Enlarged turning circle at front of plot minus a retaining wall

Enlarged turning circle at front of plot minus a retaining wall

Here’s an example of the dilemmas we face when thinking about Which Way is Green? : which material to use for hardscaping the garden and areas outside Sky House Sussex? Most people would say concrete is not environmentally friendly. Of all the building materials it has by far the highest embodied energy and the lowest value from recycling when it comes to the end of its life.

So we went to a stone quarry on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, SW England, to source some regional stone which seemed a greener alternative. But even if we decided to take the off-cuts the quarry offered us, this is not a truly clean, green choice for these reasons:

  • quarry extraction process
  • cutting the stone – heavy processing
  • scarring the landscape, minimal reclamation
  • loading, packaging, transporting
  • all this directly impacting community and environment

Such are the dilemmas in building an eco house, and this is only the beginning. So we say: all power to the R&D engineers working on a new carbon capturing cement…here’s an interesting article for all concrete geeks: Reducing CO2 with green concrete

photo by Ian West and Tanya West

Underground mining of Portland Stone at Bowers Quarry, Dorset