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Building Better: What Does Long-Term Sustainability Really Mean?

Oct 31st, 2023

by Tile Wholesalers of Rochester

The consequences of climate change are a part of every decision we make. Tenants and homeowners are starting to inquire more regularly about LEED scores and green building reports for their apartments, homes, and office buildings. Architects, designers, and homeowners alike are putting the environmental impact of their building materials at the top of their decision criteria. Small choices like these slowly pave the road to sustainability, setting us up for a more future-proof relationship between our built and natural environments. 

This blog considers the long-term outlook for sustainability in residential and commercial design, with insights into how A&D professionals, designers, and residents can navigate the complex landscape of regulations, incentives, and material selections to build better spaces–both for people and the planet. 

Embracing Eco-Friendly Architecture

Recent architecture and design shifts are reimagining buildings as part of a larger ecosystem. In recent years, architects have designed and built incredible spaces that minimize energy consumption, reduce waste, and incorporate natural space. 

Architects and designers have been increasingly thoughtful in their material selection, considering the environmental impact of the floor and wall tile they use as they bring these projects to life. Those choices are critical for large builds; the more material, the more the impact of its carbon footprint compounds. 

Marble Systems, Terrazzo Tile

Assessing Sustainable Materials

Selecting sustainable materials can take time and effort. We need to assess materials based not only on the resource depletion and net emissions that come from their production but also their durability and end-of-life disposal. A product that has a lower carbon footprint at the expense of function or durability will need to be replaced sooner, creating more waste and a larger carbon footprint in the end. 

Many manufacturers have risen to the occasion, and sustainable materials are improving daily, making it easy for anyone to choose the more eco-friendly option without sacrificing function, style, or safety. Crossville, a leader in sustainable commercial design, launched two impressive carbon-neutral tile lines this year that set a new standard for eco-conscious materials. Their holistic cradle-to-gate carbon offsetting approach brings improved environmental outcomes to any residential or commercial product. Like many manufacturers and architectural teams, Crossville set ambitious sustainability targets, aiming for a 10% reduction by 2024 and a 30% reduction from their 2014 baseline by 2030. We’re proud to carry Crossville’s new lines–you can find them in our showroom!

Crossville Civilization

Understanding Green Building Codes

Green building codes and regulations have recently been implemented to establish a shared language and framework for creating environmentally responsible structures. Compliance not only benefits the environment but also positions a project for incentives and certifications. 

Certifications like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) offer recognition for projects that meet specific sustainability criteria. LEED-certified buildings saw average rents that were 11% higher than their industry competitors last year, and they contributed to a 25% decrease in energy use with 34% less carbon dioxide emissions and 11% less water consumption. All signs indicate continued tenant interest in green buildings across residential and commercial properties.

Crossville Tile

Long-term Outlook: Designing for Humans

Human-centric design focuses on creating spaces that promote well-being and comfort; natural lighting, indoor air quality, and ergonomic designs all contribute to the health and productivity of those who use the building. With the proper solutions, materials, regulations, and strategies, these fixes can be a win-win for people and for the planet we share. Architects, designers, and decision-makers play a big role in that shift. By embracing eco-friendly principles, understanding regulations and incentives, and making thoughtful material choices, we can build better and contribute to a healthier, more sustainable world.