3 awesome ways to rethink driveways
Let's face it: driveways are awful. We pave a large percentage of our property with asphalt or concrete. It costs a lot to build and maintain, creates a repressively uncomfortable heat island in the summer, and causes undue amounts of storm water to flow into our streets. The storm water then results in another hidden expense to taxpayers in the form of enormous storm drains. They are dead structures.
There are many alternatives to the conventional driveway that can actually enhance life rather that burden it.
The best way to create a sustainable driveway is to not have one at all. Living a car free lifestyle with amenities nearby reduces the expense of car transportation. Car share programs like ZipCar offer the use of a car when you need it. If you must own a car, ask yourself how many cars your family really needs. Since my wife and I live in a walkable community with lots of amenities nearby, none of our friends own more than one car per family.
But if you do need a place to park a car at your home, here are a couple of popular alternatives and one futuristic experimental driveway that will blow your mind.
Photo credit to Solar Roadways
Imagine if all that space that is currently paved in front of your home could harvest energy from the sun to help power your home or your car. With Solar Roadways that vision could soon be a reality. The idea is build driveways, parking lots, and roads from specially crafted solar panels. Not only could a solar driveway produce electricity, but it could also come with a heating element that could melt snow and eliminate shoveling forever. Talk about a bonus!
Check out this amazing video of what our future roadways and driveways could be like.
Native grass tracks
Photo credit to Cathy Cromell
Minimizing manmade material is among the greenest choices for driveways. A driveway track is two tracks running the length of the drive separated by grasses or low-growing plants. The tracks can be made from any type of material. Bu, the best would be something that is permeable or allows water to flow through.
The grass track driveways are also exceptionally attractive. You can even plant flowers in the center track.
Permeable pavers are brick, plastic, or concrete molds that allow for water to flow to the ground beneath. Some look like ordinary brick pavers. Others allow you to plant grass in between. The grass can grow between or even over the pavers, creating a wonderful greenscape rather than an ugly gray or black driveway.
With attractive and green alternatives like these, you can say goodbye to concrete forever. What do you think? Would you try a green driveway?