Texastone Quarries: Certified Sustainable

Benefits of Certifying to Sustainability Standard: Spotlight on Texastone Quarries

This interview was originally published in Natural Stone Institute‘s Cutting Edge Newsletter

Please tell us a bit about your company and why you felt it was important to earn this certification.

TexaStone Quarries is a family owned quarrier and fabricator of six different colors of limestones and we were the first company to certify to the NSC373 standard. Earning our certification not only benefits us, but also the LEED program, architects, designers, and homeowners that want to build with sustainable products. We have maintained our certifications since 2014 and continue to improve in any areas that we can. Earning our certifications has made us more aware of the processes of our business and how it affects our employees environment, and our bottom line. It also keeps us competitive in the industry because architects and designers are continuing to move towards environmentally friendly materials and processes.

What have you found most surprising about the process of certifying to the NSC 373 standard?

When we started the certification process, we were pleased to find that we were already using many of the best practices in most of the nine sections of the standard. Personally, I was surprised at how much water we run through the fabrication facility and to learn that we recycle over 90% of our water in both the fabrication facility and quarries.

What do you feel will be the biggest benefit to your company in securing certification to the sustainability standard?

The greatest benefit has been learning about and fixing our inefficiencies allowing us to provide a greater value to the customer.

How has this process helped your company’s bottom line?

When we took an in depth look at expenses like supplies, chemicals, energy, etc. we realized there was room for improvement. We focused on operating at the most efficient and sustainable level, which helped reduce our costs. As the green movement continues to grow, our certification allows us to be more competitive, not only in the stone industry but also in the building material industry as a whole, because we can offer customers certified sustainable products.

What would you like to communicate to the design community about this standard?

Choosing a product from a company that has certified with the NSC373 standard can help a project earn its own sustainable building certifications such as LEED or the Living Building Challenge. The stone industry is a great place to find sustainable products and with a growing number of companies certifying to the standard, the options for architects and designers are increasing. For example, our company works hard to offer quality limestone products in a way that doesn’t damage the environment we quarried it from.

How long did it take your company to complete the standard certification?

We worked on the certification process for about a year.

What was the biggest challenge for your company in completing the certification and how did you overcome it?

The standard was a groundbreaking new area for our industry. TexaStone was the first to earn certifications and at that time, the standard was still being finalized and had not been released yet. At first, it seemed overwhelming, but once we got into it, we realized that we were not far off in meeting the standard’s requirements. It was a team effort to first certify and will be a team effort to maintain our certifications.

What advice do you have for other companies who are going through the process of certification?

Do not be overwhelmed by the standard. It is a lot of reading; however, most companies are already using best practices in their facilities, so achieving standard certification may be easier than it seems. Once a company complies with MSHA, OSHA, EPA and the various state agencies, the standard is mostly taken care of. NSF is extremely helpful; so be sure to use the resources that they provide. To stay organized, complete each section before moving to the next one until the process is finished. It is important to form a system that works well for your company. For TexaStone, this is a team effort. Each member knows what they are responsible for and each month, the data is recorded into our spreadsheets. If this is done throughout the year, it is easy to maintain.