Pine Hall Brick is a key partner in a unique construction project on the Furman University campus that incorporates and promotes the very best in green building practices.
The Cliffs Cottage at Furman, a Southern Living Showcase home, is a model of environmentally responsible design, sustainable building techniques and materials and energy-saving systems. From the bamboo flooring to the solar panels in the roof, the 3,400-square-foot residential home has all the latest technological innovations in sustainable living.
The commitment to environmentally sound design doesn’t end with the house itself. The same concepts were applied to the landscaping, organic and formal gardens and rainwater collection systems.
Even the walkways and hardscape elements around the house and gardens – which are made of Pine Hall Brick’s StormPave™ permeable clay pavers – were specified and installed in keeping with the house’s overall emphasis on sustainability.
“The Pine Hall Brick clay pavers were a perfect addition to this project,” said Ed Marshall, director of special projects for Furman University and project director for the Cliffs Cottage project. “It is really a marriage of design and function. What a beautiful product that meets our criteria for sustainability perfectly.”
The recently introduced StormPave permeable clay pavers – and a second product, RainPave pavers – are the first of their kind. When installed in a “best practice” permeable pavement installation design, the pavers allow rainwater to infiltrate through the walkway surface to the groundwater below, which acts as a natural filter, instead of flowing across the surface to a storm drain and picking up pollutants along the way.
The two resemble other clay brick pavers in Pine Hall Brick’s product line, which have been chosen by landscape designers for years for their permanence and aesthetic appeal. But unlike the others, these pavers have a larger space between them – a higher void area – which allows water to infiltrate through the pavement surface.
And underneath the pavers, instead of a conventional installation that includes a bed of crushed stone and sand, with sand swept into the joints on top, there is a series of “open graded” aggregates, which is gravel without fine particles, used as a base.
The largest stones are placed on the ground, with layers of progressively smaller stones placed on top of that. The pavers are carefully placed – and the smallest stones are swept into the joints between the pavers. The series of open aggregates allows rainwater to flow as good bacteria builds around the rocks over time and aids in reducing some pollutants.
Clay brick as green material
Clay brick, whether used as a building material for houses and office buildings, or as clay pavers in streets, sidewalks, patios and driveways, has been an example of a sustainable building material for centuries, according to industry observers.
Clay bricks have an unsurpassed life cycle, are energy efficient, are made of clay, which is the most abundant raw material on the planet; have minimal waste in manufacture and have countless recycling options, according to the Brick Industry Association.
Clay pavers don’t require pallet packaging – and the amount of embodied energy required to mine, manufacture and transport one standard brick is about 4,000 British thermal units per pound, less per pound than concrete, glass, steel or aluminum, according to the AIA Environmental Resource Guide.
RainPave and StormPave have all the advantages of clay pavers – they are strong, durable and colorfast. And, when installed in a best practice permeable pavement system, will continue to have a positive environmental impact on preserving and purifying groundwater decades into the future.
Cliffs Cottage at Furman
Cliffs Cottage is expected to be among the first residential facilities in the nation to receive the U.S. Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credits.
The principal partners in the Southern Living Showcase Home project are Furman, Southern Living, The Cliffs Communities, Duke Energy and Bank of America.
The Cliffs Cottage opens for public tours on Saturday, June 14 and will remain open for one year. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for senior citizens over the age of 62, and $5 for children between the ages of six and 11. Children who are five and under are admitted free. All children must be accompanied by an adult.