Sustainable homes and green building have both been increasing in popularity over the last decade. In fact, LEED certified green homes have had an overall increase of 20% over the last 5 years. Sustainable homes are often considered to be healthier for the occupants, as well as better for the environment, which increases their appeal. As awareness and demand for sustainable products and materials grow, so does the number of choices on the market for interested homeowners – and this includes numerous tile choices as well.

What Is Sustainable Design?

Put simply, sustainable design or sustainable building is creating a home or building that has the least possible impact on the environment. This may mean using recycled or reclaimed materials, investing in energy efficient systems, or choosing building practices and brands that operate in an efficient manner. Other choices may include choosing products and materials that don’t off gas VOCs (volatile organic compounds) such as formaldehyde-free products or low-odor paints.

There are many ways to have a more sustainable home. LEED certified homes are one option. This third-party certification program ensures that the building meets sustainable and green building standards at every level. But anyone can make their home more sustainable simply by making more conscious decisions about what they put into their homes.

Demand for Recycled and Sustainable Materials

Recycled glass tiles on a bathroom wallThere are many types of sustainable and green building and finishing materials on the market. These include things like low or no VOC plywood and paint, or recycled and reclaimed glass or concrete. In fact, within the last few years, 66% of industry designers surveyed say that their clients want materials with a high-recycled content. Building materials are considered to be sustainable when they contain between 30% and 100% recycled content.

Other materials with high demand include those that are considered non-toxic and that give off few to no VOCs. Once LEED credits were given to non-toxic materials, interest in this area began to spike, and awareness among homeowners began to spread. Having materials in your home that are both recycled and non-toxic can help make the space healthier for you and the environment together.

Using Tile in Your Sustainable Home

Stunning ceramic tile accent wallThere are many high quality materials on the market that can fit the description of sustainability, and many of these are also types of tile. Glass, ceramic, cement, and porcelain tiles are all available in sustainable options that can help meet your design needs.

Glass mosaic tiles on a bathroom backsplash Glass is endlessly recyclable, which makes it a green material perfect for many homes. More than 3 billion tons of glass are recycled each year. Your glass tiles may be made from recycled light bulbs, bottles, window glass, and more. Glass tile is also considered non-toxic and does not give off VOCs either before or after installation.

Glass tile is easy to care for and comes in a beautiful array of colors, sizes, and styles. Colorful and light reflecting, glass tile is also a recommended material for homeowners who want to increase the amount of natural light in a room. Glass can help reflect and amplify up to 100% of natural light, allowing you to reduce the amount of artificial light in the space.

Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

Breathtaking use of tiles for flooringCeramic and porcelain tile are both made from clay. This natural material is also non toxic, and clay is considered a readily available material that can be recycled. Even old tiles can be recycled again into new materials after use. And while clay tiles do require manufacturing, the industry as a whole has reduced its environmental impact significantly over the years, allowing ceramic and porcelain tiles to be eligible for LEED credits. Many tile manufacturers are recycling their waste water and excess clay, and high quality clay tiles can be reclaimed and used again. High quality ceramic and porcelain tile manufacturers often score well above the minimum threshold for sustainability put out by LEED. This process is beginning to gain popularity as well, with “tile take back” programs being proposed that would allow manufacturers to endlessly recycle products, rather than making new ones.

Cement Tiles

Elegant and rugged, cement tile floorsCement tiles are another fantastic option for sustainable homes. Cement tiles don’t require heat for production like glass and clay tiles, so they use much less energy to produce. Cement is also a recyclable product that is non toxic and does not give off VOCs. Cement and concrete are also considered energy efficient materials because they have a high thermal mass. This means cement tile transfers heat slowly, and can keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, helping to keep energy bills down.

Make Your Home a Little Greener with Tile

Recycled glass tiles on a fireplace mantelDemand for sustainable homes is up and growing. As more people become aware of the impact that building can have on the environment and on their own health, green building materials become more important every year. Green and sustainable homes may sell for up to 16% more than conventional homes, making these types of upgrades a good investment for homeowners as well. If you’re considering a home renovation or a new home build, go green with tile and help make your home healthier for you and the environment. Stop into Tile Showcase today, and let us show you our extensive collection of high quality cement, ceramic, porcelain, and glass tiles that can help you achieve the home of your dreams.