by Crossville, Inc.
One of the easiest and most effective ways a design professional can reduce indoor pollution is to research and specify finished products and installation materials that are neither "original sources" of contaminants nor "sinks" or secondary sources of contaminants.
Not an 'original source' contaminant
An 'original source' of contamination contains contaminants as manufactured, and may discharge the contaminants into the environment during installation, during the product's lifetime in the building, during use or cleaning, or during removal. A "sink" may not contain any contaminants as manufactured, but will absorb contaminants from other sources and may discharge the contaminants later.
Not a sink
Some products are both original sources and "sinks." Materials such as carpet, fabrics, upholstery foam, pressed board products, glues and adhesives, plastics and other porous or soft products may act as "sinks." These materials may absorb contaminants, such as cigarette smoke or maintenance products, under typical indoor environment conditions.
Absorption of contaminants may occur only under certain conditions, such as on weekends when the ventilation system allows the temperature to rise and air circulation to slow. Many experts believe after-hours changes in the temperature and air flow exacerbate the problem. For instance, temperatures above 78 degrees cause measurable increases in VOC outgassing.
Damp or humid areas create greater concerns. Studies show that relative humidity above 50 percent contributes significantly to microorganism growth. These heat or humidity conditions may enhance the ability of a "sink" to absorb contaminants in the building air. Later, when conditions become favorable, a "sink" then may release these contaminants into the surrounding environment, creating potentially large concentration levels in the area immediately around the "sink."
Advantages of Porcelain Stone® by Crossville
Porcelain Stone® by Crossville is not an original source of contaminants. This is due to the environmentally-sensitive raw materials and manufacturing processes, and to the tile's simple, inert installation materials and procedures. This means Porcelain Stone does not compromise IAQ during initial installation. In addition, Porcelain Stone® by Crossville:
Porcelain tile vs. ceramic tile
- will not act as a "sink" to absorb VOCs or other chemicals from surrounding materials. After Crossville tile is installed, it forms a completely inert flooring system.
- will not support bacterial or fungal growth, nor will it absorb or release other contaminants.
- also offers ease of maintenance with simple, water-based cleaning materials.
- does not require solvent-based cleaners or sealers. Simple, water-based products keep Crossville tile well maintained and also protect our environment.
- offers significant advantages for indoor air quality during installation, and for the lifetime of the tile's use in the building.
Porcelain tile, including Porcelain Stone® by Crossville, differs from ceramic tile in its manufacture, absorption and breaking strength. These inherent differences in the manufacturing processes and the quality of the raw materials make porcelain tile a superior product in terms of value, durability, color and design.
Porcelain tile is made up of approximately 50% feldspar; the remaining 50% is made up of various high-quality light firing ball clays. This makes the fired body white, allowing clear, brilliant colors and through body construction, meaning the color goes all the way through the tile rather than a surface glaze application.
Because porcelain is pressed under higher pressure than other tiles, in the range of 6,000 pounds per square inch, it is more dense than ceramic tile. It is also fired at a temperature of 2200° F, while ceramic tile would be fired at 1800° F, providing a much lower rate of absorption. The international standard for porcelain tile states that for tile to qualify as Porcelain, it must have water absorption of 0.5% or less. Crossville Porcelain Stone® typically has an absorption rate or less than 0.1%.
At Crossville, Inc., we depend on natural resources to create our award-winning products, and when we take from the Earth, we give back. A member of the U.S. Green Building Council, we are committed to protecting the environment through our quality manufacturing processes and by offering recycled and environmentally friendly products.
Crossville's EcoCycle is the first porcelain tile with certified recycled content. Scientific Certification Systems, an independent third party certifier of environmental claims, conducts regular audits of our innovative processes and assures that EcoCycle is in strict compliance. The post-industrial recycled content found in EcoCycle was previously sent to local landfills. A proprietary system developed by Crossville now diverts six million pounds of this waste back into the manufacturing process. And EcoCycle was just the beginning - Crossville now offers five products with SCS-certified recycled content.
In 2009, Crossville became the first company to offer an environmentally preferable method for disposing of previously installed tile. Through our proprietary Tile Take-Back program, we are able to process tile back into powder used to manufacture new tile. Not only does this allow us to take back tile that has been removed for remodeling and renovation, but it also allows us to recycled our own fired waste - diverting an additional four million pounds of waste from landfills annually.
The water absorption rate for porcelain tile makes it suitable for interior and exterior applications in all climates. The water absorption rate of ceramic tile is usually greater than 3%, which means that it is not suitable for exterior applications.
Using applicable ASTM tests, Crossville Porcelain Stone® has a breaking strength of 390 to 400 pounds versus approximately 250 for regular ceramic tile. The Compressive Strength of Crossville tiles range from 36,000 to 38,000 psi. Crossville Porcelain Stone® products have an absorption rate that allows them to be rated as frost proof, not frost resistant.
Recognizing that sound environmental policies reach beyond manufacturing processes and product offerings into all business operations, we have formed an Environmental Commitment Task Force made up of representatives from each of our operational units to evaluate current practices for efficiency and environmental impact and to recommend future innovations that will further establish Crossville as the environmental leader in the tile industry.
Our waste-water policies exceed government standards and we have earned several citations for effective waste-water practices from the City of Crossville and the Kentucky-Tennessee Water Environment Association. Water used in manufacturing is recycled back into our processes; the minimal amount that is not recaptured is returned clean to its natural habitat.
We maximize use of natural gas, a clean burning, efficient fuel, which helps alleviate negative impacts associated with other fuels. Our dust collection procedures not only allow us to limit air pollution, both inside and outside our plants, but allow us to reuse unfired raw scrap materials and residual raw material during manufacturing. While this reuse doe not constitute recycling, it does minimize landfill deposits while conserving raw material.
Recycle, reuse and reduce
Crossville has initiated a companywide recycling program through which tens of thousands of pounds office and production facility paper and plastic waste - as well as plastic bottles and aluminum cans - are collected and recycled each month. With no formal recycling program in the surrounding county, we also encourage our employees to bring their recyclables to work for collection.
Our commitment to the environment reaches into our packaging, marketing, and merchandising efforts. Samples, display panels and small piece goods are packaged using recycled and recyclable wrapping and cushioning materials. Additionally, our marketing materials are printed at Forestry Stewardship Council certified facilities; soy inks and recycled paper are used whenever possible.
An authorized provider of CEU programs, Crossville has developed Is It Really Green, an in-depth look at sustainability, green washing, and other issues pertaining to the use of green building materials and furnishings.