Old Man Winter has been rough on the Northeast this year, and we’re not out of the woods yet.

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'TIS THE SEASON Snow can cause dangerous driving conditions, school closings, and downed power lines; wreaking havoc on our everyday lives. And if you're a home owner, shoveling out and maintaining your driveway and walkways can sometimes feel like a losing battle. Snow and ice that melts then refreezes creates a skating rink on non-porous surfaces like concrete, asphalt and jointed pavers.

SHORT TERM SOLUTIONS

So what do we typically do? We pour salt, sand and other grit-like material on all of our walking surfaces so that they are "safe". Then, the next snowfall hits and you just have to do it all over again. However, this short-term safety solution can create long term property damage. It's no secret that that using salt can break down a concrete driveway in just one bad season. Additionally, it's has been proven that this negatively effects our environment by contamination due to " stormwater runoff". Stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation (rain or melting ice and snow) flows over a surface instead of absorbing back into the earth. When this falls onto or over impervious material such as concrete or asphalt, it "sheets" into storm drains, carrying pollution to waterways. It disrupts the way land naturally absorbs water, filtering out contaminants and recharging groundwater aquifers.

LONG-TERM EARTH FRIENDLY SOLUTIONS

One solution is to install earth friendly permeable pavers that address the "slick" problem and keeps your property and environment healthy.  A driveway, walkway, patio or pool deck constructed using permeable pavers is an excellent way to keep pathways safe and helps to make an immediate impact by reducing the amount of runoff originating from your home. This innovative system is as functional as it is attractive. Across the country, homeowners and businesses are installing these systems to beautify their landscapes without interrupting the natural cycle of precipitation.

HOW IT WORKS

It's really all about the space-and-base. At first glance, you'll see that permeable pavers are designed to allow spaces between the pavers. This allows for any water to pass through, instead of pooling or running off. These narrow joints, filled with decorative stone, allows water to pass through the pavers. The real benefit is underneath, where the water passes; it flows through to an "open-graded" base comprised of larger stones. These act as a filtration system and help to disperse water back into the earth in a more natural fashion.

WATER CONSERVATION

Rainwater harvesting has been used for centuries, all over the world. It is a method where the precipitation that falls upon roofs and hard surface is collected and stored for non-potable uses. A more recent trend in rainwater harvesting incorporates permeable pavers with a below-surface collection system. By allowing water to pass through the pavers, rainwater then passes through a series of filters and eventually into a tank for storage and usage. Using a pumping system, the stored water can be used for non-potable water purposes, such as landscaping and, in some states, toilet flushing.

BE A "LEEDER" IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD

Permeable pavers can qualify for points or "credits" in the LEED® program. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) for Homes is an initiative designed to promote the transformation of the mainstream building industry toward more sustainable practices.  By recognizing sustainable design and construction in homes nationwide, LEED® for Homes helps home builders differentiate their homes as some of the best in their markets. It's sure to be a plus in any re-sale situation. If you are thinking about a new driveway, patio, walkway or pool deck, consider permeable pavers as part of your hardscape design solution. Be a part of a growing number of families and businesses dedicated to preserving our natural resources when creating functional and beautiful living spaces.