Green & Sustainable Parking Lot Services For Cleveland Businesses
Sustainable technologies are becoming a larger part of the conversation in urban development, as with a growing population comes new environmental strains that must be addressed. The parking lots, roadways, and pavements that have shaped our cities and towns for nearly a century play a substantial role in contributing to adverse environmental affects, including excessive surface runoff, carbon use inefficiencies, and wasteful use of diminishing natural resources. Governments are regularly incentivizing public projects to be finished using some combination of sustainable pavement technology, and businesses are beginning to develop the sense of social responsibility necessary to build a greener future.
Sustainable Paving Costs
While green parking lot installation projects can be slightly to significantly more expensive per square foot than traditional asphalt or concrete, there are savings that may completely offset the high per-square-foot-price.
- Run-off reducing pavements, such as permeable pavers, porous asphalt or pervious concrete by their nature diminish or eliminate the need for a catch basin installation line-item, as well as the regular maintenance that comes along with it.
- Run-off reducing pavements also greatly reduce the need for snow plowing and salting in winter months, as the increased accessibility for water drainage increases the rate of melting at the right temperatures. Melting is also accelerated by the stone bed lying beneath the surface, which tends to capture and retain more heat than regular asphalt or concrete.
- Sealcoating is not necessary with porous asphalt.
It is still important to note that there are unique maintenance costs that can still come out to less than $200 per acre for permeable/porous pavements.
- Permeable pavements should be vacuumed at least twice annually to remove debris clogging pavement pores.
- Jet hosing may be necessary for loosely clogged pavement pores.
Other green parking lot alternatives, such as warm-mix asphalt, slag concrete, RAP asphalt, photocatalytic concrete, and additives such as fly ash and solar reflective coatings will invariably be more expensive than standard asphalt and concrete. Consult Ohio Paving & Construction, or your local paving company for more details about pricing per square foot.
Paving Alternatives For Runoff Reduction
There are a number of permeable pavements property owners seeking sustainable alternatives to traditional pavements can choose from. Listed below are some general advantages and disadvantages of using permeable pavements:
- You will more likely meet LEED credit requirements set forth by the EPA.
- Reduced need for storm water management systems like catch basins on site, saving money.
- Increasingly strict environmental regulations make limiting storm water runoff through permeable paving alternatives more attractive to property managers.
- Permeable pavements allow subsurface groundwater to recharge, allowing local ecosystems to thrive.
- Quick absorption of rain water reduces the risk of flooding in urban areas.
- While installation costs are generally 2-3 times higher than more common pavements, permeable pavements usually require less expensive maintenance over time, making such a project an effective investment in the long run.
- Some runoff will not be environmentally friendly, as diesel, motor oil, and other toxic runoff is better left to be treated though the city’s storm water management system where it can be properly filtered.
- Turf grids and permeable pavers can be easily damaged by snow plows paving areas where the shovel may get caught in the design.
- Regular vacuuming and washing is necessary for longevity of the pavement.
Permeable pavers, also known as interlocking concrete pavement, is a system of layers topped with joint pavers filled with various sizes of crushed stone. The system works as water infiltrates the gaps of the crushed stone and falls through the coarse stone layers until it is can percolate into the soil below. Preliminary testing must be done to ensure heavy storms can safely enter through the system without overflowing and threatening the integrity of the system as a whole.
Permeable pavers offer a number of superior features over traditional pavers or cement. Cost-wise, installation is similar to standard PCC cement, but because of the sheer thickness and high durability of permeable pavers, they can be used with confidence for anything from a patio to a high-traffic parking lot. Freeze-thaw cycles are no problem for permeable pavers, as the porous nature of the material handles the increased spatial demands of frozen water perfectly. The interlocking nature of the pavement is a cost-saving feature as well, as the costs of repairs are strictly limited to the cost of replacing the damaged pavers, which can be easily swapped out- almost like a puzzle.
Turf grids are usually made of plastic and utilize an interlocking grid pattern to withstand the weight of traffic, with room for form-fitted grass planters to further reinforce the structure and assist in absorbing rainwater into the underlying subsurface earth layers. Turf grids are extremely popular in Europe, and are gaining popularity in North America as LEED standards increasingly demand environmentally sustainable solutions to urban development.
Pervious concrete is made form a paste, much like PCC concrete, made of coarse aggregate, water, cement, and additives like slag or fly ash. What’s different here is that pervious concrete uses much less water and no fine aggregate within the mixture, and is laid over a bed of larger aggregates to allow moisture to fall through the gaps and percolate into the soil below. This bed of larger aggregates also reinforces the strength of the structure, allowing the pavement to withstand the weight of parked vehicles.
Pervious concrete maintains between 15% and 25% voids for moisture flow rates of around 480 inches per hour. Pervious concrete can be used in any circumstance fit for regular concrete, including sidewalks, parking lots, driveways, and streets.
Porous asphalt consists of five layers that are effective at filtering water for many undesirable pollutants and uses a geotextile fabric to separate aggregates from the underlying soil. A stone recharge bed is used to slowly filter water from the surface into the geotextile fabric and below to the subgrade. Generally, porous asphalt pavements will last 20 years before showing signs of wear.
Porous asphalt pavements are suitable for everything from gas station parking lots to busy highways. While they are slightly more coarse than normal asphalt pavements, they are still the necessary smoothness to meet ADA requirements.
Paving Alternatives Using Recycled By-Products
Using manufacturing waste products as recycled materials for paving has slowly become something of a standard practice for asphalt and concrete plants, as these alternatives offer both longevity and savings for customers.
Fly Ash Cement
Fly ash is a waste product of burning coal in electric generation power plants that is used to replace some portion of Portland Cement in standard PCC solutions. There are a number of benefits to using fly ash in concrete pavements, including greater strength, resistance to chemicals, decreased permeability, increased workability, reduced thermal cracking, and a reduced segregation of materials within the concrete solution. Each pound of fly ash used instead of cement translates into a one-pound-reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.
Slag cement is similar to fly ash cement, as it uses a byproduct of heating to provide similar perks over standard PCC pavements. The “slag” referred to here is a hydraulic cement by-product from using an iron blast furnace. Slag is drained from the molten iron, and then is ground into sufficient fineness to act as a suitable replacement for a portion of Portland Cement in a PCC cement mix. Slag cement has a reduced need for water, higher strength at 28 days, higher resistance to sulfate attack (often present in water), higher permeability- reducing the chances of chlorine ions from deteriorating steel reinforcements- and more.
The lifespan of slag cement varies based on a number of ancillary factors, but in one example, the use of slag cement increased the expected lifespan of the Route 64 bridge in Smithburg, MD by 37 years.
Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP)
As fine aggregate becomes increasingly scarce in the United States, the most sustainable answer for the asphalt industry is recycling asphalt millings. Studies have shown that asphalt pavements comprised of 30% recycled aggregate or less will maintain the same structural integrity as pavements made with thoroughly virgin materials. The Federal Highway Administration has a set of guidelines that all recycled asphalt must meet to be used in any public projects.
Paving Alternatives For Carbon Reduction
Using a runoff-reducing pavement may not be possible in areas where it is not offered, or might not be budget-friendly in certain circumstances. In any case, there are even more options for the environmentally-conscious property manager to consider when looking for an asphalt or concrete paving contractor.
Warm-mix asphalt utilizes one of several patented additives in an asphalt cement solution, and is an increasingly available technology in asphalt plants nationwide. Warm-mix asphalt activates 30-100 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than traditional hot-mix asphalt and uses 20% less fuel to produce, thus saving energy and reducing the asphalt plant’s carbon footprint.
Working condition standards are substantially raised when working with warm-mix asphalt. Workers usually wind up inhaling smoke and dust on job sites working with hot-mix asphalt, leading to an increased risk for respiratory problems later in life.
In areas where there are air-quality control regulations, paving occasionally ceases when use of hot-mix asphalt will diminish air quality over the legislated threshold. Warm-mix asphalt releases far fewer pollutants when applied, making projects in urban areas with quality controls more able to stick to projected timelines.
Photocatalytic concrete is also called depolluting concrete. Photocatalysts are chemicals that accelerate the breakdown of organic materials using strong sunlight or ultraviolet light. The main additive to photocatalytic concrete is titanium dioxide – a compound that disperses the charge necessary to break down organic materials, and adds a white pigment to the concrete surface.
Other environmental benefits include increased reflection of sunlight, reducing the creation of “heat islands” normally caused by dark-colored pavements that civilians battle using energy-intensive air conditioning systems. Smog is urban areas is also reduced.
Solar Reflective Coating
“Solar reflective coating” is an umbrella term for a number of products that can be added to a pavement solution to give it more light-reflecting properties. Reflecting light away from asphalt or concrete reduces the “heat island effect” common in urban areas where dark-colored construction materials absorb sunlight and raise the temperature of the area, increasing energy use. Interestingly, increased light reflection from pavements can also greatly reduce the need for urban lighting in many areas, saving even more energy.
Decreased heat will reduce the occurrence of pavement failures such as rutting associated with traditional asphalt pavements.
Pavements using solar reflective coatings are eligible for LEED credits, and are often made of non-toxic materials to put your environmental concerns at ease.