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Back to the stone age: the sustainable building material we’ve all been waiting for

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece on The Guardian or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: Amid growing environmental concerns, the construction world is rediscovering the potential of stone as a sustainable, strong, and aesthetic building material
• Engineer Steve Webb, Pierre Bidaud of the Rutland-based Stonemasonry Company, and architect Amin Taha are among those advocating for the use of solid stone in modern construction

🔭 The context: Historically, stone was the primary building material for structures like cathedrals and cottages
• However, in the industrial era, it was replaced by steel, concrete, and mass-produced bricks 
• The proponents argue that returning to stone has numerous environmental benefits, without sacrificing strength or beauty

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: Stone's environmental impact is far lower than steel or concrete, as it only needs to be cut from a quarry and put in place
• Stone is long-lasting, recyclable, and typically locally available, reducing transportation costs. By harnessing stone, the construction industry could significantly reduce its carbon footprint

⏭️ What's next: Momentum is growing for the use of stone in construction, with projects underway across locations including a 10-storey tower in north London and social housing in Geneva and Mallorca
• Despite industry reluctance and cost concerns, the viability of stone as a building material is gaining recognition

💬 One quote: “Any stone building is a quarry” (Pierre Bidaud, engineer)

📈 One stat: Stone bricks can be cut at equal or lower cost than traditional fired-clay ones, producing less than 1/40th of the carbon emissions 

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