North American “Three-PD”: An Industry First!

Unpacking the importance of EPDs for tile, mortar and grout

bill_grieseBy Bill Griese, LEED AP BD+C, director of Standards Development and Sustainability Initiatives, Tile Council of North America

Big news: two additional EPDs round-out the EPD trifecta

At Coverings 2016, Tile Council of North America (TCNA) announced an industry first: the completion of two industry-wide Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for tile mortar and tile grout made in North America, which when used along with the existing EPD for North American-made ceramic tile, provide the environmental impact of the full installed system.

The EPD for North American-made ceramic tile, which was released in 2014, is a 23-page report containing a comprehensive disclosure of the environmental impact of over 95% of the ceramic tile produced in North America. Representing approximately 2.5 billion sq. ft. of tile, the following manufacturers contributed data to the study: Arto, Crossville, Dal-Tile Corporation, Florida Tile, Florim USA, Interceramic, Ironrock, Porcelanite Lamosa, Quarry Tile Company, StonePeak Ceramics and Vitromex de Norteamérica.

Similarly, the two new EPDs for North American-made mortar and grout provide lifecycle-based data on the vast majority of the main materials used to set tile, representing over 2.25 billion kg. of products produced annually in North America. The following mortar and grout companies contributed data to the study: Ardex, Bexel, Bostik, Crest, Custom Building Products, HB Fuller/TEC, Interceramic, LATICRETE, MAPEI and Cemix/Texrite.

What are EPDs, and why are they important?

Product selection is a major component in green building. Products can impact the environment in different ways, and it is important to understand the variety of contributions by all products. The sustainability of a product involves much more than recycled material content, energy efficiency, or any other single attribute. Conformance to multi-attribute sustainability performance thresholds and whether environmental information is transparently reported should be considered when evaluating a product’s true sustainability. Additionally, how products combine into installed product systems is important.

green-01Product conformance to the North American tile industry’s standard for sustainability, Green Squared®, is a good indicator of sustainability performance. With regard to transparency, EPDs are the most common vehicle for appropriately communicating environmental information.

An EPD provides a comprehensive overview of how a product impacts the environment – specifically, global warming, abiotic resource depletion, acidification, smog formation, eutrophication, and ozone depletion. The primary intent of an EPD is transparency, and while developed within a standardized reporting framework, the EPD itself does not indicate conformance to any particular environmental performance threshold(s). Just as nutrition labels inform with respect to food choices, an EPD informs with respect to sustainability.

The industry-wide EPDs for North American-made tile, mortar and grout are based principally on lifecycle assessments that address myriad aspects: 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. Each of these three EPDs provides 60-year environmental impacts, per square meter of installed product, based on “cradle-to-grave” LCA (life cycle assessment) data submitted by participating companies. Additionally, product-specific (proprietary) EPDs may be available from each of the participating companies.

All three industry-wide EPDs are based on a comprehensive analysis by thinkstep, Inc. (formerly PE International) and have been independently certified by UL Environment. Both thinkstep and UL Environment are well-established leaders in the field of sustainability assessment and validation. This means there is no “greenwashing” and that a formal account of the true environmental impact of tile, mortar and grout is provided and has been critically reviewed and verified by independent third-party experts.

EPDs for tile, mortar and grout provide specifiers and green building professionals with the information they need to understand the environmental impact of the fully-installed system. For more information and to download copies of all three North American industry-wide EPDs in their entirety, visit

EPDs for tile, mortar and grout provide specifiers and green building professionals with the information they need to understand the environmental impact of the fully-installed system. For more information and to download copies of all three North American industry-wide EPDs in their entirety, visit

Relevance of EPDs for tile, mortar and grout

The tile industry’s three EPDs are valuable resources for many reasons. EPDs provide manufacturers opportunities to see where they stand relative to the industry average, and allow a means to assess progress toward continuous improvement. Also, LCA data from the EPDs can be extracted to populate product information databases. Such databases are being used increasingly today by A&D and building life cycle experts for Building Information Modeling (BIM) and to make informed product decisions.

Furthermore, the three EPDs showcase the industry’s minimal environmental impact. For example, the industry-wide tile EPD, though it does not itself draw conclusions or report on ceramic tile’s environmental performance relevant to competitive surface materials, tells an interesting story when reviewed side by side with publicly available EPDs of other flooring products. When compared to other product EPDs, ceramic tile has the lowest 60-year environmental impact per square meter. Similarly, the industry-wide EPDs for mortar and grout report very low 60-year environmental impacts per installed square meter.

With regard to green building, the industry-wide EPDs for North American-made tile, mortar and grout are important tools for architects and specifiers who wish to use tile to satisfy green building project requirements. A product manufactured by any of the manufacturers who contributed data to these EPDs can contribute toward points and/or satisfy the criteria of virtually every North American green building standard and rating system: LEED, Green Globes, NAHB National Green Building Standard, ASHRAE 189.1, International Green Construction Code, CalGreen, CHPS and GSA Facilities Standards for Public Buildings.

green-03Also, having submitted data for the industry-wide EPDs, many participating manufacturers have already or will soon start to develop and release product-specific EPDs, which could potentially qualify those products to additionally contribute toward points and compliance in green building.

But, the most exciting aspect of the tile industry’s EPD trifecta? As most green building standards, codes, and rating systems provide incremental credit for each product that is addressed by an EPD, joint use of EPDs for tile, mortar, and grout means that a single tile installation could potentially contribute “triple!”

Moving Forward

Publicly-available North American industry-wide EPDs for tile, mortar, and grout, when used together, can provide in-depth environmental data and paint a clearer picture of the life cycle environmental impact of a tile installation. With the transparency provided by EPDs for the main materials used to install tile, along with the multi-attribute performance thresholds of Green Squared® which have been established for several years, specifiers are fully equipped with the information they need to specify green tile industry products in 2016 and beyond.

Sustainability Feature – August 2015 “Green Issue”


The January 2015  deadline for HPDs:  did we survive?

bill_grieseBy Bill Griese, LEED AP BD+C, Standards and Green Initiative manager, Tile Council of North America

Do you remember the panic over Y2K? It was seemingly all anyone could talk about toward the close of 1999. At the stroke of midnight on December 31st, it was believed the year 2000 would be indistinguishable from 1900, causing all computers to crash and creating financial and infrastructural chaos.

A Y2K-like scare gripped the manufacturing community near the end of 2014. At least 26 of the largest architectural firms in the U.S. mandated manufacturers supply HPDs (Health Product Declarations) for all building products by January 1, 2015. Stated consequences for failing to meet the deadline ranged from pursuit of alternative product options to complete deletion from product catalogs.

Some building product manufacturers, including a few in the tile industry, met the January 1 deadline for HPDs, but many didn’t. And yet, as with Y2K, everyone is doing just fine.


So, what is happening with HPDs?

HPDs, which involve building product disclosure of chemical ingredients and associated risks and hazards, are still very much a part of the overall green building conversation and continue to be heavily supported within the architectural community. In fact, today there are seemingly more inquiries about human health ramifications of products than there are about environmental ramifications. Nevertheless, since the January 1 “deadline” has come and gone, the urgency for HPDs has relaxed to a certain extent. This can be attributed to three main factors: delayed implementation of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Version 4, the as-yet unreleased Version 2 of the HPD Open Standard, and the lingering controversy surrounding HPDs in general.


There are many initiatives driving the adoption of HPDs, but the biggest is arguably USGBC’s (US Green Building Council) LEED. When LEED Version 4 was released in late 2013, it was announced that “points” would be awarded toward certification for the use of products with HPDs in LEED building projects. The 60,000-plus registered LEED projects and 20,000-plus certified LEED projects, along with LEED’s substantial influence in the green building marketplace, thrust HPDs into the spotlight. However, after the release of LEED Version 4, it was announced that projects could be registered in accordance with older versions of LEED through most of 2016. As a result, according to a USGBC presentation given at a Chemicals Summit in April 2015, there have been just 18 projects certified to LEED Version 4, only one of which claimed HPD-related points toward certification.

Version 2, HPD Open Standard

Another factor slowing the pace of architectural adoption of HPDs has been the delayed release of Version 2 of the HPD Open Standard, the document that defines the requirements and chemical cutoff thresholds for manufacturers to follow when creating HPDs. Version 2 will contain some new and several modified requirements for HPDs, and many manufacturers have elected to wait for its release before issuing HPDs for their products.

Material contents vs. end-user exposure

Finally, even with widespread architectural demand, some remain reluctant to accommodate HPDs. There is an ongoing debate over material content vs. end-user exposure, and manufacturers and scientists alike agree that pure chemical ingredient reporting can be misleading, especially when chemicals are encapsulated or are only one component of a harmless compound.

Even though their adoption has been delayed, chances are good that HPDs are here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future. Organizations like USGBC have invested substantial time and effort in establishing provisions for HPDs in building project specifications. USGBC will require the use of LEED Version 4 exclusively beginning in October 2016, and many have predicted that this will generate more demand for HPDs. Additionally, the HPD discussion will likely be reinvigorated when Version 2 of the HPD Open Standard is released. And finally, manufacturers recognize the general rise in demand for material health transparency and are working toward consensus on HPD solutions that are technically correct and provide relevant information.

What’s next for the tile industry?

TCNA and its members are well versed in LEED Version 4’s HPD-related requirements and can provide education and project solutions in preparation for increased demands as 2016 approaches. Additionally, TCNA has been in communication with the HPD Collaborative, the organization responsible for developing the HPD Open Standard, and it is expected that special considerations will soon be given to certain building materials, including some ceramics, recognizing them as inherently inert with no assumed health risks. And because ceramic tiles are made from natural ingredients that are fused together to form a homogenous and inert product, the ceramic tile industry can readily provide HPDs to satisfy a variety of project requirements.

Did we survive the January 1, 2015 deadline “crisis”? Not only did we survive, it is expected that the tile industry will remain in good position as health-related green building initiatives such as HPDs evolve, with support from various parties working to increase awareness and ensure HPDs accurately address ceramic tile.

Green Tip – August 2014


The latest with IgCC and tile

bill_grieseBy Bill Griese, LEED AP BD+C, Standards and Green Initiative manager, Tile Council of North America

More than two years since the inaugural release of the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), the document’s first major revision cycle is nearing completion. What is the IgCC, and how is the current revision cycle relevant to tile?

Developed by the International Code Council (ICC), the IgCC provides model code language for states and municipalities to establish baseline sustainable design requirements for new and existing buildings. Serving as an overlay to the existing set of Codes developed by ICC, including the International Building Code (IBC), IgCC allows for the implementation of corresponding, credible and enforceable criteria. This minimizes the need for jurisdictions to rely on rating systems such as LEED which are not written to be enforced as law and sometimes contradict existing building Codes.

When the IgCC was originally developed, the Chapter 5 working group on materials, of which Tile Council of North America (TCNA) was a member, strived to develop and embed multi-attribute and lifecycle-based criteria. For over a decade leading up to that time, many manufacturers were promoting single environmental attributes (recycled content, regional materials, etc.) represented by different labels across different industries, which resulted in an disorganized, confusing, and often misleading marketplace. For this reason, many industries, including the tile industry, recognized the need to report on the true lifecycle impacts in the form of Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) and establish multi-attribute sustainability criteria based on broadly-recognized international standards. At the time, however, many industry sustainability specifications and EPD initiatives were still in development and not yet available for simple reference in IgCC, so the first version was released without mention of them. Since then, much progress has been made that led to a new proposal, GG212, in the current IgCC revision cycle.

TCNA is a proponent of GG212, which involves a revision to Chapter 5 to establish an option for sustainable product selection based on conformance to multi-attribute sustainability standards such as Green Squared® and/or on the availability of EPDs. This proposal identifies a list of reference multi-attribute sustainability standards to be used, encompassing approximately 10 product industries and applicable to over 1,000 domestic manufacturers and many more worldwide. Similar to industry specifications for strength and performance referenced throughout the Building Code, these industry specifications for sustainability would allow for IgCC product selection based on consensus criteria. Additionally, GG212 allows for the use of EPDs so that specifiers can better understand the lifecycle environmental impact of products when making a selection.

In addition to TCNA, proponents of GG212 include the Resilient Floor Covering Institute, Carpet and Rug Institute, US General Services Administration, US Environmental Protection Agency, NSF International, JSR Associates, and GG212 was preliminarily approved for inclusion in IgCC during the Committee Action Hearings in May 2014. Final action on GG212 will be taken by the ICC membership in October at the Public Comment Hearing.

What’s next for tile? Should the ICC membership vote to uphold the Code Change Committee’s May 2014 ruling to approve GG212, provisions of the proposal will be rolled into the 2015 IgCC. This means that Green Squared Certified® tile products and/or products with EPDs will meet Code criteria for sustainable building materials.

Green Tip – September 2012

Federal initiatives: sustainable product procurement

By Bill Griese, Tile Council of North America, LEED AP BD+C

In 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13514 for Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance. This order required the federal government to demonstrate leadership in the use of sustainable technologies and environmentally-preferable materials, goods and services.

Over the past three years, Executive Order 13514 has generated several directives, including federal green purchasing programs. Through these programs the federal government has used its enormous buying power to stimulate market demand for green products. This has impacted the construction industry in a number of ways, especially as it pertains to governmental construction and product procurement.

Various new laws and parts of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) now require that agencies purchase environmentally-sustainable products. Per the National Technology Transfer Act (NTTAA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-119, federal agencies have been directed to use voluntary, consensus standards in their regulatory and procurement activities. On many occasions the government has turned to industry for these standards. Often only industries with sustainable product specifications have been considered under preliminary procurement efforts, making the establishment of the tile industry’s sustainable product standard, ANSI A138.1/Green Squared®, very relevant.

For government building projects the General Services Administration (GSA) now requires that its employees comply with the GSA Green Purchasing Plan (GPP) when selecting building products. GSA employees rely on industry sustainability standards for direction on which products to choose. Many of these standards, including ANSI A138.1/Green Squared®, are referenced in the GSA’s Performance Based P100 Program – Facilities Standards for the Public Buildings Service.

To further the goals of Executive Order 13514, the Section 13 Workgroup on Product Standards and Ecolabels, co-chaired by the GSA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was formed. This group is currently developing a report with product selection guidelines based on existing environmental sustainability standards and eco-labeling programs. If completed and released later in 2012, this report would go to the White House Council on Environmental Quality and be published in the Federal Register.

While these initiatives are centered predominantly on federal government procurement, it is likely they will have a strong influence on the greater green building community and green product selection in general. Given the direction sustainable product specification is heading and the emerging demand for industry standards, having ANSI A138.1/Green Squared® already in place is huge for our industry, as it ensures ceramic tile and related installation products can be considered for federal government projects.

Green Tip – August 2012

All Squared Away

By Bill Griese, Tile Council of North America, LEED AP BD+C

With the launching of Green Squared® earlier this year, our industry has set sail and is ready to conquer new and exciting opportunities in the sustainability marketplace. With hundreds of products already certified and a warm reception by the A&D community thus far, the program appears to be on course and running with great momentum. So, where are we with Green Squared today and what can be expected as we move through the second half of 2012 and into 2013 and beyond?

The green fourteen

As of July, 2012, 14 companies are participating in the Green Squared program. Six of those companies have products certified, and eight expect to have products certified by year end. Ten of the participating companies are manufacturers of tile, and four are manufacturers of tile installation materials. So far, only U.S. and Mexican manufacturers are participating, but it is expected that foreign manufacturers who export to the U.S. will begin applying for product certification very soon.

Unified definition of green

With Green Squared, the North American tile industry now has a unified position and consistent interpretation of what it means for a product to be green. The Green Squared Certified mark facilitates marketplace identification of products with the full range of social and ecological attributes most important to the North American green building community. But Green Squared certification is much more than a labeling tool for products. It is a valuable specification tool, one which has been much-needed so that the industry can have its most sustainable products specified into green building programs.

LEED: the tile industry is now a contender!

Perhaps the most important green building program in which the tile industry needs to be relevant is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®). In 2011, Pilot Credit 43 was established, and points were awarded for the use of products which were certified under industry sustainability programs. For the carpet industry, the program was NSF 140, and for the resilient floor covering industry, the program was NSF 332. At the time, the tile industry had not yet established a program like Green Squared, so it missed a golden opportunity to compete with other industries for product specification under this credit. Luckily, Pilot Credit 43 was retired in March 2012 as the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) began efforts to establish a new Pilot Credit, 52, in which additional sustainable product programs could be explored. Currently, the tile industry is working with USGBC, and it is likely that the use of Green Squared Certified products will soon earn points under Pilot Credit 52 and in future versions of the LEED Rating System.

Tile to join NAHB and CHPS programs

Another program in which Green Squared is making a splash is NAHB’s National Green Building Program. The National Green Building Standard is currently undergoing a major revision, and it is expected to be released by year end. In the current draft revision, points are awarded for the use of Green Squared Certified products.

Also continuing to evolve is the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS). In the CHPS master framework, points are awarded for the use of environmentally-preferable products. For carpet, these are considered products which are certified to NSF 140, and for resilient floor covering, those which are certified to NSF 332. Currently, the master framework has no mechanism for specifying environmentally-preferable tile products since it has been several years since its last revision. Fortunately, CHPS is in the process of updating this document, and they are considering the addition of Green Squared for tile. This is very important since most of the thirteen participating states update their CHPS criteria based on the master framework.

2013: Handbook section on Green/Sustainable Design

Finally, it should be noted that the 2013 version of our industry’s very own TCNA Handbook for Ceramic, Glass, and Stone Tile Installation will include a Green/Sustainable Design section in its installation details. Project specifications are so often written based on these details, and it is no different for green projects. So, it is important that appropriate standards are referenced wherever possible. Thus, the 2013 Handbook will include expanded information on Green Squared, and each detail will suggest that products which meet the Green Squared standard be specified for green building projects.

The introduction of Green Squared is very timely, especially with the growing demand for industry sustainability programs. With a strong initial participation from manufacturers, and a presence which is already being established among some of the most well-known green building programs, the industry should be in good shape as sustainability initiatives continue to grow.

Green Tip – July 2012

Understanding the Technical Criteria of Green SquaredSM/
ANSI A138.1

Section V: Innovation

By Bill Griese, Tile Council of North America, LEED AP BD+C

The ANSI A138.1 standard for sustainable tiles and tile installation materials establishes criteria for products throughout their full life cycle. Over the past several months, we’ve reviewed the first four sections of the standard. This month, we’ll have a look at the fifth and final section, Innovation.

Key in the development of sustainable products and operations are progressive thinking, technological advancement, and outstanding achievement beyond that which is required. ANSI A138.1 allows the opportunity for products to achieve conformance, in part, through their innovative achievements. This may involve exceptional performance above the requirements set forth in other sections of the standard and/or innovative performance in categories not specifically addressed by the standard.

A product may earn up to two elective credits through exceptional conformance if quantitative criteria already addressed by the standard are greatly exceeded. Usually, the magnitude to which these criteria must be exceeded is defined as one and a half times the most stringent threshold already established. Otherwise, specific requirements for exceptional conformance are defined in the standard’s appendix.

Another elective credit may be earned if a product possesses an ecological attribute not addressed by the standard, is manufactured in a facility with ecological processes not addressed by the standard, or belongs to an organization with an innovative corporate governance strategy not addressed by the standard. An ever-evolving list of approved innovations is managed by the ANSI A108 Committee which has jurisdiction over ANSI A138.1. Innovations not included in this list can be added if they are submitted to and approved by the Committee.

A fourth and final innovation elective credit may be earned upon the calculation of carbon footprint and the development of a greenhouse gas reduction strategy for a product or its manufacturing organization.

This concludes our overview of the technical criteria in ANSI A138.1. In future months, we will dive deeper into the standard’s product conformance scheme and Green Squared® certification requirements.

Green Tip – June 2012

Understanding the Technical Criteria of Green SquaredSM/
ANSI A138.1

Section IV: Progressive Corporate Governance

By Bill Griese, Tile Council of North America, LEED AP BD+C

Establishing sustainability criteria for products throughout their full life cycle, ANSI A138.1 is divided into five sections. Throughout the past several months, we’ve reviewed several different sections of the standard. This month, we’ll have a look at the fourth section, Progressive Corporate Governance.

Mandatory for conformance to the standard, a manufacturer shall have a written and implemented social responsibility strategy which addresses at least the following:  labor law compliance, forced labor prohibitions, child labor prohibitions, environmental regulation compliance, health and safety regulation compliance, and community involvement.

To obtain an elective credit, the manufacturer may choose to participate in a voluntary safety program such as OSHA Safety Consultation, Voluntary Protection Program (VPP), or OHSAS 18001.

It is mandatory that all green marketing claims made by manufacturers be in compliance with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) fair packaging and labeling act Green Guides (publicly available) which indicate how the FTC applies Section 5 of the FTC Act, prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts or practices in environmental claims.

As an elective for conformance to the standard, a manufacturer may choose to regularly engage in its community, building upon the community involvement plan established in its mandatory social responsibility strategy.

Also elective for conformance to the standard, a manufacturer may publicly disclose on an annual basis one of the following: utility consumption, registered Environmental Management System (EMS) data, or Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data.

Another elective credit is available if a manufacturer provides a detailed sustainability report each year, conforms to the requirements of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), or is selected for inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI).

If a manufacturer has at least one facility with LEED® or Green Globes certification an elective credit is also available.

Finally, manufacturers are required to have an assurance program for current and continued conformance to ANSI A138.1/Green Squared for all pertinent products.

Next month, we will review the criteria of the fifth and final section of ANSI A138.1, Innovation.


Green SquaredSM Certified products debut at Coverings

After five years developing Green SquaredSM (ANSI A138.1), an all-encompassing multi-attribute sustainability standard and certification program for tile and tile installation materials, the first five tile manufacturers with certified sustainable products were announced at Coverings:  Crossville, Daltile, Interceramic, Ironrock, and Porcelanite-Lamosa.  Bonsal American, Florida Tile, LATICRETE, MAPEI, Marazzi, Quarry Tile Company, StonePeak, TEC, and Vitromex expect to have Green Squared Certified products by year end.

Crossville has the distinction of being the first manufacturer to achieve Green Squared Certification across all its U.S.-manufactured porcelain product lines and for its manufacturing processes. Because the company’s processes are certified, all products manufactured by those processes are compliant.

In addition, Dal-Tile Corpora-tion’s plants in the U.S., and Monterrey, Mexico were evaluated by Underwriters Laboratories-Environment (ULE), to certify that American Olean and Daltile-manufactured products meet the industry’s toughest green standards.

Only those products independently evaluated and certified by a third party may bear the Green Squared Certified mark, making it easy for specifiers and consumers to select sustainable products and build sustainable tile systems.

Currently, the approved third-party Green Squared certifiers are NSF International, Scientific Certification Systems, and UL Environment. The certifiers conduct worldwide operations and are available to conduct Green Squared certifications wherever tile is manufactured.

For full information about Green Squared, including sustainability criteria, visit, and follow @Green_Squared on Twitter.

All Crossville product to  contain recycled content

Crossville Inc. has announced it is the first and only tile manufacturer in the U.S. “to achieve certification of its waste recycling programs through Scientific Certification Systems (SCS), an independent, third-party certifier of recycled claims,” stated John E. Smith, Crossville’s president and CEO. Now all tile produced by Crossville® will contain 4% certified recycled content of pre-consumer, fired sanitary ware from TOTO, the world’s largest manufacturer of sustainable, luxury plumbing products, in addition to varying percentages of its own filtrate and fired waste. This material from TOTO has been recently certified by SCS as part of Crossville’s Fired Waste Process, marking the latest development in Crossville’s Recycling Processes program.

SCS has verified that through these recycling processes, Crossville annually recycles approximately 12 million pounds of previously land-filled filtrate, fired tile and pre-consumer sanitary ware, making Crossville a net consumer of waste, consuming more manufacturing waste than it generates. In addition, the volume of finished goods Crossville ships now exceeds the amount of raw materials it extracts from the earth for use in manufacturing.

For full information, visit, call 800-221-9093 for samples and follow Crossville, Inc. on Facebook and Twitter.

GREEN TIP – May 2012

Understanding the Technical Criteria
of Green SquaredSM/ANSI A138.1

Section III: End-of-Product-Life Management

By Bill Griese, Tile Council of North America, LEED AP BD+C

Establishing sustainability criteria for products throughout their full life cycle, ANSI A138.1 is divided into five sections. Throughout the last two months, we’ve reviewed the first two sections of the standard. This month, we’ll have a look at the third section, End-of-Product-Life Management.

This section of the standard opens with the following preface:

Inherently, tile products are durable, inert, and intended to have life spans as long as the buildings in which they are installed. They are engineered to serve as permanent finishes capable of outlasting multiple generations of building occupants. Tile product end-of-life management is pertinent to building demolition waste and small quantities of waste generated during construction.  

Although a tiled finish is inherently durable and typically desirable for a lifetime, there are some scenarios where end of product life must be addressed. Thus, end-of-product-life management elective options in ANSI A138.1 are intended for instances where buildings are demolished, scrap waste is generated during construction, or an occasional remodel occurs.

The first end-of-product-life management elective option involves clean-fill eligibility of a product. To satisfy this elective, a manufacturer shall provide documentation verifying that a product is inert and solid, such that it can potentially be considered along with other eligible construction and demolition debris for state and local Clean Fill acquisition initiatives.

The second end-of-product-life management elective option involves end-of-product-life collection plans. To satisfy this elective, the manufacturer shall establish and implement a plan which involves the collection, processing, and recycling or re-tasking of its products for other purposes once the products’ useful life is completed.

Next month, we will review the criteria of the next section of ANSI A138.1, Progressive Corporate Governance.

First Ever Certified Sustainable Tile Products Unveiled

After 5 years developing an all-encompassing multi-attribute sustainability standard for tile and tile installation materials, the very first certified sustainable products are being announced.

Cumulatively, eight major manufacturers of tile and installation materials have hundreds of products that are already certified or will be certified by the start of Coverings on April 17, with yet even more of their products still in the evaluation process and expected to earn certification this year. At least six additional manufacturers have started the certification process for hundreds more products that are expected to be certified within the year.

According to Eric Astrachan, Executive Director of the Tile Council of North America, “This early adoption, within just a few months of the passage of the Green Squaredsm ANSI standard, is a clear indication of the commitment North American manufacturers have made to sustainable manufacturing and sustainable products, in many cases starting years ago when conversations began regarding an industry standard for sustainability. Manufacturers looked at the breadth of their operations and made significant improvements to meet the multi-attribute criteria of the standard. They are to be congratulated for their willingness to do so, and their willingness to bring in outside certifiers to verify and substantiate their claims.”

Only those products independently evaluated and certified by a third party may bear the Green Squared Certified mark, making it easy for specifiers and consumers to select sustainable products and busustainable tile systems. Manufacturers with products already certified are Crossville, Ironrock, and Porcelanite Lamosa. Additionally, Daltile, Interceramic, Laticrete, Mapei, and Marazzi expect to receive notification of product certifications within the next two weeks.

Bonsal American, Florida Tile, Quarry Tile Company, StonePeak, TEC, and Vitromex expect to have Green Squared Certified products by year end.

Green Squared (ANSI A138.1) is the industry standard for sustainable tile and tile installation products. Because sustainability shouldn’t be defined by a single attribute, Green Squared takes a multi-attribute, balanced approach by establishing criteria for environmental and social issues alike. Covered by the standard are environmental product characteristics, environmental product manufacturing and raw material extraction, end of product life management, progressive corporate governance, and innovation.

To be in conformance with Green Squared, a product must meet all mandatory requirements and a specified number (depending on product type) of elective requirements, providing a total package that reflects the full range of environmental considerations.

Products covered by Green Squared include ceramic and glass tiles, grouts, mortars, trowelable membranes, polymer additives, backer boards, underlayments, and crack isolation and waterproof membranes. By seeking out Green Squared Certified products, specifiers can put together total sustainable systems when it comes to tile installations.

The ANSI A108 Accredited Standards Committee representing green building stakeholders, tile consumers, manufacturers, distributors, contractors, and many other relevant interests approved Green Squared at the end of 2011.

Currently, the approved third party Green Squared certifiers are NSF International, Scientific Certification Systems, and UL Environment. The certifiers conduct worldwide operations and are available to conduct Green Squared certifications wherever tile is manufactured.

For green news, links, and updates, please visit and follow @Green_Squared on Twitter.
For a high-resolution image of the Green Squared Certified logo or the Sustainability Criteria Chart for use with your news story, contact Andrew Whitmire ([email protected]).

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