NDS Inc. of Woodland Hills, Calif., is another company that offers both plantable and aggregate-filled pavers for residential and commercial use. However, Sharon Vessels, NDS director of marketing, doesn’t see it making much of a dent among homeowners – yet.

Where its products are making a splash is with developers and designers looking for credits through the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design™ (LEED®) program.

Kerchner Pervious Picnic Area 003Click photo to enlarge“These fit nicely into the green-building trend as they qualify projects for LEED credits,” Vessels says. “And, landscape architects are designing with them because they offer flexibility in the design. That’s why I think more of these products are being developed.”

At the same time, Vessels cautions contractors and designers need to make sure the right product is specified for the right application.

“Load-bearing, in particular, is a pretty big deal,” she says. “Particularly if you have something like fire-lane access, you have to be careful and use the right product. It’s important the specs be followed for installation. If you’re careful about the specification you’re trying to meet, it’s much more likely the client will be happy with the result.”

PROOF POSITIVE

Chuck Taylor, general manager of Advanced Pavement Technology in Oswego, Ill., knows about keeping clients happy. And, for him, that means using permeable concrete or clay pavers.

Although he argues that neither porous concrete nor pervious asphalt offers the firm surface of a good, machine-installed paver, he says the problem he runs into most often in championing pavers is – as Corvey mentioned – price.

“And, the truth is, if you’re a developer, price drives the engine,” Taylor notes, adding that to warm up to pavers it’s necessary to get designers and their clients to think about maintenance and replacement costs.

A case in point is a facility his company installed several years ago. Before construction, the design team created a cost analysis for the owner looking at initial cost and maintenance for both heavy- and light-duty asphalt, along with permeable pavers.

“They found at 22 or 23 years, the cost was break-even for all three systems,” Taylor says. “But, at 50 years, the client would have paid 40-times more for asphalt maintenance.”

As a result, Taylor installed a 500-vehicle parking lot of concrete pavers. And, he says over the nine years since, the actual cost of maintenance is half of what was forecast.