Here the Stone Federation looks at what makes natural stone a highly sustainable choice when specifying a floor for commercial settings.

As specifiers become increasingly aware that a ‘business as usual’ approach to the carbon impacts of architecture and construction is no longer an option, there is a fresh drive to consider and reduce the ‘whole-life carbon’ impact of a building.

WHAT IS ‘WHOLE-LIFE CARBON’? In short, whole-life carbon includes both embodied carbon and operational (in-use) carbon. It includes the material extraction or creation and transport as well as lifetime emissions from maintenance, repair, replacement and disposal of the materials. Whole-life carbon assessments are as much about resource efficiency as they are about carbon emissions. This makes the results extremely relevant to tackling two key environmental problems: global warming and resource depletion.

STONE OUTPERFORMS CERAMIC There have been a number of studies comparing the whole- life carbon impact of different construction materials including natural stone. One of these research projects compared the life-cycle assessments of a number of different materials used for both public and commercial flooring. The results showed that the use of natural stone for flooring causes a significantly lower environmental impact in production, installation and use when compared with large- format ceramics, carpets, PVC, laminates and parquet.

When comparing the global warming potential (GWP) of natural stone tiles with ceramic, parquet, large-format ceramics, PVC, laminate and carpet alternatives, natural stone was the best performer by a clear margin. The GWP figures showed that, for example, large-format ceramic tiles have a 74% higher global warming potential than natural stone.

INHERENTLY SUSTAINABLE When extracted, stone is almost complete as a building

material in its natural state. No energy is needed for its creation which is a trait not found in many of its competitors. The only energy consumption is during its processing and transportation. The share of energy costs for the gross production value of natural stone is extremely low at just 3.3%.

Natural stone flooring has an impressively long lifespan with examples in almost every town of a natural stone floor or pavement that has lasted for centuries. What’s more, stone flooring products can be widely reused at the end of the structure use phase and contain no pollutants so can be easily inserted back into the natural material cycle.

For architects looking to specify materials that minimise carbon impact, natural stone is a fantastic option, delivering sustainability in both its extraction and whole-life value.

A+ GREEN GUIDE RATING The Green Guide to Specification, which is part of BREEAM, sets out an A+ to E ranking system for the environmental performance of a material. The factors evaluated includes climate change, mineral resource extraction, waste disposal and fossil fuel depletion. In a case study project carried out by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), almost half of all natural stone-related components achieve either A+ or A and the majority of the remainder score a C or above.

There is an increasing awareness among specifiers that materials must earn their place on a specification, and in light of the results shown, natural stone is most definitely justifying its inclusion.

The Stone Federation Great Britain is uniquely placed to connect architects, interior designers and clients with the right natural stone for their project and can resource them with a wealth of technical resources around the sustainable procurement of materials. MARBLE, STONE TERRAZZO | 23

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50