The Green Squared certification program of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA), along with Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for North American-made ceramic tile, mortar, and grout, are garnering more attention from A&D, specifiers, and purchasers. The upswing is due in large part to two major milestones in green building: the US Green Building Council’s move late last year to require all new projects to follow LEED v4, reinvigorating green building conversations; and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s formal recommendation, as of December 2016, for all federal purchasers to use Green Squared to assist in the identification and procurement of environmentally sustainable tiles and related installation materials, putting increased focus on that standard.

Tile is especially relevant to LEED v4 in two major ways. With LEED Materials and Resource (MR) Credits heavily focused on product transparency and the availability of environmental data, the industry-wide EPDs available for North American-made tile, grout, and mortar help projects seeking LEED points meet transparency requirements when tile is used. Also, the new LEED Pilot Credit, “Certified Multi-Attribute Products and Materials,” awards a point if a certain percentage of building products are certified to meet their relevant industry sustainability standards. With Green Squared listed in LEED as the appropriate standard/certification program for the tile industry, use of Green Squared Certified tile and installation materials can contribute toward this point.

The U.S. EPA’s recommendation to federal agencies to use Green Squared when specifying tile put tile and related installation materials officially “on the menu” of options for federal agencies to consider when purchasing products for sustainable projects. Without the Green Squared recommendation, it would be difficult for tile to be considered for such projects.

“The U.S. EPA’s recommendation sets an important precedent,” said Bill Griese, director of standards development and sustainability initiatives for TCNA. “It’s likely that other public and private purchasing initiatives will follow this recommendation, or at least be inspired to consider Green Squared—and thus, tile—when sorting through surface covering options for sustainable construction. Truly, Green Squared introduced an opportunity for federal procurement and significant other projects. As an industry, we can be proud of Green Squared as it represents the pragmatic establishment of demanding performance thresholds relating to sustainability. This is a stakeholder-developed standard, including environmental and sustainability experts, and supported by a broad consensus across the tile industry for the benefit of consumers and the environment.”

Eric Astrachan, executive director of TCNA, added, “With the vast majority of North American-made tile, grout, and mortar represented by industry-wide EPDs, and with a growing number of products being Green Squared Certified in North America and abroad, TCNA, its members, and the greater tile industry are well-positioned to remain relevant as green building evolves in the years ahead.”

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