Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Meat and Potato Energy, Not Fossil Fuel!

Some people have asked me “How do you know that your product is green? Everyone says their products are environmentally friendly, but how is a consumer supposed to know?" Here are some helpful tips that will help address this question.

First, it is important to understand that every product requires energy to produce and supply it. A Carbon Footprint is created by burning fossil fuel to create this energy. When you burn fossil fuel during the production of a product you release Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere. The less Carbon Dioxide emitted, the smaller the carbon footprint.

“Embodied Energy” is the energy required to produce and supply a product. It includes the energy required to extract, manufacture, and transport a product. The less fossil fuel energy used, the smaller the carbon footprint, and the more environmentally friendly the product. This is usually where most people stop me and say, "but your product is heavy, hard, and very strong, it must require a considerable amount of energy to produce compared to almost any other product." To which I reply, "yes my product is heavy and hard and very strong. This is what makes it such a great choice. However, my New England Fieldstone has very little embodied energy. Let me explain..."

New England Fieldstone is a natural product, so all of the manufacturing energy is natural. Mother Nature makes it, and she does not produce any carbon in her manufacturing facility. Deep down in the depth of the earth natural stone is produced. No machines, no plants, no smokestacks are required. Just clean and pure natural stone.

Next is the extraction step. This is the process of removing the material from the earth. Once again nature has helped us with this process. Through the movements of the glaciers, the shifting of the bedrock plates, and the freeze thaw action in New England, the Fieldstone that we gather is brought to the surface of the ground.

For the last 200 years this was a curse to the farmers who lived off the land. Considerable manpower and mule power had to be exerted to move the Fieldstone to the edge of the fields so that the land could be plowed and farmed. These are the Fieldstone walls that we discover and utilize to produce our New England Fieldstone products.

Now we have to transport the stone to our facility. At this step a tractor and truck are required to load and drive the stone to Littleton, MA. However, all of the stone that we gather comes from within a 50-mile radius of our facility. One truckload of stone can haul over 3000 square feet of Thin Veneer. Although some Carbon is emitted in this step, it is a small amount per square foot.

The final step in the process is to sort, palletize, inspect, clean, and label the product. I use 16 men, 1 forklift, and a loader to complete this process. Most of the energy used in this step comes from meat and potatoes, not fossil fuel. My men lift the stones, place them on wooden pallets (that are manufactured locally with recycled wood), clean the stone, inspect each pallet for quality, and label the pallet. At this point a machine picks up the pallet and moves it into my storage area where it stays until it is ready to be delivered.

The only step left in the process is to transport the product from my facility to the project. At 16 lbs a square foot I can transport over 3,000 square feet of New England Fieldstone Thin Veneer in one truck. The only variable is the distance from my location to the project.

I have reclaimed this green product with ecologically conscious consumers in mind. My New England Fieldstone is 100% natural and environmentally friendly. I work with nature to reclaim material that would in most cases be plowed into the ground and buried. Instead, I gather and process it so that you can display and admire it for its long-lasting beauty, natural strength and very low embodied energy.


Anonymous said...

I'm not a Dealer or a tree hugger but I certainly appreciate this education. I miss the fields of
New England but hope soon to start a new home on a lake in Va. with your stone as base.
Now I understand more why I almost always at least look at the pictures in your emails. Kinda like Playboy!

Bob Ladd, Native of NH proud of VA too!

Gerald said...

This is a great explanation. The fact that stone is a "green" building material was definitely counter-intuitive, but this was an excellent explanation. Thanks.