Natural stone is Mother Nature's original "green" building material. It is neither bonded together by petroleum-based resins nor created in a factory.
Natural stone flooring and countertops are 100 percent recyclable, do not emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds) into your home, and can be cleaned with pH-neutral dish detergent - not surprising for a building material that comes directly from the earth.
According to the Marble Institute of America and Building Stone Institute, natural stone stands up to weathering and time better than any other building material, natural or manmade.
This has been proven through the ages. The Egyptian pyramids, the Greek temples and any ancient city demonstrate that natural stone is the most sustainable building material available.
Here are attributes to consider:
Durable: When choosing to install a stone floor, countertop, wall cladding, etc., you are making a decision to use a product that will last for the life of the building.
Recyclable: No other building material is as recyclable as natural stone.
Nearly 100 percent of stone from deconstructed projects is recyclable and able to be used on other projects, such as being crushed for use as roadbeds.
Zero VOC emission: Research conducted by the University of Tennessee's Center for Clean Products found that natural stone does not directly emit any volatile organic compounds.
Stone might be a source of VOCs from adhesives and applied sealants, however low- and no-VOC options are available.
Water recycling: Stone fabricators use a water filtration system for their waste water.
However, many companies, including Distinctive Granite and Marble, are also on the cutting edge of the new closed-loop water recycling system.
These closed-loop systems recycle 100 percent of water used in the fabrication of natural stone, dramatically lowering water consumption.
Heat island effect: Many light-colored varieties of natural stone have been shown to lower a building's or site's "heat island" through their ability to reflect heat.
"Heat island" refers to the concept of a building raising the average temperature of the area surrounding a building and site.
Stone's enduring lifecycle, ease of care and maintenance, and durability make it an excellent choice for your home.
Andrea Antunes McGilton is project manager at Distinctive Granite and Marble, with showrooms in Okatie; Lady's Island; Pooler, Ga., and on Hilton Head Island.