Stone Survey Reveals Best Practices

Sept. 3, 2008
A comprehensive study of the natural stone industry has been conducted by the Hollis, NH-based Natural Stone Council (NSC). The study presents an in-depth look at quarry and processing operations over that last year, identifying the industry's best practices as well as defining areas of focus to establish natural stone's environmental profile. Building owners and facilities professionals can use this information to specify environmentally friendly stone products for their facilities.

Forty-two (42) North American companies responded to the survey, with the data representing over 16 million cubic feet of net quarried stone and nearly 6 million cubic feet of net stone produced by fabricators. Granite, limestone, sandstone, and marble sectors had the greatest number of respondents.

With regard to quarry operations, adequate information was collected to assemble an initial life-cycle inventory for granite, limestone, and sandstone in the near future. The first versions of these data sets are in their final draft stages and will be available this fall at

Survey responses revealed that water-consumption efficiency will be key for the industry's sustainability profile because of increasing global water shortages. This issue, along with site maintenance and quarry closure, has been identified as a topic for best-practice briefs.

The NSC will work with the Center for Clean Products and Clean Technologies (CCPCT) at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, to perform a life-cycle analysis of the environmental impacts of certain stone products, identify strategic sustainability goals for the industry, and continue outreach efforts to the environmental and green building communities through best practices, case studies, and material fact sheets.

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