As stone professionals, we believe that stone is as natural as building material can be, and yet it has not received much attention from the ‘green’ industry until now.  A recent article published by has finally given natural stone its due and the future looks promising.

The crux of the article written by Brent Erlich, emphatically supports that as a building material, stone requires virtually no manufacturing and is so durable that stone structures built thousands of years ago are still used today—characteristics few contemporary “green” products can equal. Yet stone has been largely overlooked by the green building movement, while ephemeral products made of recycled plastic often carry green labels. Granted, stone has some significant environmental impacts, but they may not be as big as you think, and the stone industry has undertaken noteworthy sustainability efforts. Erhlich further writes, that this ancient building material may be more relevant than ever in today’s green building industry.

Stone has all the attributes of a green product. It requires almost no chemicals to produce or maintain, it emits no VOCs or hazardous airborne pollutants, and it is water-resistant and durable. It is also an attractive material that will outlive most structures built today, and it can be salvaged from one building to be reused or repurposed in another. Stone cladding is used on new buildings to match original historic structures, and in the right application or climate—such as in areas with large temperature fluctuations—stone can be used as thermal mass for space heating and cooling. Some stone even has good solar reflectance.

However, quarrying methods, processing techniques and transportation issues have caused concern to environmentalists.  The stone industry has lacked organization and public awareness that has kept them from spreading a more positive perception.  Now they are employing new quarrying and production methods that improve the efficiency of stone production and lower its environmental impact and in recent years taken action to organize and develop stone industry standards that will establish a rating system for quarries and stone processors.

The third-party-verified metrics will change the way the stone industry is both viewed and measured for effectively contributing to green standards – as they naturally have all along.

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