Give Your Facility a Drivable Greenspace with Permeable Pavers.

Parking lots are hot.  They absorb sunlight (and self destruct due to the resulting heat and ultraviolet radiation) and contribute to the urban heat island effect.  With extreme temperature cycling on a daily basis, while impregnated with rainwater and ice, they are an expensive maintenance item.

Several years back, I visited Europe (Bayern to be exact) and saw a brilliant idea for making parking spaces into green spaces.  The use of permeable concrete pavers.  These pavers are typically made of concrete and are approximately 50% open to allow for organic life to grow through and provide a cool and relaxing green covering to an otherwise brutalist urban landscape.

Concrete pavers with holes made in them to allow grass to grow through them.  About fifty percent concrete is visible and the remainder is grass.  Each paver is zig zag shaped to create grass squares that are about ten centimeters wide.
Permeable pavers, courtesy of Wikipedia

In this approach, grass absorbs the solar energy through photosynthesis instead of reflecting onto your building or transforming into heat energy.  This makes your drive and parking spaces visually appealing, climate comfortable and creates a public image of environmentalism.

Similar to prior image, this is a photograph of the pavers used as a parking lot in a place resembling a park or posh neighborhood.
Image shamelessly linked from

When it does come to mowing the parking lot, it’s not so bad.  The traffic grinding the blades of grass into the pavers will have a trimming effect that keeps much of the surface under control.  These can simply be laid on top of your existing surface and be covered in surface soil to fill the gaps.  Toss grass seed or insert plugs of sod, you are on your way to being having a parking lot that will be the front page story featuring your building.


The Argument for Sugar

I do admit I like my sugar.  There are compelling arguments for it’s negative effects on human health as demonstrated by Robert Lustig in the early 1970s in his book, Pure, White and Deadly.  On the counter, I have also embraced the arguments of Roy Baumeister of Florida State University’s Psychology department.

An office desk with two drawers opened. Each drawer is filled to the top with individually wrapped pieces of candy. The image exists for comic value.
This is my desk, but it wasn’t always this well stocked

Through years of experimentation, he observed a correlation between available blood glucose and human performance as he seeks to quantify the mental trait of willpower.  While countless self-help authors have focused on spiritual approaches, his are scientific approaches backed by carefully administered experiments.

For willpower, in my opinion, he wrote the authoritative text on on the subject with his book Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.  Like most armchair psychology books, 90% of the info was stuff that my grandmother taught me.  The other 10% paid it self over many times and has led this book to be gifted to numerous friends and colleagues.

His hypotheses was based on over half the blood glucose, being consumed by the brain, would have an effect on a person’s ability to not only control impulses of habit or indulgence, but also provide mental endurance to continue with arduous or mentally challenging tasks.  His experimentation techniques varied across different scenarios and national datasets, but the most compelling was students performing never-ending adaptive computerized math testing with two groups that differ in the presence of sweets.  The group with the sweets did perform longer and stronger than the control group.  Diabetics however, were found to not fare so well and national crime data supports this suspicion.  Diabetics are more likely to be convicted for crimes of impulse on a national scale, likely due to uncontrolled metabolism of blood glucose.

The outcome of this book brought about a change in my workplace.  Seeking to improve performance, I stocked my office and a multi-purpose meeting and classroom with wicker baskets piled high of candies of various sorts.  In my method, I steered clear of chocolate due to the hedonistic eating leaving me with an empty basket in the course of two hours.  Hard sugar candy had a much more regulated consumption.

Yes, they loved it and I achieved a saintly status for implementing this.  Rooted in science I knew that it made a benefit even though it was practically impossible to measure with such a small population size.  In workspaces I frequent, thinking smarter is better.  Just be sure to lay off the chocolate.