The Spanish Tile Industry Differentiates Itself Through Sustainability

Aug 13, 2019

The Spanish sector of ceramic tiles, represented mostly in part by ASCER, is dedicated to improving the environmental impact of member companies’ production processes and ceramic products.

In recent years the Spanish tile industry has made great strides in reducing production emissions, reducing resource consumption, promoting the circular economy and being over-all more energy efficient. During this year’s World Environment Week, ASCER presented the Sectorial Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), registered under the GlobalEPD system of AENOR. The Institute of Ceramic Technology (ITC), with whom ASCER collaborates with closely, has created an individual technical label for Spanish Ceramic tile. This label evaluates the Life Cycle of the products and their impact on the environment. With ceramic exports making up 75% of Spain’s annual sales, it is important to note that the DAP is internationally recognized, allowing comparisons between the different producing countries.

Beyond the new EPD, the Spanish sector has also recently invested in a production process that optimizes the firing of tiles by introducing waste replacing raw materials. In addition, cogeneration technology has also been introduced to the firing process to increase of the efficiency of generating both heat and electricity.

Additionally, the Spanish tile sector has also introduced a zero-discharge water treatment, in which all wastewater is purified and recycled. Thanks to this research and investment effort, the sector is now recycling up to 1,200,000 tons of waste per year, reducing the need for excess raw materials, and favoring a healthier economy.

This commitment to sustainability goes beyond production and into the products themselves. Many Tile of Spain companies are now offering versatile products that contribute to both the aesthetic and the sustainable footprint of buildings. For example, new ceramic systems used in residential homes can help to reduce the energy cost of air conditioning. In these ceramic ventilation products water and heat are isolated and converted it into energy in the home. These new systems are offered in a variety of colors and finishes that also make ventilated ceramics a stylish choice for homes.

Additionally, ceramic sheets are now being produced that are capable of “decontaminating” air pollution by nanoparticles that give the tile a photo catalytic effect. Essentially the radiation from the sun creates an oxidation that destroys the toxins from the population when it comes in contact with the ceramic surface.

Beyond buildings, communities such as Benicàssim are now taking advantage of the sustainable benefits of ceramics. The coastal city is now working on the installation of permeable pavements with a ceramic drainage system that avoids urban floods and stores rainwater to be used as irrigation water.

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