Living Greener with Marble Countertops and other Natural Stone in Your Home
If you're looking to create a green living environment for your family, looking into marble countertops would be an excellent start. Marble, granite and other natural stones used in the construction industry are about as high quality as you can get, and in addition to being natural, do not require any synthetic bonding agents to hold them together and can be maintained using natural cleaners.
Natural stone materials have the durability that many other man-made products lack. They have no negative impact on health and offer no threat to the environment. Best of all they are recyclable. As for their durability, consider that the pyramids of Egypt and many other stone structures from the early ages have stood the test of time. Installing marble countertops or a marble floor will provide your home with something that will last at least the life of the building but more likely several generations beyond.
Natural Stone as a Recycled Material
While recycling may be difficult with many building materials, the use of stone has a major advantage in that it can be used over for other projects in the construction trade. At worst it can be crushed and used for road beds and in other applications where crushed materials can be advantageous.
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Fabricators in the United States use a lot of water when working with marble, granite and other stone materials but they have found a way to recycle 100 percent of the water used in their processes. A closed-loop system enables them to use the same water in their finishing process allowing them to drastically reduce the amount of water used.
Some Additional Advantages
Additionally, there are no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted with the use of natural stones. While some VOCs may be present in sealants and adhesives, there are alternatives that provide the same benefits without their use.
From an environmental point of view, a heat island is created that raises the average temperature of an area immediately around a building and the site on which it sits. Using natural stone materials, most of that heat is reflected, especially with the lighter color stones, reducing or nearly eliminating the heat island concept.
Transportation as the Biggest Environmental Concern
One of the biggest environmental concerns in the construction and remodeling industry is transportation of building materials. Many of the mines that produce stone materials and the producers are mindful of consumer concerns. With the number of stone quarries working today there is going to be one within 500 miles of nearly any construction project in the United States and Canada. This reduces the amount of mileage needed to move these materials while reducing pollutants from the trucking industry.
The Efforts Made by the Stone Industry
The U.S. Green Building Council and the Marble Institute of America are working together to help develop the best practices for the stone industry to help demonstrate the benefits of using natural building products. Additionally there are plans in place in many of the working mines for land reclamation once the mine is no longer being worked. Several closed mines have already been turned into golf courses, state parks and playgrounds as the companies push for land reclamation.
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