Sustainable Surfaces | How much water is used to make tiles?

Here in Australia we’ve experienced unimaginable drought, bushfires and floods, all in the space of a few years. Water is one of our most precious natural resources, so how can we use less and save more?

Of course there are a number of ways we can reduce our water use everyday - shorter showers, ensuring taps are turned off properly and watering our gardens at appropriate times are just some of these. But what if we looked deeper at the products we purchase? How much water is embodied* in these products? How can selecting green certified tiles make a difference to our impact on the environment?

On average, Australian households consume about 340 litres of water per person, per day. That’s equivalent to about 1,437 cups of coffee! The production of ceramic tiles requires the use of large volumes of water as a mixing agent, as a lubricant and for cooling.

At the very start of the process, water is mixed with refined clay, sand and fluxing powders to create a slurry. This slurry is then mixed and put through a cyclonic drying process where the water is evaporated out, resulting in a highly refined clay powder (used to press the tile biscuit). 

Both traditional glazes and modern inkjet technology use liquid glazes applied to the surface of the tiles. During firing, this moisture is turned into steam and dispersed into the surrounding environment.

Once fired and cooled, the majority of modern tiles are rectified, using diamond grinding wheels to create perfectly straight edges on your tiles. This process requires large amounts of water to both cool and provide lubrication during grinding.

So where does this water come from, and where does it go?

Our major manufacturing partner Porcelanosa Group in Spain noticed the amount of waste in the ceramics industry almost two decades ago and began to introduce new technologies to help minimise waste water and materials, reduce the use of energy used to power their production and ensure no toxic or harmful chemicals were used/released/contained in their tiles. This led to the development of water reticulation plants all over their factories to capture and recycle the water used in production.

Our collection of Porcelanosa tiles are both Global Greentag Certified to Level A and GoldPlus, as well as being accredited as DECLARE Label Red List Free by the Living Building Institute. As part of the Global GreenTag certification process, our tiles undergo a complete life-cycle assessment to understand every impact a product has on the environment from raw material extraction through to end of life recycling.

Check out the fact sheet below to understand how much water is used, and how impactful your decision to use green certified tiles can be. Join us on our journey to reduce our environmental impact and build a better environment for all. Starting yesterday.

*’Embodied water’ refers to the total water used to manufacture a product which is lost, discarded or contained within the product itself.

If you would like to learn more about our green certified tiles please reach out to your nearest showroom or via your dedicated sales representative.

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