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Petro designers and production teams like to think LOCAL!

Petro designers and production teams like to think LOCAL!  We promote the use of Low impact materials.  These are materials that require less energy for production, transport, and operation than NEW products OR those that come from outside of the local or regional economy.  They have lower impacts throughout the product life cycle, including production, use, and disposal. It also helps to choose products that will not be damaging to your health and to the environment! Let us guide you in choosing products that can be recycled or deconstructed and can be reused on-site or at nearby sites rather than disposed of in a landfill.  Using shade constructed surfaces with structures or vegetation to reduce heat islands and effects on microclimate and wildlife habitat are also helpful.  Additionally, choosing paints, sealants and other related products that contain reduced amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), which contribute to air pollution, are better for you and the environment. Petro uses low impact materials in several of our projects currently in the works. Shown in the photos below, recycled stone was used for several wall structures at a residence in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

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Benefits of replacing Asphalt with Pervious Pavement

Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection defines pervious pavement as having more air spaces than regular pavement, allowing water to drain through the surface into the underlying soil. Most paved surfaces are currently impervious, but Environmental Site Design (ESD) efforts including installation of pervious pavement are being required for new development as well as redevelopment of properties in Montgomery County. Applying ESD techniques such as pervious pavement in place of asphalt will help to reduce runoff and issues with flooding, as well as improve water quality. Replacing asphalt surfaces with pervious pavement can provide other ecological, social, and economic benefits.  Pervious pavement functions to slow water and allow infiltration while filtering stormwater on-site. Adding trees and vegetation in previously paved areas can provide comfortable spaces by reducing urban heat island effects and improving air quality as well as overall human health. Pervious pavements and vegetated areas help to reduce energy costs and add aesthetic appeal to any environment (www.montgomerycountymd.gov). Petro has worked on several projects utilizing ESD techniques, including pervious pavement. Petro used pervious concrete and vegetation to help alleviate issues with pooling and flooding at a residence in Columbia, Maryland. The photo below shows the pervious concrete next to…

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Petro is Growing a Vegetable Garden

Petro’s yearly vegetable garden is growing, Growing, GROWING… This year, with the expert guidance of Kathleen, we have cultivated habanero chili peppers, tomatoes, figs, and several herbs, including basil, dill, and rosemary.  Our staff lunches have been supplemented by this lovely harvest from our “Edible Garden”. Contact us if you are interested in edible landscaping. Basil in the Garden Our Harvest for the week

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Good Neighbors

Oftentimes the best neighbors are the ones that you get to see when you want to see them and who get to see you when you want them to see you. Not that we all want to be recluse but, after a long day at work, it would be nice to relax on your deck or patio uninterrupted by a nosey or even gracious neighbor.  Likewise, your neighbors may not want to see you in your back yard either and so, may also be uncomfortable seeing you relaxing in your yard. Leyland cypress trees were the big victims in this past winter’s snow.  Sure, they grow fast but they grow so fast that they don’t have the time to develop the substantial root system necessary to carry their weight.  This makes them short lived and ineffective as reliable/long-term screening trees. There are better options for evergreen screens or, depending on the height requirements and/or restrictions, consider framed panel screening. Particularly if you are on an elevated deck, the best screening is something built.  Considering this past heat; maintaining air circulation becomes critical; likewise with fencing.  An open screen not only allows air to flow but becomes a buffer, rather than an…

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Chicken Gardening – Sustainable Landscapes

What better way to ensure that you have fresh, organic eggs than to have your own hen house?  Today’s site development plans are no longer limited to vegetable and herb gardens, berry cages and compost bins; they include ‘designs’ for a family run hen-house. Yesterday’s hobby of water gardening is today’s producing chicken garden. As a child growing up on a few acres, my father raised 45 chickens, several ducks and honey bees, seemingly to help sustain our family of 11.  I’m sure, though, he enjoyed the challenge, variety and fun of this endeavor.  He even grew mushrooms in our cellar!   These practices have come full circle as families, again, try to sustain from within. It’s more than a personal interest;  reducing reliance on mass produced eggs and chickens reduces the waste run-off into critical waterways, eliminates the energy and fuel consumption necessary to transport and refrigerate, and sends a message about the cruel conditions that mass produced chickens are raised under. Hen house ‘designs’ can be stylish and fun but keep in mind that this is not a weekend hobby. They must include security, shade, nesting areas, feeding areas, ventilation, protection from storms and weather, lighting, access and adjoining (or close-by)…

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F.A.C.T.S. 2010 Student Built House Dedication

This Friday Petro's Kathleen Litchfeild, FACTS Vice Chair in her "spare time", will be helping to dedicate the 2010 Student Built House.  This is the 35th house built by the FACTS Program (Foundation of Automotive & Construction Technology for Sutdents).  Friday's dedication will begin at 11:30 and showcase the students skills, plus display what they have learned through this process.  Additionally,  Kathleen will be conducting a special presentation on the FACTS Program, a group she helped found, build, and see succeed through the years. More Event Information: 2010 FACTS Student Built House Dedication, May 7, 11:30am 8205 Student Drive, Clinton MD 20735 See www.pgcps.org for more information

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Earth Day 2010

Happy Earth Day from Petro Design Build Inc. Branch out and celebrate Earth Day this Thursday!  April 22, 2010 marks the 40th anniversary.  Events, lectures, etc. will be taking place through the weekend in celebration.  We've listed a few below around the metro area we think would be great opportunities to "branch out". Thursday, April 22 2nd Annual Green Drinks for the Bay: 5:30pm, Severn Inn, 1993 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd., Annapolis AIA Spring Lecture Series: Jerry van Eyck, Narration of Urban Settings through Integral Landscapes, 6pm Brown Center, MICA, Baltimore Historic Sherwood Gardens is in full bloom with 80,000 tulips!  Absolutely breathtaking, a must see if you are in the Baltimore area. Chesapeak Ecology Center:  Volunteer Needed,  Orientation: 1-3pm, Chesapeake Ecology Center, 245 Clay St., Annapolis Saturday, April 24th Earth Day and Family, Music & Kite Festival: 10-3pm, Quiet Waters Park, 600 Quiet Waters Road, Annapolis 16th Annual Sierra Club "Earth Day" 5k: 8:30am Quiet Waters Park, Annapolis Sunday, April 25th MD House and Garden Pilgrimage: Tour Historic Guilford in Baltimore City, home of Sherwood Gardens St. Georges Day: PG Historical Society with gather at Trinity Episcopal Church in Upper Marlboro to celebrate the 314th anniversary of the establishment of Prince George's County. Earth…

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