More eco-friendly manufacturing processes
Porcelain typically requires less energy-intense extraction and manufacturing processes than other similar materials, making it an eco-friendly choice in this regard, too. It is made from clay, water and feldspar or quartz, all of which are widely accessible. This ensures manufacturers do not need to transport the required raw ingredients across vast distances. The fact that we can source these ingredients close to manufacturing plants and adapt the manufacturing process to minimise energy and water requirements means porcelain has a relatively low carbon footprint.
The material’s comparatively low environmental cost is further enhanced by the thermal energy recovery system utilised in modern manufacturing processes. This recovery system enables the re-use of up to 95% of the exhaust gases released by the energy cogeneration process, reducing the amount of natural gas required in manufacturing by approximately 40%.
Just as important is the material’s recyclability. Porcelain’s long potential lifespan means it will outlast most other building materials. But when it does reach the end of its life, it can be recycled easily and cost-effectively.
There are several certifications to keep an eye out for that help ensure you are utilising porcelain that is manufactured in the most eco-efficient way possible. The ISO 14021 Certification recognises compliance with the requirements of the Minimum Environmental Criteria. Similarly, the globally recognised LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) V4 certification is used for materials that follow the guidelines established by the Green Building Council. Porcelain tiles that are accredited with the above certifications, as well as the EN 15804+A1 EPD (Environmental Product Declaration), represent the most environmentally friendly porcelain products on the market.
It’s not just about cost & availability anymore. Regulation on fire safety, non-combustibility, and environmental consciousness is impacting specifiers’ decisions nowadays, contributing to a trend that is driving innovation and the evolution of construction.