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Last edited 01 Jun 2020
Sustainable stone for the construction industry
|A look at stone from the point of view of sustainability, environmental impact and the effect on human health and wellbeing.|
 No embedded carbon
Unlike many other building materials, the quarrying and fabrication of stone releases no embedded carbon, the only greenhouse gases released during quarrying are those used by the fuel to power the quarrying equipment.
Stone is the ultimate long-term building material as the plethora of historical buildings still standing after millennia attests. Used both internally and externally, stone will last for as long as the building with very little maintenance.
 No chemical treatment
Stone does not require treatment with chemicals to render it waterproof and in itself does not pollute or contribute to sick building syndrome, although care must be taken in the choice of fixing materials.
Stone can be recycled at the end of the building’s life. Building stone is reusable in another building, and any stone fittings that are broken or damaged in removal can be used for mosaics, construction ballast and so on.
To ensure maximum sustainability, specifiers should take care to choose a stone which comes from a plentiful resource rather than a rare or scarce one, and to pick a quarry that is responsibly managed from an environmental point of view as well as a human one.
The Stone Federation has established the Ethical Stone Register, which allows you to verify whether the stone contractor you are using is taking measures to ensure that the stone it buys has been sourced responsibly and ethically.
Choosing stones from local quarries minimises the greenhouse gas emissions involved in transporting a heavy material. It also allows you to verify easily that the quarry is responsibly managed. Likewise, the choice of a stonemason close to the installation site ensures that CO2 emissions during transportation of the finished material are minimised.
Select a stonemason that has an environmentally-friendly factory to ensure minimum harm to the environment. The fabrication of finished items from stone involves cutting and in some cases polishing which requires power and water. Modern factories will have taken steps to ensure that the majority of power needs are met by renewable sources and that rainwater harvesting and recycling of greywater makes them self-sufficient, rather than using-up precious resources. Recycling waste material is also a factor that should be taken into account.
The use of a fabricator close to the site will minimise CO2 emissions during transportation. The method of installation should also use techniques and materials that cause the least possible harm to the environment and to human health.
--Stonecircle 12:38, 03 Sep 2019 (BST)
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