LEED logoGREEN TERRAZZO – Sustainable, functional, beautiful

EPOXY TERRAZZO FORMULAS contain a minimum of 20%, and up to a maximum of 80% recycled materials, which can contribute to U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) credits, under the LEED® for New Construction Rating system, Version 2.2.

“Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” – U.S. Green Building Council


Terrazzo flooring actually dates back as early as the 4th Century with venetian construction workers. It’s one of the original recycled products that utilized the waste chips from slab marble processing


Terrazzo floors continue to provide a combination of beauty, durability and low maintenance for today’s performance and design driven markets. From school, airports and hospitals to retail commercial lobbies, terrazzo provides the ultimate choice when evaluating finishes on a life cycle basis.


In stride with the “green movement”, the construction industry has become focused on the environmental impact of many construction materials.

The evaluation of many elements are weighed on a scale of relative importance and include; longevity of the material, the composition, maintenance, recycled content, embodied energy and the “cradle-to-grave” environmental impact.


Durability – 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 to replace 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 & Embodied Energy – Terrazzo is composed of naturally occurring aggregates, recycled glass or plastic and processed cement of 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 post-consumer 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 off-gassing over the life of the cured floor. The nonporous cleanable terrazzo finish does not support microbial growth nor does it allow moisture to accumulate which minimizes mold and promotes an environment of improved 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.

SUSTAINABLE BUILDING – The information below summarized the sections in which terrazzo can potentially qualify for points as it pertains to sustainable design under the LEED Rating System. The analysis was performed by Michael A. Kawecki, LEED AP, USGBC, North Texas Chapter

Note: as of January 1, 2006, all LEED for New Construction projects must register under the USGBC’s most current rating system: Version 2.2. The LEED-NC 3.0 Rating System is scheduled for public use and display in early 2009. To determine the most current LEED Rating system for your project, visit http://www.usgbc.org/leed


MRCR1.3 Building Reuse Credit   (1 point possible)

Terrazzo floors typically last the life of the structure. In many renovation projects the original terrazzo flooring has been restored to its original luster following some inexpensive repairs and refinishing. Refinishing of terrazzo can be combined with the reuse of other non-shell areas like walls, doors, and ceiling systems to achieve 50% reuse.

MRCR4.1 and 4.2 Recycled Content Credit  (2 points possible)

Terrazzo allows for easy incorporation of recycled glass, as well as stone or marble that has been salvaged from other buildings and re-crushed and sieved for the terrazzo trade. One point is granted for 10% recycled content and a second point for an additional 10% (20% total) of the total value of the materials on the project. A floor containing 100% recycled glass would contain as much as 75% by volume of recycled product. Aluminum strips may also contain recycled metal. The credit is based on the dollar value of the raw material.

MRCR5.1 and 5.2 Local Regional Materials Credit  (2 points possible)

One point is awarded is 10% of the project building materials is extracted, harvested or recovered, as well as manufactured within a 500-mile radius of the project and the calculation is based ont he cost of the raw materials. The marble chips, glass aggregate, as well as the cement and epoxy binders are available throughout the United States. Terrazzo can contribute to the credit if the raw material supplier is located within 500 miles of the project site. A second point is awarded if the total percentage of the cost of regional materials is at least 20%.


MRCR2.1 and 2.2 Construction Waste Management Credit (1 to 2 points)

Terrazzo can be a part of the construction waste management team and assist in the reclamation of waste from the construction process. In projects that require demolition of existing structures,, the terrazzo contractor can be part of the construction waste management team – reclaiming aggregate and thereby avoiding disposal into the landfill. If desired, the salvaged aggregate can potentially be used in the flooring of the new building project.


EQCR4.1 Indoor Emitting Materials Credit 4.1 or 4.2  (1 point possible)

Cement based terrazzo systems are inorganic binders, containing no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s). The epoxy manufacturers of thin set epoxy terrazzo systems have moved to 100% solid formulas, eliminating the addition of any VOC’s in the material. Certification of compliance may be obtained from the individual epoxy manufacturer.

IDCR1 Innovative Design Credit  (1 point possible)

Terrazzo can also potentially gain additional points under the Innovation and Design category for innovative performance in Green Building categories not specifically addressed by LEED. Extensive use of terrazzo as a predominant floor material can potentially result in an installation with a Life Cycle analysis that exceeds that of other floor materials.

Overall, on typical projects, terrazzo can realistically contribute to five LEED credits: MRCR4 (2), MRCR5 (2), EQCR4.1 (1). On a case-by-case scenario, terrazzo may also be able to contribute to MRCRI.3(1), and in extreme cases IDCRI (1) AND MRCR2 (2), for a total of 9 points.