International Masonry Institute News

IMI LEED-ing the way to Sustainable RETROFITS

The next big area of Green movement for the construction industry is sustainable retrofits – a market estimated to grow to $15.1 billion by 2014 and a market perfectly matched for tile, stone, and terrazzo. Yet, with a sea of interior materials ready to meet the needs of these future projects, only the International Masonry Institute’s (IMI) Sustainable Retrofits for Tile, Marble and Terrazzo seminar at the recent Coverings Expo made the connection between tile, stone, and terrazzo systems and the growing opportunities for interior materials found in green retrofit projects.

IMI’s presentation uniquely targeted the confirmed next area of growth for our industry – the area broadly defined as retrofits. Clearly the definition has great reach and we are watching building alterations, adaptive reuse, historic renovations, and even additions to existing buildings all fall under this category. Over 90% of today’s existing building stock would not pass current energy requirements due to their inefficiency. This is a startling number and is creating a much needed response by owners looking to improve their building stock.

IMI’s presentation focused not only on the upcoming trend, but highlighted the extended contribution that tile, marble, and terrazzo contractors can make toward improving a building’s overall performance.

Speaking to an audience of architects and contractors, IMI asked the very important question “Why” related to the use of tile, marble and terrazzo systems. The answer – “Because tile, marble and terrazzo systems offer numerous solutions to improved indoor air quality and thermal comfort” – made an impression on architects who are now seeking multi-attribute characteristics for their material choices.

Designers are quickly recognizing that a material selection made on aesthetics alone is no longer defensible. The word of the day is performance and that performance includes retrofit projects.

We can’t hold a conversation about green retrofits without recognizing that LEED language is prevalent in estabilishing guidelines for all building types undergoing renovation, restoration, upgrades, or adaptive reuse. The interior masonry trades will offer solutions to a variety of LEED guidelines related to the retrofit arena. With the growing numbers of IMI Sustainable Masonry Certified Contractors, these solutions will be easily supported by IMI contractors who understand what it takes to build sustainably.

IMI’s presentation at Coverings confirmed the emphasis being placed on the retrofit market. Having launched its retrofit seminars for TMT at the TCAA conference in October of 2010, IMI is committed to growing its sustainable solutions strategy to include education and training for the green retrofit arena.

For more information please contact IMI’s Director of Sustainability and Program Development, Maria Viteri at

Sustainable Design