Porcelanosa. Sustainability & the Environment
In a context of increasingly stringent legislation, Porcelanosa demonstrates its firm commitment to environmental care through the implementation of an environmental management system certified as complying with the ISO 14001 standard. This covers the whole process, from the design stage through to sales of end products.
In this way, Porcelanosa clearly conveys its concern for the environment.
Porcelanosa has implemented an energy management system based on the ISO 50001 standard. With it, the company can reduce its energy consumption and, by extension, minimize greenhouse gas emissions.
Through energy savings, Porcelanosa seeks to achieve maximum efficiency in all its processes, thus illustrating the clear commitment to environmental care that the company has always shown since its foundation.
A lower carbon footprint.
Environmental protection has always been a priority for PORCELANOSA since its creation. As further evidence of its commitment to sustainability, Porcelanosa is the first tile manufacturer to have been granted a C02 reduction certificate from the Spanish Environmental Ministry, certifying that it has reduced its carbon footprint.
A carbon footprint shows all the greenhouse gases emitted directly or indirectly into the atmosphere by a company as a result of its production processes and business activities (i.e. due to the consumption of natural gas, electricity, fuel, refrigerants etc.).
By measuring a company’s carbon footprint, all its sources of greenhouse gases can be identified and effective ways of reducing its CO2 emissions can be found.
To obtain the C02 reduction certificate, an exhaustive study was conducted of the different sources of Porcelanosa’s emissions since 2011, and an average reduction of 6.9% in its kilogrammes of CO2 emissions per m² was certified during the three-year period from 2012 to 2014. This ratification process was carried out by an independent body, approved by the Spanish Environmental Ministry.
Following this study of its carbon footprint, Porcelanosa - a pioneering company in efforts to care for the environment and to minimize its environmental impacts - became the first tile manufacturer to be granted this certificate by demonstrating a real reduction in the emissions generated by its production processes per unit of production during the said three-year period.
Sustainable development is one of the cornerstones of Porcelanosa’s philosophy and it is a constant reference in all its projects, whatever their size.
It is vital for the air quality in Porcelanosa’s Vila-real facilities (its sole manufacturing plant) not to be affected in any way by its production activities. To guarantee this, numerous different steps have been taken to reduce Porcelanosa’s environmental impacts while also ensuring a clean atmosphere and the fulfilment of the company’s global commitments.
- All its dust aspiration systems are fitted with filters to trap air-borne particles so that only clean air is pumped out. These particles are then re-used in the same production process to manufacture new tiles.
- The production plant and roadways all have tarmac surfaces to minimize any dust when raw materials are moved from one place to another. The raw materials are stored in covered silos to prevent any losses due to wind or rain.
- During the last ten years, Porcelanosa’s efforts to reduce energy consumption have led to a 20% reduction in the consumption of gas and a 13% reduction in the consumption of electricity, with a consequent drop in associated CO2 emissions. Through these energy savings, the company contributes to the achievement of the Kyoto Protocol.
- Heat recovery processes have been incorporated in different stages of the production process, taking advantage of hot gases in other phases with specific heat requirements. This helps to minimize emissions and to reduce energy consumption.
Energy efficient and committed to the Kyoto protocol.
Porcelanosa is firmly committed to combatting the effects of climate change. In order to reduce its C02 emissions – a key goal in working toward compliance with the Kyoto Protocol -, technological improvements have been introduced to try and ensure maximum energy efficiency and, by extension, environmental sustainability. Porcelanosa’s industrial systems are designed to keep energy consumption to a minimum, using the best available techniques. The Spanish Environmental Ministry has certified Porcelanosa as having achieved a 20% drop in its carbon footprint (emitted kg of CO2/m² of manufactured products) over the last few years.
At Porcelanosa, 33% of all consumed energy is internally generated by its cogeneration plant. What is more, the hot air generated by the plant is used to dry the slip and to obtain spray-dried powder for use in the tile pressing process. The Spanish National Energy Commission certifies the energy from Porcelanosa’s high-efficiency cogeneration plant as being green energy.
Here are some of the energy saving initiatives taken by Porcelanosa:
- The installation of high-efficiency burners and heat-recovery systems in its kilns.
- Translucent panels on the roofs of its manufacturing facilities to avoid the use of artificial lighting during the day.
- The use of LED lighting.
- The widespread use of electric vehicles inside its premises.
To ensure efficient, responsible use of water supplies, numerous different water treatment and recycling systems are required. Porcelanosa has introduced various different measures aimed at reclaiming and recycling all the wastewater from the production process.
For this purpose, the company currently has five water treatment plants in its facilities, thus also guaranteeing zero wastewater discharges. The generated wastewater and waste slurry are re-used in the production process, and only recycled water is used for wet-grinding.
All the waste from Porcelanosa’s manufacturing activities is re-incorporated in the process, after reprocessing or readapting it.
The slurry from the company’s five treatment plants is also re-used in the production process.
The STON-KER® Ecologic series best illustrates Porcelanosa’s approach to waste, since this series is certified by an independent body as having a recycled content of over 95%.
An analysis of new products - from the design stage through to their end function – is fundamental in helping to plan initiatives that can reduce potential environmental impacts.
At Porcelanosa, systematic steps are taken to reduce the products’ potential for generating pollution. For instance:
- The tile glazes do not contain any heavy metals like lead or cadmium. This means that their vitreous surface is totally inert. Porcelanosa tiles have heavy metal emission values far below the established limit for food-grade ceramic tiles.
- The products’ packaging is made of over 70% recycled material and the weight of the packaging in relation to the weight of the associated product is very low.
- Porcelanosa uses high-performance raw materials from quarries close to its Vila-real facilities in the manufacture of some products, thus minimizing the environmental impact of their delivery to the factory. Its porous wall tiles (the Monker® series) are made with clays quarried less than 150 km from the production plant.
- Porcelanosa’s ceramic tiles are made of inorganic minerals, with no post-fired treatments. Hence they have no volatile organic compound emissions. They are also fired at temperatures of between 1150 and 1200°C for 60-minute cycles and so the end product has no hazardous compound emissions.
- All Porcelanosa’s tiles contain different percentages of recycled material. All rejects from the production process, identified before and after firing, are re-used as raw materials to make the tile body. Recycled water is used in the grinding process. The minimum percentage of pre-consumer recycled material used to make the different tile products is shown below:
- Porous wall tiles (the (Monker® series) 20% recycled material.
- Stoneware tiles (floor tiles) 10% recycled material.
- Porcelain tiles (PAR-KER®, STON-KER® tiles for floors and facades) 10% recycled material.
- STON-KER® Ecologic, 95% recycled material (certified as complying with ISO 14021).
- In all cases, they contain no post-consumer recycled material.
Environmental building product declarations.
All Porcelanosa products have Environmental Building Product Declarations or type III eco-labels in accordance with the ISO 14025 and UNE EN 15804 standards, verified and certified by a third party.
These consist of a cradle-to-the-grave product lifecycle analysis from the origin of the product (the quarrying of the raw materials), through the manufacturing, distribution and maintenance stages to the end of its useful life (its disposal).
A lifecycle analysis is a useful tool in decision-making during the planning of buildings of all kinds, since it is used to assess the potential environmental impact of a product, process or activity throughout its lifecycle by quantifying the resources used in the different stages of the process and the emissions that are generated as a result. For instance, an analysis is made of the necessary ‘input’ (e.g. the required energy, raw materials and water) and resulting ‘output’ (emissions into the atmosphere, water or soil and any hazardous and non-hazardous waste associated with the product).
An estimation has been made of the environmental impact of Porcelanosa’s products throughout their whole lifecycle and this can be compared with any similar type of building product.
All the models in the STON-KER® series have been awarded an EU Ecolabel. This certification system is used to distinguish environmentally-friendly products.
The label is granted to products that comply with the most stringent European legislation on product efficiency and environmental criteria concerning both the product and its components.
The EU Ecolabel therefore guarantees that all the models in the STON-KER® series meet the strictest environmental requirements, and it certifies the product as having been manufactured and sold in such a way that it has a lower environmental impact than other products of a similar type.
ISO 14021: STON-KER® Ecologic. Over 95% recycled content.
The STON-KER® Ecologic series exemplifies Porcelanosa’s environmental philosophy.
STON-KER® Ecologic are porcelain tiles made of spray-dried clays from reclaimed solid ceramic waste generated during the production process (green ware and clay particles from air filter systems). They have a pre-consumer recycled content of over 95%, compatible with the type II environmental product declaration or eco-label established in the UNE EN 14021:1999 standard.
The outcome is a product with optimum technical characteristics, made of waste matter from the production process and only recycled water. Highly pollutant phases of the production process are also eliminated, such as the delivery of raw materials to the factory or grinding process.
A carbon footprint study of STON-KER® Ecologic has been conducted in accordance with the British cradle-to-grave PAS 2050 specification.
This study quantified the greenhouse gas emissions generated by the manufacturing and distribution of the STON-KER® Ecologic series, measured in kilogrammes of C02 equivalent released into the atmosphere.
This is a useful tool for those in charge of construction or design projects, since it provides information that can play a fundamental role in final decision-making by allowing them to compare the environmental impacts of alternative products.
The production process for STON-KER® Ecologic tiles has 40% less impact on global warming than the conventional manufacturing of similar products at Porcelanosa.
LEED, BREEAM and VERDE are green building certification systems, which assess buildings as opposed to products. When products by Porcelanosa are used in building projects, they can contribute to the achievement of a certain rating for that building by obtaining more points than other alternative products.
With these green certification systems (LEED, BREEAM and VERDE), third-party checks are conducted and successful building projects are certified as having been designed and built using strategies conceived to improve on key environmental aspects of their design, such as energy saving, efficient water consumption, a reduction in C02 emissions, improvements to the building’s indoor environmental quality, the use of recycled materials or ones with an ecolabel (EPDs, Ecolabels, carbon footprint certificates etc.), the use of local raw materials close to the production plant so as to cut down on transport etc.
PORCELANOSA’s products are designed to help architects obtain certain points or credits awarded by these green certification systems, thus facilitating the materials specification process.
Depending on the global rating that it achieves, a building will be certified as falling into one of the following categories:
- LEED, basic, silver, gold and platinum.
- BREEAM, pass, good, very good, excellent, outstanding.
- VERDE, ranging from a one-leaf certificate to a five-leaf one.
Porcelanosa products can be used to obtain LEED, BREEAM and VERDE points in different categories of the rating systems, depending on their use:
- Recycled material content.
- Environmental certificates (ecolabels).
- Easy to care for, with no need for aggressive chemical substances.
- Energy performance (e.g. minimizing energy consumption by using pale colours with a high solar reflectance index (SRI) on facades in places with hot climates or in interiors).
- Water consumption. (e.g. using a tile with an impervious surface on terraces, roofs or facades to collect rainwater, or using a product that is easy to care for since it will require less water for cleaning purposes).
- Regional materials. (both quarried raw materials for production purposes and end products delivered to sites close to the production plant).
CE markings on tiles. User safety.
This is not a quality mark but a guarantee that certain safety requirements have been met before a product can be sold. All ceramic tiles in circulation in the European Union must comply with the requirements of the CE marking, regardless of the quality of the tiles.
Under the European Construction Products Regulation, all building projects must be planned and executed in a way that does not compromise the safety of people, pets or goods or harm the environment.
Porcelanosa’s ceramic tiles have a declaration of performance (formerly known as a declaration of conformity) available to all European Union customers wishing to see it. This contains details of how the product performs in terms of key safety criteria (fire, mechanical and slip resistance; heavy metal emissions; bonding strength with different adhesives; durability etc.). On the packaging, summarized information can be found, together with the CE marking. The documentation that comes with deliveries of supplied products includes a sales document with additional information relating to the product’s CE marking.
Each different tile product has a corresponding declaration of performance (STON-KER®, PAR-KER®.porcelain wall and floor tiles, porcelain tiles for sole use on facades, stoneware indoor wall and floor tiles, Monker® indoor wall tiles)
Ceramic tile handling and safety instructions (general safety sheet).
The Spanish Ceramic Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER) and Institute for Ceramic Tile Technology (ITC) have published a set of general handling and safety instructions for ceramic tiles as non-hazardous materials.
Porcelanosa. An Authorized Economic Operator. Security, safety and smooth logistics.
Porcelanosa S.A. sells glazed porcelain or stoneware tiles and glazed porous wall tiles. The tariff codes are:
- Glazed stoneware and porcelain tiles: 6908 90 91.
- Glazed porous wall tiles (Monker®): 6908 90 93.
PORCELANOSA Grupo holds the fullest version of the Authorized Economic Operator certificate (AEO): Customs Simplifications / Security and Safety. The certificate has been awarded to each of the companies that make up PORCELANOSA Grupo (PORCELANOSA, VENIS, GAMADECOR, SYSTEMPOOL, L’ANTIC COLONIAL, BUTECH, NOKEN and URBATEK).
Because Porcelanosa holds the highest AEO certificate and the Customs authorities thus regard it to be a trusted operator known to apply the most stringent safety and security controls in its premises and in logistics operations, clients and collaborators throughout the whole supply chain are guaranteed substantial added value.