A partnership approach
In France, the performance of buildings in terms of their environmental and health quality is an approach supported by several organizations:
- the HQE® association (Haute Qualité Environnementale – high environmental quality)
- the Association des Industries de Produits de Construction (AIMCC – the association of building product industries)
- Centre Scientifique et Technique du Bâtiment (CSTB -the scientific and technical centre for building)
At Terreal, we have connections to each of them - either directly or via the Fédération Française des Tuiles et Briques (French federation of tiles and bricks). Furthermore, the Group's employees are actively involved in the standardization work being conducted on the environmental quality of buildings and building products.
Analysis of the lifecycle of our materials
At Terreal, we are particularly concerned about target number 2 in the high environmental quality approach, which concerns the choice of products and construction materials. Calculating the impact of a building on the environment and on the health of its occupants demands a thorough knowledge of the impact of building materials and products used and considering these in relation to the full life cycle of both the products and the building.
The environmental data collected are based on a full life cycle analysis, i.e. a precise inventory of all the "inputs" and "outputs" required, from the extraction of raw materials to disposal or recycling at the end of life. This analysis is published in the form of summaries known as FDES (environmental and health declarations).
French regulatory databases
Since 1 January 2014, any construction products sold that claim an environmental characteristic must have been subject to a full life cycle analysis in accordance with the French decree of 23.12.2013 relating to the environmental declaration for building products. They should be included in the regulatory database set up by the government: www.declaration-environnementale.gouv.fr
The Terreal products concerned appear in the database, either directly or in the collective environmental declaration made by the Fédération Française des Tuiles et Briques (FFTB).
In addition, we are also involved as a Group in the European work on developing a framework document defining the European standard EN 15804 for terracotta products. It reflects the way of conducting life cycle analyses on these products as well as the scenarios for the steps to be taken with and after production. This document is called the "Product Category Rules" (PCR), which will act as the standard once it has been recognized by the European Committee for Standardization.
Architectural integration through terracotta
At Terreal, we offer terracotta tiles and cladding that fully meet the needs of each area, as a result of the combined advantages of our extensive work on colours and the clays located near the various plants spread throughout France.
The variety of shapes and colours mean they can just as appropriately be used on old buildings for renovations to preserve the local heritage and or on buildings requiring contemporary shapes and colours.
Terracotta improves the quality of indoor air
The health section of the FDES shows that terracotta materials contribute positively to the quality of indoor air due to their 100% mineral composition, which contains no nutrients suitable for mould growth, and the fact that they do not emit any volatile organic compounds (VOC).
Most FDES relating to available terracotta products are based on collective data established by the Fédération Française des Tuiles et Briques.
The FDES can be downloaded from the INIES website (French database of references relating to the environmental and health characteristics of building products).
A white paper on the quality of indoor air
Improving the airtightness of houses, as has been the rule since January 2013 with the entry into force of the French 2012 thermal regulations, has generated concerns about the quality of the indoor air in buildings among both users and the medical profession.
Our Group has actively supported the initiative of the Fédération Française des Tuiles et Briques, which in 2011 coordinated the drafting of a white paper on this subject by the chairman Hervé Gastinel.
The paper is the result of the combined contributions of all the stakeholders involved in indoor air quality: politicians, the medical profession, the building industry, and civil society.