Home inspection findings by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck, Professional Real Estate Inspector TREC# 9073

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Fantastic Green Product Claims, But this Driveway Could Be Truly Green

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I am skeptical about all of the green claims. I walk through the grocery stores to see cleaners with green claims. At the home improvement center, you will find the same. Going past the building section in the bookstore shows how popular the trend has become. When considering these claims, I consider the situation which led Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott to investigate Forum Trading.

There we had a company selling $20 capacitors for $200 or more with the claim that they could reduce your electric bills by using less electricity. The device did not meet its promises. This morning I read an article in the Canadian Press about a green driveway. When they mentioned that this was a driveway of grass, but that the grass was not damaged since the car’s weight was handled by a plastic grid, I had my doubts.

After coming back from some home inspections today, I started checking into possible manufacturers for this product. I was thinking that it would some type of grid like a web. The product reminded me of pavers scene in some gardens, particularly in Europe. It turned out to be a good look. This firm specializing in soil retention had a good site to see what the product was like.

It has unique appearance, which may not be appreciated by some. I think it may not fly with civic clubs or homeowner’s associations, but it is a green product. The advantage to such a driveway is that it allows water to soak into the ground, instead of running into the street to help with flooding. The drive also lasts longer than the normal slab version. Guessing, I would say such a drive could last around ninety years, while a slab would last fifty years.

I would not mind replacing my slab with a plastic grid like this one, but I would like to check further into the product to verify its green claims. It just makes sense, since so many people are now jumping on the green bandwagon. Plant a short leafed grass (maybe something in the mondo grass family), and I would not even have to mow it.

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9 Responses to “Fantastic Green Product Claims, But this Driveway Could Be Truly Green”

  1. Green Pavement is the next generation pavements. Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement Systems, which reduce run off by retaining storm water within the permeable system, also filters pollutants and minimize erosion of waterways. Tree roots are allowed more air penetration than cast in place pavement and aquatic habitats are not impacted becsuse temperatures of these habitats are not elevated from heated storm water entering streams.

    For all these benefits to become a realization and truly be green, the PICP system requires proper design and proper installation.

    Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement Systems are sustainable pavements. Also known as Envirostone, Grass pavers, permeable pavers, Eco Stone, Turfstone, Sub Terra, Invisible Structures and PICP, they should not be confused with pervious pavement or porous pavement. The latter allows penetration of liquids through the pavement itself, not around individual paving units.

    Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement is the new environmentally logical way to pave.

  2. Thank you for your insight. Let me know if you have installed many here; your site looks interesting.

  3. Yes. For the latest installation of our green residential driveway, look @ #5 Hedwig Circle off Beinhorn in Houston, 77024. The paver is called Priora from Pavestone Company.

  4. Will, that happens to be close to where I live, so I will go check it out soon.

  5. To add interesting real estate facts to the Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement post, when designed according to a site, PICP systems may eliminate a requirement for a detention pond. This would result in the ability to build on more of the property if disired.

    The initial investment into this green pavement may even be lower than a standard concrete street because a curb, gutter and storm drain system is not necessary. Life cycle costs of PICP systems are substantially lower because, when designed and installed correctly, there won’t be a replacement cost involved. The ancient road system in some European areas have lasted for centuries. Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement systems are designed utilizing the same principles.

  6. That is an interesting fact Will. I wonder if builders would be considering that for their subdivisions.

  7. PICP represent only one percent of the Interlocking Concrete Pavement being utilized in North America today. In West Germany, 15% of the IPC used is Permeable. You will began to see a tipping point soon in PICP. The City of Chicago has a green plan called “Green Alleys”. The aging storm sewer system is needing replacement. Permeable Pavements are being designed into these alleys to handle runoff and filter pollutants through the system instead of putting them into the Great Lakes. Developers in the Houston Metroplex are slowly catching on.

  8. Daly has been pushing hard, and it is incredible to see what he has achieved. It seems that White’s focus has really been recent, but Houston is involved with the Green Builder Verifier program, and we do have the green building codes now, and the city’s newsletter has been touting green initiatives. Considering that we really sit on a flat plain, it does not make much sense to shove all of our water into the storm systems. Yes, I know that the spillways can handle more, but I think that your system of paving would be a better solution for our community (along with graywater and rain catchment systems).

  9. You’re right about the rain catchment systems. Just to explain how the PICP Envirostone system may be used for irrigation, I’d design in a liner located at the bottom of the system.

    One of many designs call for the following: Atop the liner, 4 inches minimum, depending on design use, of free-draining aggregate. Atop the free-draining aggregate, a permeable paver. Between the approximate 1/4″ spacing between each of the permeable paver units there will be sharp, free-draining aggregate in graduated seive sizes, forced down between the paver joints by vibratory compaction. Encompassing the paver perimeter will be a curbing system which will also contain the free-draining aggregate base materials.

    Located near the lowest point of the system, a 4″ minimum perferated drain pipe will channel water to a sump pump. Once rain works through the permeable pavement system, the sump pump may direct water to an irrigation system.

    A design for funnelling roof run off to the permeable pavement system is a just another advantage of Water harvesting from your driveway done logically. Overlflow parking is a typical candidate for this environmentally logical way to pave green.

© Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Home Inspector Houston, Texas
Frank Theodor Schulte-Ladbeck
home inspector, TREC# 9073
Houston , Texas , 77063 United States

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