ISO 17889-1, a pioneering standard in terms of sustainability | by Andrea Contri

Article published in: "Paving the way to a more sustainable world"

Architects, construction companies and building materials manufacturers are becoming increasingly aware of the urgent need for concrete action to reduce the environmental impact of buildings and to create more sustainable living spaces. 

Through their production processes and levels of performance, construction products can make an important contribution to achieving these objectives. With this in mind, last June the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) published the world’s first standard outlining the requirements of a sustainable product, in this case ceramic tiles.

The standard ISO 17889-1:2021, Ceramic tiling systems — Sustainability for ceramic tiles and installation materials – Part 1: Specification for ceramic tiles is a pioneering standard in terms of sustainability in the construction products sector. It outlines the requirements for sustainable ceramic tiles according to environmental, economic and social criteria. The standard also includes evaluation to enable the results of assessments to be compared, thus supporting certification schemes. It also enables architects and end customers to select products that most contribute toward sustainability in buildings.

The new ISO standard was presented on 30 September during Cersaie at a conference entitled “Sustainable tiles? Now there’s an ISO standard”. At the conference, Andrea Contri from Confindustria Ceramica, Project Leader and Convenor of the group of experts that developed the standard, outlined the structure of the standard and the various sustainability indicators; Maria Chiara Bignozzi, Director of the Centro Ceramico and a professor at the University of Bologna, provided a simulation of how the standard will apply to a typical Italian tile production activity; and Marco Mari, Chairman of GBC Italia, discussed the potential role of the new standard in building rating systems.

This standard also contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined by the UN as part of the 2030 Agenda, specifically goal number 12: responsible consumption and production. 

A second part of the standard is currently in development and will specifically apply to tile installation materials such as adhesives, grouts and membranes. 


Also see Italian ceramics, a sustainable choice


October 2021

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