General Meeting 2023 of the German Ornamental Stone Association (DNV): Natural stone as “building material of the future“

Natural stone can more than just be beautiful: it is a building material with exceptionally sustainable properties.

The New Constructing with Stone will play an important role at the Architecture Congress during the Stone+tec (June 19 – 22, 2024) in Nuremberg)

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The German Ornamental Stone Association (DNV) announced an important orientation for the natural stone industry in Germany at its general meeting in July 2023: President Hermann Graser wants to propagate the domestic stone varieties even more than before as “building materials of the future“ and subsequently to make solid construction with stone known. Solid stone construction is popular in France where small blocks of stone in standard dimensions are placed on top of each other like a building kit.

The concept is, historically, a step back before the times of industrialization, when natural stone was the only durable and at the same time stable material. Later, it was used mainly as cladding for facades or in interior design. Now it is to become a genuine, load-bearing building material again – the justification for this is the effort to achieve more sustainability in construction.

Among the concrete measures taken by the German association to achieve this is the “Future Natural Stone“ initiative on the Internet, which provides information on various topics such as the low ecological footprint of natural stone and its durability.

In addition, the association is involved in new research projects on solid construction at the universities of Dortmund and Dresden.

In turn, the New Constructing with Stone will play an important role at the architectural congress of the Stone+tec trade fair in 2024 (June 19 -22) in Nuremberg. The aim is to attract architects and designers to the event, because for them sustainable building is currently THE big topic.

Natural stone can more than just be beautiful: it is a building material with exceptionally sustainable properties.

This is one of the reasons why the association has now had EPDs (Environmental Product Declaration) drawn up for 2 categories of stone in addition to the previous studies on the life cycle assessments of natural stone. They specify average values for magmatic and sedimentary rocks. The EPDs are intended to make planning work easier for architects.

In general, association president Graser wants to achieve a change in public opinion:
* he sees the material itself “as part of nature, which people take out of the natural cycles for temporary use and return to it after a period of use.”
* in a quarry he does not see “a destruction of nature, but its enhancement“: recent studies have shown that even active quarries are important habitats for animals and plants;
* in general, the extraction of materials from the environment is a normal part of construction, because even sand and gravel for concrete or just as clay or straw would not fall from the sky.

The stone sector now has to bring those thoughts – or rather corrections of the public opinion – into this public. As an action to this end, the association is planning a meeting with parliamentarians of the German Bundestag in Berlin in the spring of 2024.

Graser mentioned another aspect of this new awareness of natural stone in passing: jobs with sustainably operating companies are in demand among young people – perhaps this could also counteract the serious shortage of skilled workers in the industry.

Deutscher Naturwerksteinverband (DNV)

Photos: Peter Becker

The participants at the members‘ meeting at the Schlosshotel Steinburg in Würzburg with a view of the Marienberg Fortress in the background.

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(06.08.2023, USA: 08.03.2023)