August 24, 2020 | Updated: August 31, 2020


Sustainable urban planning with ECO Conscious by PORCELANOSA Group

The multinational ceramic company’s Green Programme offers eco-friendly and environmentally responsible solutions to redesigning cities according to the principles of circular economy, efficient waste management and sustainable mobility.


The healthcare emergency caused by COVID-19 has highlighted the needs and shortcomings of cities with higher population densities. This is confirmed by research from the United Nations, showing that 3.5 billion people currently live in cities, and this figure is expected to rise to 5 billion by 2030. This rapid urbanisation has led to the phenomenon of overpopulation and, with it, a great number of environmental challenges associated with the scarcity of natural resources, air pollution, the loss of biodiversity or the increase in the cost of living.


In light of this, and given the expected increase in the coming years (the global population will rise to 9.7 billion people in 2050, according to the biannual report on population by the UN), PORCELANOSA Group has devised a programme of green measures (ECO CONSCIOUS) to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and to promote more efficient, safe and resilient cities that improve the quality of life of their citizens with inclusive and community-based solutions.

Characteristics of a sustainable city

Sustainable cities seek to protect the well-being of people and the environment through self-sustainability, which allows for an improvement in services and public spaces with green areas, increased local production, fair trade, renewable energy resources and reduced CO2 emissions.

These are objectives that can be achieved with the proposals that PORCELANOSA Group has included in its ECO CONSCIOUS plan. This plan promotes the circular economy, the reduction of air pollution, the sustainable management of water and waste, and it contributes to the to fight against climate change and to creating a more sustainable and prosperous world.

The Butech ventilated façades, the ceramic and eco-friendly parquet PAR-KER™ from Porcelanosa, the compact mineral Krion™, wood sourced from well-managed forests or Noken’s bathroom collections that promote responsible water consumption all have a place in the sustainable urbanisation process.

Ventilated façades for sustainable cities

PORCELANOSA Group’s ventilated façades allow energy savings of up to 25% in buildings, and its multilayer system strengthens the acoustic insulation and soundproofing of each room to put an end to noise pollution.

One of the main new features of this type of system is that it shortens work execution times, and it also requires minimal maintenance, which improves the hygiene of spaces and their resistance.

One sustainable project that opted for this type of façade is the Alta Lic building in New York. Built with Extreme White from PORCELANOSA (STON-KER®) and the ceramic wall tile Cubica, the technical ventilated façade team at PORCELANOSA USA was involved in installing each surface without altering the characteristics of the project.

This sustainable shift in urban planning in cities is also something promoted by XTONE from Urbatek. This compact sintered mineral with a thickness of 6 mm enhances the energy efficiency of buildings thanks to its technical properties (waterproof, UV-resistant, resistant to chemical impact and high temperatures and 100% recyclable).

XTONE can be used on façades, as well as for building restorations, and its composition minimises environmental impacts as it requires half of the energy resources of traditional ceramics.

Another of the options that L’Antic Colonial of PORCELANOSA Group proposes for this type of construction are its natural stone series, which strengthen that union between architecture and the natural habitat.

The Nexia residential complex in San Sebastián de los Reyes (Madrid) designed by EM&A Espinosa de los Monteros & Arquitectos stands out for its ventilated façade made using XLight Code White large format technical porcelain in combination with the Concrete Black Nature collection.

Photo: LuzEstudio Photography

Developer: Inbisa

Promoter: Grupo Lar

Eco-friendly floor and wall tiles

Porcelanosa has moved its industrial production process towards a more sustainable and modern model based on the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Qualities that define the Forest, Smart Tanzania, Smart Minnesota, Smart Nebraska and Smart Vancouver series from PAR-KER™. All these collections contain 95% recycled material, their manufacturing process can emit up to 40% less CO2, and they reduce the carbon footprint as accredited by the PAS 2050 specification (Cradle to gate).

Among the advantages of this ceramic wood is its high resistance to temperatures, scratches, its integrity in high-footfall areas and its easy maintenance.

Ceramics have become one of the favourite materials for redesigning cities. Their technical qualities improve the development of large projects due to their low water absorption, consistency, hygienic properties and more natural finishes.

With the application of healthcare protocols implemented to handle coronavirus and the refurbishments being undertaken in public spaces such as metro stations, airports, sports centres or schools, the ceramic collections of Porcelanosa champion greater hygiene and safety in each project with durable, aseptic and seamless collections that favour a comprehensive design with more realistic and textured pieces.

 Architecture: Toyoo Itō

With regard to large natural floor tiles, L’Antic Colonial has a series of parquet collections from sustainably managed forests (FSC seal) that optimise energy consumption and the equitable distribution of natural resources.

Geothermal energy for the decarbonisation of cities

The decarbonisation of cities has become one of the main challenges for the EU, which has set the target of a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030. Among the energy models that are gaining ground in realising this Green Transition, geothermal energy stands out. This is a form of renewable energy that takes advantage of the heat of the subsoil to generate new energy resources. This guideline is followed by the geothermal heating systems from Butech, whose installations allow for energy savings of between 45% and 50% per building compared to traditional heating models.

Sustainable bathrooms with WaterForest

Water is one of the key natural elements for the sustainable development of the planet with decent and equitable living conditions across regions. According to the OECD analyses, in 2050, the world’s demand for water will have increased by 55% and the unequal distribution of this resource could lead to 240 million people being left without access to water or basic sanitation services.

This figure could be higher if current models of water management and consumption are not reversed with more sustainable solutions that combat climate change. The Noken bathroom company has taken note of this situation and has designed collections and fittings that encourage responsible water consumption. Under the name Waterforest, the company has developed bathroom and kitchen taps, shower heads, ECO shower trays, toilets and washbasins which allow water savings of up to 89% with each use.

These include the Lignage taps. Designed by Ramón Esteve, this piece has a 5 litre/min flow limiter, compatible with the application of an ECO aerator that limits the flow rate to 1.3 litres/min.

Other sustainable taps from the brand are Round and Square, both with a flow limiter of 5 litres/min. Vitae, the taps designed by Zaha Hadid also limit the flow to 5 litres/min. And Tono, designed by Foster+Partners, include a 5.68 litre/min limiter.

Noken’s latest advances in sustainable bathrooms include its sustainable shower trays Mineral Stone.Made of a natural calcium carbonate mass from the white marble quarries together with recycled products, the Slate model from Mineral Stone promotes responsible consumption and helps to reduce the impact on the environment and marine life by reusing organic products.

Krion, a safe and sustainable compact mineral

Krion™’s commitment to the environment and its concern regarding improving people’s quality of life have made this compact mineral a safe and sustainable product, endorsed with various certifications.

The firm has a technical specification based on the WELL Building Standard and it identifies the impact categories in which the Solid Surface contributes thanks to all the product certificates it has. These include the Greenguard Gold, A +, REACH Regulations, NSF51 regarding food contact, IRS certificate, Acoustic Regulations and Health Product Declaration, which support the acquisition of LEED points for the sustainable buildings certification.

All the environmental, social and economic benefits of the application of the material have been analysed, quantified, and developed in Krion™ Sustainable Construction Technical Specifications.

  • Indoor air quality (GREENGUARD GOLD, A +). Low VOC emissions.
  • Material reflection index (IRS ISO 9050, IRS ASTM E1980 CERTIFICATE). Minimum coefficient that allows the reduction of the heat islands. White materials contribute to lower heat absorption due to the high light reflection index, meaning it is a very useful solution to improve the thermal envelope of buildings. Krion™ has a relatively low thermal conductivity (0.19 W/mK), contributing to energy efficiency and savings.
  • Life cycle analysis (EPD – Environmental Product Declaration). Study of the analysis of the life cycle of Krion™, including its useful stage.
  • Content disclosure certificates (HPD, DECLARE). Disclosure of the composition of the material.
  • Acoustic efficiency (UNE EN-ISO 10140). Overall acoustic insulation. 33.5 Dba.
  • Krion™’s intrinsic characteristics, being a solid surface, and its density, mean that it has good acoustic insulation properties.
  • Recycled material (SCS Global Services). Material with a minimum of 6%, 12%, 20% or 40% recycled material.

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