The green wall at Michael Chen's NYC Townhohuse was developed to hold native plants inside. Boston Valley manufactured the terraclad wall and planters for the project.

TerraTrust: Boston Valley’s commitment to the future of sustainable manufacturing

Boston Valley Terra Cotta affirms our commitment to the future of manufacturing with the launch of TerraTrust, a sustainability initiative focusing on how terra cotta can lower a building’s impact and the measures Boston Valley is taking to be more environmentally conscious.

When discussing construction and manufacturing, one way to reduce the carbon foot print of a building can be through the choice of materials and where it is coming from. All Boston Valley Terra Cotta products are manufactured in the USA; buying domestic products can reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation. Terra Cotta is a naturally sustainable material that can lessen a building’s environmental impact. In recent years, architects have returned to terra cotta for its flexibility, durability, and energy efficiency. Below are several ways that terra cotta is beneficial as an efficient and sustainable material.

The decorative rooftop on St Bartholomew's Dome. In 2018, this restoration project won the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Project award from The New York Landmarks Conservancy.

The decorative rooftop on St Bartholomew’s Dome. In 2018, this restoration project won the Lucy G. Moses Preservation Project award from The New York Landmarks Conservancy.

Long Lasting: Terra cotta is a natural product made from a combination of raw materials from the earth. Terra cotta is malleable when mixed with water and becomes durable when fired, lasting for hundreds of years. The durable properties of terra cotta ensure that our products can withstand freeze/thaw conditions, performing well in a variety of climate conditions.  Buildings that have long lifespan help keep unnecessary material waste out of landfills.

The University of Arizona Health and Science Innovation Building feature a TerraClad® Sunshade with custom twisted louvers, designed to rotate 90° on the building's facade

The University of Arizona Health and Science Innovation Building feature a TerraClad® Sunshade with custom twisted louvers, designed to rotate 90° on the building’s facade

Lower Energy Production: The terra cotta manufacturing process consumes less energy with virtually no CO2 emissions when compared to other commonly used construction materials like concrete, glass, and aluminum. Boston Valley  takes measures to conserve energy whenever possible, such as hand painting edges of our products to avoid unnecessary double firings.

To find out more, click here to watch Alfred University’s William M. Carty, Ph.D.’s webinar, Energy in Terra Cotta: The Balance Between Heat Storage & Strength

Ground up terra cotta is recycled in the production process as grog. Grog is used in the production of new clay bodies.

Ground up terra cotta is recycled in the production process as grog for reuse in the production of new clay bodies.

Less Waste in Manufacturing: We are committed to sustainably sourcing materials and finding new ways to improve our plant efficiency and quality assurance processes to assure streamlined manufacturing with less material waste. In the manufacturing process it is possible to recycle materials like water in other parts of the production cycle. Discarded terra cotta from Boston Valley is also ground up and turned into grog for use in the production of new clay bodies. 

FDNY in Brooklyn, NY, is a Studio Gang designed fire company with stunning red terra cotta portals.

FDNY Fire Rescue 2 in Brooklyn, NY, is a Studio Gang designed fire company with stunning red terra cotta portals.

Easy to Clean & Maintain:  Our products are resilient and durable, and with proper care architectural terra cotta will last for centuries. Terra cotta is easy to clean with light pressure washing and ceramic glazes provide additional benefits in interior applications, forming a barrier that can help prevent mold growth. Our glazed terra cotta and through-body products will not change in color or finish with cleaning and exceed the chemical resistance requirements of the Standard Specification for Ceramic Glazed Structural Clay Facing Tile, Facing Brick, and Solid Masonry Units (ASTM-C126).

Participants at the 2019 ACAWorkshop working on their prototypes at the University at Buffalo SMART Lab.

Boston Valley Terra Cotta is committed to innovating architectural terra cotta through the continuous development of new manufacturing processes. A more environmentally focused outlook has led us to improve our internal processes, going paperless and finding other ways to save energy.

Over the years we have improved efficiency in our production facility, which has led us to restore historic buildings and develop outstanding custom terra cotta façades. The ACAWorkshop, now in its fifth year, has started a dialogue with architectural professionals about the possibilities of architectural terra cotta.

Featured image:  Micheal K Chen Architecture’s Upper East Side Townhouse features a TerraClad® Rainscreen with green wall planters and was completed in 2016.
Photo Credit: ©Alan Tansey