Articles Details


Author: STC
Article Date: 01.10.2017

All countries are becoming conscious about global warming due to excessive quantities of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere resulting in melting of glaciers.  In addition to other activities, sustainability of buildings has become an important issue.  German Federal Government has published Sustainable Building Guidelines since energy use of buildings constitutes a major fraction of overall CO2  emissions, employing sustainable and energy-efficient construction methods.  One important factor was impact of transport distances on the global warming  potential of natural stone. 
Developed nations are also likely to issue such guidelines for construction in the near future.   Based on the prevailing assumptions, some countries are likely to follow the following guidelines by 2030: 
Innovations would be made to develop fuels which would reduce carbon dioxide emissions. 
Trucks transporting construction materials shall produce less carbon dioxide.
Renewable Energy shall be used as fuel for trucks.
Since most of the stone facades in assumed thickness of 4 cm in this study are being transported from one country to another (in this case from China to Germany) covering a distance of 18,600 km by sea, even ships will have to emit less carbon dioxide so as to reduce the total carbon dioxide emissions.
The following possibilities emerge for use of natural stone as building material in 2030 :
Indigenous   stone would have minimum carbon dioxide emission per tonne of transport and hence these shall be used by architects.   It may be possible that some of the developed countries may issue guidelines for this purpose. 
In exceptional cases, stone from the region which only involves train/road transportation shall be preferred.
Steam locomotives have been replaced by diesel engines in most of the countries.  In order to reduce carbon dioxide emission, electricity is being used to propel goods and passenger trains. 
Environmental  protection and minimizing the greenhouse gases would be  important factors deciding on use of stone and stone products as these are bulky and transportation has to be done by train, truck and ship.  
Stones shall be procured from selected overseas countries so that carbon dioxide emission is less per tonne of stone
A study was conducted on sustainability of natural stone facades with that of glass facades. This Sustainability Study on Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Natural Stone and Glass Facades was conducted by DNV, Germany, which is an eye-opener at least for most of the developed countries - USA, Canada, almost all countries in Europe, China, India, Australia and New Zealand.