Saturday, August 28, 2010

Re-evaluate your driveway and consider Greener Options

Ever consider tearing up your driveway and replacing it with a "Greener" choice? I do every day I drive into mine.  Perhaps you live in cold wintry climate or dry hot climate.  Here's a few ideas which predominantly suggest examine your driving behavior and parking needs, then lead to material selection.

One thing to consider regardless of the material you choose is assess how much parking lot area you truly need.  I bought a house in Vermont with my wife with a very wide and lengthy driveway which when the kids grow up I'd love to make smaller.  You could park up to 6 cars and trucks on the thing.  Right now we use it as a basketball court and for 4 Square and car & bike parking.

Reducing the amount of impervious or semi-impervious surfaces will lessen the amount of storm-water run off into your street, sewers, streams and ultimately lakes and the ocean.  This well help create healthier natural environments, helping to reduce the heat island effect (the warmth emanating off of pavement or walkways which are in the hot sun.)  slowly If you have a garage, empty it so you can park your car(s), bikes, scooters and substantially reduce the width of your driveway, flaring it out some at the garage end so you can move cars in and out.

Then once you've re-evaluated the amount and type of driveway you need, consider installing pervious pavers, or concrete pavers like other's have suggested if you're in a climate which doesn't get much snow and ice.  If you do have either, consider just removing what you don't need of your driveway and reusing pieces as you can for walk ways around your home or for your neighbors.  If you cut up or breakup your driveway intentionally in advance you probably can reuse pieces of it.  You might be able to rent a construction saw from a Rental yard.  Remember, depending on where you live, you also may be able to park on the street and only park near your house when you have to move your car for snow thus making the driveway less important most of the time.

Another, older fashioned idea which you see in older neighborhoods around the US is just running a two parallel smaller driving tracks with grass in between wide enough to drive on but substantially reduce the amount of pavement, pavers, concrete or whatever in a drive lane thus benefiting expense, storm-water run-off and heat island effect.  You'll spend far less money maintaining the drive.  You just have to work a little harder to maintain the grass between the lanes.

Parking your car on the street is another way of saying re-evaluate your behavior regarding your driveway and think outside the box some.  Redefining the way you think about your driveway and reducing the number of cars you drive or downsizing them, commuting with bikes or scooters or walking will also falls in the category of shifting your thinking and ultimately your behavior.  Of course, this isn't always an option with more suburban or rural areas but you get the various points I'm trying to make.

I hope this helped.  Let me know if you have comments or other ideas.  Remember, examine your behavior and parking needs first, then examine materials.

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