With spring on the way, rain is in the air. Rain means runoff, an environmental issue about which homeowners, business owners, and local municipalities are growing ever more concerned. A traditional paver or slab installation has a solid stone base underneath and tightly filled joints. This surface is almost completely impermeable. Because of this, it is graded to force water off the hardscaping area and onto surrounding ground or other permeable structures.
Increasingly, federal, state, and local governments are concerned about the environmental impact of runoff from impermeable surfaces, such as roofs or pavement. Runoff can spread pollutants to surrounding land or into waterways. It is also a causative agent in flooding. Permeable pavers alleviate these concerns. They reduce runoff and pollution and can help reinvigorate the ground water supply. By allowing the rainwater to be sequestered in the original area, they can also help reduce flooding and erosion downstream. Permeable pavers also ensure that new construction or features meet regulations on the percentage of impermeable surface allowed on a plot of land.
Some permeable pavers are also Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) point eligible, which can lead to some attractive tax credits for certain homeowners in certain areas. There is also a growing consensus that proactive, environmentally conscious installations can actually increase the value of a home to a greater degree than a traditional installation. They are also a great option for builders or homeowners who have a personal concern about going green.
Permeable pavers are manufactured from the same materials in the same process as standard pavers; however, they have wider joints and are installed quite differently. With permeable pavers, the base is effectively a cistern of clean stone which can hold large quantities of water for cleansing and absorption into the ground over time. Different styles of permeable pavers allow different amounts of water to pass straight through the surface into the basin below. Permeable pavers are extremely durable and require only occasional vacuuming or sweeping to remove built up sediment (which can decrease the efficiency of the permeability). As they are generally modular in design, maintenance or replacement of either the pavers or the substructure can be achieved simply and at a low cost. Permeable pavers are an environmentally and economically smart choice for a wide variety of installations.