Around the interior design world, there has been an increased effort to take care of the earth and practice sustainable efforts with natural stone tile. Finding greener ways to live has become an important principle for people everywhere, and as a result, the Green Building industry has blossomed. Embracing a “cradle-to-grave” mentality means we’re now considering not only how products are made (and what they are made of), but also if they can eventually be re-used, recycled, or biodegraded in an environmentally responsible way. Green Building also aims to reduce a project’s long-term impact on its occupants and the environment.
More and more, the demand for sustainable material is growing in both commercial and residential projects.
The good news is natural stone is one of the most sustainable materials on the planet! Marble is often referred to as Mother Nature’s original green building material and has not only been used in construction for centuries but also at StoneImpressions since our company was originally founded! We chose to use natural stone like Carrara Marble, Limestone, and Travertine, not only for their sustainability but also for how their natural beauty adds extra dimension to our designs. The range, texture, and movement of the stone varies from tile to tile, so no two are the same. We can add the same pattern onto different stone types, and it will take on the characteristics of the stone, becoming something different on each tile! Learn more about our process here!
Stone does not need to be manufactured because it comes straight from the earth and does not require other materials or resources to create it. The only energy needed is for quarrying and processing. In fact, a German study found that energy consumption costs for processing natural stone are a mere 3.3% of the production value. This share is small compared to other building materials such as PVC, ceramic, laminates, and wood. And, as technology improves, fewer resources will be needed for this.
Additionally, the quarrying industry has made huge changes to improve its best practices related to the environment. Quarries in the US now follow very strict guidelines with constant oversight from multiple environmental organizations. Quarries last a very long time – hundreds of thousands of square feet of stone can be curated from just one. When operations are completed, quarries typically have established reclamation plans in place. Unlike other mining operations, stone extraction does not require the use of chemicals, so when it is time, nature can easily take over. Countless closed quarries have been turned into parks, lakes, and recreation areas.
Quarry sites are also generally available within 500 miles of almost any building site in the United States, making it easier to invest in locally sourced materials, reduce emissions, and support local economies.
Natural Stone: The Strongest Building Material
It is easy to see that natural stone is incredibly durable-just look to the Egyptian Pyramids, the Roman Colosseum, or any ancient city as demonstrations of the strength of stone. A stone floor can withstand generations of foot traffic. A marble slab countertop will outlive the building it is installed in. With proper care, natural stone surfaces can last many lifetimes. Durability is especially important when considering sustainable materials, so ultimately less resources are used to create new materials as often.
Not only do stone applications like countertops or wall tiles outlast other materials, but using natural stone has a positive effect on the project’s carbon footprint as well. Stone can help to better regulate the interior climate, which decreases operating costs and energy usage while also reducing the heat-island effect (the way a building can raise the average temperature of the surrounding area).
Stone provides a mix of classic and contemporary styles and can easily be incorporated into any design style. The plethora of stone varieties provides a versatility unmatched by most materials. Create a warm, pleasant ambiance with limestone, or bring a lux, elegant feel with Carrara. Stone is truly a timeless material that never goes out of style.
The maintenance of stone surfaces also embodies eco-friendliness. Long-term maintenance may be performed less often and is much simpler! When installed correctly, stone tiles are water, mold, and crack resistant, non-flammable, and will not trap dust. Additionally, mild cleaners are recommended instead of ones with harsh chemicals that can leak into our soil and water sources.
Environmental Responsibility and Recycling Stone
Stone is hugely enduring and can last centuries, with some natural stone types looking better as they age. Due to this, you may never have to replace it. But should the need arise, salvaging and recycling stone is an extremely viable option and a great way to make sure that the useful life of the stone will be lived to its fullest!
Natural stone is 100% recyclable. It can be salvaged, repurposed, or reused and at the end of the day and won’t hurt the earth when it is returned to it.
There are many potential uses and applications for recycled and salvaged stone. Small flat stones can be repurposed to create a mosaic floor or wall design. It is possible to re-use whole stone tiles if you are willing to spend the time to carefully remove them. Stone fragments can be adhered together to create a completely new design, like terrazzo tile. Stone crushed during demolition may be reused to help construct a home, be used as backfill or in other reconstruction efforts. Stone waste is used as aggregate, and in powder form, even in paints and toothpastes!
At StoneImpressions, we regularly donate any unused stone to Habitat For Humanity for use in future housing projects.
Environmentally, utilizing recycled stone can eliminate the energy, water, and other resources needed to generate new products. No other building material is as recyclable as natural stone.
Help Make a Positive Impact
When you choose to use and recycle stone in your projects, not only are you saving a valuable part of history, but you are letting the stone continue to tell its story and be a part of a new chapter in time. Furthermore, you help save resources that would otherwise be used to create new materials while limiting the rising number of materials ending up in landfills.
Check out the different natural stone types that we offer here!