If you are a homeowner or are getting ready to build your own home, then you are familiar with the pressure for home owners to make environmentally friendly decisions when it comes to adding upgrades to your home. Unfortunately, you sometimes have to make decisions between what is considered environmentally friendly, what you can afford, and what fits your functional needs.
Asphalt paving for your driveway has not always been considered environmentally friendly, but it is a long lasting, functional solution that most home owners can afford. However, if you decide to install asphalt on your property, there are several ways you can make it more environmentally friendly.
Install Porous Asphalt
One issue with asphalt is that it creates a non-porous surface that causes water that would normally be absorbed into the ground to run down your paved area and pool in areas it would not naturally pool. This can also be a problem if you decide to install a concrete driveway or even a rammed earth driveway. However, the recent introduction of porous asphalt has greatly reduced this problem.
Porous asphalt utilizes open-graded asphalt to allow water to drain below the surface of the road. Below the surface is usually a bed of gravel that acts as a holding tank while water slowly seeps into the ground, as it would naturally. You get a smoother section of asphalt that is quieter when being driven on and you allow nature to continue functioning the way it would if your home was not even on the property.
Design Your Asphalt to Work With Your Landscaping
If you decide to construct a non-porous driveway, you can still make sure that the water flows and pools in areas that will benefit your landscape and not harm the surrounding vegetation or waterways. By adding a gentle slope to your driveway, you can make sure that rainwater funnels to a specific area, as opposed to continuing onto the main road or flooding the sides of your driveway. Once you have selected where your water will go, you can add a rainwater pond to your property.
A rainwater pond is a shallow basin filled with well draining soil and planted with a variety of plants that can withstand long periods without water but can also benefit from short periods of flooding. Most succulents are a good choice. If you get enough rain that your basin overflows, you may want to expand it or dig out two or three small rainwater ponds that flow into each other.
Use Cold Mix Asphalt
Asphalt, in its raw form, is too sticky to apply as pavement. There are various methods to make it usable, and the most common method used in North America is what is known as a hot mix asphalt, where the asphalt is heated and mixed with various other ingredients. However, there is another option that is popular in many other regions of the world that is known as cold mix asphalt. Cold mix asphalt uses a ripping process and mixes the asphalt with a variety of chemicals that allow it to be spread.
The Canadian Industry Program for Energy Conservation has noted that a cold mix method can save up to 30% of the energy required in laying asphalt when compared to the hot mix method. That amount of energy savings makes it worth asking your paving contractor if they offer cold or warm mix asphalt solutions.
With advances in technology and a greater awareness of how asphalt impacts the environment, installing an asphalt driveway can actually be environmentally friendly as well as affordable. Make sure to discuss these and other green options with your paving contractor when you are getting a quote for your project.Share