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Pewabic Environmental Assessment

CSS Publication Number
Full Publication Date
September 18, 2017

Pewabic is a not-for-profit ceramic studio and pottery school in Detroit, Michigan.  The organization employs full- and part-time ceramic artists and technicians to produce a variety of vessels and tiles, retailed on-site and from its online store.
Pewabic produces an estimated 1,000 square feet, about 3,400 kilograms, of ceramic tiles per month, including architectural field and gift tile.  The organization intends to increase production with support from the Erb Family Foundation.  The planned expansion will create an additional 2,500 square feet of storage and preparation space at the existing facility. The expansion will increase tile production by an estimated 80% from its current rate, to an average of 1,800 square feet of tile, or 6,120 kilograms per month (an additional 2,720 kilograms per month). With additional grant support from the Erb Family Foundation, Pewabic seeks to assess the environmental impacts associated with the expansion and determine next steps to improve the sustainability performance of the organization.

This assessment quantifies environmental impacts associated with ceramic tile production and uses them to estimate the change in impacts resulting from the proposed Pewabic expansion. The primary objective of this study is to identify relevant environmental impacts and quantify them on a per-tile basis. This report summarizes key findings from the analysis and delivers recommendations on impact mitigation and future work.

The scope includes all activities and processes associated with the production of ceramic tile at Pewabic. The assessment focuses on energy, water, and materials use. Additionally, the assessment examines certain emissions and discharges to air, water, and soil resulting from on-site production. Impact categories selected for the assessment are materials use, water use, fossil energy, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The methods section provides more detail on impact categories and impact methods used in the assessment.

Research Areas
Consumer Products & Packaging
Food Systems and Consumer Products
ceramics, Detroit, pottery
Publication Type
Full Citation
Blanchard, Rees. (2017) “Pewabic Environmental Assessment.” CSS Report, University of Michigan: Ann Arbor 1-16.