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For years, LEED was the only consideration when it came to green rating systems.  There were others, but LEED had the momentum, the name recognition, and was the placard of choice for discerning buildings.  With the struggles to introduce LEED v4 (now slated for October of 2016) and the announced 2016 departure of USGBC CEO Rick Fedrizzi, LEED has lost some of its luster.  It is still the placard of choice, but sustainable building is fracturing before our eyes.  Newcomers like the Living Building Challenge and DELOS/Well Building are gaining traction, sometimes as a tag-along with LEED certification and sometimes as primary driver.  Stalwarts like Green Globes, ASHRAE 189.1, the NAHB Green Building Standard, and the green building code have continued to gain traction.  Ala Carte sustainability has also become trendy as architects and designers pick various red lists of ingredients that they don’t want their building products to contain.

Given the changing face of sustainability, how do builders, designers, contractors, and manufacturers navigate the always-changing waters of sustainability?  Luckily for those dealing with tile, the Tile Council of North America has been very active in attempting to stay in front of the changes.  Initiatives like the Green Squared standard for tile and installation products and the industry-wide EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) have positioned the tile industry in the vanguard of sustainable flooring choices.  More work remains to be done as we try to decide what is here to stay and what will fall by the wayside.

TCNA’s Bill Griese and I chair the Green Initiative Committee and have been doing so since 2008.  This continuity gives us a great vantage point to try to read the tea leaves and decipher sustainable buildings’ next twists and turns.  Come join us at Surfaces as we wade into the alphabet soup of sustainability and sustainability programs.  We’ll talk with you about where we’ve been and where we’re heading and we’d love to answer your questions as well.  With LEED v4 heading at us like a freight train, you’ll want to make sure you’re not standing on the tracks…

To learn more, attend TU12: LEED and Beyond-Emerging Trends in Tile Sustainability on Tuesday, January 19th at 12:10pm at The International Surface Event.

By Dan Marvin, Director, Technical Services, Mapei