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Green Concrete CountertopsBecause of its low impact on the environment, concrete is one of the greenest countertop materials you can use. To make your countertops even more sustainable, follow these strategies for greener concrete countertops.
In addition to their versatility and distinctive beauty, concrete countertops have another virtue that appeals to many people, especially the ecologically aware: They are more environmentally friendly, or "greener," than most other types of countertops.
"Solid surface materials are made of plastic, engineered quartz materials contain a synthetic resin binder, and granite and marble are nonrenewable mined resources. Concrete contains mostly just good old sand, rock and cement," says Jeff Girard, president of The Concrete Countertop Institute and one of the Concrete Network's technical experts.
But concrete isn't completely eco-friendly, Girard admits. Portland cement production uses up a lot of energy, and mining of aggregate and sand can be environmentally disruptive. Some of the sealers applied to concrete countertops to protect them may also contain toxic volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, he adds.
The good news is that you can take a number of simple steps to reduce the ecological footprint of your countertops, such as replacing some of the virgin materials in concrete with recycled waste materials and using a nontoxic water-based finish. Here are some strategies for making your concrete countertops as green as possible.
Related InformationGreen Building with Concrete: Learn how you can use concrete to build environmentally responsible homes without compromising beauty, comfort or economy
How decorative concrete qualifies for LEED credits