Stone and Brick were Sustainable Before the Rise of Sustainability

By 2100, the UN expects that global temperatures will increase by up to 3.2°C. While this may not seem like a concerning number, temperature differences affect different regions of the world in different, and often, drastic ways. It is expected that many areas will experience extreme temperatures, droughts, lack of water availability, and extreme precipitation. 

Many industries, including the architecture and landscape world, have implemented sustainable materials and designs to combat these harmful effects. But even before the rise of sustainability, people had access to other sustainable materials: stone and brick.

Goals and History of Sustainable Design

In the 1970s, architects and designers began incorporating what would eventually be known as sustainability into their designs, which focused on using materials and practices that aren’t harmful to the environment and could roughly be renewed at the same rate as their usage.

Dan Dennis UnsplashSustainability focuses on doing no harm to the environment. Brick and stone met these goals years before the rise of sustainability.
©Dan Dennis |

Sustainability also puts a focus on using more durable materials. If a material lasts longer, it doesn’t need a replacement as soon. This means that additional resources don’t have to be used to make a replacement. During the 1990s, sustainability became a more mainstream goal in building and landscape design. Focus also included using less chemicals, increasing energy efficiency, and saving water.

During the 2010s, design industries began to shift towards regenerative design to prevent the negative impacts of climate change further. In this model, not only do planners focus on doing no harm, but they also aim to achieve a net positive effect.

Stone and Brick Before Sustainability

Stone and brick are two of the oldest building materials. In the early days of building, humanity realized they were durable and abundant, and helped make them effective in projects while also being easy to use. Because of this, they were some of the most widely used materials for many years.

Eduard Militaru UnsplashFor many years, brick was a widely used yet sustainable material in buildings. ©Eduard Militaru |

Now, with thousands of years of building history behind us, we can genuinely appreciate how effective these materials were and still are. Their durability reduces the energy required for repairs and maintenance, while their abundance reduces waste created by producing new materials. Plus, they are natural, safe, and even recyclable. 

Many bricks additives come from recycled materials, such as sawdust, fly ash, and glass. Using these additives can even reduce the use of fossil fuels that are used in the production process.

But now, the push for more regenerative design means that one can use other materials that are even better for the environment while also offering additional benefits compared to traditional stone and brick.

Improvements in Stone Options

Reinforced stone is one of these materials that help put sustainable and regenerative design in the reach of many landscapers. This material uses stone polymers, providing even more strength than traditional stone fixtures while maintaining stone sustainability. This extra durability means it won’t need to be replaced as quickly.

Some materials, particularly metals, heat up, leading to increased ambient temperatures, which is mainly a problem in urban areas. Increased temperatures can harm local plant life and make the area less habitable and comfortable to wildlife and even humans. Jonite’s reinforced stone does not heat up like other materials, meaning it doesn’t increase ambient temperatures in an area.

Stamford American-Trench GratesReinforced stone is a flexible and sustainable material option for grates.

Reinforced stone grates also offer additional design options compared to traditional stone grates. Designers can choose from a variety of colours and design choices. Personalized options, such as ADA-accessibility features, can even be utilized.

Using Stone Grates in Landscape Design

There are many options when it comes to using reinforced stone grates in one’s landscape. These grates can make it easy to manage water in the area, add additional usable space, and even be more environmentally friendly.

Reinforced stone trench grates and pool grates can be a great way to manage excess water from a water feature. They can also increase the amount of usable space in an area as it won’t become covered in excess water or pose a safety hazard.

In addition, reinforced stone grates can actively be environmentally friendly. Tree grates help protect trees’ roots, which is vital to their health, reducing soil erosion and protecting local water quality. Drain grates that divert excess water ensure that plants in the area won’t drown in extra water, which also helps maintain habitats for wildlife.

HBDs-Tree GratesReinforced stone tree grates are an effective way to protect trees’ roots.

Start by Incorporating Sustainable Stone Grates

Before sustainability became a mainstream goal, stone and bricks aligned with many of the same missions, however, now that sustainable and regenerative design is used through buildings and landscapes, new, improved materials can even better meet these goals.

One of these, reinforced stone grates, can make it easier to make almost any landscape or hardscape sustainable. Consider adding reinforced stone grates to your design for your next project as a sustainable and regenerative option.