Focusing on Environmental Impact

In the recent October issue of Environment, Design and Construction Magazine, John Amatruda, a LEED Fellow[1] and BREEAM International Assessor wrote about applying product transparency (HPDs, EPDs) to selecting greener materials.  

As part of the article, John talks about how his firm compared a number of acoustical ceiling panels (ACPs) to determine which was the most sustainable.  They compared one that was made from bio-based fibers as well as some made from more traditional materials like common mineral wool or fiberglass.  The bio-based product was made from rapidly renewable ingredients and seemed like a promising choice.

After comparing the EPDs of the different products John learned that the bio-based panels had the highest environmental impact of any of the reviewed products in all six life-cycle assessment (LCA) categories.  These categories are primary energy, global warming potential (GWP), ozone depletion, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, and smog.  The bio-based product’s GWP was between 10-290 percent higher than other products!

Also, they learned that of the ACPs that were constructed of traditional materials, the one that had the least recycled content had the lowest overall environmental impact.  This study underscores LEEDs shift away from recycled content percentages to a products overall environmental impact. It also reinforces the principles and core values that Altro has stood for all along.    

Unlike some other manufacturers, Altro doesn't stuff products with recycled filler, just for the sake of having high percentages of recycled content.  Altro flooring products are between 2mm-4mm thick and every bit of our flooring serves a purpose.  It's not like some cheap alternatives that are .1mm of product and 1.9mm of filler. 

Every percentage of our product is carefully selected to perform a purpose.  Ingredients like aluminum oxide, silicon carbide and quartz are carefully included to provide durability.  This is why Altro products last long, resist chemicals, withstand abuse, and provide slip resistance.  We build products that are built for purpose.

We’re happy to see that the USGBC's LEED and other Green movements are making what we believe to be a positive shift in values.  A shift away from high percentages that have little overall environmental value towards more important goals – reducing a product’s impact on the environment. 

Because after all isn’t that the whole point of being sustainable?
-Richard Finnegan, LEED Green Associate
Marketing Manager
Altro Americas

To learn more about Altro’s environmental story including our Environmental Product Declaration, please visit


[1] A LEED Fellow is the most prestigious designation awarded to a person in LEED.  In order to become a LEED Fellow, one must be a LEED AP, have significant experience, and must be nominated by your peers. 


Posted: 10/31/2014 7:28:17 PM by Lea Charnley | with 0 comments
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