Stone, the Original Green Building Material

Posted by Graniterock on Mar 18, 2015

From Building Green

Stone was one of our first building materials. It has been used to construct everything from humble dwellings to our most iconic structures. 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. This ancient building material may be more relevant than ever in today’s green building industry.

Dimension stone—stone that has been tooled, as opposed to crushed stone or aggregate—can be used as flooring, exterior cladding, solid surfaces, and walls as well as for landscaping and many other applications. Of the estimated 1.88 million tons (1.71 million metric tons) of dimension stone produced in the U.S. in 2011, 808,400 tons (735,000 metric tons) were used by the building industry, according the U.S. Geological Survey (for comparison, 95.6 millions tons of raw steel were produced in 2011, with 19.1 millions tons used in construction). Imports from Brazil, China, India, Italy, and other countries provide roughly half of the total U.S. supply, according to industry sources.

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