Carbon Footprint

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Carbon Footprint

Postby Charlie » Wed Jan 02, 2008 4:06 pm

Carbon footprint seems to have become a major selling point within the retail industry lately. Is anyone familiar with the calculation process in relation to dry stone walls versus mono-block concrete walls which seem to have taken over the landscape. How does quarried stone compare to mass produced concrete blocks from a carbon Footprint perspective?

And if concrete blocks cost more than natural stone per running meter why don't you see more natural stone being used?
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Postby jerryg » Sat Jan 05, 2008 8:56 pm

I was asked a few years ago by a Lake District National Park Planning Officer to give a price for building a concrete block wall and then facing it to make it look like a dry stone wall because she thought it would be a cheaper option than a traditonal dry stone wall. I thought she was joking.

Later on I costed out another dry stone walling job to £21000 ( there was a lot of shifting trees involved too) but I didn't get the job.

However I found out later that the people that got the job did in fact strip down a perfectly rebuildable old dry stone wall and build a 240 metre concrete block wall and then mortar faced it with newly quarried slate. The firm that did it were a VERY BIG well known construction company, and it cost over one hundred and twenty thousand pounds!

I often wondered if the two were connected.
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Postby stonewaller » Sat Jan 05, 2008 11:16 pm

Interestingly, or perhaps not, purists turn away now. Maybe I`ll be cashiered from the regiment of Master Craftsman but....

I built a retaining wall on a site in the Midlands. The required stone was hand dressed and worked out at around £200/tonne from the quarry. It`s stone usually used for mortared stone facing of houses, and has no depth and hence no structural strength. We dry stone faced a breeze block wall as this was in this instance cheaper than trying to do the whole thing dry.

I have another project on this site soon. The `Rough` walling stone is about £55/tonne + VAT, we have several retaining walls to build and will be dry laying breezeblocks for the back skin as its cheaper and quicker than the facing stones.

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Postby Charlie » Sun Jan 06, 2008 3:43 pm

I have noticed that within this forum and some others that I visit that a recurring subject is the difficulties involved in making a decent living from building drystone work. Since the major competition are the mono-block and wet stone builders I would think it was only common business sense to take advantage of peoples recent interest in keeping their own carbon footprint low.

Building dry with recycled material must keep the dry stone workers CF to a very low level in comparison to someone using cement, concrete foundations, and factory made material etc. I would quess that for those who work in the landscaping sector most clients are relatively wealthy and could appreciate the fact that their impact on our dwindling resources is kept to a minimum. Thus the use of CF in advertising could be an advantage in gaining work.
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Postby jerryg » Sun Jan 06, 2008 5:50 pm

I agree absolutely with every thing you say.

The carbon footprints should be worked out for a variety of walls ranging from the one extreme of rebuilding with the stone on site, using the good old technique of pick & shovel to the other extreme of concrete block walls wet stone faced with newly quarried stone with all the extensive use of diggers,dumpers and delivery wagons and cement.

Has anyone any idea how we could go about working this out?
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Postby Charlie » Sun Jan 06, 2008 8:26 pm

I would think that this is the kind of thing which the DSWA itself would be interested in exploring. With their wide range of contacts surely they could get a free feasability study done.

There are more than enough well educated dry stone wallers out there who were working in high prestige jobs before turning to dry stone work who may have some idea of how to evaluate Carbon footprints as related to what we have discussed.
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Postby stonedyker@talk21.com » Wed Jan 09, 2008 7:34 pm

I would reluctantly sell drystone work on the basis of a low carbon footprint, however it is calculated, and there must be a dozen ways of fixing the calculation so it comes out to the advantage of any opinion. A low CF is way way down the list of advantages.

Its selling point is its permanence, its beauty, its value for money, the opportunity to own an individual piece of craftsmanship. If properly built it is form and function perfectly combined in a piece of work which approaches art. We don't need to justify anything.

Is a badly built wall with transport via bio diesel preferable to a good wall built with stone transported in a lorry with a leaky carburetter?

Most wallers and dykers are probably making a disproportionate contribution to the war on carbondioxide because they are not making enough income to spend on noxious pastimes which threaten the atmosphere.
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Postby Andy C » Wed Jan 09, 2008 8:26 pm

i agree with stonedyker,anyway all these people harping on about carbon footprints on days like today wind rain sleet n snow did they go to work in their cars or on a push bike.
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Postby jerryg » Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:36 pm

For those who have been working outside for years (34 years and counting) will have noticed that we seem to get a lot less snow nowadays and a lot more rain. Might be global warming,might not.

Last summer something really strange happened to the weather over our little country. The jetstream in summer usually blows to the north of GB and takes all the crappy weather with it. However last year it lay for the whole period just north of France, and dropped unusually large amounts of rain on us causing flooding etc, which wasn't much fun to those wallers who had to work in it. Now it may or may not have something to do with global warming, if it doesn't then no problem, s**t happens, but it might have been caused by that. In which case it would do you no harm to do your best to do your bit.

There are lots of people out there in the big wide world who DO CARE and it would do no harm to emphasise the environmentally friendly nature of dry stone walling.

Walls are NOT a permanent structure as they will all fall down eventually however well you build them. If you want people in hundreds of years time to admire the artistry of your walls, you should be doing your best to make sure there will be someone still around in the future to do so.
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Postby Andy C » Thu Jan 10, 2008 5:47 pm

car or push bike jerry
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Postby jerryg » Thu Jan 10, 2008 6:41 pm

Back to the question in hand. What I drive to work is irrelevant, what we are talking about in this set of postings is to try to find out the different carbon footprints between a dry stone wall and a mortar faced concrete block wall. We would obviously have to include in that CF any fuel used.

I am at present trying to work the CF out for a piece of work I am going to do in May this year. And yes I will be including any fuel used in the work.

Obviously the CF would be lower if I went to work on the train and used a bicycle. As the piece of work I am going to work out is reasonably close to a railway station I will be able to work out different ways of going to work. Carry on criticising if thats what keeps you happy.
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Postby JimmyMicon » Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:24 pm

give the man a break Andy C.

jerry is trying to work out something that may be useful to wallers here.

by the, the creation of a push rod has its own CF :wink:
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Postby Charlie » Fri Jan 11, 2008 9:27 pm

I would not advise anybody to sell their work solely based on their Carbon Footprint. The other factors you mentioned, permanence. value for money, beauty, craftsmanship etc are of course all valid. However I would suggest that we are living in a period where the CF is or could be an important selling point amongst the more "enviromentally aware" customers, be it dry stone walls or cars for instance.

As for calculating the CF of dry stone or block work I would quess it could be straightforward to get some figures, which would show a better result for dry stone work.

If it is true that "most wallers make a disproportionate contribution to the war on carbondioxide because they are not making enough income to spend" is that not reason enough to use CF as a marketing device in order to make some money.

When buying a product be it a dry stone wall or a hoover the customer will always lean towards the one which in his opinion gives him the best value for money. I believe that using the CF as a part of your sales approach can only enhance your opportunity of getting the contract.
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Postby stonedyker@talk21.com » Fri Jan 11, 2008 11:09 pm

You make good points Charlie. I would like to see the calculation comparing the CF of blockwork and drystone but I think the concept of CF is a bit woolly and need to go a long way before it is of any serious scientific value.

As wallers and dykers I don't think we could be any 'greener'. The calculation will certainly expose how inefficient, dirty and greedy the concrete processes are by comparison.

What really needs to be done is to educate the likes of engineers who think a 750mm high drystone wall should have a 500mm deep concrete and rebar foundation. If they can be persuaded that drystone can be built efficiently and, very important to them, cheaper, we might get away from the concrete stupidities described earlier in this thread.

I wonder how many architects or designers know which end of a hammer is held in the hand? When the huge cathedrals were built in the Middle Ages there would be 4 admin staff to suppost 1000 craftsmen, it is the other way round now.

For those interested in what man can do to the surface of the earth go to www.edwardburtynsky.com and see some amazing pictures of quarries and, in the China section, see what conditions those folks work in.
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