WIT Press

Marble Quarrying: An Energy And Waste Intensive Activity In The Production Of Building Materials


Free (open access)





Page Range

197 - 207




358 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


V. Liguori, G. Rizzo & M. Traverso


Marble represents an important component of Italian buildings, where it is often utilized as a covering for bottom surfaces, despite its relatively high price. Moreover, it characterizes several public buildings, for which it is by far the most important decorative material, also because of its structural features and its long durability. Unfortunately, marble quarrying is an energy intensive activity that requires relevant amounts of electric and thermal energy sources; in addition, the extraction of the marble blocks from the mountain sides does involve a noticeable quantity of explosives, particularly in sites where traditional working methods are utilized. Another important feature of the marble mining is represented by the high level of waste materials released during the quarrying process. Both these elements call for careful attention to the production of this material, aiming for a suitable reduction of the environmental impact exerted by the current working procedures. An energy audit analysis, moreover, could allow the singling out of the steps of the whole process where it would be possible to reach improved efficiency, in this way properly cutting the energy resources involved in the production of the functional unit of this natural stone. The feasibility of such considerations is verified by means of an application to a marble quarry in Sicily, the region where an important rate of the Italian domestic production is realized. The field energy audit, other than suggesting a general approach to the problem, does indicate the high inefficiencies actually present in the working chain of the Sicilian marble. Keywords: marble, life cycle assessment, energy and environmental audits, embodied energy, eco-indictors.


marble, life cycle assessment, energy and environmental audits, embodied energy, eco-indictors.