Fair Oaks, Calif., is helping to preserve over 23 mature olive trees through natural irrigation. The lush tree canopy also shades the parking lot to provide natural cooling. Tree roots need air as well as water. Pervious concrete allows the passage of both. This pervious parking lot at Miller Park in

Many homeowners are unaware of the negative impacts their homes and surrounding paved surfaces can have on environmental health. But the effects are dramatic, ranging from resource depletion to climatic changes to disruption of fragile ecosystems. Consider these disturbing facts:

  • With about 1.4 million homes built each year, homes represent 55% to 60% of all environmental impacts of buildings. (Source: USGBCs LEED for Homes Committee)

  • It can take over 40 trees to build one wood-framed home.(Source: PCA)

  • Operating a typical home or building over time consumes far more energy than it does to build it, according to Vera Novak, an environmental specialist and one of the ConcreteNetworks Industry Leaders. While investigating the life cycle of buildings, she found that a mere 2% of total energy is expended for materials and construction and a staggering 98% is used to heat, cool, and power the building.

  • Studies have shown that urban environments have higher temperatures in areas where there are few trees and lots of buildings and paved surfaces. This additional heat (called the urban heat-island effect) causes air conditioning systems to work harder, consuming up to 18% more energy.

  • Stormwater runoff is a leading source of the pollutants entering our waterways. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, about 90% of surface pollutants are carried by the first 1-1/2 inch of rainfall.

  • As much as 95% of the hydrocarbons in urban runoff is from the binder and sealer used in asphalt pavements.