These are some of the reasons why we like Grasscrete®.
1) Grasscrete® can make for a fantastic alternative to traditional municipal stormwater management.
In urban areas, stormwater management system usually involves collecting and disposing stormwater as efficiently and quickly as possible. Once “run-off” is generated by sidewalks, streets and parking lots, it is immediately conveyed to storm sewers and then to discharge points. When there is a major storm event, large volumes of water get funneled out in a relatively short amount of time.
In non-urbanized areas such as woodlands and farmlands, however, there are three ways for the water to drain off the land: (a) by simply flowing out on the surface; (b) by infiltrating the soil and seeping into the groundwater; and (c) through evapotranspiration. During a similar major storm event, what doesn't get sucked in and evapotranspirated by the vegetation takes its sweet good time leaving.
To simplify things a bit here, let's take an empty flowerpot. It's our metaphorical city--all hardscapes, all impervious surfaces. Pour a bottle of water into it, and the water drains in a torrent in seconds flat, making a watery mess on your table and floor. If the table and floor are metaphorically your downstream neighbors, then they would all have drowned.
Pour the same amount into a pot with soil and plants, and the water will trickle out over a longer period of time. There might still be a watery mess, but that will be manageable.
What makes Grasscrete® a fantastic alternative, then, is that it mimics the condition of the second scenario. It decreases the amount of surface area taken up by hard paving as well as the area of land served by storm sewers.
But most importantly, it can mitigate the destructive force of floods.
2) Grasscrete® can save lives.
See the last sentence in #1.
3) Grasscrete® can save you money.
See the last sentence in #1.
4) Grasscrete® can save you lots and lots and lots of money.
Most new developments require extending sewer lines beyond their current limit. This obviously costs money. And maintaining it again costs money. But by allowing stormwater to seep into the ground, Grasscrete® may preclude the need for new drains and detentions. If sewers are built nonetheless, Grasscrete® can theoretically divert all the rainwater away from the sewers, thus reducing wear and tear and minimizing maintenance cost.
Moreover, with less severe floods, levees and other flood protection may no longer be needed while existing ones would require less repairs.
In some major metropolitan areas, such as Chicago, billions and billions (and billions) of dollars have been spent to construct huge underground tunnels to temporarily store stormwater. There are still neighborhoods in Chicago that flood, even after mild thunderstorms. Perhaps a less monumental, less costly system should have been considered.
5) Grasscrete® can reduce pollution and improve water quality.
Roofs and streets are full of shit, literally. Rainwater that may or may not already be corrosively acidic will surely turn toxic the minute it hits pavement.
And where does the water end up? In our rivers, lakes and drinking water.
Since Grasscrete® has a vegetated void that can be planted with hardy phytoremediating grasses rather than the standards, it may filter out some of the pollutants.
Of course, for these phytoremediating grasses to clean the run-off, the water needs to sit still for a bit, something that you don't want on the streets. In which case, super-phytoremediating transgenic grasses will be used instead.
6) Grasscrete® can improve the quality of life.
Additionally, not only is it aesthetically beautiful, or at least less of a strain on the eyes than huge swats of Wal-Mart asphalt, the reintroduction of vegetation into former concrete jungles should counteract the urban heat island effect.
7) Grasscrete® looks utterly vampiric. Landscape on a rampage, sucking the concrete out of buildings, highways and dams. It's the anti-Architecture kudzu reigning supreme in the Edenic Apocalypse.
Biopaver by Joseph Hagerman