Green Terrazzo: Sustainable Architecture and LEED
Download Terrazzo LEED Brochure
Terrazzo originated in Italy during the 15th century becoming one of the world’s first “green” flooring systems as Venetian marble workers recycled and reused materials to create a terrazzo floor.
Today recycled material is a key component of a terrazzo floor. Epoxy terrazzo combines unparalleled durability, exceptional beauty, design flexibility, and ease of maintenance with today’s best practices for sustainable architecture.
When considering the life-cycle costs and environmental impact of epoxy terrazzo, the flooring system is valued for its contribution to LEED points established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
LEED points from epoxy terrazzo can be derived from the following factors:
TERRAZZCO Brand Products are made out of 100% solids containing zero VOCs eliminating off-gassing during the lifecycle of the epoxy terrazzo floor
An epoxy terrazzo floor utilizing TERRAZZCO Brand Products has longterm durability requiring minimal repairs and replacement during the floor's lifecycle
Concord Terrazzo Company is strategically placed to cover the Southeast region of the United States supplying aggregate, epoxy resin, and precast all comprising of recycled contents.
Concord Terrazzo Company can extend the lifecycle of buildings by patching terrazzo floors or recycle original components back into a new terrazzo floor.
Download “Going Green with Terrazzo”, a guide on how TERRAZZCO Brand products can help you meet sustainability goals. The guide covers two topics: How terrazzo satisfies LEED points and an overview of GREENGUARD and how zero VOCs in epoxy terrazzo impacts sustainable architecture projects by improving overall indoor air quality.
Thin-set epoxy terrazzo is comprised of zero VOC materials. Over the lifetime of a terrazzo floor, expect little to no off-gassing to form, thus improving indoor air quality for sustainable construction projects. In addition to many epoxy resin products containing low volatile organic compounds, epoxy terrazzo is also non-porous. An epoxy terrazzo finish does not support the growth of bacteria, mold or mildew.
GREENGUARD Gold Certification (formerly known as GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certification) offers stricter certification criteria, considers safety factors to account for sensitive individuals (such as children and elderly), and ensure that a product is acceptable for use in environments such as schools and healthcare facilities. It is acknowledged by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Building Rating System.
Concord Terrazzo Company is committed to environmental responsibility. Air quality is a major challenge in today’s construction environments. Exposure to volatile organic compounds from building materials is a concern among many as various products containing high chemical emissions pose a health risk for people occupying a building.
The Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Program was developed to aim at reducing the exposure of VOCs from building materials in new construction and renovation projects. All TERRAZZCO products were tested by a third-party to be VOC-free, obtaining GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD Gold certification. This means any epoxy terrazzo floor containing TERRAZZCO Brand Products contributes to improved indoor air quality, great for sustainable architecture projects.
GREENGUARD and GREENGUARD Gold Certification satisfy the following sustainable credits:
One of the most notable ways to obtain LEED points is to include recycled materials in a terrazzo floor.
The most common source of recycled content is aggregates. Recycled glass comes from post-consumer sources such as mirror, glass bottles, and glass containers. Marble and granite quarries supply post-industrial marble and granite chips to terrazzo contractors for use in a terrazzo project as well. There are other sources of recycled aggregates such as recycled porcelain and recycled concrete. Even new plastic chips contain as much as 20% of recycled plastic material.
There are other sources of recycled content designers can incorporate with their sustainable architecture project to satisfy LEED points. Aluminum divider strips also contain a good amount of recycled material. These are used to control joints and specify a color change on a terrazzo floor. If an underbed is utilized, the steel reinforcing may have recycled content as well. Even cement used in cementitious terrazzo projects may also have recycled content.
Manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors are located strategically throughout regions of the United States. LEED points can be obtained when materials are distributed within 500 miles from the project site. Terrazzo is manufactured on-site to minimize post-consumer commercial waste and transportation costs. Materials that can be regionally sourced for a sustainable architecture project include epoxy resins, aggregates, divider strips, and sealers.
Download: NTMA – LEED® Case Study
Architects and designers value terrazzo for several features: low-lifecycle costs, durability, design flexibility, low maintenance, and sustainable use. Indoor air quality, regionally-sourced materials, and recycled content are all factors that may contribute to an architect’s and designer’s LEED goals. The following is a list of LEED credits that terrazzo can provide:
LEED points may be awarded by re-using a portion of existing non-structural elements, including floors. Terrazzo floors typically last the life of a building structure. Many renovation projects can restore the original terrazzo floor with low-cost repairs and refinishing. By restoring a terrazzo floor over replacement, not only does it reduces overall floor costs but contributes to LEED credits.
LEED points may be awarded by recycling or salvaging nonhazardous construction and demolition debris. If a project requires demolition of an existing structure with terrazzo flooring, terrazzo components may be salvaged for reuse or recycled. Those same components can be later installed in a new terrazzo floor, particularly the aggregates. A qualified terrazzo contractor can assist in the salvaging process.
LEED points may be awarded for using recycled content in a terrazzo floor or other surfaces. Sources of recycled content include post-consumer recycled glass, and also post-industrial stone or marble salvaged from construction buildings and crushed and processed to be used again in a new terrazzo floor. A floor incorporating 100% recycled glass aggregates could contain as much as 75% recycled raw material by volume. Aluminum strips may also contain recycled metal.
LEED points may be awarded if a portion of the project building materials is extracted, harvested or recovered, as well as manufactured within a 500-mile radius of the project. The calculation is based on the cost of raw materials. Manufacturers supply materials throughout the United States. Materials like marble chips, glass aggregates, and cement and epoxy resin are manufactured by terrazzo contractors in every region. See the NTMA members list for a full list of contractors. Terrazzo can contribute to points if raw material suppliers are located within 500 miles of the project site.
LEED points may be awarded if the terrazzo installation does not include adhesives and sealants that contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in excess of certain limits. Both cement and epoxy terrazzo contains zero VOCs. Many of today’s epoxy resin suppliers use a 100% solids formula, eliminating any VOCs in the material. Certification of compliance can be obtained from epoxy resin manufacturers.
LEED points can be awarded if sealers do not contain VOCs in excess of certain limits. Sealers used in terrazzo floors will generally comply. For schools, flooring elements must meet the testing and product requirements of the California Department of Health Services Standard Practice for the Testing of Volatile Organic Emissions from Various Sources Using Small-Scale Environmental Chambers, including 2004 Addenda. Generally, epoxy terrazzo products will comply.
Additional LEED points may be awarded under the Innovation in Design category for innovative performance in categories not specifically addressed by LEED or for achieving exemplary performance in an established LEED credit.