These eco-minded homeowners wanted a beautiful, natural aesthetic for their driveway to complement their amazing new home in scenic Pennsylvania. They chose TRUEGRID ECO.
Cobblestone pavers briefly transition the driveway from the street for a warm, welcoming touch. Matching cobblestone borders line the gravel filled TRUEGRID driveway as it slopes uphill towards the house.
A light colored hard, angular, clean 5/8” gravel fills the ECO paving. The winding TRUEGRID driveway sits on 6” of clean, washed angular gravel for optimal drainage within the base.
Curb appeal, eco-friendliness and harmony with the natural setting.
How to Update Your Stormwater Management Tactics
The biggest problem posed by new construction is a little ironic. New developments and urban sprawl continue at a record pace, but the problem isn’t that cities are changing — it’s that they are changing in the same old ways.
No matter how innovative our new buildings are, we’ll face a mounting danger from flooding unless we change the way we pave our surrounding surfaces.
In U.S. cities, 40 percent of surfaces are impervious. Concrete and asphalt typically are the materials of choice. They are slabbed and rolled over the earth, creating an impenetrable, impervious layer. When heavy rain arrives, it has to go somewhere. Impervious surfaces force water to run off in rising levels around our homes and businesses, causing costly damage.
We’ve seen traumatic damage again and again in cities such as Houston, and the rain is not letting up. Since 1991, in fact, heavy rainfall has steadily and increasingly surpassed predictions.
It’s time we stopped paving in the same old ways and we changed our mindset about the way we manage flood risks.
How fresh tactics in paving can help our cities
Stormwater doesn’t have to disable our communities. Permeable pavement systems allow stormwater to be absorbed, detained, and re-released into the environment in a healthy, controlled way.
The beauty of permeable paving is that it imitates the land’s natural hydrology. Before communities were covered in concrete, water quickly absorbed into the ground or naturally redirected. Permeable pavers mimic that organic system. They enable rainfall absorption at more than 800 inches per hour, taking the pressure off manmade structures and evolving to the shifts of the climate — all while performing the same functions as concrete or asphalt.
The technology is pretty simple. Permeable paving systems are structured with open cells that are filled with materials — such as grass or hard angular aggregates — that have high ratios of void space to surface area. As rain falls onto those pavers, the water will drain and absorb into the sub-base below and will infiltrate into the soil if it’s porous. In areas with nonporous soils, the water will be detained and slowly released.
The idea of the permeable paving system is to stop or reduce runoff and divert it from valuable structures, property, and human life.
4 steps to rethink paving in your neighborhood
Permeable paving systems will save the homes and businesses in your neighborhood from suffering the same fate every time a major storm occurs. With people increasingly being displaced and livelihoods increasingly being ruined by storms, it’s time that we confront the outdated way we develop our communities. Follow these four steps to create safer and more natural stormwater management systems in your area:
Step 1: Examine the problem in your area.
Excess runoff caused by impermeable surfaces has many costs — and some are not immediately visible. Though flood damage from major storms is immediately visible and obvious, storm repercussions like erosion and runoff pollution also wreak havoc, though in less immediate ways. Take stock of the unique way that runoff effects your community so that you can find the right paving solution and make the most high-impact change.
Step 2: Make an economic assessment.
Assess how the cost of flooding compares to the cost of transforming your paving system. These are the three metrics to note in order to make an economic assessment:
Paving construction costs. How much will it cost to install permeable pavers across the surfaces you’re responsible for?
Land utilization. What other adaptations will you need to make in order for the new solution to function? Will you need a separate detention pond, for example, if you chose an impervious surface material?
Long-term costs. How much will it cost per year in maintenance and impervious cover tax?
Step 3: Identify your performance requirements.
You might live in an urbanized zone with heavy traffic or frequent trade deliveries. Different varieties of permeable pavers will hold up to high traffic, even with commercial construction machines in excess of 130 tons. If your area is relatively residential, other available paving systems will provide the best value for your needs.
Step 4: Choose a system that suits you.
Armed with the answers from your investigations in the previous steps, you can now decide which paving solution will work best in your community. Compare and contrast the systems available according to your needs and goals. Find out more about TRUEGRID Paver options here.
We all have a responsibility to maintain the places we live and work. We might not be able to control the weather, shift tides, or divert storms, but we can adapt the way we develop our precious spaces in order to care for them and protect them into the future.
The Complete Guide to Permeable Paving Systems
Permeable paving systems are porous, so they allow water to infiltrate the pavement and drain into the ground or sub-base rock underneath. These paving systems are just as strong and durable as traditional paving materials such as concrete, asphalt, or compacted gravel. Several types of porous paving grids exist, including plastic grid pavers with flexible joints; rigid or rolled plastic pavers; interlocking concrete grids; and permeable concrete and asphalt pavement.
How do permeable paving systems work?
The permeable pavers have open cells that are filled with gravel or grass and are designed to let water enter into their surfaces, get detained in the rock base, and absorb into the ground beneath. Paving systems that use hardscape surfaces (concrete, asphalt, or compacted gravel) will collect stormwater, causing it to pool or run off. Instead, permeable pavers have a porous surface that naturally mimics and recreates the way the ground reacts to rainwater. The rate at which the water drains into the surface depends on the specific type of permeable paving system used.
What benefits do permeable pavers provide over traditional paving methods?
Permeable pavements aid stormwater management, reduce runoff, and decrease flooding risks. Conventional concrete, asphalt, and gravel-only pavement are the primary generators of stormwater runoff. Runoff is dangerous for cities, as the water collects contaminants and gets hotter as it rolls through streets. Eventually, this runoff will flow into and disrupt the natural waterways. Runoff can also overwhelm stormwater management systems, which causes flooding and other problems in cities. To minimize flood risks, most cities and counties limit the amount of impervious surface for new construction and buildings.
Permeable pavers offer solutions to meet those impervious cover code restrictions that are intended to regulate stormwater, reduce flooding risks, and protect natural waterways. The results of permeable paving systems are environmentally friendly parking lots, roadways, industrial yards, fire lanes, driveways, and other paving applications that absorb and detain water and prevent flooding.
Grass- or gravel-filled permeable paved projects also help reduce the urban heat island effect, which is caused when the sun beats down on hardscaping materials, leading to a buildup of temperature. In essence, permeable pavers help keep communities cooler in the hot weather months.
What’s more, permeable paving systems allow developers to maximize land usage by reducing or eliminating the need for separate detention ponds — and they create a natural atheistic that simply isn’t achievable with hardscape materials.
How do costs compare with other paving methods?
The cost of permeable pavers is a plus, especially compared with traditional materials. Both short-term and long-term budgets can benefit from permeable paving systems, depending on the permeable system chosen. Plastic grid pavers with flexible joints and plastic rollout systems often both cost less to purchase up-front and to maintain over the long term than traditional systems. Other permeable systems that might help with stormwater management — such as permeable asphalt and concrete — typically cost more to install and maintain than traditional concrete or asphalt.
What are the different types of permeable pavers?
Originally, permeable pavers were made from concrete or brick with gaps between the pavers or bricks to allow water to drain through to the sub-base. These were used in small decorative areas to reduce ponding. Now, however, several types have emerged, including porous asphalt and recycled plastics that are much more permeable than these permeable concrete, asphalt, or interlocking concrete pavers.
These days, a wide variety of types of permeable pavements and surfaces are available, each with its own set of pros and cons. The exact system you choose should depend on the nature of the application and your goals and requirements for the project. Here are a few options:
l Permeable concrete — Concrete mixed with stone and laid without a sand or gravel sub-base is more porous than conventional concrete pavements. Permeable concrete has a rougher look than traditional concrete, yet it has the ability to slowly absorb water reducing runoff. Still, this type of paving has limited capacity for water drainage, frequently requires maintenance, has high installation costs, and is more brittle than conventional concrete, resulting in cracks and potholes.
l Interlocking concrete/brick paver — Interlocking bricks of concrete create small gaps for water to drain between them. The concrete itself might not be permeable, but the interlocking construction of the paving grid still allows some water absorption until the open areas become clogged over time. The drawbacks of this system are its high price, its decreased permeability over time, and its use being restricted to small residential or light commercial applications.
l Porous asphalt — Like concrete, asphalt isn’t traditionally a porous pavement material. However, it can be made porous and laid on top of a stone storage bed that allows rainwater to drain into the underlying soil. Despite its ability when new for rainwater to permeate and not pool or run off, the small pore size of porous asphalt can quickly lead to severe clogging, frequent maintenance requirements, and low strength and fragility, which can lead to potholes and ruts.
l Plastic grid pavers — Commercial and industrial strength semi-flexible, cellular plastic grids filled with gravel or grass work best for heavy automobile and truck traffic. These grid pavers hug the earth without developing cracks or potholes as it moves. The plastic grid offers optimal soil or gravel retention as well as maximum permeability. This system provides 100 percent pervious cover with stormwater detention underneath for greater land utilization, best installed cost, and virtually maintenance-free long-term performance in industrial, commercial, and residential applications. These are the best choice for heavy-load, heavy-use paving applications.
l Rigid plastic pavers — Plastic pavers can also be made into rigid structures often with hexagonal cells, making them stiffer and less flexible. While this results in good compression strength in product lab tests, the lack of designed-in flexibility causes issues in real world applications that aren’t completely flat or have commercial traffic or heavy loads. These are generally used only for grass-filled applications.
l Rolled plastic paving — For increased flexibility, plastic paving systems can be rolled for easy storage and shipping. The compromise to allow rolling is that the cells are small and not conjoined so there is minimal load strength for commercial applications. For grass- or gravel-filled applications, these are used primarily for foot traffic and light load applications. These systems require staking, which increases the installation cost.
Are permeable pavers ADA-compliant?
Permeable pavers are Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant, provided the right types of fillers are used and the systems are installed properly with minimal transitions between pavers. Your vendor and installer should know how to lay permeable pavers to meet ADA standards and safety regulations for anyone who might be utilizing them.
Should you choose a permeable paving system?
If cost-effectiveness, durability, safe drainage, and flood protection are important factors to your project, then permeable pavers are smart choices. If land utilization is important, a grid permeable paver system with detention under the surface is the best choice. If sustainability and protecting the landscape in your area are important, then permeable pavers are necessities.
For more information about the different types of permeable pavers and their many uses, download our whitepaper by clicking here, or contact TRUEGRID Pavers today.Solving Each of the Problems With Traditional Paving Methods
Concrete, asphalt, and gravel are the most common paving materials today. However, their popularity doesn’t negate their shortcomings, and those shortcomings can have a much greater impact than many people might realize. In addition to the excessive costs of building concrete, maintaining asphalt, or dealing with gravel, these types of paving systems also have devastating effects on stormwater management.
As development spreads and more land is paved over, the materials we cover the ground with dramatically impact its ability to absorb rainfall. The second rain hits these impervious materials, it creates runoff, which typically has to be collected in detention ponds before it can be released back into the waterways. The problem is that water picks up everything that the pavement has collected, including motor oils, pollution, and whatever it absorbs from the pavement material itself.
As the first truly permeable, high-performance pavement material, TRUEGRID Pavers allow for much more efficient and eco-friendly floodwater control. In addition, they are the better option even where floodwaters aren’t typically a concern because they effectively address many of the other challenges that come with traditional paving methods:
• Concrete is too expensive
Concrete is the most common type of paving because it has been around the longest. Yet over the years, it hasn’t become easier or less expensive to use. Installing it is also time- and labor-intensive, which often makes it too cumbersome for anything other than large-scale projects.
Concrete will crack as the ground underneath expands or contracts or as moisture freezes or evaporates on its surface from season to season. Because it’s completely impervious, concrete pavement also requires extensive drainage systems and large detention ponds that are even more costly to maintain.
• Asphalt is too problematic
Asphalt can sometimes be a less costly option than concrete, but it’s also softer and much less durable. Simple exposure to the sun can hasten its erosion, and because asphalt is darker than concrete, it retains heat much longer. In residential areas, asphalt roads and driveways can create heat islands wherein residents have to use more energy to keep their homes cool.
Unlike concrete, asphalt is petroleum-based and is often protected with toxic sealants, which means the runoff it creates sends auto pollutants and other harmful substances into detention ponds and waterways. The frequent potholes, cracks, and entirely destroyed sections of asphalt can make it even more expensive than concrete to maintain long-term.
• Gravel is too unreliable
Although gravel isn’t a popular solution for major roadways or highly developed residential areas, it is a common paving solution for industrial yards, thanks to the relative ease of installing it. Despite that ease and the typically minimal upfront costs, keeping it maintained ends up costing more than any other option.
Gravel is messy. On top of that, it grows less pervious the more it becomes impacted, exacerbating the runoff problem. Gravel migrates and becomes a headache for city roadways, ruts easily, and turns into mud during rain events. These mud-pit parking lots and roadways are often unusable until they dry. In dry weather, compacted gravel lots create dust clouds, which are health and safety hazards to workers or surrounding communities.
TRUEGRID Pavers not only solve many of the problems that conventional paving causes for stormwater management, but also provide added benefits. For commercial, residential, and industrial uses, TRUEGRID’s innovative, permeable pavers are also more affordable, easier to install and maintain, and durable enough for virtually any environment.
To learn how TRUEGRID Pavers can make it easier to improve your best practices for stormwater management, click here to download our whitepaper.How to Rethink Our Outdated Stormwater Management Solutions
The flooding that hit Houston in August 2017 is a prime example of what used to be a once-in-a-lifetime weather event, causing catastrophic devastation to communities. Yet it had been only two years since Houston’s last major flood.
Our world has become a concrete jungle. New buildings, roads, and urban developments are being constructed with nonporous materials. Concrete is the main culprit, but others including asphalt and gravel.
This “hardscape,” as it’s known, means that when rainwater falls from the sky and hits the impervious paved surface, there’s nowhere for it to go. The result is that homes, public spaces, and businesses might be victims of stormwater that has overwhelmed the city systems designed to manage heavy rain events and keep cities free from flood damage.
The Unsustainability of Our Stormwater Management Systems
It’s clear that cities like Houston can’t go on in this untenable way.
With weather largely out of our control — and cities continuing to grow — we rely on stormwater management. The problems are that most stormwater management techniques are limited, cause other undesirable problems, and are not keeping up with expanded urban development and ever more extreme weather patterns.
Typical stormwater systems are designed to divert runoff from buildings and into a body of water. This might sound like an ideal solution, but it’s not when you consider the environmental problems that stem from it.
This diverted water can be overwhelming if the volume becomes too large, and it can overpower the management system. Then, as the system diverts the water, it also transports pollutants and other stressors like heat. As it flows, it quickens, increasing the risk of erosion. All these problems from a system meant to help.
Other purpose-built solutions are failing to cope with the rising water.
Detention ponds are designed to capture water as it rushes urban areas, but they are expensive to build and maintain — if they are maintained at all. The ponds take up large swaths of land that could be used for the community. When not maintained, these bodies of sitting water create breeding grounds for mosquitoes and bacteria and can present drowning hazards.
Pervious Pavement Provides a Solution
Although many conventional solutions are lacking, it is possible to turn our increasingly impervious world into a series of systems and surfaces that make us better able to cope with extreme weather.
Permeable pavements can absorb and store excess water instead of creating dangerous runoff (the goal is zero runoff). When stormwater surges, permeable pavements can absorb and detain it immediately, because they are porous and don’t create runoff.
They also help solve the source of the problems that overwhelm most traditional stormwater management systems. They restore hydrologic balance, quickly reducing or eliminating dangerous runoff and gradually filtering the precipitation back into the ground and atmosphere.
This balance in turn removes the risk of overheating water bodies, lowers pollutant levels, and reduces the need for
detention ponds. Rather than shifting massive amounts of water into costly retention and detention ponds and overloaded city storm systems, our own driveways, parking lots, and roadways become our solution.
TRUEGRID’s permeable pavers help enable urban development to expand and benefit communities without the terrible cost of flooding. Proven to be 100 percent pervious, with a drainage capability of 800 inches per hour, this pavement system is the best sustainable way to instantly manage stormwater.
To learn more about improving your stormwater management through permeable pavers, download this whitepaper.
A year ago, on August 25, 2017 Hurricane Harvey hit.
Over a 50,000 square mile area, Harvey dropped upwards of 16.6 trillion gallons of water which could supply the entire US water needs for 280 days and fill Lake Conroe 116 times, according to HCFCD reports. One day rainfall amounts up to 25 inches and 4 day amounts up to 47 inches caused widespread devastation that many are still recovering from. Harvey is estimated to be the second costliest storm in American history with an estimated $125 billion in damage.
City planners, engineers, and homeowners are making changes in stormwater management. One part of the solution is the use of TRUEGRID permeable pavers that absorb heavy rains instantly and detain stormwater under the surface.
In the past year over 1 million sf of TRUEGRID has been installed in the Houston area to help mitigate flooding.
From large-scale multi-acre parking lots to school parking lots to restaurant parking to driveways, TRUEGRID is being used to help reduce runoff.
Here are a few photos and an audio testimonial from one business owner describing how permeable paving helped save his new business from flood damage
Listen to the audio testimonial from the business owner of Spring Street Beer and Wine Garden as he describes his experience with TRUEGRID Pavers during Hurricane Harvey.
TRUEGRID permeable pavers not only combat flooding but can also be a great way to save money. Permeable paving is a key tool of Low Impact Development design and is encouraged by cities coast-to-coast.