From the expert
The Natural Stone Council’s executive director, Duke Pointer, discussed the sustainable production of the natural dimension stone standard.
Q: What does the ANSI/NSC-373 standard cover?
A: The basis for the standard was created from the industry’s Best Practices documents, as well as previous sustainable product assessment standards based on life-cycle thinking developed by NSF International, which helped create the document. The standard is applicable to quarries and processors of natural dimension stone and is divided into several areas, including energy, water, transportation, site management, land reclamation and adaptive use, management of excess process materials and waste, corporate governance, safer chemical and materials management and human health and safety. The standard also allows for innovation, which supports continuous improvement of quarries and processors who are in pursuit of sustainability certification.
Q: How is certification achieved?
A: There are 18 different requirements under the ANSI/NSC-373 standard and they have a total of 41 points, encompassing a total of four levels of certification – bronze, silver, gold or platinum. When achieving any of the certification levels, a company can use that certification to differentiate itself from its competition. The more points a company earns on an ongoing basis, on the way to the maximum of 41, the higher the level designation. For instance, managing water recycling and energy usage better will earn more points.
Certification is on a facility site-specific basis. That means each operating quarry or fabrication plant must have its own certification. There is an annual review for compliance, but the certification itself lasts three years, and then the facility must be recertified in the fourth year. Because ANSI/NSC-373 was developed as an ANSI Standard, so it can be applied internationally with a third-party certifier like NSF International, which works around the world.
Q: What is the ANSI/NSC-373 certification process?
A: It’s a two-step process for quarries and fabricators. First, there is an offsite documentation review of information supporting the prerequisites and selected optional credits in the standards. Second, an onsite audit of the quarry, processing or fabrication facilities. Certification is granted once these steps are completed and the location meets the requirements of the standard.
Q: What are the approximate costs to complete certification?
A: NSF says the costs will be determined by a number of factors, including scope of operations. That would include the number of quarries or fabrications facilities that are to be certified and the level of certification that the company is pursuing. NSF can provide a quote based on this information and help determine how to proceed.
Q: Will certification provide a competitive edge in the marketplace?
A: Across the building products spectrum, many architectural and design firms, owners and contractors, understand the importance of sustainability standards and specify products that are certified. In the broader sense, certification will definitely provide a competitive edge when competing for green building projects.
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.