The Natural Stone Council’s Sustainable Production for Natural Dimension Stone (ANSI/NSC 373) certification is now recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED v4 building certification program, as well as by the International Living Future Initiative’s Living Building Challenge (LBC) version 3.1. Design teams now have a clear path to ensure the stone they specify helps projects reach sustainability goals as outlined by LEED and LBC.

The NSC established the sustainable stone certification standard in 2014 in association with Ecoform, an independent consultant, and NSF International. The standard provides natural stone quarriers and fabricators with third-party verification of their sustainable practices and to give the building and design community confidence that certified stone is a sustainable material choice.

To develop ANSI/NSC 373 for alignment with LEED and LBC, the NSC Sustainability Committee worked closely with third-party organizations, including Jack Geibig at Ecoform and NSF International, to determine the sustainable footprint of how stone is quarried, transported and processed. In addition, ANSI/NSC 373 was developed using the consensus-based ANSI (American National Standards Institute) process and can be applied internationally with certification by a third-party certifier like NSF International.

“I attribute the success of the ANSI/NSC 373 certification acceptance to the Natural Stone Council’s early commitment and dedication to aligning with leading green building programs such as LEED and LBC,” says Jessica Slomka, LEED AP legacy, Manager of NSF International’s National Center for Sustainability Standards.

ANSI/NSC 373’s national and international requirements for environmental, ecological, human health and social responsibility in stone quarrying and processing will help satisfy the growing demand for transparency in the market.

“Natural stone rates high on an environmental scale. It is reusable, low maintenance, emits no VOCs, and is one of the most durable and most beautiful materials on the planet,” says Duke Pointer, Executive Director of the Natural Stone Council. “The ANSI/NSC 373 certification gives the market confidence they are using a material that has also been third-party verified.”

LEED v4 and LBC Application

The LEED Steering Committee approved certification to ANSI/NSC 373 Sustainable Production of Natural Dimensional Stone as a “USGBC-approved program” third-party verification (full credit) in Option 1 of LEED v4 BD+C and ID+C Material Resources credit Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Sourcing of Raw Materials, provided that the facility and/or quarry operation has earned certification including either optional credit 7.2.1 (Ecosystem Boundaries) or 7.2.2 (Environmental Impact Assessment), and has made its scorecard publicly available.

In addition to LEED v4, the Living Building Challenge is advocating the Sustainability Standard for Natural Dimension Stone for Living Building projects using natural stone. ANSI/NSC 373 aligns within the LBC 3.1 Material Petal, in the Responsible Industry category.