Being green is about more than just making claims and creative packaging. The use of natural stone–i.e. marble, granite, slate and the like–as a building material is a very sustainable practice. According to a study conducted by the Association of Home Builders while most estimates indicate a 50-year lifetime for other flooring materials, properly cared-for natural stone has a life expectancy of 100 years or greater.
Additionally, though natural stone will last for the lifetime of a building its usefulness does not need to end there. The durability of marble, granite, limestone, and similar natural stone materials makes them ideal for reuse and reclamation thus reducing the energy costs of manufacturing new materials for the construction of buildings.
Considering it takes 1.3 million BTU of energy with 190 gallons of water to produce a ton of granite and 280 thousand BTU of energy with 640 gallons of water to produce a ton of limestone it becomes obvious that the regular care–including cleaning, sealing, polishing and grinding–of natural stone surfaces saves energy in the long run by keeping it in service for longer and alowing it to be reclaimed at the end of the life of a building.