Grasscrete refers to the pervious and reinforced structure made of concrete; it is used in all types of traffic areas that are covered with grass, areas where the grass grows in the voids of the structure and areas where there are stones in the voids of the structure. Grasscrete is designed by the use of Formers, a mold or tool that create spaces in the concrete. During the design, the concrete is poured over the formers, the resulting structure, therefore, forms voids within the concrete. When these voids are opened, they can be filled with different porous materials such as gravel and grass (Ab Latif et al., 2017). There are usually two types of Grasscrete; there is a reusable plastic tool often used specifically for fully concealed or grassed installations. Additionally, there are single-use plastic tools that can be used for partially grassed or concealed installations.
The Grasscrete is made from molded pulp former, the material is most commonly used for all types of Grasscrete. The molded pulp is usually made from one hundred percent recycled papers derived from both the post-consumer waste and post-industrial streams. The molded pulp is often suspended in the water slurry, vacuum structure to mold. The particles of air are then dried to form a solid product (Goldberg, 2013). The material formed is similar to the biodegradable materials normally found at the nurseries or the landscape supply stores where the plant pots are usually formed. The Grasscrete provides a chance or opportunity for applying single-use formers to develop a monolithic reinforced readily mixed concrete pour that forms pervious pavement design with spaces formed after the hardening of the concrete materials. These spaces can be used as the exposed applications with crushed concrete or stones; they can also be utilized as concealed structural systems with vegetation.
During the installation process, the Grasscrete is usually placed or installed over a sub-base gravel, the depth is often determined by measuring the load-bearing capacity formulated by the project planners. In most cases, the Grasscrete is fixed on top of the native soil, a process that saves money on the purchase of gravel and excavation processes. In some other cases, the Grasscrete can be fixed or installed over the layer of crushed stones or even on top of the stormwater chambers to ensure that there is enough capacity for water which is usually needed when controlling surface runoffs (Goldberg, 2013). The Grasscrete is used across the world in different climatic conditions. In some specific areas such as the Pacific Northwest, the grass will grow on the Grasscrete at the same rate as any grass lawn that does not require irrigation processes. In hot and dry conditions, it is usually advisable to conduct irrigation processes just like any other grasses growing in different areas. In the Grasscrete, the drought-tolerant grass, hardy grass as well as the groundcover vegetation can be selected for different applications such as the slope protection and retaining pond bottoms.
Grasscrete is a totally environmentally friendly system; it is designed to provide an efficient solution while maintaining the veracity of the surrounding area or environment. The Grasscrete provides a good drainage system, up to ninety percent as high as the normal grass. The surface runoff can be held within the cellular formation or the drainage head, a scenario that often delays the impacts of rainfall discharged into the natural environment. At the times of heavy downpour, the Grasscrete can prevent flooding in slopes and downstream. Additionally, it provides a good grip to the topsoil thereby preventing the adverse effects of soil erosion. The cellular formation found in the surface provides a perfect resistance mechanism to the surface runoffs as well as the intensity of the heavy raindrops. The Grasscrete consisting of vegetation such as grass benefits the environment through the provision of clean air, a scenario that reduces the volume of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. With the existence of the Grasscrete, more garden cities are on the emergence across the world. The Grasscrete system embraces recycling mechanisms and as a result, it is often established as being sympathetic within the sustainable ecosystems.
In big cities that experience pollutions, the Grasscrete increases the number of vegetation that is needed to reduce the effect of carbon in the atmosphere. In many cases, the green plants usually use the carbon IV oxide in the atmosphere to synthesize simple sugars; therefore, with the increased number of green vegetation cover provided by the Grasscrete, the negative effects of increasing volume of carbon in the atmosphere can be greatly reduced. With these environmental benefits, the Grasscrete is continuously used in different ecosystems (Goldberg, 2013). It has different benefits, from the protection of the soil from the surface runoff, reduction in the intensity of downpour to the provision of a clean environment as a result of the reduction in the number of greenhouse gases that continues to be a menace globally. In addition to the above-ranging benefits, the Grasscrete offers flexibility. Most engineers prefer to the systems to tarmac as it eliminates the need to install the drainage systems as well as the installation of piping networks during constructions (Goldberg, 2013). The Grasscrete system also does not require high depth during the installation process. Therefore, the system leads to the reduction in the costs of constructions. For the future contractors, Grasscrete offers the best solution since the drainage becomes a non-issue, with the system, the structural repairs also becomes easier with minimum implications.
Real Life Application of Grasscrete
During the design of the Boeing Company structure, the Guernsey Architectural Company applied the Grasscrete to design the exterior surface with the aim of reducing the surface runoffs as well as the impacts of heavy raindrops. The Boeing Company building was designed to withstand the Tornados often experienced in the region and as a result, engineers were to identify and use the structural systems that could reduce the effects of Tornados both from the exterior and interiors parts of the building. Being located in the region that experiences heavy downpour, the Guernsey Architectural Company decided to use the Grasscrete to reduce the intensity of heavy rainfall in the parking areas as well as on the pavements during the construction of Boeing Company headquarter.
Home contractors are other organizations that use Grasscrete to design pavements and the parking lots in both cities and rural areas. With the increasing need for the number of houses as well as the assurance of the environmental sustainability, more homeowners and contractors prefer to use the Grasscrete as it is sustainable and cheaper to install. In most cases, the Grasscrete is used in areas that experience heavy rainfall as well as in the cities where there is the need to increase the vegetation cover for the purposes of maintaining clean air.
Ab Latif, F. A., Ali, S. M., bin Abd Khair, M. S. A., Ahmad, P., Abdullahi, M., Bello, F. M., ... & Maina, J. J. (2017). Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Surveying.
Goldberg, S. (2013). Permeable pavers expand. Erosion Control, 20(6).
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