ECO: the Eco-Friendly Countertop
Does the world, or your library, need another countertop material? Actually, yes when one as terrific as ECO comes along. I first saw it installed in a green showhouse and was wowed by its looks – an almost pure white polished surface – just one of 10 colorways.
But looks, as we know, are skin deep. ECO’s real story is deeply green and a compelling example of corporate commitment to environmental excellence.
Its green attributes begin with the raw materials. 75 percent are derived from post industrial or post consumer recycled materials: mirrors salvaged from houses, building and factories; glass from windshields, windows and bottles; granulated glass from consumer recycling practices; porcelain from china, tiles, sinks, toilets and decorative elements; and, industrial furnace residuals from factories in the form of crystallized ash. The remaining 25 percent natural material is stone scrap from mountains, quarries, manufacturing and fabrication.
ECO’s durability matches or exceeds quartz, granite and marble surfaces, never needs sealing and is highly scratch and stain resistant. Though only on the market since May 2009, end of life reuse plans are already in place. In fact, scraps are being reclaimed to fabricate mosaic backsplashes.
ECO has been awarded silver level Cradle to Cradle certification, GREENGUARD indoor air quality certification and may contribute to up to five LEED points.
Good stuff all, but here’s the REALLY impressive part. Cosentino, the world’s largest manufacturer of natural quartz, makes ECO. You probably know them for Silestone, the breakthrough countertop alternative introduced in 1998. According to Lorenzo Marques, VP of Marketing, the company, as it worked to improve Silestone, looked for ways to bring a truly sustainable surfacing material to market, and invested $6 million dollars into research and development over three years. Imagine that – pouring those kinds of resources to compete against yourself!
“The green building initiative, driven by the design trades and consumer behavior, will demand products such as this,” says Marques. “Green materials may be optional now but they will become the standard in the future.”
ECO is available at all Lowe’s stores nationwide as well as specialty retailers and through fabricators. The price point is attractive - 20 to 25 percent lower than other stone substitutes and comparable to mid-to-high granites.