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Library demonstrates conservation with permeable paving

December 27, 2011

With architectural echoes of the surrounding Amish farms, the new $7.5 million Mannheim Township Public Library is built to meet LEED Silver standards with environmentally friendly building materials and energy-efficient systems.

This includes a geothermal heating system, with 40 450-foot-deep wells drilled into the solid limestone bedrock.

Last September, the Children’s Discovery Meadow opened outside the building, where children explore a native meadow habitat and learn about plants, insects, soil conservation and natural water purification.

The idea is that, within 48 hours, the water will redistribute itself into the property.—John McGrann, as reported in the Lancaster, PA Intelligencer Journal.

Penn Stone installed this water permeable pathway and patio as part of its local library's Children's Discovery Meadow.

When you visit the Children’s Discovery Meadow today, you’ll find a pathway and patio made of Pine Hall Brick StormPave® pavers that was provided at no cost to the library through a collaboration of area businesses.

John McGrann, owner of Penn Stone, a Pine Hall Brick dealer who provided the pavers, said the installation is intended as a working model to teach some lessons of its own.

There is a lot of interest throughout the county in permeable paving and other stormwater management strategies. The City of Lancaster is under intense pressure to solve stormwater management woes and they have 20 years to do it in, before the EPA comes in and enforces an expensive solution.—John McGrann

Several different sites were discussed, until the township and McGrann’s group settled on installing the pavers as part of the Children’s Discovery Meadow. Projects using StormPave® have been approved in both commercial and residential uses, but municipalities in Pennsylvania have not been as quick to embrace permeable paving.

McGrann is determined to show that the technology works from the first rainfall. His company paid to have the pavers shipped from the plant in North Carolina to Pennsylvania. Erb Brothers Landscaping did the installation. Excavation contractor B.R. Kreider & Son helped with aggregate and labor to clear the site before the installation.

I am glad to have a real-life installation five minutes from my office to be able to encourage people to go and look at it. And I have followed up with municipal officials and we’ve been able to show that it works, and works well.—John McGrann

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