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Sustainability Assessment for Natural Dimension Stone

TexaStone Quarries becomes first in the world to certify to the new stone standard – ANSI/NSC 373!
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ANSI/NSC NSC 373 – Sustainable Production of Natural Dimension Stone and the Natural Stone Council Chain of Custody standards, along with a Guidance for Conformance document are now available.  NSC 373 received final ANSI (American National Standards Institute) approval and was designated as an ANSI standard March 10, 2014.

“Even if this standard did not literally change the way we source and specify natural stone, but if it moved the stone industry forward with regard to conserving energy and in the long term, raised the bar with regard to building materials, then in itself it is a noble goal.”
~ Michael Bischoff, AIA LEED, Partner, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, Architects LLP.

This standard has been developed to document and improve the  sustainability profile of natural dimension stone production.  Learn More/Purchase NSC373

How to Certify
To apply for certification, you must purchase the Standard document(s). You may purchase individual documents or order a bundled package at discounted price. Each third party verifying entity will confirm purchase origination with the Natural Stone Council prior to initiating contract.

View a slide show presented by NSF International with comments from Brenda Edwards, TexaStone Quarries, for an overview on how the certification process works!
Hear the audio recording from the same presentation on December 9, 2014.

Are you a member of a Natural Stone Council affiliate organization?  Contact your association executive for a limited offer code giving additional discounts.

More on the Natural Stone Council:

NSC is presently exploring a marketing campaign of simple and straight forward facts, told in a way that all of our audiences, including those in the stone industry, can understand its processes, implications and benefits.  Short video segments are being considered and could be available for industry use by the 4th quarter of this year.  Learn more.

Informational Videos:

9:15Natural Stone Council “Genuine Stone” by BillLevyProductions  

5:47 “Why NSC?” by BillLevyProductions 


Natural Stone Industry Best Practices Documents

Best Practice: Water Consumption, Treatment, and Reuse 
Best Practice: Site Maintenance and Quarry Closure 
Best Practice: Solid Waste Management
Best Practice: Transportation



Common Stone Types & Technical Stone Research Results

The following information has been reproduced with permission from the Natural Stone Council website. 

Material Fact Sheets
Designers are more frequently being asked to identify green building materials but do not always have the needed information. Using the life-cycle data, material fact sheets describing several stone types are being generated to provide useful information in this selection process, among other information. The one-page (double-sided) documents will summarize the current market for stone, regions of deposits worldwide, physical properties, applicable ASTM standards, as well as environmental data and human health considerations. Material Facts Sheets for several of the most commonly used stone types are listed with the descriptions that follow.

Life-cycle Inventories

To accurately assess the environmental profile of Genuine Stone products, impacts over the entire life cycle of these products must be identified. Information characterizing stone fabrication was amassed through a rigorous survey of the industry, and life-cycle datasets have been established for granite, limestone, sandstone and slate quarrying and processing operations. The datasets can be downloaded from the links below or the University of Tennessee Center for Clean Products’ website:
Life Cycle Inventory reports for several of the most commonly used stone types are listed with the descriptions that follow.


The only natural stones harder than granite are diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Therefore, choose granite when permanence, enduring color and texture, and complete freedom from deterioration and maintenance are prime requirements. Granite is highly heat, scratch and stain resistant, and is commonly used to face commercial and institutional buildings and monuments. It is unequaled as a material for fireplaces, steps, road and driveway curbing, terraces, and to pave plazas and public spaces. Granite is the traditional favorite of counter top materials for its unique colors and patterns, proven durability and lasting value.

Granite comes in hundreds of different colors and is quarried in such places as the United States, Canada, Brazil, China, Africa, Norway, India, Argentina, Portugal, Italy, Finland, Russia, Spain, Saudi Arabia, and more. For more on Granite properties and use,

Granite Material Fact Sheet

Granite Life Cycle Inventory

Granite Specifications for Architectural Granite Brochure (NBGQA)

For more information on Granite,please search Granite in the BSI Member Directory (link) and BSI Online Buyers’ Guide (link) for specific Granite suppliers. And, visit the National Building Granite Quarries Association website


This grain stone has a very uniform texture and grade, and has gained worldwide acceptance as a premier dimension stone. Limestone weathers naturally over time and its color mellows and blends into a pleasing natural patina. With no artificial coloring agents to fade and no reinforcement rods to rust, the appearance of limestone actually improves with age.

Limestone exhibits no preferential direction of splitting and can be cut and carved in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Thus, it can be sawed, planed, turned on a lathe or hand worked to match the requirements of demanding architectural designs. Limestone has proven its use from simple treads and pavers to landscaping structures and bridges, to soaring cathedrals over and over again.

One benefit that has made limestone a choice product is the consistency of deposit. While subtle color and grain differences are present, limestone is extremely homogenous for a natural product. This is important, not only for the current project being built, but particularly when future expansions are contemplated.

For more Limestone properties and use,

Limestone Material Fact Sheet

Limestone Life Cycle Inventory

For more information on Limestone, please search Limestone in the BSI Member Directory (link) and BSI Online Buyers’ Guide (link) for specific Limestone suppliers. And, visit the Indiana Limestone Institute website


Most people are familiar with marble. From Greek statues to Roman baths, it has been used for centuries in just about every possible interior and exterior application. Marble is relatively hard, but not as hard as granite. Marble basically classifies into four groups which include: Groups A, B, C, and D. These merely indicate fabrication ability, which is based on the material’s level of hardness. It is very popular for fireplaces, bar-tops, and bathrooms, and comes in a wide range of colors.

Marble has the same general properties of limestone and can stain, etch or scratch, but only becomes more beautiful over time and use. Most marble has veining mineral deposits throughout. It is generally thought to be from Italy, but in actuality it is quarried all over the world. Tumbled marble has become extremely popular in the United States in the last few years for back splash, flooring and shower areas. For more on Marble properties and use,

Marble Material Fact Sheet

Marble Life Cycle Inventory
No Life Cycle Inventory report has been published yet by the Natural Stone Council.

For more information on Marble, please search Marble in the BSI Member Directory (link) and BSI Online Buyers’ Guide (link) for specific Marble suppliers. And, visit the Marble Institute of America website


Composed mainly of sand-size mineral or rock grains, most sandstone is composed of quartz and feldspar – two of the most common minerals in the earth’s crust. Like sand, it can be any color, but most commonly comes in tan, brown, yellow, red, gray and white.

Some sandstone resists weathering, yet is easy to work with. This makes it a common building and paving material. Sandstone is a very versatile material, applicable for most types of interior and exterior applications, including wall cladding, roofing and flooring.

Deposits from sand dunes can be recognized by irregular and fluidly shaped weathering patterns and wavy coloration lines when sectioned, while water deposits form more regular blocks when weathered. The regularity of the latter favors use as a source for masonry, either as a primary building material or as a facing stone, over other construction.

The stone generally has a uniform texture and it is somewhat soft, making it user-friendly for a variety of applications. It is favored for wall claddings and flooring because of its low absorption rate, high compression strength, and aesthetically pleasing appearance.

Sandstone is a common paving material because it can be highly weather resistant, and for its ability to maintain age and appearance over time, as well as for the different dimensions available. Sandstone pavers can be used for patios, pool surrounds, pool coping, balconies, cladding and veneer.

Sandstone has been used in some of the world’s most famous structures, including the White House, the Taj Mahal, the pyramids and the Angkor Vat, an ancient Cambodian temple.

Sandstone Material Fact Sheet

Sandstone Life Cycle Inventory

For more information on Sandstone, please search Sandstone in the BSI Member Directory (link) and BSI Online Buyers’ Guide (link) for specific Sandstone suppliers.


Slate is a metamorphic rock that is dense, strong, acid resistant and non-absorptive. It is impervious to freeze/thaw cycles and has been used in construction for thousands of years. It is the material of choice for discerning architects, designers, contractors and builders.

Slate produced in North America comes in a variety of colors, including black, gray, green, purple and red. Many of these slates are available with mottling of more than one color and some of these slates include a color weathering characteristic which adds warm earth tone hues.

Most commonly used for interior floor surfaces or exterior landscaping, slate also serves as a durable and stain resistant counter top, beautiful pool coping, shower enclosure, pavers, building cladding, and spectacular, fireproof roof covering that can last the life of the building.

Slate Material Fact Sheet

Slate Life Cycle Inventory


For more information on Slate, please search Slate in the BSI Member Directory (link) and BSI Online Buyers’ Guide (link) for specific Slate suppliers. And, visit the National Slate Association website