EPD: A certification as proof of natural stone’s strength

On first sight the myriad of technical terms and tables looks highly complex. But the EPD for natural stone can be reduced to a lowest common denominator: it confirms what the branch knew all along: i.e. that natural stone really is a „green“ building element. This is an important factor for success in a competitive market.
The EPD-certification was solicited by Euroroc, the umbrella trade organization of national stone associations in Europe.

The Ecological all-clear seal of approval is important for every building material. Increasingly builders and contractors alike want to boast lean energy consumption in construction endeavors. There is also a trend toward comprehensive product information aimed at assisting buyers in making an informed decision.

Many a building material already has been EPD-certified providing material data on its life cycle. In the case of natural stone, energy consumption in quarrying, (including electrical energy, diesel and explosives), value added refinement (sawing of blocks, polishing of slabs…) and finally the installation on site, are part and parcel of the certification. On top of that, transportation is a decisive factor particularly with respect to material imported from far abroad.

Also part of the examination are the secondary products such as resins or water-proofing. No need to say that a specific EPD for each type of stone from every source has to be issued just as each building receives its own Eco-grading.

Prof. Gerhard Merke, Director of Euroroc asked if the bureaucratic effort is too great for the stone branch to manage provides a strategic answer: „Natural stone cannot compete against the marketing budget of the glass or ceramics industry.“

Merke ascertains: „The tendency is clear: on the long run natural stone outperforms everything else.“

(23.09.2014, USA: 09.23.2014)