A: With the movement towards green building, we are often asked how “green” natural stone is as a building material. Many factors should be taken into account when choosing material for your home remodeling projects, and the environmental factor is becoming increasingly important for homeowners.
All natural stone products come from quarries where large blocks of stone are removed from the ground before being cut further into slabs. In the past, these quarries have taken heat for poor work practices towards their workers and the environment. However, today there are many regulations in place to prevent negative impacts, and these are well enforced in the United States.
All domestic quarries are required to follow strict guidelines set by MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) which protects both workers and the earth. Old quarries are often turned into recreation areas including state parks and golf courses, and most quarries today have a future plan in place for rehabilitation. These plans start with saving the topsoil before excavation begins, which they reuse along with unused waste rock to recreate the landscape once a quarry is shut down.
While countries such as Italy and Brazil are famous for their stones, we actually have a great variety right here in the US. You can find a list of domestic stone here. Buying local stone means expending less valuable resources on transport too.
Lifecycle of Natural Stone:
Natural stone has already withstood the test of time here on earth. Most are millions of years old. So why would it be any different in your home? Natural stone countertops, fireplaces, and showers will last a lifetime with proper care making them a truly “green” choice.
Natural stone is unique in that it can be completely recycled with no waste. Here at Stone Center, anything big enough to use for a future project we keep in our remnants section. This is a great way for you to save money on smaller projects since you don’t need to purchase an entire slab which would generate more material waste too! Remnants that are not big enough to sell we place on the edge of our property on an A-frame for anyone interested to take home for free. Small pieces of stone can be used for many things such as small table tops, shelves, walkways, patios, or landscaping. Even smaller pieces are used as fill rock or ground into gravel. Because it’s all natural stone, nothing goes to waste!
Sustainability and Company Practices:
We are a company dedicated to being as sustainable as possible. We incorporate a variety of green practices into our workplace – from light bulb choice to reusing everything possible from office supplies to stone to water. And when we can’t reuse, we always recycle!