If you’ve never heard the phrase green driveway, you certainly aren’t the only one.
Many homeowners are starting to look to green driveway options to create more eco-friendly spaces around their homes. Considering an eco-friendly driveway choice, such as green pavers, permeable materials, or eco-friendly alternatives, can provide a lot more value than simply being better for the environment.
If you’re trying to determine whether or not a green driveway is the right solution for your home, continue reading to learn why it’s such an intelligent and sustainable investment.
What Is A Green Driveway?
Green driveways are greener alternatives to paved driveways, such as asphalt or concrete. Most green driveways are either grass surfaces or permeable stabilized gravel, which are also often used in pathways, public walkways, and parking lots.
These permeable solutions are quite different from asphalt and concrete surfaces in that they allow water to pass through, infiltrating the ground below. The water is then able to cool and irrigate the surrounding grass and greenspace.
Not only are green driveways more than strong enough to hold cars, but they also look good enough to fit with the aesthetic of any home.
The Benefits Of An Environmentally Friendly Driveway
Green driveways can help prevent several problems. Let’s take a look at some of the ways they might benefit your home.
If you’ve ever had a standard, impermeable driveway made of concrete or asphalt, then you’ve probably had to deal with all of the problems that arise from them, including erosion, washouts, flooding, and overall surrounding damage that can come with inclement weather and everyday use.
With a sustainable driveway, rainwater and other liquid pass through into the soil or grass beneath, safely dispersing over a period of time instead of creating a flood. Sloped driveways are often prone to flooding, especially in big storms, which is where eco-friendly driveway options truly shine.
Eco-friendly driveways often provide durability that standard asphalt or concrete driveways can’t. You won’t have to worry as much about breakage or stains, and they’re often easy to maintain. This makes eco-friendly driveways a great long-term investment.
By nature, eco-friendly driveway materials, such as permeable stone driveway tiles offer much better heat reduction compared to other types of driveway materials. Just look at the asphalt, which absorbs and emits lots of heat, especially when it’s in a hotter climate.
When you have an eco-friendly driveway, you’ll likely even be able to walk around barefoot during the summer without hurting your feet!
Environmentally-friendly driveways are very versatile. There are so many options to pick from, most of which are relatively easy to install. You can build eco-friendly driveways in many shapes and sizes, as well as on inclines and declines.
Different Green Options For A Sustainable Driveway
As we said before, there are many options to choose from when it comes to green driveway materials. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common.
1. Permeable Pavers
Permeable pavers are starting to come into fashion as a green driveway material choice. They are very eco-friendly, as they are mostly made from recycled plastic, meaning the environmental impact of production is relatively low. They can be made also of other materials, such as paving stones, pervious concrete, and porous asphalt.
2. Crushed Concrete
While crushed concrete certainly isn’t a natural material, there are many homeowners that swear by it for driveway use. The beauty of crushed concrete is that it allows for water runoff, draining nutrients into the surrounding soil to create carbon dioxide.
It’s also very sustainable in that you can get it from just about any demolition site. You’re essentially using material that would have likely gone to waste otherwise.
Crushed concrete often includes materials from pavements, sidewalks, and building foundations. You can use it to create a driveway that looks similar to your standard concrete driveway, though with a more permeable characteristic.
3. Natural Stone Pavers
By using natural stone pavers on your driveway, you can add a bit more natural character. You can often buy natural stone from quarries, which is more sustainable, as it uses less CO2 production.
Depending on how you set your natural stone pavers up, you can often allow water to run between your pavers, soaking into the surrounding soil. Take a look at the different types of natural stone to find one that fits your aesthetic.
4. Sandstone Bricks
A sandstone brick driveway is a unique way to add character to your property. Sandstone is one of the nicest-looking natural materials. We get sandstone when storms or inclement weather pressurize small bits of sand into granular layers. The end result is a stone substance, which paving experts will often cut into bricks for use in building projects.
The beauty of sandstone bricks is that they are porous yet durable. You can easily customize them to fit the appearance of your driveway, cutting them into different shapes and seeking out the best earthy tones to accentuate desert-style architecture and landscaping.
Plus, sandstone bricks hold up for a very long time, similar to concrete or traditional bricks.
5. Porous Concrete
If you want the look of a traditional driveway without making a larger carbon footprint, you can check out porous concrete materials. Porous concrete reduces water runoff, and you don’t need as much of the material to fill the entire space of your driveway.
Not only can it help the wildlife in your neighborhood thrive, but it is also much less harmful to the environment from a production standpoint.
We often recommend porous concrete to those who are part of HOAs, as you can typically match the curb appeal of regular concrete and abide by the HOA rules without having your driveway be unsustainable.
6. Porous Asphalt
If you’re dealing with a long driveway that has tons of water runoff, you might consider looking at a material like porous asphalt. The great thing about this material is that it allows rainwater to seep through and into the soil underneath. This soil, if left underneath regular asphalt, would suffer from dryness.
Using porous asphalt allows the water cycle to continue.
Traditional asphalt typically has around 3% of void space, which only allows a little bit of water to run through at a very slow pace. Porous asphalt alternatives, on the other hand, have around 16% of void space. With a porous asphalt alternative, you can make your driveway five times better for the environment.
7. Local Gravel
Local gravel is an excellent material for transforming a driveway. When you get your gravel locally, you don’t support or fund international transport, which is one of the main producers of fossil fuels.
Plus, the money that you use to purchase this gravel will go back into your surrounding economy, which is beneficial to other locals.
8. Hempcrete Bricks
In a recent construction industry breakthrough, the idea of hempcrete bricks was born. There are many things to love about hempcrete bricks, including the fact that they are much easier to transport because of their lightweight character.
One of the other great things about hempcrete bricks is that they absorb atmospheric CO2, even once they are made into bricks. Essentially, by installing hempcrete bricks into your property, you get rid of CO2 around your property, all while supporting an industry that is at the forefront of creating greener alternatives to construction materials.
These manufacturers will often use lime-based binders to shape hempcrete into bricks for use, giving them added durability that lasts for years after laying. This is one of our absolute favorite green driveway options and definitely one of the most unique.
Green Driveway Cost
The cost of a green driveway will heavily depend on the materials that you use to create it. With that said, you can typically expect to spend anywhere from $4.50 to $8 per square foot for driveway materials. If the soil does not require any additional layers, you might be able to build your driveway for around $3 per square foot.
Final Thoughts – Finding the Right Green Driveway Option For Your Home
We hope that you now have a better understanding of the available eco-friendly materials and green driveway options. There are so many great solutions to upgrade your property while maintaining sustainability.
If you’re looking for a paving company to help you construct your dream driveway, make sure to check out our local directory of top-notch paving companies. For other expert advice regarding paving, head on over to our blog.