ceramic tile by an independent party then created the UL-certified North American-Made Ceramic Tile Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). Many construction products in North America are evaluated based on their environmental impact over 60 years—the average life of a building—and the EPD for tile is the same. The EPD, along with the Flooring Product Category Rule from the TCNA, is a good benchmark for comparing tile to other types of flooring.

It is chock-full of great news because tile, overall, has the lowest impact on the environment of any other flooring material. Let's look at the takeaways of the EPD.

Carbon Footprint

Global warming potential is what most people think of as carbon footprint. It is the measurement of carbon gas emission—the kind that contributes to climate change. It produces less carbon gas emission than all other flooring in the PCR over a 60 year period.

What it means for you:

Ceramic tile made in North America has the smallest carbon footprint of just about any type of flooring. That means tile doesn't contribute to global warming and climate change.

Air Quality

Ceramic tile has the lowest photochemical oxidant (the chemical emission that creates smog) creation potential when compared to all other flooring under the Product Category Rule. It contributes less to poor air quality and smog than all other North American-made flooring.

What it means for you:

Photochemical oxidants are what cause smog and poor air quality in general. It aggravates respiratory diseases and illnesses. It can inhibit plant growth and discolor the exterior of buildings. Ceramic tile contributes very little to smog and poor air quality—less than most other flooring options.

Ozone Depletion

Ozone is a layer in the earth's atmosphere that is endangered when chlorofluorocarbons and hydro fluorocarbons react with the sun and break down ozone. Less ozone means more UV-B rays reaching the surface of the earth, which can harm all living things and change ecosystems. Tile has virtually no ODP compared to other flooring in the Product Category Rule.

Photo features Cenere Fog 18x18 on the floor, with Cenere Fog 10x14 wall tile and 2x2 mosaics on the wall.

Photo features Severiona in Cenere Fog 18x18 on the floor, with Cenere Fog 10x14 wall tile and 2x2 mosaics on the wall.

What it means for you:

Ceramic tile produces barely any emissions that harm the ozone layer over a 60 year time period—far less than most other flooring types.

Acid Rain

When the water supply, atmosphere, and soil's pH level becomes unbalanced, acidification occurs. It can be harmful to plants, animals, ecosystems, as well as buildings and structures. Ceramic tile has the lowest acidification potential of any of the floors in the Product Category Rule over a 60 year period.

What it means for you:

Ceramic tile poses the least risk of acidification that leads to acid rain and other problems compared to most other flooring types.

Protecting Marine Life

Eutrophication potential (EP)is when a body of water receives runoff from sewage or fertilizer that increases its nutrient content. That doesn't sound so bad until you consider that it decreases oxygen and causes an overgrowth of algae that kills marine life. Tile has the lowest rate of EP compared to other flooring under Product Category Rule.

What it means for you:

Tile promotes healthy water and healthy ecosystems. It has very little chemical that would contribute to interrupting water ecosystems.

Resource Usage

Abiotic resource depletion potential is one of the most hotly debated elements of environmental health. It is simply how much renewable and non-renewable resources (like fossil fuels) are used to produce and sustain a material. Tile has one of the lowest resources usages of the floors in the Product Category Rule.

What it means for you:

Tile manufacturing conserves energy and uses resources wisely. It is one of the top five flooring materials for low resource depletion.

The Bottom Line
You may have noticed a pattern in the analysis of ceramic tile—it is nearly always the most environmentally friendly flooring material available in North America. To your clients that means that tile is the natural choice. It keeps their families healthy and responsibly protects valuable resources and the future of our planet.

Now's the perfect time to bring forward tile's virtues as a natural, environmentally responsible and sustainable option.

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