Why good industry practices are good news for reducing CO2

It was a hot September, and that's not a figure of speech. The temperature in the last month has exceeded the seasonal average by 1.75 °C and 2023 is officially the hottest year since meteorological data have been recorded. A very concrete premise to talk once again about sustainability, in particular from the point of view of materials for interior design, in particular of surfaces.

The construction and architecture sector is responsible for a significant share of CO2 emissions: the figure communicated by the EU is 36% for total energy consumption alone. The calculation across the entire supply chain is very complex, it concerns not only production and construction, but also obsolescence, maintenance and the hundreds of operations related to the sector.

The good news is that companies know this and, more and more often, they are trying to take action. Obviously for ethical reasons, but also for more prosaic commercial reasons: large architectural works have long includedgreen dataamong their tender parameters. The calculation of which is made simpler by BIM, the digital management of the architectural workflow, demonstrating that technology and transition go hand in hand.

Read about BIM: what it is and how it transforms architecture

In any case, it is worth showing as a (good) example the practices and strategies implemented by large and small brands and the good practices inspired by the principles of sustainability. Because if it is true that change is measured in impact, it is also true that actions arise from a position that is as transparent and ethical as possible, from the thought behind the identity of a industry.

Read also: This is what scaling sustainability means in mass production

Italy is a nation that more than others has a virtuous attitude towards recycling and reuse, in clear contrast to the attitude of other EU countries. Thanks to a culture with strong peasant roots, which through inventiveness and, sometimes, genius, has been transformed into industrial and technological practice. With the motto "nothing is thrown away", we are among the best wood recyclers, for example.

Almost 2 million tons of CO2 saved and 2 billion euros of economic impact generated with 62.7% reuse from the packaging sector alone (source Rilegno).

Itlas and Ecos Project

Itlas is a brand that produces parquet and wooden surfaces. It does this at a high level with a strong commitment to respecting resources. An idea that its founder Patrizio Dei Tos repeats with enthusiasm: wood is a living, reusable, regenerable material. This is demonstrated by his strategic choice to use, where possible, zero kilometer woods, such as those from the Foreste del Cansiglio collection. And, always and in any case, certified raw material for all production.

Itlas's latest invention is Ecos, a production process based on the principles of the circular economy which uses small waste wood chips, inevitable in manufacturing, to give life to a series of products based on post-production recovery.

Ecos parquets are, from the market point of view, competitive both from the point of view of performance and from the aesthetic point of view. Water-based painted and finished with a non-toxic sanitizing treatment. The company comments: “With Ecos every clipping is recovered and becomes part of new eco-sustainable tables, respectful of the environment and the gifts that the Earth offers to humanity.

A virtuous use of wood that aims to be a stimulus to the development of sustainable management and informed purchasing".

Kerakoll: communicating sustainability is fundamental

Conscious purchasing is one of the most critical issues when it comes to sustainability. Communicating company choices is a complex process, which mainly involves explaining the product and direct dialogue with customers. Kerakoll has chosen the path of a designer who is an ambassador of reflection on sustainability, Martino Gamper.

“Strato is a project that I created thinking about the restyling of the Kerakoll showroom in Milan. The idea was to play with the past and the present, with the architecture of the spaces and the range of colours, to create a new future", says Gamper.

The simple and geometric shapes hide a great complexity in the lines and cuts, indicating one of the possible paths towards a sustainable idea of design. Working on the surface, precisely, to communicate how much and how one can intervene in an environment without modifying what already exists.

Panariagroup: rethinking surfaces starting from sustainable thinking

An idea, that of limiting new interventions as much as possible, which Panariagroup also pursues with the two brands Cotto D'Este and Lea Ceramiche. In 2004 the industrial group began to invest in rigorous research into products with low environmental impact. A logic that manifests itself in every part of the design, from the rational use of materials to logistics, from installation to disposal.

From 2022 with the THINk ZERO project, Kerlite and Slimtech are the first slabs in the made ceramic sector in Italy to be 100% Carbon Neutral. They are thin slabs that can also be laid dry, without glue, on pre-existing surfaces and without the need for demolition work.

At the end of their life cycle they can be entirely recycled as a substrate for building and road works, or easily disposed of because they are essentially composed of water and kaolins. The solution is not in the material, but in the technological research which has guaranteed us to arrive at production solutions that totally eliminate the ecological impact.

Artelinea: territory, sustainability, craftsmanship

A glass industry in the furniture/bathroom sector, Artelinea confirms the importance of being rooted in one's own territoryand respect for the material. Glass is sustainable by definition, if treated correctly.

The most important part from a sustainability point of view is the production process. An awareness that translates into a zero-impact production economy model through the complete recycling of production water and the use of water collected in rain cisterns.

The 12,000 square meters of photovoltaic panels installed on the roof of the factory generate 80% of the energy needed, significantly reducing the environmental impact of production activities.

Within the company, a customized packaging structure made exclusively with 100% recycled cardboard has been implemented. Finally, here too we are talking about new and green materials: Opalite® was born from the company's technological research, eco-sustainable and 100% recyclable, composed of a mixture of silica sand and other minerals.

On the cover: a work by Mario Cucinella, the architect who has always made research into sustainable construction the focus of his work. In the image, the kindergarten in Guastalla, Reggio Emilia, ph Moreno Maggi