The European way of paving

The European way of paving

Posted on November 3, 2015 · Posted in Purus updates

I recently had the opportunity visit Europe and experience the European way of paving first hand. Our European neighbours have mandated the inclusion of permeable alternatives into paving and ground reinforcement for over 2 decades. Municipalities support this design standard and reduced taxation rates corresponding to inclusion of permeable products reflect their commitment to sustainability and the long term protection of the environment. Permeable paving is truly everywhere in Europe.

Residential driveways, sidewalks, heavy duty commercial loading areas, soft shoulder reinforcement, pathways and parking lots are just a few examples of where I saw the installation of permeable alternatives. In Europe, there are many popular choices of permeable ground reinforcement products. Unit interlocking permeable pavers and geogrid type products, such as Ecoraster, are the most popular. Cost is a common concern and motivator when choosing a product.

Unit pavers can be quite expensive especially when installed in a quality, long lasting fashion. The manufacturers of Ecoraster realized this and have developed two products that allow you to use unit pavers in a cost effective manner. The X30 model of Ecoraster grid can be used underneath unit pavers to reduce the necessary base excavation, lowering costs on many levels. The X30 grids act similarly to concrete however in a permeable, light weight and easy to install manner. The new Ecoraster Bloxx product is a specialized grid made from the same high quality recycled plastic that contains specially made paving stones. The finished product is a high quality paving stone finish but installed in a much easier fashion. For larger areas, like commercial parking lots, geogrids or flexible plastic porous pavers are most often the product of choice.

Ecoraster is an example of a high quality geogrid type product that has a unique locking system between the individual grid tiles. The locking system allows for snow plowing and snow blowing and ensures a finished surface that does not shift or buckle. Ecoraster can be filled with gravel type fill or it can be “greened” with grass or sedum. Ecoraster has been used for large parking areas for well over two decades. These parking lots are still in use today and look as though they were just recently installed. Large areas do not require any costly storm water management infrastructure saving money and land space. Clients using Ecoraster for parking areas receive tax incentives and reduced monthly bills.

Ecoraster also provides the flexibility to combine different ground reinforcement products together. Landscape designers will often border the grid with stones; use grassed parking pods and paver driving areas; and use the Ecoraster Bloxx and gravelled filled Ecoraster together. Ecoraster’s locking tabs allow for various products to be used together in one project. European roads are also designed using permeable grids, most often products such as Ecoraster, to reinforce the edges of roads, soft shoulders and curved areas.

European roads are made in a high quality fashion, long lasting and nearly maintenance free. Things are slowly changing throughout North America and permeable paving alternatives are being use more and more. High quality, affordable, easy to install products such as Ecoraster make it easier to embrace the changing focus and incorporate sustainable products into all aspects of building and road design.