NSC Completes Benchmarking Assessment
The Natural Stone Council (NSC) conducted a comprehensive study of the natural stone industry. Forty-two North American companies responded to the survey, yielding data for a sum of 64 quarries and 45 processing facilities. Responding to the survey in the greatest numbers were the granite and limestone sectors. Sandstone, marble and, to a small extent, slate and travertine comprised the remainder of stone reported. With regard to quarry operations, adequate information was collected to assemble an initial life-cycle inventory for granite, limestone and sandstone. Data is still being collected to do the same for marble.
The first versions of these data sets are in their final draft stages and will be available on the Genuine Stone Web site this fall, www.GenuineStone.org. Survey responses revealed that water consumption efficiency will be key for the industry's sustainability profile because of increasing global water shortages. Another issue is site maintenance and quarry closures. Regarding processing operations, an important issue for the industry to address is the diversity in the transportation distance of stone. Again, water consumption will be a significant topic in discussions about sustainability. Survey responses indicated that water reclamation is one of the industry's best practices.
With industry data now in-hand, the NSC will continue to work with the Center for Clean Products at The University of Tennessee 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 vehicles such as best practices, case studies and material fact sheets.
About the Author
The Natural Stone Council formed in 2003 to unify the industry in promoting the value and use of Genuine Stone® in all building applications. For more information, please visit www.naturalstonecouncil.org.