Parking lots are one of those structures that are extraordinarily necessary, but can also be very wasteful.
When the parking lot is first being created, hot asphalt can release carbon dioxide and other toxins into the air. When it rains, the water can run off of the asphalt, gathering foreign particles along the way, and possibly contaminate local springs. During the summer, the asphalt will absorb the rays of the sun and create a "heat bubble" in the parking lot where the temperature is much higher than anywhere not on the parking lot.
Luckily, all of these problems can be easily avoided. Consider these three ways to reduce the environmental impact of your parking lot.
1. Consider an Alternative Pavement Option
Asphalt is excellent because it is cheap, but it is not the only paving option available. One great option is gravel. Gravel allows for natural water dispersal because it absorbs most of the storm water and holds it until it evaporates. It also is lighter in color and therefore will not create a heat bubble. Laying gravel will not release any carbon dioxide into the air.
Gravel is more expensive than asphalt, however. If you find that you cannot afford to simply repave your parking lot with gravel in one fell swoop, consider paving small sections at a time. Whenever cracks develop in one section, rather than repairing the asphalt, install gravel. Another option that provides the same benefits is cobble.
2. Plant Trees
If you can, set aside portions of the parking lot as green spaces. Rather than have your entire parking lot be paved, you can plant trees, flowers, and bushes in the areas where cars wouldn't have the space to park anyways. The advantage of these plants is that they will help control the water when it rains by absorbing it and using it. These plants will also absorb any carbon dioxide that might be produced by laying asphalt.
3. Use Recycled Asphalt
Using recycled asphalt will reduce the environmental impact of your parking lot because it will ensure that no new materials need to be produced. Again, you do not have to redo your entire parking lot in one go. Whenever your parking lot develops cracks, request that they are filled with recycled asphalt, rather than new asphalt. This also will help you save some money on parking lot maintenance.
For more information, contact a company that specializes in parking lot maintenance in Campbell River.