11 September 2019
The homeowner’s solution to sustainable paving that looks great and helps our waterways stay clean
With record levels of drought across Australia, a decrease in consistent rainfall*, and ongoing water restrictions throughout many parts of the country, the ability to capture and reuse as much water as possible is crucial to a sustainable future. One water management solution which is transitioning from commercial applications to residential use and gaining popularity with homeowners is the use of permeable paving.
According to Adbri’s Great Australian Backyard Survey**, 36 per cent of respondents stated that sustainable landscaping products were important to consider when undertaking home improvement projects, and 46 per cent said, along with associated budget considerations, sustainability was very important in the decision making.
Permeable paving uses purpose designed pavers and specially graded base materials that allows water to infiltrate through the pavement surface and sub base below. This water is then released back to the natural water table below at a controlled rate. In advanced permeable paving systems, the water can even be harvested and reused. This innovative system means water soaks through the pavement as opposed to hitting the hard surface and running off into a stormwater system which leads to our rivers and estuaries.
“More and more, we are seeing homeowners put the “green” into having a green thumb, with an increased focus on our local environment and the impact that our building can have on our natural surrounds,” says landscape expert and Adbri Masonry brand ambassador, Jason Hodges. “With increased access to permeable paving systems and encouragement from progressive local Councils looking at water saving paving, we are seeing more homeowners consider permeable paving as an option for paving projects around the home,” added Jason.
While the occurrence of rainfall is becoming less consistent, the intensity when it does rain is increasing+. During periods of heavy rainfall, water that falls on impervious surfaces like asphalt and driveways has nowhere to go, so it flows directly into our stormwater system. This not only puts pressure on the stormwater infrastructure which can lead to downstream flooding, but the excess water can collect and carry pollutants like oils, chemicals and rubbish into the drains, and then, into our waterways.
“Permeable paving is a great alternative to these problems. It helps keep our waterways clean because it can trap up to 90% of pollutants in the pavement and sub base. Permeable pavers like Adbri’s Ecopave® paver also allow for water to infiltrate through the surface where it flows back to the normal water table at a slower rate, instead of running into already full sewers. This is particularly helpful in high rainfall events that can lead to flooding,” says Jason.
“Your paving choice will have a large impact on the overall look and feel of your space, so it’s important to think about colours, shapes and patterns. This is an area where permeable paving has advanced, where previously options were porous bricks with holes or strange shapes, there are now good looking options available so your home style isn’t compromised when making a sustainable choice,” continues Jason.
Permeable pavers have been used broadly in countries such as the UK and Germany for a number of years. Now some of Australia’s biggest urban developments in commercial and industrial areas are jumping on the trend to make their precincts more environmentally friendly. This trend and the commitment to the environment has arrived in Australia with an increased focus on stormwater management and water use seeing leading councils taking these environmental considerations to the next level, with some even offering rebates when an impervious surface is replaced by a permeable one. This leadership position is also driving consumer demand for homeowners who want to tackle a paving project at the same time as addressing water management and the reduction of pollution and usage.
Taking all the steps we can to ensure we are doing our bit to lead sustainable lives is fundamental to our health, life and environment. By thinking about water and how we can preserve and reuse it, we are protecting our most valuable resource.
* Australian Government Bureau of Meterorology
** Adbri Masonry Great Australian Backyard Survey 2017
+ Australian Government Bureau of Meterorology
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