The North Carolina Granite Corporation Contributes Towards LEED Certification
By Jeffrey Matthews
The North Carolina Granite Corporation is a major quarrier and producer of granite components for the building industry. The recent advent of LEED is an important consideration for the work being performed by architects and designers on their major projects. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System® is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. This point system is calculated on six areas of performance and guidelines as is established by the U.S Green Building Council or www.leedbuilding.org and www.usgbc.org.
The credits obtained by architects are in 6 general categories:
1) Sustainable Sites
2) Water Efficiency
3) Energy & Atmosphere
4) Materials & Resources
5) Indoor Environmental Quality
6) Innovation & Design Process
In order for a dimensional stone producer to qualify for credits under LEED, at least 20% of its fabrication must be performed locally and 50% of the 20% the fabrication must be from stone quarried locally as a percentage of the delivered total cost of material. The "local" aspect implies it must be within 500 miles radius from the factory to the jobsite. Canadian companies usually can not qualify much below the Boston / NY area. Minnesota companies can not qualify east of Chicago. European, Asian, and South American companies usually can not qualify anywhere in the US. North Carolina Granite is one of the few and in some areas the only company that fulfills these requirements.
Projects being constructed from New York City to Detroit, Cincinnati, Birmingham, Dothan, Gainesville, and Daytona Beach would all be within the required 500 miles of North Carolina Granite and would be eligible for LEED credits. The major objective of LEED is to reduce transportation costs from the factories to the jobsite. Those companies which quarry only, but do not produce in their local area, are not LEED contributing.
North Carolina Granite quarries and produces a product which is energy efficient, not only in its use for building cladding, but also in the stone production as compared with competitive materials which require higher electrical and oil usage to be produced. North Carolina Granite does not use any chemicals in its production processes. In production, waste is controlled and water is recycled in the plant. Waste streams, or even those taken from stone paneled jobsites, can be recycled, crushed and used for road bedding thus contributing to waste management . Every pound of granite taken from the Mount Airy quarry is processed into a sellable product including dust fines – 100% yield. We believe we are the only stone company to accomplish that.
The proven longevity of stone is well known and used on buildings to reduce the cost of having to replace inferior materials more often. The life-cycle cost of stone is far superior to that of other building materials, particularly concrete. Stone is a fully renewable raw material. New stones are being created every day and have been since the beginning of time.
The proven value of stone is demonstrated in the resale value of buildings. Not only is there beauty and low maintenance, stone buildings are more easily sold. This also applies to residential construction. The design and aesthetic values of using stone on the exteriors, interiors or for landscaping are important to most prestigious architects and designers. In these times of rising oil prices, owners appreciate that products from The North Carolina Granite Corporation are made from U.S.A. material and are locally available to many jobsites.
Architects and Designers are becoming more aware of the importance of LEED Certification. LEED projects are not only more energy efficient, but identifies the architect as a leader in Green Building designs. It doesn't hurt that it also qualifies them for more work on the state and federal level. The demand for projects required to use LEED products is increasing at 20% per year and that in the near future 25% of all buildings being built will use the LEED rating system in their design and construction.
North Carolina Granite is proud to support architects and designers on all their specifications for dimensional stone requirements and will continue to look at ways to personally be more energy efficient, reduce costs of transportation to jobsites, reduce waste, and maintain the quality controls and reliability that has been the company's reputation for over 100 years. The North Carolina Granite Corporation is the only stone company to be founded by an architect for architects. It is our life's work.