Utilizing an integrated design process to address sustainability will ensure that natural stone is considered within the context of the larger goals of the project and contributes to a balanced, integrated solution. This process will also ask you to consider the long-term goals and benefits of the project by establishing a long life cycle.
To start this process:
Establish the sustainable goals of the project clearly. This will ensure that you are integrating the issues across all the phases of the project. It will also allow you the time necessary to locate the proper stone, find out if it’s available in the desired size, quantity, and time-frame.
Consider and select natural stone early on in the planning process. This will allow you the time necessary to locate appropriate sources of stone, consider stone in calculations (for example the building envelope insulation, energy reduction goals), and prepare for the process of submitting any specific documentation required to achieve for example, a LEED rating. For example, in the Regional Materials category, you will also need to document the material origins and coordinate across the quarrying, fabricating, and processing to ensure that it meets the 500 mile radius requirements.
Establish a long life cycle that includes the use of durable materials. This is one of the best ways to take advantage of the durability of stone, thereby reducing the need to create new materials or replace less durable materials sooner and more often.
Engage the project team in the entire process to ensure that appropriate materials are selected to serve their defined purpose. The tone performance is dependent on its installation method and will also be surrounded by other materials, many of which might also be part of a set of sustainable strategies. So it is important that the design, construction, and operations and maintenance teams are a part of the process to ensure the design intent is carried out as intended through all phases of the project.
Consider stone in the context of the overall goals and objectives of the project. This will help you find multiple ways to utilize the stone and potentially solve many problems with one material.
Identify natural stone that will perform double duty or address multiple issues. For example, consider using one stone to achieve an aesthetic functional solution for a lobby area, that also contributes to your IEQ goals, while also meeting any accessibility requirements through the use of a non-slip finish.
Identify and evaluate appropriate product testing information and standards to ensure that the stone will meet your criteria and perform to the goals established. Select the most appropriate stone to achieve the sustainability and performance goals.
Select and evaluate appropriate product finishes to meet multiple project goals. There are a wide range of finishes, many of which can help reduce maintenance and offer a variety of looks using only one stone.