Considering building a new patio or deck to enjoy a lovely weather but want to be mindful of the environmental impact? Millions of homeowners across the country continue to use”standard” patio materials like asphalt, concrete and cement to support their patios because they’ve proven their worth time and again but is it time for new awareness?
Problems With the Status Quo
Unfortunately, your asphalt, concrete or cement patio is liable to be among the least sustainable elements of your property. In fact, standard patio-building materials present several key problems for environmentally conscious homeowners.
For starters, these surfaces all contain synthetic or petroleum-based components that require huge amounts of energy to fabricate. The amount of energy that goes into a given product’s production is known as “embodied energy,” and it’s one of the main factors that contribute to its overall environmental footprint.
Asphalt, concrete and cement also contain toxins that can leak into your lawn, groundwater and pool during bouts of rain. What’s more, these nonporous “hardscape” surfaces can direct rainwater in concentrated streams and cause surprising amounts of damage to your yard. In the long run, this runoff could even eat away at your home’s foundation.
You don’t want to find out what that looks like.
A Gentler Way
Fortunately, there are several sustainable alternatives that feature lower levels of embodied energy as well as a more sustainable product life cycle. Some of these alternatives are “natural” materials that incorporate locally sourced or low-impact raw materials like soil cement. Others are reused materials like (more…)