Matsuo Corp's "Eco-Paver", Water Retentive Blocks
The "Eco-Paver" concrete slab is made from recycled construction materials, specially cast to wick up water, through capillary action, and perform a landscaping device-mimic of plant transpiration. Widespread deployment in a city or region would help urban areas adapt to climate change, mitigating against the "heat island" effect through evaporative cooling. From the The Yomiuri Shimbun of October 10'th: Ecopaver... "uses recycled waste materials such as concrete, asphalt and the incinerated ash of urban garbage; it saves energy by reducing the need for air-conditioning; and it contributes to the development of a recycling-oriented society".Because the market is public works projects, the desired effect is proportional to government giving the product a leg up over traditional paver bricks. With US style governance, that'll never happen of course (except perhaps in Chicago). Ooops, almost forgot that the freeze/thaw effect will limit Eco-Pavers to southern climes. Perhaps a gated community called "Noah's Ark"?
A few more excerpts from Yomiuri Shimbun follow, attributed to Hitoshi Nishiwake, Matsuo Corporation's President. "We knead a thick concrete in a mixer, put it into molds, press and vibrate it into shape and then remove it from the molds quickly. The entire process--called vibration concrete molding--is done automatically by machine..." "As our concrete is thick, water-retaining voids remain in the finished product," he said..."According to the size of voids, the blocks become either water-permeable or water-retentive".
"Water-retentive blocks are as strong as ordinary blocks and strong enough to bear the weight of vehicles. They can be used anywhere. And with their capacity for retaining water, they can be used as vegetation blocks, too."
He said: "We've worked with used and recycled materials for a long time. I personally inherited the spirit of "mottainai" [literally: "It's a shame to waste things."] from my ancestors. As global warming progresses, we'll take a natural approach to conserve the global environment and continue contributing to it company-wide in the future."