The stone industry takes being “green” extremely seriously. Natural stone is Mother Nature’s original green building material. It is neither bonded together by petroleum based resins nor created in a factory. Natural stone flooring and countertops will not need to be replaced for a long time, are 100% recyclable, do not emit VOCs into your home and can be cleaned with Ph-neutral dish detergent. After all, what can be greener than a product that comes directly from the earth?
You will learn how to use stone to support a green building design project. Stone’s position as a green building material and in the green building community are backed by comprehensive research. Competing materials often claim to be green. But, stone’s enduring life cycle, ease of care and maintenance and durability make it an excellent choice for your project.
A sustainable or green building is the outcome of a design process which focuses on increasing the efficiency of resource use — energy, water, and materials — while reducing a building’s impact on human health and the environment during its life cycle; through better site selection, design, construction, operation, maintenance, and eventual disposal or removal.
Enduring Life Cycle
Natural stone stands up to weathering and time better than any other building material, natural or manmade. This has been proven through the ages. The Egyptian pyramids, the Parthenon or any ancient city offer lessons that demonstrate natural stone is the most sustainable building material available.
When choosing to install a stone floor, countertop, wall cladding, etc. you are making a decision to use a product that will last for at least 100 years in many cases and certainly for the life of the building in most.
No other building material is as recyclable as natural stone. Nearly 100% of stone from deconstructed projects is recyclable and able to be used on other projects, or crushed for use as roadbeds, etc.
Zero VOC Emission
Research conducted by the University of Tennessee’s Center for Clean Products found that natural stone does not directly emit any VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). Stone may source VOCs from adhesives and applied sealants, however, low- and no-VOC options are available.
Domestic stone fabricators like Larry’s Cap Rock & Stone utilize a water filtration system for their waste water. However, many companies are also on the cutting edge of an exciting new closed loop water recycling system. These closed loop systems recycle 100% of water used in the fabrication of natural stone, dramatically lowering water consumption.
Heat Island Affect
Many light-colored varieties of natural stone such as Keystone, Hemingway, Oolite have been shown to lower a building’s or site’s “heat island” through their ability to reflect heat. Heat island refers to the concept of a building raising the average temperature of the area surrounding a building and site.
A major tenet within the green building rating systems is that of supporting “local” products and businesses. Regionally manufactured and extracted materials reduce environmental impacts by reducing emissions of greenhouse gasses during transportation, while supporting local economies. Fortunately for environmentally conscious consumers, there are stone quarry sites within 500 miles of nearly any building site in the United States and Canada. Larry’s quarries and fabricates 4 limestones that qualify for LEED points.
For more information about the sustainability of stone refer to the Marble Institute of America & the National Stone Council. In addition LCRS has a CEU class accredited by the state of Florida covering this subject extensively.