Going Green with Natural Stone

(Family Features) The 2017 color of the year, revealed by the Pantone Color Institute is a near-avocado hue called “Greenery.”

Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew, according to the Institute, also noting the soothing effects of the otherwise energizing color.

 “More and more homeowners are looking to create tranquility through the use of calming colors and natural materials like stone,” said Stephanie Vierra, architect and president of Vierra Design & Education Services. “‘Greenery’ is not necessarily found in natural stone, but it is a shade commonly seen in nature.”

Natural stone can, however, be green in the literal sense, from emerald granites and marbles to more subdued hues flecked or veined with green. For many, using natural stone is a way to expand the concept of “Greenery” into their home design projects.

Not just for monuments

Using natural stone for homebuilding or remodeling makes sense. It is unequalled for strength and durability. As stone processing methods have improved and prices have decreased, clapboard and brick exteriors have been supplanted by natural stone cladding options. Indoors, stone has vaulted to prominence over imitation stone materials.

“Natural stone most often lays a neutral base which complements the vibrant and striking colors of a living space,” said Eric Osterhout of Northern Stone Supply. “It resembles nature, where you might see a blue-gray granite mountain spread with a deep green and gold forest, or deep rust and gold river rock crawling with bright green moss.”

In many cases, designs start with a feature material like stone, knowing that it will last a long time, according to Vierra. Natural materials coordinate well. Trend colors can be applied to the design after feature materials have been chosen.

Natural stone is durable, easy to maintain and affordable. Combined with myriad pattern choices, textures and colors, the demand for natural stone is understandable.

Sustainability of stone

To keep pace with demand, stone suppliers temper their production with a focus on sustainability. Stone is nature’s original “green” building material, and the industry is laying claim to environmental benefits of its use in construction:

  • Stone quarrying practices have improved and are monitored for regulatory compliance. Old quarries are being reclaimed as parks and recreational areas.
  • No energy or power is required to create stone – it exists naturally. Power is used for extraction and processing, but relatively less as compared to many other building materials.
  • Natural stone can be a permanent building material. It requires replacement infrequently and is recyclable.
  • Stone contains no substances toxic to human health, and is a hygienic and safe food preparation surface in its raw state. It requires no special treatments for use as a building material.
  • Though other building materials require regular upkeep to maintain their beauty or utility, stone ages gracefully without losing structural properties. Natural stone maintenance is typically neither difficult nor costly.

Nurture through nature

Homeowners grow the value of their home, and their home environment, by using natural building products and letting nature inside – through views, lighting and stonework.

“With the world’s emphasis on sustainable design, the ‘Greenery’ color trend couldn’t have happened at a more perfect time,” Vierra said. “Inspiration to mimic and reflect nature is easy to achieve with the combination of ‘Greenery’ and natural stone, while also meeting sustainability goals.”

Find more information about building with natural stone at usenaturalstone.com.

Main image (kitchen) courtesy of Coldspring

Secondary image (Vals quartzite from Switzerland fireplace) courtesy of MIA+BSI: The Natural Stone Institute

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