Have you ever walked on pavement in the rain? I am assuming at one time or another you have and were forced to dodge puddles. As a result I’m sure you had wet shoes or maybe even socks. Yuck!
Now, have you ever walked on permeable pavers? You may be asking yourself, what are permeable pavers? Permeable pavers allow water to drain through the expanded joints, eliminating standing water and wet socks. No more laying out socks and shoes over vents to dry them out. This is the most basic of benefits to a permeable paver system. Before I tell you why permeable pavers are a fantastic choice around your home, let me explain the system in more detail.
Permeable pavers are manufactured to the same high quality standards of all concrete paving stones. The shape of the paver allows for larger gaps between the stones which in turn permits water to rapidly drain through the surface into a base material that is open graded (meaning no fines as with traditional segmental paving). This base layer can accommodate a tremendous amount of water.
To help you better visualize this let me provide you with an example. If you installed a 12” base layer of gravel, you could store approximately 4” of water in that base material. To translate, for a 1000 square foot driveway, you could store close to 3000 gallons of water under your driveway. This benefits the environment by infiltrating water back into the ground and recharging aquifers for future generations to use.
You may have noticed permeable pavers in large commercial parking lots or road ways. Often times, permeable paving systems are used in these large commercial settings to manage the storm water on a newly developed site in very large quantities. This is a highly engineered system and affects overall watershed planning and infrastructure projects. This has also been the traditional use for permeable pavers, but with new product developments, residential applications are becoming much simpler and more common.
Around your home, you can realize many other benefits by using permeable systems. I bet you are asking a couple of questions:
Here is the FREE part. Rain water does not cost anything if you find ways to reuse it. Believe it or not traditional paving and piping, raises your taxes or utility bills to “manage the water”. Controlling water is a large expense to all municipalities and many of our traditional management techniques are getting old and will need to be completely overhauled. In some parts of the United States, there is even a storm water tax based on the amount of impervious surface on your property. Permeable paving may allow you to build a larger home or larger patio in order to meet your local building ordinance. Again, you are spending money to manage something that is FREE to all.
Now, how do you use the water? Below are a few uses and I would love to hear about other ways you have found to use water.
Irrigation and Indoor House Plants
Indoor Plumbing (it is nice that most of us have this luxury already, but…)
These are just a couple of economic benefits on how you can reuse a free resource, rain water. For many years, we have treated water as a nuisance; in reality, it is a critical resource to our future generations that is unfortunately dwindling. There is even a saying out there that says, “Water is the next Oil”. By installing permeable pavers around your home, you are doing your part to preserve the only resource in the world that is critical to life on Earth. And, if you happen to get something FREE out of it, how could it be any better?