Firm Foundations

The seed sprouts roots, moving slowly through the soil anchoring itself in its new home.

Before we start building at Dalerb, we first though about what we will be building on. Commonly building foundations are made from concrete which is made by mixing cement, water, and an aggregate (often sand) together. While concrete is great at what is does, it does have some serious drawbacks.

The process of creating foundations like this requires the whole of the building footprint to be dug out and refilled with the concrete. The process of digging out the foundations causes damage to the environment by disturbing the soil and damaging tree roots. The cement that is used also produces carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and a contributor to global warming. It is estimated that 8% of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions comes from the production of cement1. Also, not any type of sand can be used. The sand for concrete is extracted from riverbeds and estuaries which is having a negative impact on local marine ecosystems2

To lessen our environmental impact during the construction at Dalerb, we have decided to use ground screw foundations instead of concrete. The process means that no digging is required, as galvanised steel piles are screwed into the ground on which the building can be placed on. Less material is used with this method, and it also allows foundations to be built in more difficult locations. It also has the bonus of being faster to install, helping us to be open sooner.