As I walked through the halls of Cevisama last month, I was struck by all the textured surfaces now offered on tiles. Clearly, advances in technology continue - giving tile products strong definition and personality.

Another thing I observed as I toured the extensive exhibitor space in Valencia, Spain, is that manufacturers are definitely making a conscious effort to keep up with the green building movement. Many of the leading manufacturers were introducing tile collections made of recycled material, and one innovative company even developed an energy-saving tile. While about six months away from market introduction, the tile possesses technical qualities that will actually save homeowners about 16% on its electric bill, according to its manufacturer. Developments such as this are a clear indicator as to the evolution of tile over the last decade. They no longer come in just basic sizes and colors, and they certainly are not for only kitchen and bath applications anymore.

With the green building movement growing stronger every day, it is important that more building products are on the market to meet this demand. Tile manufacturers are not the only ones who are dedicating time to produce environmentally friendly products. While stone is a natural product from the earth, associations such as the Natural Stone Council and Marble Institute of America are working tirelessly to develop guidelines for stone to earn points toward LEED certification. As of now, stone that is quarried within 500 miles of a jobsite can receive LEED points, but there are many other factors - such as sustainability - that can be considered in terms of stone. Many leading manufacturers of installation and maintenance products are also offering product lines that are considered environmentally friendly.

Because green is becoming such an important factor in design today, this issue of Contemporary Stone and Tile Design includes a focus on green products and projects where the use of natural stone has been used towards LEED certification.The feature begins here. Moreover, some of the innovations on display atCevisama 2011 can be found here.