If you thought you’d heard every conceivable application of the term “green” to highlight an environmentally friendly product or process, think again. Green pavement has arrived!
The revolutionary vehicle surface that does the same job as pavement, but in a way that’s kind to the earth, recently debuted in the form of a unique, grass-covered laneway at one of Kelowna’s newest residential developments.
“In order to build with the best sustainable practices available, we maximized the green space,” said Renee Wasylyk, whose company Troika Group is developing the 56-unit, Green Square townhome community in the heart of the city’s Lower Mission neighbourhood.
“By replacing the asphalt or concrete traditionally used on a laneway surface with grass, we’re increasing green space, encouraging more pedestrian traffic and creating a design esthetic that integrates seamlessly with the natural environment.”
The laneway is covered in turf pavers that form aninterlocking grid of honeycomb-shaped cells through which grass grows. Not only does green pavement look good, the pavers are made of 100 per cent recycledplastic, are less expensive to maintain over time than traditional hard surfaces, and provide a host of environmental benefits.
“Because we’re creating a permeable surface, water can drain right through the grass. That meant we were able to forego building catch basins and storm sewers on the property, which, along with the use of the green pavement technology itself, was a first for Kelowna,” said Troika Group’s Daniel MacKinnon.
“Due to the hard asphalt and concrete surfaces they add to a site, developments typically build a system of catch basins and pipes to collect and distribute rainwater or other runoff,” explained Troika Group development project manager Rich Threlfall, who first conceived the idea of trying the innovative green pavement approach at Green Square.
“That water, which is often contaminated by vehicles or environmental pollution, then goes straight through the pipe network to the nearest creek or lake, which isn’t ideal. The solution we’ve chosen allows rainwater to be naturally filtered by soil and grass, before traveling into the ground just as it did before the development was here.”
The approach also reduces the risk of run off, flooding, and erosion to downstream bodies of water, as well as minimizing the possibility of the so-called heat island effect, which can occur when traditional pavement overheats in urban environments.
“We worked closely and collaboratively with our civil engineers, CTQ Consultants Ltd, and city staff to utilize sustainable and innovative solutions that resulted in a great community for the homeowners,” said Threlfall. “That I was able to put forward a unique idea that solves multiple development challenges, and see it come to fruition and do the job it was designed to do, rather than following the status quo, is really rewarding.”
The entire Green Square development was designed with environmental sustainability in mind. The townhomes’ rooflines protrude to create better shading, and each of the contemporary, three-bedroom homes has a highly efficient HVAC system to reduce energy consumption.
The community’s location at 3626 Mission Springs Drive in the heart of the desirable Lower Mission neighbourhood, and its proximity to shopping, schools, beaches and recreational facilities has made it a big seller with young professionals and young families.
The first phase of thedevelopment is complete and fully occupied, with construction of phase two set to wrap up in June of 2014. Floor plans range from 1,352 to 1,791 square feet, and are priced as low as $327,000.