What was once an anomaly is quickly becoming the norm: green homes are popping up all over and it doesn’t even apply to new structures either. With renovation and a few adjustments, even older buildings can have smart green home features.
In the current market if you want to sell a property fast you must incorporate green features. The answer is easier than you think: simply use natural stone products.
Why is Building Green so Important?
With half of the consumers rating green living as a priority when they search for homes these days it’s clear why architects, realtors, and construction consultants have to prioritize the green home approach.
But didn’t the trend take long to catch on because it’s so difficult to construct green homes? That’s a common misconception. Green living doesn’t require gadgets or pricey appliances. Something as simple as using sandstone instead of concrete can make a difference in how environmentally friendly a building is.
In fact, these days constructing one can cost the same as creating a conventional building. Using resources wisely during construction can even result in savings and remember: occupants will save money in the long term as these homes are cheaper to live in.
The money-saving aspect makes green living very attractive and therefore this type of home sells much faster these days than conventional developments. It’s obvious: building green should be a priority for all developers from now on.
Luckily there’s an easy answer to the situation. We summarize how much of the solution lies in using natural stone such as travertine, slate, and others.
Green Homes—What are They Really?
It’s become a popular term, but do you really know what makes a building a green home?
First of all the term can refer to a new structure or a remodeled one if you made the correct changes. The focus with green construction would be on being environmentally responsible while also creating a healthier living space. That can be done in many ways.
Is it Sustainable?
With sustainability the goal is to make as little impact on the environment as possible when we create something, but also when you use that item. This is vital if society wants to ensure the next generation can still have their needs met with the resources available to them.
When it comes to construction work, this approach requires you to use as less natural resources than in conventional construction. The same goes for when the structure starts being used. Preferably it should also last a long time so nothing needs to be replaced or repaired.
Is it Energy Efficient?
Both during building and when the building is used, as little energy as possible, should be used. You can achieve this in many ways such as ensuring the space will easily keep cool during summer or feel cozy in winter thanks to insulation.
Think of Water and Natural Resource Use
Once again, saving natural resources such as water applies to the construction project itself, as well as when space is used once it’s finished:
- Does the manufacturing of building resources require a lot of water?
- Is there much waste after a building product was manufactured?
- Must you use a lot of water during the construction project?
- Will the structure require a lot of maintenance such as cleaning once it’s in use?
You can see how many different aspects determine whether you’re truly supporting the green home concept.
You can take this approach one step further by only using products you can easily acquire close to the building premises. If building products need to be transported from far away it means you’re burning more fuel, increasing emissions and therefore expanding the project’s carbon footprint quite drastically.
Is the Building Conducive to Healthy Living?
Another approach many people don’t think of is how green homes are supposed to support healthy living. With cleaner air circulating through spaces and fewer toxic materials used for construction & maintenance, society’s homes can play a huge part in facilitating healthy lifestyles.
If moving into a new home can stop allergies from flaring up, developing green homes becomes a noble act as it affects people’s quality of life.
The Ultimate Goal: A LEED Building
One option with green building is to create a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) home. These structures incorporate the features mentioned above and even go as far as being in the right location so they can reach their offices in an environmentally friendly way e.g. through the use of bike paths.
There are four levels in the LEED rating system (Silver, Gold, Platinum and Certified) created by the US Green Building Council. LEED homes are the ultimate green homes with green features incorporated in all aspects of the structure.
But you don’t have to go to that extent to make a difference. For renovations or creating new buildings, adding natural stone such as a beautiful marble could still make a difference.
How Does Natural Stone Measure Up?
You can achieve green living—or enhance your level of green living—in many ways, but it’s best to get it right from the start: creating a structure that facilitates environmentally friendly living. Natural stone is a popular resource that many developers turn to for this purpose.
Is their trust in marble, sandstone and other natural building resources justified?
Durability—It Lasts Longer
As mentioned above, for true green living the structure must last you a long time. If you have to replace a piece of the roof or a wall starts crumbling after a heavy rainstorm it calls for more resources being used.
Many natural stone products are popular for their longevity. One only has to look at the majestic stone cathedrals and castles of old to realize why.
Here’s another example: slate. Slate can survive for 100 years or more. It can be used for roofs, kitchen flooring, cladding and more, creating long-lasting structures that require little repairs or replacements.
Much different from many building resources, most natural stone production processes don’t result in a lot of waste. Slate roofing and sandstone tiles don’t need treatments or purification to work well & look spectacular. Tile manufacturers also don’t advise much treatment apart from sealants.
As a bonus, natural stone quarries can be found near many towns—as close as 500 miles in most cases in the US—limiting fuel emissions brought on by transporting goods to a tile warehouse or the building site itself. It’s an all round win.
Long Term—You can Safely Recycle Stone
Recycling also forms a huge part of sustainable living. The good news: natural stone can be recycled too.
Even if the current structure needs to be changed in the future or the home is damaged by a natural disaster, a marble slab or sandstone tile doesn’t have to be discarded. It can easily be repurposed and look as impressive as before. This is quite different from other substances such as plastic or concrete that will end up as waste.
And remember: recycling non-sustainable products such as plastic doesn’t mean the problem of waste is dealt with. Not all plastic products can be fully recycled or reused, resulting in a lot of it still ending up in landfills.
Maintenance—A Sustainable Option
Remember that green living is all about the long term effects, not only the creation process itself. How difficult is it to maintain the structures you’re building?
When you use natural stone you keep maintenance to a minimum for future occupants. A slate roof doesn’t require much attention and you don’t need special—often toxic—substances to clean a marble slab kitchen counter.
Efficiency—You can Save Energy & Water
In terms of efficiency, using stone benefits the environment in multiple ways:
- Firstly, it takes little energy and water to produce natural stone products. This is because it doesn’t require much treatment before you can use it.
- Secondly, you’ll help future occupants manage their energy efficiency better, since many natural stone products help maintain comfortable temperatures inside the building. That means air conditioning systems don’t have to work so hard, so you’re saving energy.
- Thirdly, thanks to low maintenance on products such as limestone tiles, occupants use less water to keep areas clean.
It’s therefore clear: for both short term and long term goals natural stone is a clear winner.
Natural Stone as Building Material—Does it Really Work?
Of course, it wouldn’t help to have building products that promote green living, if it’s not really practical for the construction process itself. Luckily construction workers have little to fear when it comes to working with natural stone.
Benefits of Stone as Construction Material
While many people may think modern, innovative building options—such as concrete—makes sense, there are more than enough reasons to pick stone:
- Stone is durable.
- Natural stone products such as slate are easy to form into the type of product you want.
- It presents well with minimal effort, so a new development will easily impress buyers.
- The hues found in stone are easy to match to each other and to furniture, making decorating easy for occupants. A product like honed gray limestone floor tiles can be used in almost any development whether it’s for residential or commercial properties.
- Stone tiles, slabs, backsplash tile items, and other products are available in more colors than you think, meeting many design requirements
One only has to look at the magnificent structures built across centuries to realize the value of stone for construction; for aesthetics, longevity and more.
Now, which type of stone should you pick?
Types of Natural Stone
Deciding to use more environmentally friendly products doesn’t mean you’re limiting yourself in what you can create. A wide variety of natural stone products are practical for building purposes:
Granite: Known for its durability and thanks to various textures it’s easy to find granite countertops to match a certain look.
Limestone: This one’s texture and grade will actually improve the longer it’s in use.
Slate: It’s durable and fire resistant.
Marble: A natural product that represents luxury and style.
Sandstone: For paving and as sandstone tiles it will be easy to work with and won’t easily weather.
Travertine: A durable option with interesting textures.
These stones have been used in construction for centuries and it’s clear there’s no reason this habit shouldn’t continue.
The next question: where will you use natural stone from now on?
While it’s a classic substance to use, modern techniques make it possible to use stone in even more applications than a few centuries ago:
Roofing: You can insulate a home well by using slate roofing.
Walls: Adding insulating stone such as slate to a wall enhances the look but also makes it more waterproof.
Flooring: No matter your color scheme you’ll find a natural stone tile to match your preferences.
Décor: Interior decorators can continue the stone theme with ornaments and other décor, creating a unified look in a room.
Garden: Slate wall is the environmentally friendly option, rather than a concrete one. You can also create indoor or outdoor flower boxes with stones to help keep the air clean.
Fixtures: The durable characteristic of stone makes it ideal for fixtures that have to endure excessive heat, such as a pizza oven.
Work Surfaces and Furniture: Marble slabs make for beautiful, long-lasting countertops in kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms.
If we’re serious about saving the environment, green living is the non-negotiable option. And nature has given us all the resources to make it happen with the stunning natural stone products you’ll find at tile supply outlets.
Now take your pick.