Copper and natural stone make ideal green building materials for both the exterior and interior of all buildings, including commercial, public and residential buildings. What is green building? Simply put green building means the construction, renovation or remodeling of houses, public and commercial buildings so they are more durable,environmentally responsible, energy efficient and healthier for their occupants throughout the building’s lifespan or life cycle. This is basically accomplished by designing and constructing buildings that last a long time, are more efficient, use less energy and water and are healthier spaces to occupy and live in. Historically, well designed and constructed buildings have delivered short term goals of utility, economy, durability and comfort. Green building really just takes the next step in building even better homes, commercial and public buildings by improving on their long term durability, quality, efficiency, high performance, human health, environmental impact, life cycle cost and sustainability. A building’s total life cycle cost includes it’s design, siting, construction, operation, maintenance, repairs, replacements, renovation, deconstruction, salvage, disposal and recycling. Green building materials typically include: renewable plant materials such as quick growing straw, bamboo and wood from sustainably managed forests; materials which are non-toxic, reusable and recyclable such as dimension natural stone, recycled stone and recyclable metals. Eliminating construction materials and interior finishes which have emissions of toxic gases such as formaldehyde and VOC’s improve a building’s indoor air quality and is healthier for occupants. Moisture control and eliminating biological or organic sources of mold, bacteria, fungi and pathogens will also promote healthier air and living space. Implementing green building techniques reduces negative impact on human health and the environment during multiple phases including the production of building materials, building construction, occupation, building operation and maintenance of a green design building. While many green buildings cost a premium which averages just less than two percent initially, green building will typically yield a financial return or savings of over ten times that initial premium during the life of the building. Green building simply saves money, protects the environment and provides healthier living spaces. The strong case for green building is abundantly clear considering the positive impact on human health, our environment and our finances.
Copper Mining Quarry and Natural Stone Quarry
Natural resources such as copper and natural stone are mined or quarried and minimally processed natural materials as opposed to artificially manufactured materials, faux or simulated materials. Pure copper and natural stone share many green building material qualities: they are mined or quarried directly from the earth and minimally processed using environmentally conscious techniques; all waste material can be used or recycled; they require no external finishes or chemical treatments; they generate no harmful emissions or byproducts; they do not promote growth of mold, germs or other harmful pathogens; they are healthy, hygienic and non-toxic; they promote more even indoor temperature and healthier indoor air quality; they are moisture and corrosion resistant; they weather extremely well naturally; they are not flammable materials; they are not damaged by water; they do not break down, decompose, decay or deteriorate like previously living organic materials and most man made materials; they age beautifully and gracefully as natural patina formation, discoloration, pitting, dents or cracks enhance character and natural appearance; they require little upkeep or maintenance; they are extremely durable, outlasting the owner’s lifetime and the building’s lifespan; they are salvageable, reusable, absolutely recyclable and retain their value extremely well. Copper and natural stone are two of the oldest, most durable building materials used by mankind and countless buildings and structures incorporating natural stone and copper architecture stood for centuries. Copper and natural stone were used because they were abundant resources found directly in the natural environment, required minimal processing and were fairly easy to work with. Today spending even a little more for natural, earth friendly, durable materials has proven cheaper in the long run because they won’t have to be replaced as often, maintained as much and can be recycled. Considering on building materials life-cycle cost, rather than focusing solely on initial cost can yield some eye opening results.
LEED Gold Penn State SALA and City Center LEED Gold in Las Vegas
We spotlighted the Penn State Sala building above in a previous blog for it’s heavy use of copper (over 80,000 pounds) helping it achieve it’s U.S. Green Building Council Gold LEED certification and remarkably at no additional cost over conventional building. The recent City center in Las Vegas also received LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for six of it’s buildings, including Aria, Vdara, Crystals, Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas and Veer Towers. That made City Center one of the largest sustainable green building developments in the entire world. The immense project entailed collaborative involvement by eight renowned architecture firms. Green building material selection, included extensive use of natural stone for interior spaces and exteriors of the buildings. While other green materials were considered, natural stone provided the architecture with a natural textured, tactile feel and the richness, warmth, comfort, earthy look and colors they sought. The Aria building encompasses 70,000 square feet of natural quartzite stone cladding in a varying thickness mosaic pattern on it’s exterior walls. Inside the buildings, different uses of natural stone were employed including a mosaic stone, stacked stone, flat honed or polished stone, to provide contrasting looks and changes in texture. Everyone involved with the project was happy with the results and the buildings continue to garner positive feedback and compliments. See additional pictures of City Center and information on it’s green building features in the Stone World article Stone Contributes to LEED Certification for New Las Vegas Landmark
Architectural Copper Work and Natural Stone Wall Masonry
View additional natural stone pictures of genuine natural stone installations at the Rutland Minstone website, encompassing natural stone tile flooring, natural stone walls, natural stone patios, garden stone paving, landscaping, slate roofs and stone columns. Slate, travertine, quartzite, limestone, sandstone and flagstone tiles, wall veneer panels and pavers are some of the featured natural stone applications. With large advances in mining, processing and shipping technology, use of natural stone has grown from use primarily only in major buildings and large expensive estates to becoming a staple in homes and buildings of every size and budget today. There has been a drastic reduction of genuine stone prices over the last decade or so. Around the world there is now an enormous inventory of natural stone and even more is being discovered every day. A combination of many technological advances and this very plentiful supply have combined to make natural stone very affordable and price competitive with man made materials, while having better green building characteristics and life cycle cost benefits. People have embraced the beauty and elegance of this unique, all natural material for their floors, wall coverings, kitchens, baths, outdoor landscaping and paving. Consumers prefer natural stone because it is the real thing which can not be duplicated in a laboratory or factory but is nature’s very own genuine product. Natural stone is created by nature in many thousands of color variations with no two natural stone pieces exactly the same. Nothing approaches the uniqueness, durability, wide applicability of genuine natural stone and pure copper. From the beginning of time to far into the future, copper and natural stone have always been excellent green building materials while having natural beauty, grace, warm richness and timeless elegance.