Rain gardens and rain barrels are well known ways to go green at home. However, did you know that you can even go green with your driveway? Instead of the traditional paved, impervious asphalt driveways, you can now install permeable paving. Permeable paving reduces runoff by allowing stormwater to filter through it. This traps pollution and allows water to drain down into the groundwater instead of flowing unfiltered into the river.
Going green with your driveway is exactly what Nora Terres and Peter West of Davidsonville did when it came time to repave their driveway. While getting estimates to do it the traditional way, Nora found out about tax credits for eco-friendly permeable pavers. With the tax credit, one can get up to half of the project cost back over five years. The tax credit makes the investment in permeable pavers more competitive with asphalt. Plus, Nora and Peter felt that permeable pavers would add value to their home.
After researching landscape companies, they decided to go with Matt Ciminielli, owner of Ciminelli’s Landscape Services and also a Watershed Steward. Nora and Peter were able to choose from a variety of color variations to find the best fit for their house. The entire process from the time they contacted Ciminelli’s until the driveway was finished was about 4-6 weeks with the actual construction taking about three days. Permeable pavers require several different layers that are dug deeper than a normal driveway to ensure that the stormwater is able to filter through properly.
Now that the driveway is completed, Nora and Peter are thrilled! When asked if she would recommend the permeable option to others, Nora replied, “Definitely, of course!” Even though permeable pavers cost more than asphalt, she felt it added itself in cost to the property value and was worth it to do something good for the environment. Although the wooded one-acre parcel on which the house sits is not a waterfront property, Flat Creek, a feeder stream for the South River is less than 200 yards from the back door. The installation of pervious pavers is one component of appropriate land-use to help keep the stream and river cleaner. With such a positive experience with her own driveway, Nora is now working on getting grant funding to convert unused asphalt areas at the Carrie Weedon Science Center Foundation into meadows!
Nora and Peter have more than just a permeable driveway at their home. They long ago installed energy efficient bulbs in all their lighting; initially compact-florescent and now LED bulbs. In the past two years, they have had a comprehensive energy audit conducted of their home, which was built in 1975, and upgraded attic insulation and installed other energy saving measures as a result. Each of the major downspouts of the home is equipped with rain barrels and Peter has landscaped the once completely grass-covered property to match the natural contours of the land and to incorporate a wide range of native plants, which helps reduce run-off.
A special thank you to Nora and Peter for inviting us to their to see their new beautiful driveway! Did you go green at your home? Tell us about it and you could be the next South River Federation’s “Go Green Project of the Month!”