By Jason Brunt, Ceramic Product Manager at Mapei UK.
Being truly green is not easy. If we consider our own home environment, just how green is the average household? Do we always turn the lights off, leave things on standby, use just the right quantity of water and recycle everything that possibly can be recycled? Or do we “green wash” and fill our bins to the maximum?
Throughout Mapei’s factories, offices and warehouses, the same actions and processes that would reduce environmental impact and improve sustainability in the home are implemented on a global scale and monitored by stringent international standards.
The Mapei Group has dedicated over 80 years of research and development into producing green products by reviewing all business operations: from recycling plastic coffee cups and installing motion sensor lighting, to producing Environmental Product Declarations (EPD) for products. An EPD assesses and evaluates the environmental impacts of a product, from extraction of the raw materials that make up the formula through to its final disposal.
Mapei Are: Sustainability
How does a chemical company that manufactures products for the building industry remain sustainable? How can chemical products even be considered eco-sustainable? For more than 30 years the Mapei Group has been committed to sustainability goals, with Mapei UK recycling 84% of waste materials and packaging, investing in research projects and adopting the three mainstays of sustainability: environmental, economic and social.
Mapei makes a substantial contribution to the “green” building sector formulating innovative products made from recycled and light-weight raw materials, how to reduce energy consumption and emit very low levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC).
A further contribution to eco-sustainability made through the development of products which have improved mechanical performance characteristics and durability which, by allowing a longer service life, inevitably leads to a reduction of waste materials and therefore lower consumption of materials and energy.
An entire product range has been developed which uses ultra-light raw materials, for the installation of tile and stone. The Ultralite range consists of a comprehensive range of eight powders and one paste adhesive available in white and grey shades, S1 and S2 deformability and rapid or standard setting.
Solvent-free products with low emissions of VOC provide a good indoor air quality where they are applied, for the well-being of both applicators and final users. Mapei’s range of green low-VOC products are tested and certified by international institutes and labelled according to Emicode standards (EC1 and EC1 PLUS). These are issued by GEV (Gemeinschaft Emissionskontrollierte Verlegewerkstoffe, Klebstoffe und Bauprodukte e.V.) of which Mapei has been a member since 2005, and who control the emission levels of building materials.
Some products are also certified Blauer Engel. This label further guarantees the quality of air for applicators and end users.
GEV and Blauer Engel are stringent classification systems that assess VOC emissions from products used in the building industry on a short and long-term basis (3 and 28 days respectively) from when they were applied. These labels consider products to be low emission on the basis of their “total VOC”, calculated to be the sum of all volatile organic compounds emitted within a certain period of time as well as on the absence of emissions of carcinogenic compounds (benzene, acetaldehyde, formaldehyde, etc).
Carbon footprint and the greenhouse effect
Within the framework of a development programme for continuous, significant and tangible improvement in favour of eco-sustainability, Mapei joined the “Public Review for the Analysis of the Carbon Footprint during the Life Cycle of Consumer Goods” in 2013. This is promoted by the Italian Ministry of the Environment.
The Mapei group applies the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) approach to calculate a Carbon Footprint. This method evaluates the energy and environmental inputs of a product throughout its entire life cycle, from the extraction of the raw materials used to make the product right up to disposal of any waste products, taking into account production processes, distribution through to final use. By implementing this, Mapei can evaluate how a product and its life cycle can be modified to reduce environmental impact.
Sustainability on a global scale: Mapei S.p.A.
It has been scientifically proven that global warming is responsible for global climate changes, the effect of this which can be seen most clearly in extreme and devastating weather events. In this case the emission of greenhouse gases, first and foremost CO2, is the cause.
It would be impossible to completely eliminate CO2 emissions from product production processes, however it is possible to implement carbon offsetting schemes to limit the effect CO2 emissions have on climate change. Through LCA evaluation of Mapei S.p.A. products Keraflex Maxi S1 Zero and Keraquick S1 Zero, local residual emissions which cannot be eliminated are offset through greenhouse gas reduction projects in other parts of the world. CO2 “credits” for aeolic energy production projects in the Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan (2013) and Karnataka (2014) have been obtained, making them the first “carbon neutral” products certified by third-party bodies.
Architects and contractors increasingly interested in utilising eco-sustainable products to imagine and build green buildings. BREAM and LEED protocols are at the forefront in minds as we design and develop these projects.
By implementing local sustainable practices and constantly evaluating product life cycles, Mapei plays their part as a global company to limit climate change and promote sustainability.
For more information regarding Mapei’s sustainable credentials, visit www.mapei.co.uk.