Are Quartz Countertops Eco-Friendly?

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Environmentally-conscious homeowners seek out green building materials for a variety of reasons, including concerns over pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, a desire to protect indoor air quality, and the wish to preserve limited resources for future generations. Quartz -- an engineered stone product that costs roughly the same as granite -- offers advantages in all of these areas, making it a truly green product that will appeal to homebuyers seeking healthy, sustainable materials.

Durability

This Old House calls quartz one of the most durable materials for kitchen countertops. This will appeal to both buyers who simply want a product that will endure without much maintenance, and buyers who are concerned about the impact that their purchases have on the planet. Buying disposable products that endure for only a few years puts a great deal of strain on the Earth; there is the waste associated with disposing of old countertops, plus the pollution that comes with extracting, transporting and manufacturing new ones. These new products must then be transported to the home and installed, all of which results in wasted energy, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions.

By choosing a highly durable product like quartz, you can ensure your kitchen will have minimal impact on the environment for many years to come.

Sustainability

In addition to their long-term durability, quartz countertops are also sustainable. While granite comes from large slabs of rock that are cut from the Earth, quartz is made up of quartz crystals blended with polyester resin and pigments for color. It is often infused with bits of recycled glass and metal scraps for added color and shine. All of these materials serve as an efficient way to use up scrap materials or recycled content, resulting in very little waste or demand for virgin resources. 

Indoor Air Quality

For some green-minded consumers, choosing materials that won't negatively impact indoor air quality is a primary concern. Because quartz products are engineered -- unlike granite -- they contain very low levels of volatile organic compounds, which means they won't pollute the air in your home. While the small amounts of pigments and resins in these products may have a negative impact on air quality, many major manufacturers are deeply committed to using non-toxic pigments and resins, so low-emitting materials are easy to find.

Some buyers are also concerned about whether these countertops will release radon gas -- a potential carcinogen. Fortunately, most experts, including the U.S. Green Building Council  and the Health Physics Society agree that quartz countertops do not contribute a significant or dangerous amount of radon to the air within the home. If you are still concerned, you can pick up a cheap test kit at your local hardware store and test the countertop yourself, a process which takes between 2 and 7 days.

For more information, contact a professional like those at Rogan Granitindustrie, Inc


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