Green Materials Report (Series) Permeable concrete allows water to drain through

Published on July 11th, 2014 | by Dawn Killough

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Green Materials Report: Permeable Concrete

July 11th, 2014 by  


This post is part of the Green Materials Report series.  GBE is providing information on various building materials and what makes them green.  Each post focuses on one material.  We will be looking at the ingredients in the material, how it is used, what makes it green, and any green product certifications that it has earned.  We hope to develop a database of information to help consumers make informed choices about what goes in their buildings.  Enjoy the series!

This pavement technology creates more efficient land use by eliminating the need for retention ponds, swales, and other stormwater management devices. In doing so, pervious concrete has the ability to lower overall project costs on a first-cost basis.

Permeable Concrete

Permeable concrete (also called porous concrete, pervious concrete, no fines concrete and porous pavement) is a special type of concrete with a high porosity that allows water from precipitation and other sources to pass directly through, thereby reducing the runoff from a site and allowing groundwater recharge.

Permeable concrete is made using large aggregates with little to no fine aggregates (sand). The concrete paste coats the aggregates and allows water to pass through the slab. Pervious concrete is traditionally used in parking areas, areas with light traffic, residential streets, pedestrian walkways, and greenhouses.

What Makes It Green

Permeable concrete allows water to drain throughBy capturing stormwater and allowing it to seep into the ground, permeable concrete is instrumental in recharging groundwater, reducing stormwater runoff, and meeting US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stormwater regulations. In fact, the use of permeable concrete is among the Best Management Practices (BMPs) recommended by the EPA—and by other agencies and geotechnical engineers across the country—for the management of stormwater runoff on a regional and local basis.

This pavement technology creates more efficient land use by eliminating the need for retention ponds, swales, and other stormwater management devices. In doing so, pervious concrete has the ability to lower overall project costs on a first-cost basis.

At the end of its useful life, pervious concrete can be ground up and used for fill material. It can also be made from recycled, reused, and local materials.

Green Product Certifications

There are no green product certifications for this material.

Environmental product declaration for Central Concrete in California.

Health Product Declaration

There is no health product declaration for this material.

Pros

Cons

Saves money on stormwater management No standardized test for compressive strength
Uses recycled/recyclable materials, and can be repurposed at end of life Cold climate may reduce life span
Variety of colors and finishes available Needs to be cleaned regularly to maintain porosity
Lower life-cycle cost than asphalt
Improves driving safety during wet weather

Sources: Wikipedia and PerviousPavement.org

Photos: PerviousPavement.org

 

 


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About the Author

has over 15 years experience in the construction industry and is the author of Green Building Design 101, an e-book available from Amazon. She is a LEED AP and Certified Green Building Advisor, and has worked on the LEED Certification of three projects in Salem, Oregon. She is currently a Contract Administrator at Rich Duncan Construction.  



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