The Recycled Glass Driveway at the Cordell Shipping Container House

Next experiment at that Swamplot-Award-winning house built out of shipping containers on Cordell St. in Brookesmith? The unique driveway installed earlier this week. John Walker of Numen Development writes in with details:

It is composed of recycled crushed glass, with a resin binder, and achieves the consistency of caramel popcorn for lack of a better description, so it has voids that allow surface water to percolate through the paving and ultimately be absorbed into the underlying soil rather than running off into the storm drainage system. It is a triple threat: recycled material, reduces environmental impact of development, and it’s really cool!

Walker says Presto Geosystems, a division of Alcoa, installed the driveway as a pilot project for the Houston market.

This installation has been described by their consulting engineer as most likely the “first and last” residential project they will do in Houston as the product is expected to meet with huge commercial demand, especially for “landlocked” developments for whom expansion is limited by Harris County stormwater detention limitations.

Some views of the installation:


The FilterPave system features 70 to 80 percent post-consumer recycled glass, 20 to 30 percent granite and a polymer binder in a 4-inch application.

Here’s a video detailing the very first installation, from a little more than a year ago in Colorado:

Photos: John Walker

15 Comment

  • That is very cool. I like the sparkly look, too.

  • wished I had a project to use it on. :)

  • It looks good. I’d be interested to see how they control the porosity and to see whether the County would buy into it or not. It would also be interesting to see how the voids in the Colorado installation cope with the expansion of water ferezing in the porous cavities.

    Of course using glass aggregate itself is nothing new in roadway installations. Generally though the glass is only used to replace part of the rock aggregate because otherwise the surface gets mighty slippery.

  • but for a driveway this isn’t just cool, it’s COOL BEANS!

  • There is another container house being built in Rice Military. I think it is off Floyd. Will have to double check on the walk tomorrow. Its been under construction for a good time now but looking pretty cool!

  • Its multicolored visual texture is very beautiful. For the past few days it has apparently been curing. It will be very interesting to see how this nifty pavement performs in Houston heat and heavy rains.

  • What do they, much less parking lots, do about soil contamination from the fluids that not too infrequently start to leak from the undersides of cars?

  • Al Gore would be proud! How green!

  • Algore would not care in the least. It doesn’t contribute to the business of generating carbon tax credits trading. That’s all that he and his man-made global warming farce are about. This brilliant usage of problematic waste glass is fascinating. I could see the natural reflective nature of the glass significantly improving the issue of heat retainage in parking lots. This will definitely be an interesting product to watch. Porosity could also certainly improve problematic run-off issues and potentially lessen the need for space consuming retention ponds.

  • The issue of “leaking oil” is one of the advantages of the system, or of any good permable system, actually….the porosity allows the oil to coat the inner surfaces, and the large arface area provided insures an oxygen-rich area where biological agents can actually break down the hydrocarbons in place… as opposed to traditional paving, which forces the oil to run off with the water into storm drains and ultimately, bayous and bays, where it becomes a pollutant.

  • Awesome! Way to go NUMEN DEVELOPMENT! Now why don’t some of you Swamplotters start buying some container houses from these fine Houstonians.
    They have also built an art gallery on 11th St in the Heights.

  • Way too cool! My neighbors are the best! Our back alley could use this, got any extra raw material? We would be very interested in knowing the cost of that system.

    Insulation for your Glass

  • Which hundred block is this on Cordell or give me a cross street. Thanks.

  • Hello i am very interesed in haveing this done to my drive i am a resident in california and would love to be the first to show other californias how beautiful and what a great thing this is please contact me asap About cost etc cheryl crowther