Burgundy Limestone & Environment
Many building materials such as ceramic tiles and imitation stone require high amounts of energy and often toxic chemicals in their production. Our limestone is a naturally produced material requiring little energy to transform into the finished product. There is no firing process, little waste and virtually no pollutants. Our stone has a long life and good recycling possibilities. Its carbon footprint is considerably lower than other building materials. We continue to examine each step of the quarrying, transport and production of our Natural Stone, Burgundy Limestone, to minimise further its environmental impact.
Starting with the quarries, for most of the materials we process these are within a radius of 50km from the factory, limiting the carbon emissions during transport. The quarries are mainly small scale extractions below agricultural land and adjoining woods. The top soil is removed and stored carefully. The overburden is then removed and stored separately. The interesting stone is 2 to 10 metres deep. As the quarrying progresses through a field, the overburden is used to refill the excavation. Then the top soil is returned to enable farming to recommence, or woodland to be replanted with local tree species. Initial yields from the restored farmland show increased productivity, probably due to improved drainage.
Factory Buildings, Machinery, Waste And Energy
The modern factory buildings, with excellent insulation, limit heating requirements and reduce noise emissions. The most modern machinery available has been installed to limit handing and energy requirements and to maximise productivity. Off-cuts are reprocessed to produce cobbles and hexagon tiles, reducing waste to a minimum. The remaining waste is crushed and used as construction fill. Waste water from the cutting machinery is filtered and pressed, producing fine lime powder that is used to restore lime deficient soil for agriculture. The filtered water is recycled to the cutting machines, reducing fresh water consumption to 8% of total requirements.
By using hydro-electric power, nuclear power stations and renewable resources, France has a relatively low carbon footprint in its electricity production. We have a special contract with E.D.F. to maximise use of off-peak power supply and guarantee that 21% of our consumption is supplied from renewable sources.
Natural Stone has a longer life than most other building materials and requires minimum maintenance. Stone has been recycled for thousands of years. Marble and stone from Greek and Roman times have been re-used in more recent buildings, and several projects in London are currently re-using limestone in thinner veneers. Stone fixed with traditional lime mortars will be easier to recycle than when fixed with adhesives. When fixing thick paving and cobbles outside, a weak screed can be used, facilitating recycling.
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