For the last 14 years, Sunset Magazine has spearheaded the construction of an annual “Idea House.” This year’s project, dubbed the “Smart Homes” is a duo of townhouses that premiered this month in Palo Alto, Calif., and incorporated a variety of integrated high-tech, eco-friendly, and efficient building practices, including over 2,800 square feet of Belgard® Hardscapes permeable Catalina™ pavers, which were used to create a pedestrian deck between the townhomes over the parking area.
“Belgard Catalina pavers, in addition to being a beautiful product, offer the eco-advantages of permeability, reducing run-off and pollution,” said Kathi McCalligan, Home Programs Director, Sunset Magazine.
The permeable paver system filters rainwater through the joints and an underlying bed of gradient gravel and drains into a collection area, keeping the walkway, parking area below, and surrounding streets free from excessive runoff and performing a vital storm water management function for the entire mixed-use development where the townhomes are located.
“Storm water management is one reason Belgard permeable pavers contribute towards a number of LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credits,” says Gene Weddle, LEED Green Associate, Belgard Hardscapes. “Many municipal projects mandate LEED point objectives, and more and more private sector projects pursue LEED credits as evidence of environmental stewardship. Depending on project needs, the filtered water can also be harvested for gray-water applications.”
Weddle ads that in addition to storm water management, the specific color of paver selected—Catalina Montecito Blend—offers the additional benefit of reducing the “heat island” effect. “In urban areas, replacing ground cover with buildings and pavement often results in higher overall temperatures, which in turn places higher demands on energy. Catalina Montecito offers more reflectivity than darker pavements, leading to cooler surrounding temperatures, and allowing lower wattage for area lighting, reducing both energy use and long-term cost.”
The Catalina pavers also offer ADA compliance for the pedestrian walkway because of the smooth paver-to-paver transitions.
Today, we are encouraged to be green, use green, and buy green. People who are familiar with the “go green” theme strive to help save the environment. Belgard®, with their line of Environmental Pavers is no different.
But how about, “Go Blue!” with regards to a watershed. A watershed, or drainage basin, is an area of water, such as a pond, lake, stream, or other body of water that collects runoff from surrounding areas. Rainwater landing on the non-absorbing surfaces, such as parking lots, walkways and roofs eventually journeys as runoff to a larger holding area. Unfortunately, this runoff collects surface debris and chemicals, such as car fluids, fertilizers, animal waste, and debris, carrying it into our waters.
A watershed may be as large as the Mississippi River spanning 33 states or more communal like Diamond Lake of Minneapolis. The 2010 Blue Community Makeover Program known as “Go Blue!” was developed by residents to improve water quality when their Diamond Lake received the grade “F” because of pollutants and heavy sedimentation in the river from storm water runoff.
“My theory on life is that you should leave the world a little better than you came into it,” said resident of Lake Diamond Community. “This is one way I can help make the earth a little greener and a little happier,” she commented next to her new, serene rainwater-fed pond and gutter rain barrels.
Many residents became very interested and involved in this program by installing rain gardens and water recycling systems, which help to reduce direct storm water runoff. Belgard was called upon to take up the gauntlet. Their Environmental Collection of permeable pavers played a huge role in the fight to improve the situation by reducing water runoff.
With the installation of permeable pavers, pollution from rainwater runoff can be reduced by as much as 100%. Permeable pavers can be installed in any landscape, from a home patio to community streets. Belgard is pleased to offer three types: Subterra Stone, Eco Dublin and Aqua Roc.
Subterra® Stone brings in a more natural chiseled look to your outdoor areas. This paver comes in two different patterns. The modular shapes allows easy installment. The newest addition, Eco Dublin™combines cut stone with contemporary material, to provide a classic look. Aqua Roc™is the strongest out of the permeable pavers. This paver can withstand heavy vehicular traffic, yet subtle enough for a small project. Turfstone, with its high tech design, not only allows water to be absorbed naturally in the soil, but it also prevents erosion. Plus, greenery can grow through it, disguising it, thus working in harmony with nature.
The reason these pavers are so environmentally friendly is their installation. Gaps between pavers, which are filled with sand, gravel or filler, allow water to seep through and into the soil below. Through this process, may contaminants are removed from the water that will eventually make its way to a watershed.
With any one of these permeable pavers, not only will you be able to enjoy your new outdoor area, but you’ll also be environment friendly! Remember, you can always count on a Belgard Contractor when it comes to installing these pavers. Also, local dealers can help and provide color samples for your outdoor living area. Belgard offers its lifetime guaranty with all products.
Nothing is more precious to life than clean water. Because of this, it makes sense to do all we can to instill, in our people (and most especially our youth) an understanding of water and watersheds, and how the activities of man affects them. Make a difference!
Click for more on Go Blue!
For case studies on Belgard Permeable Pavers, visit our site.
Belgard pavers can be used commercially too.
Can installing pavers versus concrete make a different in the look of your yard? This project gives a resounding “YES!”
At Sunset headquarters in Menlo Park, CA, the aging and cracked concrete was a deterrent to the beauty of the gardens and rolling grassy areas. It is common for concrete to expand and contract in areas with varying climates. This causes unsightly and dangerous cracks, which with the addition of rainwater, or even water from sprinklers, will increase over time.
To create a more inviting and visually appealing landscape, “Belgard’s Cambridge Cobble pavers were selected to pave the garden walkways. More than 10,000 square feet of asphalt walkways were replaced in the Autumn Blend color. This color provides a rich accent to the lush green garden,” states Sarah Smith of Sunset Magazine.
“Sunset Magazine is all about showcasing the best of the region’s unique lifestyle, so much of which is related to the outdoors. Their gardens were intended to be an extension of that mission, but the asphalt walkways were detracting from the beauty,” says Ken O’Neill, Vice President of Belgard Hardscapes. “Cambridge Cobble offers a tailored look that embodies their corporate image.”
The high-traffic capacity of Cambridge Cobble was put to the test earlier this month when the magazine hosted its annual Celebration Weekend. Over 18,000 readers and travellers converged on the grounds for product demonstrations, food exhibits, gardening tips, artisan exhibits, and what the magazine called its “glam camping” exhibit showcasing ways of roughing it with style.
Creating a New Walkway
For the homeowner, replacing a walkway, no matter the size, requires knowledge and skill. Although many will take it on as a DIY project, others leave it to the pros. Belgard has contractors throughout the US trained in installation (click here to find one near you). The Belgard website also offers a “Visualizer” tool which allows you to upload a photo of your home and add products and colors to “visualize” various outcomes.
If you are looking to replace your dirt, concrete or asphalt walkway or patio, Belgard’s pavers are today’s answer.
- Paving stones are several times stronger than concrete.
- Paths and patios can be installed in any weather.
- Concrete is hard and “brittle” and thus prone to cracking and cannot be repaired without leaving “scar” marks.
- Permeable pavers allow rainwater to return to the soil, eliminating runoff.
- Paving Stones are set in a friction base sand mixture, thus they do not move around at all, but remain flexible. This flexibility allows cold and hot weather expansion and contraction.
- Paving stones are even earthquake resistant.
- Paving stones can be easily replaced should the need ever arise.
- Most importantly paving stones add beauty and aesthetics to your environment and value to your home.
Picking your product can be fun and here are a few tips to keep in mind. Color. Ask your dealer what colors are available in your area. You will want to consider your home’s color and landscaping elements. Shape. Depending on the product, Belgard offers squares, rectangular, and irregular/natural stone shapes. Textures and Patterns. Belgard offers numerous options with regards to texture and patterns. You can choose from smooth squares to the look of rough natural stone. Depending on the pattern you choose, the layout created can be a simple running bond, to circular, to multi-patterned.
The choice of Cambridge Cobble for Sunset’s project combines rich, earth tone colors with textured surfaces and creates an authentic “old world” appearance. Consider the patterns available with your product. Sunset’s existing paths weaved around the landscape, so they needed a pattern with a serpentine flow.
Once you have your plan and product, you can start getting your hands dirty.* This project started with extensive demolition. After removal of existing hardscape, you will need to prepare the area by staking out the path or patio. Then get excavating! The depth depends on the level of traffic and the size of the pavers. Compaction of the exposed surface is important – by machine or by hand.
The additional of a base to create a level surface is a must. Use crushed stone or aggregate and compact. Start with a few inches and compact. You can move on to the next layer when you can walk on the surface without leaving footprints. Repeat until you are within the depth of your desired grade. Then add edging restraints, and start laying out the pavers. Cutting pavers will allow for a better fit and a more professional look. Then, enjoy!
* the instructions listed here are generalized. Please consult a contractor or the Belgard.biz site for more installation procedures.
To be able to make a difference in the face of adversity can be overwhelming, especially when you drive through the parts of New Orleans that were destroyed by the flood waters of Katrina. Yet when you follow the quote, “Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something,” it brings inspiration and puts each person’s value into perspective. Through the administration of Operation Helping Hands, volunteers have been working on homes of those who still need help. Working alongside the homeowner, volunteers hear their plights. Not only the stories of what they endured during the storm, but the subsequent heartache as contractors who were hired to help ended up taking advantage of them. We can all make a difference in helping these homeowners to finally recover and Belgard did just that.
The Rayne street house has taken on a whole new look. The previous siding was wood, which became molded and decayed. Using Oldcastle’s new product, Suretouch, this veneer is guaranteed to withstand the elements. Summers are hot in New Orleans, so Suretouch’s insulating feature is a plus. The volunteers on-hand from Immaculata University in PA were impressed that the veneer will also help the homeowner “save on electricity bills!” The transformation is amazing. Volunteers commented on the simplicity of the installation process. “We made an enjoyable game out of it, like putting together a huge puzzle.”
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The other house Belgard sponsored on Tricou Street in New Orleans, is the home of an elderly blind lady who loves to have her grandchildren visit her. Yet, after the storm waters of Katrina destroyed her home almost six years ago, she has not been able to move back in. That is all about to change. While the inside of her house is still being completed, the Belgard Permeable Paver side path has been installed. This path will allow the homeowner to walk safely from the front to the rear of the house where she can enjoy her grandchildren as they play in the yard.