Terrazzo Association of Northeastern States
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The Grand Dam
Few structures in America display the diversity of design and craftsmanship that you see at Hoover Dam. It is a showcase of seldom-seen skills of artists and artisans--beautifully presented terrazzo tiles, sculpture, metalwork, and even military emplacements. Read Full Article

Sustainable Terrazzo

Terrazzo flooring has a long and rich history that dates back over 1500 years. Terrazzo, from the Italian word for terraces, is one of the original recycled products - created centuries ago by Venetian workers utilizing the waste chips from slab marble processing. Today terrazzo flooring continues to provide the ultimate in durability and low maintenance, typically lasting the life of the building. The combination of beauty, durability, and low maintenance has led to a renaissance in the use of terrazzo over the past decade. The demand for terrazzo is increasing in many markets, from performance driven institutions such as schools, airports, and hospitals; to the designer driven markets of retail and commercial buildings. Terrazzo is the ultimate choice when evaluating finishes on a life cycle basis.

In recent years the construction industry has begun to focus on the environmental impact of many construction materials. The evaluation of products in the "green movement" encompasses many elements, which must be weighed on a scale of relative importance. These elements include the longevity of the material, the composition, maintenance, recycled content, embodied energy, and the "cradle-to-grave" environmental impact.
Sustainable construction is at the core of green construction. Terrazzo floors have an outstanding record of durability and performance dating back over a thousand years. The floors will typically last the life of the structure. In many older buildings, the floors can be restored to their original luster at a fraction of the cost of replacing the finish.

Low Maintenance - Both cement and thin set epoxy terrazzo floors have extremely low maintenance costs. Annual stripping and resealing can utilize environmentally friendly water-based products. Routine maintenance includes dry and damp mopping, with an occasional spray buffing. In comparison, carpet requires energy intensive daily vacuuming and periodic steam cleaning.
Composition and Embodied Energy
Terrazzo is composed of naturally occurring aggregates, recycled glass or plastic and processed cement or epoxy binders. The binders constitute approximately 25%-30% of the volume of the terrazzo floors; the remainder of the floor is composed of aggregates, pigments, and fillers. Initial life cycle assessments of embodied energy appear extremely favorable due to the longevity and low energy usage for maintenance.
Recycle/Reuse Content
Several glass aggregate suppliers are currently providing postconsumer recycled glass to the marketplace. Several slab marble and granite quarries have supplies of post-industrial stone left from slab granite and marble processing. The plastic chips actually contain as much as 20% recycled plastic. Aluminum divider strips may also incorporate recycled metal.
VOC Off-Gassing and Indoor Air Quality
Both cement based and thin set epoxy terrazzo systems are comprised of zero VOC materials. Terrazzo exhibits little or no offgassing over the life of the cured floor. The non-porous, cleanable terrazzo finish does not support microbial growth, nor allow moisture to accumulate, helping to maintain a mold-free environment with improved indoor air quality.
Local Sourcing
The United States terrazzo industry consists of many manufacturers, suppliers and distributors, strategically located throughout the country. Terrazzo is manufactured on-site minimizing post-commercial waste and transportation costs. By comparison, much of the marble and ceramic floor tile used in the United States is manufactured overseas and imported.

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