Sustainable Building

For years now, is undergoing an effort to improve the buildings both on side of the well-being of people who live there, and in terms of environmental compatibility and energy efficiency.
In this sense, there has been a fertile production of rules, regulations, guidelines and recommendations from both the central organs of Public Administration and by individual regions or autonomous provinces.
Not being able to offer, for space reasons, the entire compendium, we limit ourselves to some reports that seem us to be more significant and far-reaching.
On the initiative of an Italian interregional Working Group, has been defined a “protocol” that, pursuing the goal of improving the quality of living, indicated and defined the “requirements” to examine and quantify to determine the level of environmental of buildings. Level whereby on will have to adapt the buildings to be built under a special environmental energy certification release both in design, and construction and testing phase, and during the maintenance.
Since the improvement of the quality of living subtends, in an important way, an overall improvement of the quality of the materials, is in operation a research to define the energetic environmental quality of building materials in order to have a database – with its relative price list of “sustainable” materials.
The adoption of “sustainable materials” will be regulated by laws and incentives, including economic (already ongoing as discounts on planning fees, concessions of larger volumes and thickness of the building based on its compatibility, etc.).
For the residential building, the synthetic “ITACA” protocol, elaborated from the above mentioned Italian interregional Working Group, takes in examine various criteria to define and optimize, for the improvement of the living quality in order to obtain environmental sustainability certificates, such as energy for living spaces air-conditioning, the thermal transmittance of the building envelope, the water heater, control of solar radiation, thermal inertia, natural lighting, electricity, use of materials from renewable sources, the use of recycled and salvaged materials, consumption of drinking water and for indoor use, maintenance of building performance, CO2 emissions, solid and liquid waste and the permeability of the exterior areas.
With Legislative Decree (D.Lgs) of 19August 2005 No. 192 and 29 December 2006 No. 311 pursuant to Directive 2002/91/EC, it was wanted to reconfirm the desire to reduce energy consumption in heating and air conditioning systems in buildings, even with the imposition and the subsidization of new construction methods.
Despite not having been issued the decrees promised with Legislative Decree (D.Lgs) reported, it is statutory that the energy certification has become mandatory from 1 July 2007 for the sale of buildings of more than 1,000 square meters useable, from 1 July 2008 for the entire property with a surface area of less than 1,000 square meters useable and from 1 July 2009 for every single unit with a useable surface area exceeding 50 square meters.


The radon indoor problem has been aroused in the Sixties from epidemiological studies conducted in Sweden and USA. They found out that in some areas, mostly due to the geological conformation of the land on which the houses were built, there were significant concentrations of radon in living areas and this caused adverse effects on the inhabitants. It was launched a program of global survey that identified the average concentration of radon in houses in different countries. Italy has a national average of indoor radon rather high compared to other countries (77 Bq/m3) and in some regions (Latium, Campania, Lombardy, Alto Adige, Friuli) its presence is significantly higher. The radon concentration may differ, also significantly (more than an order of magnitude), during the course of the year, for various reasons: atmospheric pressure, temperature, presence of water in the subsoil, air changes, etc. . Changes are also found during the day: you can find peaks and lows during the daily span.
The Legislative Decree (D.Lgs) 241 of 26 May 2000 set limits for the average activity concentration of radon in a year for the underground rooms where work activities take place, however nothing is determined regarding to habitations, since mixing with the atmosphere, radon is diluted and does not create any problems.
Based on these considerations and with the goal of getting to know thoroughly our own product, Cave Riunite, in the interest of its customers, has decided to commission a study at the CNR Institute of Chemical Methodologies, to evaluate the characteristics of Fiorditufo radon emanations. The series of in-depth analysis was completed in 2007 and yielded interesting results from the scientific point of view, which are summarized below:

1) Fiorditufo just extracted has an average specific emanation value of radon equal to 276 – 304 mBq/h/kg for the yellow type and 402-572 mBq/h/kg for the black type.
2) ) Artificially drying the material and measuring it again we found the following values: 61 mBq/h/kg  (yellow type) e 44 mBq/h/kg (black type), which means that we have obtained a reduction respectively of: 79 % and 91%.
3) Comparing the specific emanation of radon from tuffs examined, with that of other construction materials, derived from others analysis, it is noted that the values, after drying, are mutually comparable.
In conclusion, from the results summarized above, this search can affirm that, as regards Fiorditufo, considering the combined action of drying and commissioning, that in the actual conditions of use it occurs in all cases of interest in the construction of houses, the examined tuff can be considered a building material that has radon emanation characteristics comparables with those of other natural materials used for constructions.