Natural stone is perhaps the most widely used building material in the history of human evolution, applied in a range of applications, from the most prestigious monuments of civilisations to humble shelters. Being a construction material of high quality produced be simply shaping rocks to more or less advanced elements, it is relevant to ask if this magnificent building material of the past also can play an important role in our low-carbon future.
The presentation will focus on two main aspects:
Comparing natural stone to other building materials. Natural stone is at present time used for cladding of floors and walls in buildings, but also for paving of streets and squares and structural elements in constructions. By comparing indicators of sustainability within the different uses, we may conclude that the use of natural stone, particularly when replacing concrete and other high-emission products, can contribute to increasing sustainability in the construction industries.
Identifying key aspects for more sustainable natural stone production. Although natural stone may have important properties related to sustainability compared to other materials, there are needs for improvements in the production of stone for reducing environmental footprints. We have collected cases of best performance, within a selection of areas: zero waste, emissions and balanced land use management.
Finally, the presentation will discuss how national and regional public authorities, the geological surveys, private consultants and the industry can collaborate for implementing a rational management of the natural stone resources and the extractive industry for the future benefit of humankind.