While shopping for that perfect stone countertop, you may have noticed stone products have all kinds of certifications. So many Certifications! What do they all mean?
Most people are familiar with meaningful labels and symbols on food: Kosher, USDA organic, Fair Trade, etc. But what about the symbols on manufactured stone?
The symbols you see on brochures, websites, and other informational materials on manufactured stone products all mean something too. Of course, some are more important than others, depending on your concerns and whether you’re a buyer or a fabricator.
Which Stone Certifications Matter to You?
Buyers may be looking for eco-friendly certifications or assurance the material is safe and non-toxic, for food preparation. Fabricators might want to know if the product is safe to cut without a full hazmat suit, or if simple precautions like wearing a dust mask are sufficient when working with the product.
Radianz, the manufactured stone brand sold here at The Granite Place, sports a host of certifications. They range from certifications for eco-friendly material, food safety, and occupational health safety, to energy efficiency and emissions controls, and even information security. Actually, Radianz is a great product to use as a model to demonstrate what the labels consumers are likely to come across while shopping for manufactured stone mean.
It’s all about the Environment and Your Health and Safety
Consumers these days, tend to be more eco-conscious and health conscious than in years past. As a result, more and more companies are striving to meet customer demands for waste reduction, natural resource efficiency, zero toxicity, and the protection of information they gather – like credit card data, home addresses, and phone numbers.
Most of the certifications an engineered stone manufacturer seeks to earn are geared toward product safety and natural resource conservation. These certifications prove to the consumer that the company is honestly doing what they say or promise. To earn the certifications, the company needs to meet several criteria that is checked by third-party auditors on a regular basis – usually once a year or every other year. Occasionally the standards are revised, so the date that accompanies some certifications means the latest version of the standards required to meet the certification, not the last time the company was audited.
For eco-conscious consumers looking for a manufactured stone like Radianz, probably the most important certifications are for management of greenhouse gas emissions during processing, indoor air quality after installation, and for countertops – food safety.
Certification for Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Lotte Advanced Materials – the company that makes Radianz – was the first company of its kind to meet international standards for management of
greenhouse gasses. It received ISO-50001 certification in 2011. ISO-50001 is an international certification that specifies requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and improving an energy management system. A third-party audit of the company assures that it meets the criteria on a periodic basis. Lotte has continued to keep its certification active through regular audits. The certification shows that the company has established an Integrated Energy and Greenhouse Gas Management System, which strives to continually reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission.
Certification for Sustainability
Another ISO certification the company holds and maintains is ISO-14001 for implementing an Environmental Management System. This means that the company is continuously improving its degree of sustainability and is making real efforts on a regular basis to be environmentally responsible and contribute to sustainability.
In case you’re wondering what ISO stands for, it is the Greek word for equal. It is an international standard and often considered the International Standards Organization, but because those words are spelled differently in different languages, the organization just settled on ISO, without a specific acronym behind it.
The Greenguard Certification for Indoor Air Quality
In addition to making moves to reduce its environmental footprint, Lotte invests a lot of energy into making Radianz environmentally friendly inside the home as well. Years ago, when the “green building” movement took off, builders and engineers overlooked indoor air quality. They made homes super tight and efficient, but these homes don’t breathe the way older, less efficient homes do. Today, there is a lot more focus on making sure the products inside a green home are not only good for the environment as a whole, but for the residents of the home as well.
Indoor air quality is a big consideration because many natural and manmade products emit extremely low levels of toxins. Some products, even bananas for instance, have naturally low – very low – levels of radioactivity. The same is true for natural and manufactured stone, due to the natural makeup of the stone. Normally it’s not a problem because the levels are so low and there is enough air exchange that there is no chance any of the emissions could accumulate. But in a home or institutional building built to keep air in for energy conservation purposes, some of those normally harmless emissions can accumulate to harmful levels for people who are sensitive.
To alleviate worries about indoor air quality – as well as natural resource protection, this is where the Greenguard certifications come into play.
The Greenguard certification is based on strict criteria regarding how a product is manufactured, it’s environmental impact, and the product’s impact on indoor air quality. A regular Greenguard certification means the product is safe for any home, including tightly sealed LEED (Leadership for Energy and Environmental Design) certified homes. Greenguard Gold means the product is safe for energy efficient institutions, medical buildings, and schools where sensitive people – elderly, young, sick – may be exposed to the product for extended periods of time.
All Radianz products are certified by Greenguard as safe for children and the elderly and many meet Greenguard Gold standards as well, for institutions. Certain colors of Radianz are more “green” than others. Just go to the “Eco-Friendly” option under the “About Radianz” tab on the Radianz website (radianz-quartz.com) to check out the variety.
Certification for Food Safety
All Radianz products meet the National Sanitation Foundation’s food-safe criteria – NSF ANSI-51. This certification means that the product contains no substances that could contaminate food. If a person wanted to prepare a meal on the surface of their Radianz Quartz, they could do so safely. Radianz doesn’t recommend doing so because sharps knives or acids often used in food preparation could damage the stone.
Other Certifications Held by Radianz
In addition to the above certifications, Radianz holds several others.
SCS Global Services (SCS stands for Scientific Certification System) certifies that Radianz contains recycled content and is an environmentally friendly product, particularly for greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Some colors boast as much at 30 percent recycled glass content.
Radianz also has certifications from Korea, where it is manufactured. It is certified as an “outstanding” environmental building material by the Korean Air Cleaning Association.
Why People Choose Radianz Manufactured Stone
All in all, Radianz, stands above its natural stone competitors in a variety of certifications. Not to say it’s necessarily better than natural stone, but if a consumer is looking for a durable product that meets a number of environmental and health safety criteria – Radianz may be the way to go. Contact us today to set up an appointment to view our showroom!