Building Materials

How is stone sustainable?

In today’s world, project owners increasingly realize the importance of building with sustainability in mind. Architects are pushing the movement forward with designs that keep the health and well-being of the planet and its inhabitants in mind.

As a natural stone building material supplier, we often hear from design teams wanting to ensure the materials for their projects are sustainable in two ways:

      • Material health – the actual “ingredients” of the product must be environmentally responsible.
      • Sourcing of the product – the process the product goes through to get to market must also be environmentally responsible.

When it comes to material health, most designers understand that natural stone is among the healthiest of building materials. It has one ingredient, and that’s stone. Unlike alternative products, natural stone isn’t ground into a powder and combined with other resins, polymers, pigments or chemicals to create a new product. Natural stone is simply that – Natural. Stone.

Declare: Finding Healthy Building Materials For Your Next Project

Declare Database Verification for Coldspring To back up the claim and provide verification, many stone suppliers, such as Coldspring, have added their natural dimension stone products to the Declare™ database of Red List Free products. The Materials Red List identifies the “worst in class” materials, chemicals and elements known to pose serious risks to human health and the greater ecosystem.

The Responsible Natural Stone Extraction Process

Where questions typically come up is about the sourcing of the product. Is natural stone extracted responsibly? What about the manufacturing process it goes through to become products such as building cladding, plaza hardscapes and fountain pavers? And is the supply chain ethical?

natural stone extraction process

These are easy questions for Coldspring to answer because Coldspring is both the quarrier and fabricator of our products. We are the supply chain, and we can respond with certainty that our stone products are extracted and processed responsibly. What’s more, we have the certification in place – ANSI/NSC 373 Sustainable Production of Natural Dimension Stone — to verify it.

Like other programs such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Cradle to Cradle certifications, natural stone’s sustainability certification addresses the elements that are top-of-mind for decision-makers, including:

      • Water usage and management
      • Energy usage
      • How waste is handled
      • Ethical labor practices
      • Safer chemicals and materials management
      • Human health and safety
      • Land reclamation and adaptive reuse
      • Site management plan
      • Chain of custody and transportation
      • Innovation

Natural Stone Certification & The Reclamation of Quarries

Natural stone’s certification program also dispels a common myth that the extraction process for stone is akin to mineral mining where the earth is stripped and left devoid of its resources. On the contrary, modern quarrying practices extract with great care and precision. When a quarry reaches its lifespan, it then has a reclamation plan to leave it in a better place than it was before. Certification distinguishes which quarriers adhere to these responsible practices.

Green Building Certifications & Programs Now that the natural stone industry has adopted a certification standard to verify sustainable practices, design teams are called to specify certified natural stone. Certified stone helps projects meet sustainability goals, as it aligns with leading green building certification, such as LEED v.4 and the Living Building Challenge. Certified stone is the natural choice for sustainable projects.

To learn more about how natural stone helps design teams achieve sustainability goals, visit our sustainability resources online or download our free e-book “Specifying Sustainable Stone: A Guide to Helping Owners Get What They Want.”

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