There are substantial environmental impacts that come with shipping building materials around the globe, particularly something as weighty as granite. It is for this  reason that the credit MR5 in the Materials and Resources category of LEED for Homes certification exists.

To get a point for buying local, LEED has a limit of 800km by truck or 2400km by rail or water for the transportation of building materials. This can serve to limit material choices somewhat, Italian marble for example won't win you any points.

This new Cambrian Black granite quarry is located in Saguenay and operated by Polycor, which has thirty sites, the majority of which are in Quebec.

"Of all our products, Cambrian black is one of the best selling and most beautiful, and we are the only supplier in Quebec." says Geneviève Robicheau, marketing director at Polycor.

Granite is all natural, undergoes no colour treatment, and it isn't covered with resin. So there are no negative health impacts due to material off-gassing and surface finishes. It is simply polished, depending on the customer's request. "We sell a semi-processed product, and it is the cabinetmaker that makes the final cut to suit the needs of the buyer."

Granite is a low-impact, natural, and extremely durable building material. And if you live within 2400km of Saguenay, you can get a black, grey or charcoal counters now and still get that last crucial LEED point.

For more on how to build healthy kitchens, Choosing eco-friendly and healthy countops  and all about sustainable home construction, check out the Ecohome Green building guide, North America's trusted resource on green home building