Natural stone in the context of Green Building

Sustainability is a topic of today's world that is continuously gaining social and economic relevance. In recent years, the construction industry has increasingly devoted itself to this topic under the term Green Building.

A sustainable and energy-saving construction method is required to obtain Green Building certifications such as DGNB, LEED and others. The life cycle assessment of a construction project is decisive for the ecological quality of a building.

For centuries, natural stone has been a popular material which has been proven to contribute to improving the ecological balance of a building project and thus to reducing CO2 pollution and energy consumption.

Our team has set itself the task of analysing the exact effects of façade materials such as natural stone, artificial stone and precast concrete elements in relation to each other. For this purpose, environmental indicators were calculated using the life cycle assessment software Gabi4.

When considering a facade with a surface area of 800 m2, the following result is obtained. The production, transport, repair and maintenance as well as assumed recycling potentials were analysed.

The natural stone façade causes around 30 tonnes less Co2 than any of the other variants. This figure is considerable but difficult to put into perspective. Therefore a small example for better comprehension:

Assuming an average citizen drives their car 10,000 km per year, the CO2 emissions of the façade variants would correspond to the following number of cars:

  • Precast concrete facade: 34 cars
  • Artificial stone façade: 30 PKWS
  • Natural stone façade: 14 cars.

We would like to take this opportunity to refer to the 2010 facade study by the German Natural Stone Association. This complements the results of our study. It compares a natural stone façade with a glass façade on the construction project of the Opera Tower in Frankfurt. Thanks to the positive effects of the natural stone façade, the Opera Tower was one of the first new high-rise office buildings in Europe to receive LEED Gold certification.

This shows that natural stone is not only ecologically beneficial compared to the façade variants considered here.The topic of sustainability has been accompanying all of us for some time and will not lose its relevance in the future. The building industry can contribute to a large extent to reducing the burden on the environment.

The use of environmentally friendly materials, such as natural stone, is only part of this, but it is a step in the right direction.

For further information on this topic, we would can send you the entire study on request.

Please contact us here.