Keope and the environment
From the control of emissions and energy consumption to the recovery of industrial waste, our way of working has always been based on deep and concrete ethical principles for the preservation of our habitat, for a better quality of life for us but especially for generations to come. Our brand Greenthinking born years ago attests to Keope’s commitment to defending the planet and people.
This is demonstrated by the numerous certifications obtained by Keope, from the Declare certification to Well, which certifies the health of Keope materials, up to the LEED compliant of all the collections in the catalogue.
The LEED certification is being established on the American market as one of the most diffused systems for the certification of buildings, from the planning stage to daily management.
LEED, namely Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an international certification, used in more than 140 countries, which defines new criteria for the design of the buildings in which we live, work or study.
The certification was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2000 and is also present in Italy thanks to the work of GBC Italia that created a local version. Thanks to the GBC, which is a non-governmental and independent body, the LEED certification guarantees purchasers and end users of the building design that aims to attain a high performance in key areas of health and protection of the environment, such as: sustainable development of the building site, low water consumption, energy efficiency, choice of materials and environmental quality, bearing in mind the entire life cycle of the building. With nearly 150 thousand certified square metres every day, LEED is changing the manner with which you design, build and live and this applies to single houses as well as entire quarters.
All Keope tiles are LEED-compliant.
Parameters measured for LEED certification are:
- Sustainable site – Use of existing sites, minimising the impact of buildings on the ecosystem, control and management of rain water, evaluation of the emission of polluting substances, also during construction.
- Water efficiency – Buildings are the greatest consumers of potable water. This prerequisite is based on an intelligent use of water both indoors and outdoors.
- Energy and Atmosphere – This prerequisite encourages the adoption of strategies for better use of energy, such as for instance: more efficient household appliances, better design and more effective lighting, as well as the use of renewable sources of energy.
- Material & Resources – Both during construction and during use, buildings produce an enormous amount of waste and employ enormous quantities of resources. This prerequisite encourages the use of local materials and promotes reduction of waste materials by reusing and recycling. In particular, points are awarded for reduction of waste "at the root".
- Indoor Environmental Quality – If one considers that a human being spends an average 90% of the day inside a building, one can understand why it is necessary to dedicate so much attention to this aspect. This prerequisite promotes strategies to improve the quality of air, of natural lighting and acoustic comfort.
- Locations and Linkages – This prerequisite encourages building on previously developed land and away from areas that are critical from an environmental point of view. More points are awarded for sites near to existing infrastructures, walking areas, sports areas and areas for outdoor activities.
- Awareness and education – In accordance to the LEED system, a house is truly "green" if the people living in it can use its "green" properties to the best. This prerequisite encourages builders and professionals of the building trade to instruct tenants and homeowners to correctly use their homes.
- Innovation and Design – Special points are awarded to projects that are based on the use of innovative technology and strategies to improve the performance of a building, which are not described in the previous categories. This category awards points to projects that are developed by teams including a professional who is credentialed with respect to LEED and who can guarantee a holistic approach to design.
Each of these categories contributes to the awarding of LEED points in a variable measure, as established by the awarding committee. The sum of points determines the certification level reached by the building. Of the 110 total points available at least 40 must be obtained for the Certified level. There are 4 certification levels depending on the points obtained:
- Certified: from 40 to 49 points,
- Silver: from 50 to 59 points,
- Gold: from 60 to 79 points,
- Platinum: over 80 points.
All Keope tiles are LEED-compliant.
The Kyoto Protocol is an international environmental treaty regarding global warming and undersigned on the 11th December 1997 by more than 160 countries.
The treaty came into force on February 16th, 2005 after the ratification by Russia. The treaty foresees the obligation of industrialised countries to reduce emissions of polluting elements by not less than 5.2% in respect of emissions recorded in 1990 during the period 2008 – 2012. By virtue of its modern production facilities, in 2004,
Ceramiche Keope was the first ceramic industry to have completed the process of control and reduction of its emissions of CO2 and greenhouse gas, as established by the Kyoto Protocol.
Ceramiche Keope has confirmed its commitment to an environmental-friendly "mission", by becoming, in 2007, the 1st European company and 1st ceramic industry in the world to attain the prestigious UNI ISO 14064 certification for the enforcement of the Kyoto Protocol.
The UNI ISO 14064 (GHG – Greenhouse gas) standard is a common reference instrument for governments and industry for quantifying, managing and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Ceramiche Keope assesses and effectuates the monitoring of all direct and indirect emissions in respect of the ISO 14064 standard.
Keope and porcelain stoneware
Porcelain stoneware tiles are obtained by means of a sintering process involving the slurry. Firing takes place in long kilns at a temperature of about 1350°C. The raw material is gradually heated to a maximum temperature. This temperature is maintained for a short time and the resulting material is gradually cooled until it reaches ambient temperature. The firing process determines vitrification of the slurry, which makes the material particularly sturdy, water-proof and frost-proof. During firing, however, previously pressed material may go subject to deforming. Major faults affect flatness, size grade and curvature. Deformity defects determine quality of the finished product; after firing, tiles are sorted into grades in terms of size and tone. Material that does not comply with the parameters of the UNI standards is downgraded (2nd grade, 3rd grade, etc.).
'Surface finish' means the process adopted to obtain certain conditions of roughness and of shape and size tolerances.
The surface of a tile can be classified for its appearance or for its texture:
- a natural finish can be smooth and matt or soft and satin-effect or may have a slightly textured surface;
- a structured (or even bush-hammered) surface features all the characteristics of natural stone, such as relief, sand-effects, waviness;
- a lapped surface is glossy because it is polished by means of a mechanical process, without removing any surface material;
- a polished surface is glossier still because it has been mirror-polished. Up to 1 mm of pressed surface material can be removed.
“Shade variation” means that there are visible differences in tone. It means that single tiles have different tones the one respect to the other. The Keope catalogue includes collections that have a very bold shade variation to create the veining of natural stone. These are suitable for adding character to floors and walls in exterior and interior environments by means of uncommon shades. Other collections are characterised by an even colour for a more contemporary style, ideal for living areas and sleeping areas with a modern and minimal look.
Rectifying is the process by which tile edges are made perfectly square. This makes it possible to install tiles with very narrow joints to obtain a refined and elegant aesthetic result. For floors featuring a combination of various rectified sizes, it is recommended to leave 2 mm joints. For walls featuring rectified products, it is recommended to leave 2 mm joints. Rectified sizes are often used for bathrooms and kitchens, which are rooms that have particular requirements owing to the damp, dirt and frequent use of detergents. In this case, a very narrow joint improves hygiene and ensures firmness of wall tiles. Tiles that are not rectified have unfinished edges and call for larger joints.
All tiles must be resistant to stains and chemicals. A tile for exterior use, however, must have different properties with respect to a tile for interiors because it is in direct contact with the elements. In order to be suitable for outdoor use, a tile must be frost-proof, as porcelain stoneware is, and must have a high non-slip coefficient.
Slip resistance is one of the most important characteristics to be taken into consideration in the design, production and maintenance of pedestrian floors. It is an important parameter not just for designers and manufacturers of floor covering materials but also for users, whether the flooring is installed in residential, public or private spaces or in areas used for industrial activities.
The choice of floor covering material must take account of the place of use, the risks associated with the specific conditions of use and the legal and regulatory requirements in force in the country of installation. It is also important to take account of the many factors that influence the relative motion between two contact surfaces (e.g. floor and sole of footwear/bare feet, area, shape/profile, composition of the contact materials, walking speed, weather conditions, presence of contaminants, etc.).
In Italy, Ministerial Decree D.M. 236/89 states that, in private buildings and subsidised and social housing, floors “… in common and public use areas must be “non-slip”, i.e. made from materials whose dynamic coefficient of friction, measured using the Tortus floor friction tester in accordance with the method of the British Ceramic Research Association Ltd. (B.C.R.A.) Rep. CEC. 6/81, is higher than the following values:
– 0.40 using leather as the sliding element over a dry floor;
– 0.40 using standard hard rubber as the sliding element over a wet floor.”
In Germany, the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) establishes the permitted levels of slip resistance for different areas of use: wet barefoot areas (e.g. saunas, swimming pools, etc.) are covered by DGUV 207-006, and workplaces and working areas by DGUV Regel 108-003. The test method uses a ramp to determine the angle of inclination at which the operator is no longer able to walk without falling. The operating conditions are as follows:
– on floor covering materials in areas normally used barefoot (e.g. saunas, swimming pools, etc.): operator walks barefoot on a test surface contaminated with water + neutral wetting agent. The reference standard is DIN 51097, which defines 3 slip resistance classes: A, B, C (Table 1).
– for floor covering materials in workplaces and industrial transit areas: operator wearing safety footwear walks on a test surface coated with oil. The reference standard is DIN 51130, which defines 5 classes from R9 to R13 (Table 2).
In France, standard NF P05-011 “Revêtements de sol – Classement des locaux en fonction de leur résistance à la glissance”, approved in 2019, establishes a similar type of classification of areas of use to the German standard. Floor covering materials are evaluated using the ramp method for walking barefoot and with footwear (CEN/TS 16165 ANNEX A, ANNEX B) and are classified into 4 and 5 classes respectively (PN6, PN12, PN18, PN24; PC6, PC10, PC20, PC27, PC35).
The reference standard in Spain is the Documento Básico SUA of 2019, a building safety document that sets out requirements for floor covering materials in relation to various risks, including falls. The materials are classified on the basis of slip resistance measurements performed using the test method indicated in UNE ENV 12633 (withdrawn, but still taken as reference and mentioned in the Documento Básico), which specifies the use of the pendulum method; floor covering materials are classified into 4 classes (0-3) according to their intended use and level of risk.
When used as a floor covering material, the slip resistance of ceramic tiles must be declared for the purposes of CE marking in accordance with Annex ZA (Table ZA.1.1) of standard EN 14411 Ceramic tiles – Definition, classification, characteristics, assessment and verification of constancy of performance and marking. For the purposes of CE marking, the value must be declared using one of the test methods listed in Technical Specification CEN/TS 16165 (ramp, pendulum and generic tribometer) unless a different method is required by law in the European country where the material is sold. Technical committee CEN/TC 339 Slip resistance of pedestrian surfaces – Methods of evaluation has recently begun work on developing a shared European standard based on CEN/TS 16165.
Recommendations for installation
No, joints are always necessary. However, depending on the type of tile or rather on the type of tile edge, the joint can be narrow (2 mm) or wide (up to 5 mm). Tile installation depends on the characteristics of the collection. It is essential to pay particular attention to product blending and to keep the grouting joints as narrow as possible. If tiles are rectified (the edges are perfectly wedged), they can be installed with a narrow joint (2 mm) to obtain an elegant and refined overall effect. The final result has a high aesthetic impact. Narrow joints are recommended for modern and technological products and large sizes. In the case of traditional or rustic tiles, with edges that are not wedged after firing, we recommend a wider joint (4 or 5 mm) to obtain a final effect that is suitable for the aesthetic and functional characteristics of the tile. One must be aware of the fact that floors with narrow joints are stiffer. In some cases, structural movements of screeds and floor slabs can lead to deforming and breakage of installed tiles.
Butt joint installation means butting up one tile next to another without a gap. Standards and rules relating to installation, however, envisage a minimum 2 mm joint. Materials to be installed with this kind of joint must be rectified and have wedged edges with sharp corners. To give the surface a continuous effect, it is recommended to use a tone-on-tone grout.
Installing tiles is an important stage of a project and calls for a high degree of expertise as well as particular care. A preliminary design stage is essential for satisfactory tile installation, which is: harmonious, regular, in good condition and long-lasting. During the design stage, which must be entrusted to a qualified professional, crucial variables are examined: intrinsic characteristics of the wall or floor; any surface treatments to provide; width and layout of joints between tiles; size of any expansion gaps (essential for the durability of the installation).
Use and care of Keope products
Cleaning "after installation" is necessary to remove any residues of grout for joints, cement, mortar, adhesion grout. It is necessary both for glazed and unglazed tiles. Badly performed cleaning after installation or, worse still, failure to perform after-installation cleaning, may cause stains that will impair floor cleaning, even if this is performed daily. Whenever possible, especially on medium to large surfaces, it is recommended to clean using a motorised brush with soft discs (white or beige). To remove residues of cement-based grout mixed with water, use specific diluted acid-buffer detergents (that are easy to retrieve and are commercially available). For recommendations on products to use for removal of residues of grout or other materials, see the dedicated section.
Many standard detergents contain wax or gloss-enhancing additives that tend to deposit on the floor and create glossy films, which are troublesome and cause stains. These films can also result from the use of some types of grouts for joints. Apart from the staining and increased glossiness, these films can have a water-repellent effect, which is sometimes particularly noticeable. For cleaning tips, go to the dedicated section or fill in the form in the Contact section and you will be contacted by a member of our technical staff. For recommendations on products to use for removal of residues of grout or other materials, see the dedicated section.
Ceramiche Keope is based in Casalgrande (Reggio Emilia), Italy, but has retailers and distributors all over the world. Fill in the special form to acquire information about the nearest retailer.
Our showroom is open as follows: from Monday to Friday, from 8:30 to 12:30 and from 14:30 to 18:30. You will find our showroom in the Casalgrande (Reggio Emilia) facilities in Strada Statale 467, 21. Please remember that our materials are only sold by our Authorised Retailers. Fill in the special form to acquire information about the nearest retailer.
Before installation, first of all establish which kind of tile to order. This depends on your technical and aesthetic needs Then establish the quantity to order. Calculate the area to tile, evaluate the technique to adopt for installation, consider that some pieces may be faulty or may need to be cut or drilled and lastly make sure to order some extra (spare) pieces. As a general rule, it is a good idea to order 10% more than the tiles needed to cover your surface.
Ceramiche Keope manufactures porcelain stoneware tile and can fulfil any requirement in terms of surface and size: sizes range from the 15x15 cm to the 60x120 cm and 90x90 cm. Products are available with different surfaces, from the natural to the lapped, or the structured for outdoor use. Keope produces slabs of porcelain stoneware with a thickness ranging from 4.8 mm (Kover series) to 20 mm (K2 collection).