What Is a Porous Parking Lot? Benefits and Uses Explained

A porous parking lot, sometimes referred to as porous pavement, is a type of paved surface that’s designed with a higher than usual percentage of air voids. These air voids allow water and other liquids to pass through the pavement and infiltrate into the subsoil beneath. Unlike traditional impermeable pavement, which causes rainfall to runoff and contribute to stormwater runoff and flooding issues, a porous parking lot acts as a stormwater management solution by promoting natural drainage and infiltration. This innovative paving technique offers numerous benefits and uses, making it an increasingly popular choice for parking lots, driveways, and other paved areas.

What Is Considered Porous Pavement?

Porous pavement, also known as permeable pavement, is a type of roadway paving that’s specifically designed to collect and manage stormwater runoff. This helps to reduce the amount of stormwater that flows into storm drains and sewer systems, which can lead to flooding and water pollution.

One of the key benefits of porous pavement is it’s ability to help create a sustainable environment. By allowing rainwater to infiltrate into the ground, it helps to replenish groundwater supplies and recharge aquifers. This is especially important in urban areas, where the high concentration of impervious surfaces can lead to reduced water availability and increased demand for municipal water supplies.

Traditional pavement absorbs and retains heat, contributing to the urban heat island effect.

In New York City, green infrastructure practices, such as porous pavement, are being implemented as a cost-effective way to manage stormwater and create a more sustainable urban environment. These practices are part of a larger effort to reduce the citys contribution to water pollution and improve overall water management strategies. By incorporating green infrastructure into the design and maintenance of city streets and sidewalks, New York City is taking steps towards a more resilient and environmentally friendly future.

Additionally, other types of porous paving materials can also be found, such as grass pavers, gravel grids, and interlocking permeable pavers. These options provide various aesthetic and functional benefits, allowing water to infiltrate through the surface and preventing stormwater runoff. The selection of a specific type of porous paving depends on the intended use, climate, and project requirements.

What Is an Example of Porous Paving?

An example of porous paving is permeable asphalt, which is designed to allow water to infiltrate through the surface, reducing stormwater runoff. This type of asphalt is made with larger-sized aggregate and a porous binder, allowing water to flow through the pavement structure and into the underlying soil. Permeable asphalt is commonly used in parking lots, roadways, and driveways.

Another example is porous concrete, which is made with a specific mixture of aggregate, cement, and water to create a more open and interconnected structure. This allows water to flow through the pavement and into the ground below. Porous concrete is often used in sidewalks, plazas, and low-traffic roads.

Paving stones, or interlocking concrete pavers, can also be considered as a form of porous paving. The spaces between the pavers allow water to infiltrate into the ground, rather than being runoff. These pavers are typically set on a bed of sand or gravel, which further enhances the permeability of the pavement.

When installing any type of porous paving material, a carefully prepared subsurface is crucial. This may include grading the area and using washed stone as a base layer. Additionally, an intricate system of piping, storage tanks, and basins may be incorporated to manage stormwater and treat it before it enters the ground. These subsurface components ensure that the permeable pavement functions effectively in reducing surface runoff and improving water infiltration.

The benefits of porous paving are numerous. By allowing water to infiltrate into the ground, it helps replenish groundwater resources and reduce the strain on stormwater systems. This can help mitigate flooding and water pollution. Porous pavement also helps to reduce heat island effect, as the water that infiltrates into the ground cools down the surrounding environment.

It can be designed to incorporate different colors and patterns, adding visual interest and creating a more engaging environment for pedestrians.

Source: Permeable paving – Wikipedia

Porous concrete, also known as pervious concrete or permeable concrete, is a unique type of concrete that possesses a high level of porosity. This allows water from various sources, including rainfall, to easily flow through the material instead of accumulating as runoff. By promoting water drainage, porous concrete effectively mitigates the issue of excessive runoff on a site.

Is Porous Concrete Permeable?

Porous concrete, also known as permeable concrete, is a unique type of concrete that possesses high porosity. This means that it’s the ability to allow water to pass through it directly, rather than creating runoff. This characteristic makes it an ideal choice for a variety of concrete flatwork applications, such as parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks.

One of the main benefits of porous concrete is it’s ability to mitigate stormwater runoff. Traditional concrete surfaces typically create large amounts of runoff, which can lead to water pollution and flooding issues.

Because it doesn’t require additional stormwater management infrastructure, such as detention ponds or underground piping systems, it can be more cost-effective to install. Furthermore, it’s permeability helps to reduce the risk of ice formation, making it safer for pedestrians and drivers during winter months.

Porous concrete can be used in a variety of applications, with parking lots being one of the most common. Porous parking lots not only reduce stormwater runoff, but they also help to reduce the urban heat island effect by allowing the ground to absorb and dissipate heat more effectively. This can lead to cooler parking lots, saving energy and reducing the need for artificial cooling methods.

The Environmental Benefits of Porous Concrete

Porous concrete, also known as permeable concrete or pervious concrete, offers several environmental benefits. It’s unique structure allows water to pass through, reducing runoff and improving water quality. This material helps replenish groundwater tables, as water is able to penetrate the surface and seep into the soil below. Porous concrete also helps mitigate the urban heat island effect by reducing surface temperatures and promoting natural cooling. Additionally, it aids in the filtration of pollutants, trapping sediments and contaminants and preventing them from entering water bodies. Overall, porous concrete is an eco-friendly solution for parking lots and other paved areas, promoting sustainable water management and environmental conservation.


With it’s higher percentage of air voids, this innovative pavement allows for effective water infiltration into the subsoil, minimizing stormwater runoff and promoting groundwater recharge. Not only does it provide environmental benefits, but it also offers improved durability, reduced maintenance costs, and enhanced aesthetic appeal. Furthermore, the versatility of porous parking lots makes them suitable for various applications, including residential, commercial, and industrial settings. As the need to mitigate the effects of urbanization and climate change increases, investing in porous pavement is a wise choice that combines functionality, sustainability, and economic value.

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