What's in it for me?
Turning Tiles “Green”
We've all heard about building "green", but how can we build "green" into our practice of Making tiles?
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is the nation’s foremost coalition of leaders from every sector of the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), an initiative promoting the transformation of the mainstream home and commercial building industry towards more sustainable practices, can be applied to every building type and phase of a building’s lifecycle.
Building has a profound impact on our natural environment, economy, health and productivity. In the United States, buildings account for 36 percent of our total energy use, 65 percnet of our electricity consumption, 30 percent of our raw materials use, 30 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions, 30% of our waste output—136 million tons annually—and 12 percent of potable water consumption (source material: usgbc.org).
Millions of square feet of tile are used in public and commercial buildings and in private homes each year. Where does the clay and glaze come from? How is it produced? How do we manage these materials to create our end product? Even small studios can pay attention to using environmentally sound production practices, which in turn will benefit them in multiple ways: reducing waste, improving air and water quality, and protecting the ecosystem. There’s a potential economic benefit as well: Tiles produced using environmentally sound practices qualify as materials suitable for “green” buildings, which in turn enhance and sustain the quality of life for us all. This concept is worthy of our profound consideration; the mindful changes each of us makes have a broad-reaching effect on the whole.
For more information specifically for tile makers, visit mimesinitiative.com, the site for
Mined Materials Environmental Stewardship, or e-mail the Tile Heritage Foundation at
It’s time we turn tiles “green”!
Sheila A. Menzies, Tile Heritage Foundation
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