Eco living has also seen the development of truly innovative houses, which are entirely, or mainly, made out of natural and eco-friendly materials. The possibilities in what you can use to make a house are endless. Wood and natural stone are obvious examples, but recycled glass bottles and car tires are also great for insulation.
A house built from reclaimed stone
Building construction, demolition and renovation activity yields tons of waste every year. Coupling this with the quickly diminishing landfill space, material salvage and reuse is now increasing in both the architectural and construction world.
Natural stone with its durability and flexibility is a prime product for recycling. Adaptable to a range of applications, natural stone can almost always be reused and thus need not contribute to landfill waste.
Extending the life cycle of the product reduces its overall environmental impact, and using reclaimed stone may even contribute to green building programmes.
Salvaged natural stone lends itself to numerous forms of reuse. The stone can be crushed or fragmented, or whole products can simply be refinished or reformed. Some application examples include the following:
- Slabs and tiles can become paving material.
- Stone that is unsuitable as a structural or finished material can be used to construct retaining walls.
- Smaller pieces can act as gravel fill or concrete aggregate.
- Natural stone in powder form can be used in fertilizer on a flowerbed. Its inherent mineral constituents, such as calcium and magnesium, are needed nutrients for soil and plant life.
- Flat stone fragments can be strategically laid to create a mosaic walkway
- Stone fragments can be adhered together to generate a completely new appearance.
- When a building is scheduled to be remodelled or replaced, save pieces of the original structure to incorporate in the new edifice. This can provide a sense of history or nostalgia.
Salvage and reuse methodsReusing natural stone results in a more favourable environmental profile for the building industry due to avoiding consumption of the energy, water, and materials needed to extract and fabricate new products.
The biggest challenge with salvaging building material is a lack of communication and motivation among professionals and the absence of an organised system for the sale of the components and materials. However, if more designers buy into an environmentally friendly approach to the design process, materials can be selected from reclamation yards or even existing buildings due for demolition.
Reusing natural stone products can prove advantageous on both economic and environmental fronts. Several studies show that deconstruction of buildings is more cost-effective than demolition, particularly due to the resale of materials.
From a purely financial perspective, unless the stone to be used is considered to be antique, reclaimed stone can be less expensive than new product. Providing an opportunity for project cost savings.
On a purely environmental level, using reclaimed natural stone eliminates the energy, water, and other resources needed to generate new products, avoiding associated impacts to ecosystems.
As landfill space continues to shrink and emphasis on material conservation grows, consideration of alternatives to sending construction and demolition waste to landfills is essential.
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- Beau Templeman
- Stone Corner
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