Sustainability is the capacity to prosper and to ensure continuance over time.
This definition may also be used to characterize ceramic tiles. Ceramics manufacture is the oldest industry, having begun around 10 to 15 thousand years ago. Our ancestors used ceramics to store water, food and seeds, essential for mankind’s survival.
And today, when sustainable development is gaining increasing weight in the public, business and societal agenda, the Brazilian ceramic tile industry is differentiated by its sustainable attributes.
The sustainable attributes of ceramic tiles
Brazilian ceramic tiles possess qualities that are directly connected with sustainability.
Ceramic tiles have a lifetime of 50 years, compared with:
> 6 years for carpets,
> 10 years for vinyl flooring and
> 15 years for wooden flooring
source: University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Comparative life cycle analysis (LCA) between different types of floor covering, 2012, cited by Cofindustria Ceramica
Quality Label for Porcelain Tile
The Selo da Qualidade para Porcelanato (Quality Label for Porcelain Tile) is fully attuned with the Anfacer Initiative + Sustainable.
It was created by Anfacer with the objective of informing customers and consumers about the characteristics of porcelain tile and differentiating products in compliance with the ABNT NBR 15463 standard.
This is a commitment on the part of Anfacer to improve quality in the ceramic tiles offered on the national and international markets.
Around 90% of Brazilian ceramic tile production is certified under the Inmetro compliance system, the Brazilian System on Conformity Assessment
This is a movement supported by ANFACER to boost quality in the sector. The fact that compliance with the system is voluntary has transformed it into a business case.
The Centro Cerâmico do Brasil - CCB - (Brazil Ceramic Center) plays a strategic role in promoting this pursuit of compliance. The CCB was created to develop and implant technical standards and to certify the quality of ceramic products and management systems. Additionally, the CCB functions as a technology center for the civil construction industry, supported by the LabCCB, a laboratory manned by a highly qualified team, and the Núcleo de Inovação em Produtos e Design (Product and Design Innovation Nucleus). Currently, the CCB is an international benchmark in control, compliance and laboratory testing and, together with ANFACER, represents Brazil in the ISO TC 189 delegation.
Sector Manual of the Performance Standard in Building
The ABNT NBR 15575:2013 standard represents a landmark for the Brazilian civil construction industry in terms of the technical conformity of materials, building quality and respect for the consumer.
Based on the pillars of safety, sustainability and habitability, the standard encompasses concepts such as useful life or lifetime, legal guarantees and guarantee terms. It also defines the responsibilities of project designers, construction companies, real estate developers and product suppliers, provides guidance for consumers and suppliers, as well as ground rules for technical reports and the foundations for judicial decisions.
To support its members in understanding and complying with the ABNT NBR 15575 Performance Standard, ANFACER created the Sector Manual of the Performance Standard in Building , with support from the CCB (Brazil Ceramic Center).
The manual offers a set of data, technical proofs and laboratory tests aligned with the requirements of the standard in the application and use of flooring and vertical seals in construction systems, given that building performance, plans and material specifications gain enormous importance in the definition of the lifetime of building systems and components, impacting the entire construction sector value chain, including architects, engineers and consumers.
The sustainable attributes of ceramic tiles
> Modularity – the broad variety of geometric ceramic tile formats permits a modular approach to the desired environment, reducing cutting, losses and waste generation.
> Applicability - ceramic tiles can be used in diverse applications, ranging from claddings to accessories, as well as in urban planning and in the interior or exterior finish of buildings. The variety of forms, types, colors and finishes permits creative, personalized installations, resulting in projects that combine beauty with durability.
> Durability – in addition to being resistant to extreme climatic conditions, the impact of chemical products, fire, water, humidity, changes in temperature and UV rays, ceramic tiles have a useful life of over 50 years.
> Cleaning - the maintenance and cleaning of ceramic surfaces is simple; mostly only water and neutral products are necessary. This ease of maintenance helps reduce consumption costs over the product’s lifespan.
> Energy matrix - the Brazilian ceramic tile industry has a modern energy efficient industrial park that uses natural gas. In the 1990s, the industry replaced oil and coal with natural gas.
> Contribution to energy efficiency –ceramic tiles help promote thermal comfort in buildings, in addition to working extremely well in ventilated facade systems, generating reductions of over 30% in energy consumption in such constructions.
> Water consumption - water consumption in the Brazilian ceramic tile industry is one of the lowest in comparison with other producers worldwide. The ease in cleaning also promotes reductions in water consumption throughout the product life cycle.
> Production efficiency – Brazilian ceramic tile manufacturing plants enjoy high production efficiency, resulting in lower consumption of natural resources and lower waste generation.
> Recyclable - ceramic tiles are inert materials, manufactured from natural raw materials that are not harmful to nature at the end of their life cycle. Moreover, most ceramic tile manufacturers return the major part of their residues to the manufacturing process as raw materials.
> Use of waste – the market offers ceramic tiles that employ pre and post-consumer recycled materials. This represents an environmental benefit in the form of reduced solid waste generation. In a number of cases, the industry incorporates waste from other sectors such as crockery, glass, lamps, among others.
> Zero allergenics - different from other coatings or claddings, ceramic tiles are solid and do not promote the proliferation of mites, bacteria, fungi, mold and other allergenics, facilitated by the fact that their surface is easy to clean.
> Zero VOCs – ceramic tiles are inorganic, emitting zero volatile organic compounds. VOCs, which are emitted by practically every other type of flooring, are noxious gases that can cause headache, nausea and irritation of the nose, eyes and throat.
> Zero formaldehyde – ceramic tiles do not contain the agglomerant common in other claddings. An example is formaldehyde, normally found in products that contain medium density fiber panels, plywood and agglomerates. Formaldehyde leads to an increase in asthma, particularly among children and the elderly.
> Zero PVC – ceramic tiles do not contain PVC, a resin used in other types of coatings to improve mechanical flexibility and heat stability. PVC contains phthalates and organotins, the use of which has generated concern among healthcare specialists.
> Non-skid - there is a variety of non-skid finishes and textures available for ceramic surfaces, making the product an option that is safe to use.
> Fire resistant – ceramic tiles are not inflammable, which means that they do not produce smoke in a fire. They also reduce the propagation of flames because they do not burn or release toxic fumes.
> Responsibility - the Brazilian ceramic tile industry comprises companies committed to operating in compliance with legislations, regulations and standards. The manufacturing plants are directly involved in generating shared value in the regions in which they operate.