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The GreenBuilding Rating: Building according to environmentally sustainable principles

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As everyone who works in the industry is aware there is more and more emphasis on building in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way

However there are many different regulations that need to be looked at for different aspects of the question and no overall coherent approach to classifying products according to their “greenness”. 

Kerakoll’s GreenBuilding Rating, which along with its Eco products range won the Tile Association award for Best Environmental Initiative in 2011, was developed in reaction to this lack of a single standard, as an objective way for professionals involved in the product specification process to evaluate the overall ecological and environmental characteristics of a product. 

At the beginning of this century Kerakoll realised that research was needed on the impact that building has on the environment and established a technical committee to look into the effects of building materials on the environment and human health, and the regulations and assessment systems connected with those areas.  The committee began working with a lot of well-known research institutions at a European level, including the European Commission Joint Research Centre and the French Institute CSTB (Technical Scientific Centre for Construction). 

Certified by SGS

The GreenBuilding Rating came out of this work as a system of assessing building products to give an objective evaluation of how green they are.  Moreover it has recently been certified as reliable and accurate by SGS, the world’s largest inspection, certification, control and analysis organisation.

Revised in line with the latest knowledge

The Rating is being continuously revised and reviewed to ensure that it encompasses the latest knowledge, techniques and testing methods, and a new version has just been launched encompassing 2 new criteria: indoor air quality and local mineral content both of which are described in more detail below.

Relevant Product Categories and Criteria

There are 3 product categories involved in the ECO section of the GreenBuilding Rating: Inorganic Minerals (pre-packed powders etc) such as mineral screeds and binders for substrates, levelling and waterproofing products, mineral adhesives, grouts and mortars, Organic Minerals (polymer-based fluid products) such as waterproofing products for substrates,  adhesives, grouts, sealants and mineral paints coatings and coverings and Organic Fluids (polymer-based fluids where the fluid portion is the most significant ingredient) such as preparation and waterproofing products for substrates, varnishes for hardwood floors, injection and structural bonding systems.

The criteria differ for each category, for example Inorganic Minerals rates products based on “locally-sourced mineral content”, “recycled locally-sourced mineral content”, “CO2 emission”, “recyclable material” and “VOC indoor air quality” which is common to all 3 categories.  The other criteria vary depending on the nature of the products, so for example both Organic Minerals and Organic Fluids contain “respect for the environment” (avoiding water, land and air pollution), “reduced solvent content” and “non-toxic material” due to their fluid nature, but Organic Minerals has “locally-sourced mineral content” and Organic Fluids has “water-based mineral” as they are different types of material.

The criteria are all based on existing regulations and methods of measuring environmental damage.  So for example “VOC indoor air quality requires products to be tested and certified according to the new GEV Emicode which came into effect in August 2010 and also abide by emission’s limits set out in the GEV protocol.  The GEV Emicode rates products EC 1 Plus, EC 1 and EC 2 but Kerakoll has undertaken to reach or better EC 1 Plus for all of its products.

Towards an Industry Standard

At the moment Kerakoll is the only company using it, but the GreenBuilding Rating is open to all and the company is working towards it becoming a European standard as it can be used to rate any product on the market and is a quick and easy way for anyone who specifies this sort of product to ascertain how green the alternatives are.

More information about the GreenBuilding Rating, Kerakoll and its products is available by ringing 01527 578000, emailing info@kerakoll.co.uk or visiting www.kerakoll.co.uk

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