Sustainability means meeting our own needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.
Designing and constructing buildings in an environmentally friendly manner requires careful planning. Sustainable design focuses on increasing the efficiency of resource use — materials, energy, water— while reducing a building’s impact on human health and the environment throughout its life cycle.
There’s an ever-growing market for smart and timeless designs that highlight sustainability. While various materials and design options are available, natural stone stands out as a versatile choice for meeting long-term aesthetic and performance needs while enhancing the sustainability of space.
Equipped with the knowledge of what makes stone sustainable, you can make the best choices for selection, installation and maintenance. So what makes stone sustainable?
Stone is NATURAL
Stone is the original green building product created by Mother Earth, not requiring any other materials or resources to exist. It contains no harmful chemicals or toxins that would interfere with a healthy interior environment. Available in a variety of colours, finishes, shapes and sizes, its characteristics make it possible for the stone to be used in a wide range of applications. Its varying appearance and beauty is the result of unique mineral composition and millions of years of geologic change.
Stone is DURABLE
Stone stands the test of time, aging gracefully and providing years of use, reducing the need to replace materials over a longer period of time. It can easily stand up to high traffic use in areas such as foyers, kitchens, and bathrooms. When you compare materials, consider them from a life-cycle cost perspective. Even if the stone has an initial cost, it will more than pay for itself and reduce future costs compared to other materials that need to be repaired or replaced more frequently.
Stone is EASY
Properly cared for and maintained stone will last for years. A wide range of installation options and finishes can be applied to natural stone that enhances its performance, extends its life by resisting wear and tear, and even makes it more slip-resistant. Most stones can simply be cleaned with mild dish soap and water, and there are a variety of cleaners made specifically for natural stone that are affordable and easy to use. Many of these cleaners are approved to meet sustainability standards which means they contain no harmful chemicals and won’t pollute the environment.
Stone is RECYCLABLE
Stone is completely recyclable and can serve many purposes over its lifetime. Utilizing recycled stone can reduce the energy, water, and other resources needed to generate new products from virgin or raw material sources, reducing impacts to ecosystems and resource supplies.
For instance, salvaged stone from an old building can be disassembled and the stone reformed or refinished as paving, retaining walls, exterior facades, mosaics, and more. This can provide warmth, a sense of history or nostalgia in a new design. These options create new possibilities for the natural stone while also ensuring the materials don’t end up in a landfill.
Stone is SUSTAINABLE
Technological advancements in quarrying, extraction and fabrication have led to more options and reduced costs of stone products, making natural stone easier to use and more desirable than ever before. Minimizing waste, conserving resources and preventing pollution are some of the ways the stone industry works at being eco-friendly through practices that support sustainable design requirements. You can be a part of using material handled in a sustainable manner through your selection of natural stone.
Sustainable design is here to stay, and designing with natural stone presents an exciting array of opportunities. Talk to us about your goals and the specific needs for your project so that you can make the most sustainable choice, one that will be enjoyed for many years to come.