When it comes to defining environmentally friendly driveways, you should consider many factors but most important ones are use, exposure, aestetics and location of the site. There are some tenets that either individually or collectively defines any driveway, green. These are: Permeability, Material and Heat Island Effect.

Now the permeable driveway can be made in different ways, these include grid-pavers, crushed stone, and permeable concrete and crushed seashells. The heat in the cities are far more than the surrounding country sides because of all the buildings in the cities, so the paved areas surrounding the buildings play a large part in the temperature difference. Paved areas absorb the heat that is why green driveways should be taken into consideration to combat the heat effect. Light shades of materials for pavement should be considered and trees should be planted to control the heat.

After looking into permeability and heat island effect, materials should be taken into account. There are different kinds of materials used for making the driveways but the most popular and common on are;

  • Asphalt, including permeable asphalt
  • Concrete, including concrete pavers
  • Plastic Grid-Pavers

 

By comparing concrete, asphalt vs plastic grids, you will have the option to choose the one best suited to you.

Asphalt: For the roads and driveways, the most common material used is Asphalt. As its color is black it is also called blacktop. The leftover material of gasoline, kerosene and diesel is used to fuse together the sand and stone. It is cheaper than the concrete and doesn’t show stains because of its color.

There are also some downsides to it. It has to be maintained after few years and its lifespan is somewhat short. It has rough edges and when the temperature is hot, it softens because of its oily texture.

Permeable asphalt is new to the market, however requires more maintenance and can cost twice as much as conventional asphalt.

In either application, expansions and contractions do to weather temperature changes usually cause asphalt to crack and deteriorate, so maintenance must be considered and demands additional costs.

Concrete: This is another hard surfaced material and in order to make it, sand, gravel and cement are mixed together. It has a long life span, approximately of about 30 to 40 years and is great for the warm weathers as it does not melt. Very little maintenance is required. But it can crack and repairs can get costly.

It has a very light color so it will show almost every stain, and salt can damage it. It is usually 2 to 3 times more expensive as compared to Asphalt.

Concrete paver-blocks offer various designs, though they are costly to install. Over time, blocks can shift up and down or become dislodged, and may require maintenance.

Plastic Grid-Pavers are rapidly become accepted as the Green Alternative. They are comparably strong as concrete, handle large loads, and last well over 20 years. They offer the highest rate of permeability and usually do not require special drainage. Rain water easily flows through the grids and directly into the water table, thus preventing “Black-ice and flooding”. They are easier to install and do not require intrusive construction machinery or vehicle. Best of all, they do not require maintenance, if any, which equates to being less expensive over the long-haul when compared to asphalt or concrete pavers.

 

Choosing Eco-friendly Driveway Options:

When we talk about Eco-Friendly, we are really considering whether or not the material pollutes the environment. Both asphalt and concrete have ingredients that pollute. Plastic grids are made from recycled consumer waste and do not contribute to landfills. Next we address permeability—how the water gets back into the ground. The hard surfaces of asphalt and concrete create large amounts of run-off, which damage the drains and sewer systems. Plastic grid does just the opposite.

Needless to say, the most important consumer concern is pricing. Over time, Plastic Grids substantially save the consumer and protect the environment as well. The bottom line is preference.