The way we produce our WasteBasedBricks®, the steps we need to take to use 60% waste, the fact that we fire the bricks on forest compensated gas (where our emissions get compensated by planting trees) and the care that we put into the design of the final product are all elements of the production process we have chosen with care, and that contribute to a higher price point.
As we state in our vision statement, we focus on the early adopters and the early majority: architects and real estate developers with a strong focus on design, sustainability and their matching projects and budgets.
By creating inspiring case studies around the world, we hope to motivate others in our industry to innovate their production process and products as well, making it more mainstream – and thus more affordable.
Successful collaborations in the past all had one thing in common: the architect and the developer share the same goals and are open for discussion in a transparent way.
Another observation that keeps coming back in discussions about pricing is the effect of a higher brick price on the total budget of the project. Yes, choosing a more expensive brick increases the cost of a project, but if the budget of the facade is, let’s say, 4-6% of the total budget of the project, a slight increase might not be a deal-breaker, especially if this is known in the earliest phase of a project.
The architect can still make design decisions to compensate for this increase in other parts of the building.
2. Too Small To Have An Impact?
StoneCycling might be a small player in a huge market, but would you say that our impact is insignificant? We say that this depends on your perspective.
Looking at the total amount of waste the construction industry generates (around 35% of all global waste) or the CO2 footprint of the entire sector (11% of the global footprint), you might say that what we do has little effect.
Yet, the impact we can have on an individual building is much more significant and can be very powerful. Have a look at some of our case studies:
Through the use of our WasteBasedBricks®, 15 tonnes of waste found a new destiny in Rotterdam, and for a project in London we reused about 28 tonnes of waste. This material would have otherwise been downcycled into roadbeds or in one of many landfills. But we dare to dream bigger: in one of our most recent projects in New York City, no less than 260 tonnes of waste is being up-cycled!
The use of our products is being valued in BREEAM, LEED and most other calculation tools. A real estate developer can use this measurement to meet the requirements of the institution that sells the land, or tenants can use it to meet the requirements of sustainable floor space.
The impact we would like to have on the system can only be achieved through collaborations on ambitious architecture projects around the world. Agree? Then get in touch with us and share your own ideas!
The real impact of StoneCycling as a business might be indirect and therefore more difficult to value or measure, but by showing that there is a business case for waste-based and sustainable construction materials we hope to inspire and motivate bigger players in this market to act too. This eventually should lead to systematic change.
3. Too Much Risk?
Bricks have been around for centuries. Amsterdam, where our head office is based, is a beautiful example of this. It is a proven building material that is made to last.
Often, potential clients feel that there’s a risk in using our WasteBasedBricks®. How do they age? Will they last over time? Of course these are very relevant questions when you’re designing a project intended to be around for a long time!
While we are all about creativity and taking opportunities where we see them, we don’t like leaving things to chance. All of our products are rigorously tested by independent agencies, like the Technical Center for the Ceramic Industry in the Netherlands.
We also perform our own tests in our Research & Development Lab. The combined results tell us a great deal about the quality and durability of the products.
In terms of compressive strength, water absorption and freeze-thaw, the WasteBasedBrick® performs great compared to more standard products in the market.
Furthermore, we deliver all our products under the general terms and conditions of the Royal Association of Dutch Brick Manufacturers. This is in line with most producers of ceramic materials in the Netherlands.
4. Board VS Project Manager
Perhaps the most frustrating argument that we hear when it comes to not working with our unique building materials, is the ‘board versus the project manager’ issue.
It is simple: the board of a real estate development company has ambitious plans to make their portfolio of real estate more sustainable. The project manager needs to execute these wishes, but has limited resources.
On a project level, the clash between these two parties often results in endless discussions and eventually a no-go because of the project specific budget.
The extra investment needed to create these important showcases on a board level are relatively small, but on a project level they are quite substantial. It has proven to be challenging from time to time to align those two.
To address this problem, we’ve developed the 30-minute StoneCycling Presentation that we often present in front of boards of real estate companies. The extra context that we can give during these presentations can be helpful in creating commitment of the board in achieving the project’s ambitious sustainable goals. Get in touch if you’re interested in hearing more about this.
Are you currently looking to implement new building materials in your project? What is holding you back to do so? Tell us in the comments, we would love to hear how we could help you further!