Permeable paving the way for a sustainable future

Permeable paving is an effective storm water management tool which uses purpose designed paving units and specially graded base materials to allow excess storm water to filtrate through the pavement surface to the sub base beneath where it can be harvested, recycled or returned to the water table.

Permeable paving has been used in many commercial projects throughout Australia including Brisbane’s Botanic Gardens and Sydney’s Olympic Park Precinct. While having been successfully used in these projects, there has been a notable trend in the use of Permeable Paving in residential and multi-residential projects where forward thinking councils reward sustainable design by classifying permeable paving as a part of a properties’ soft landscaping. As an effective storm water management tool, permeable paving has proven its ability through widespread use throughout North America, Canada, Europe and the United Kingdom.

The ability to capture and reuse as much water as possible is crucial to a sustainable future and the specification of a permeable pavement is the starting point to a simple, environmentally effective, water saving system beneath the surface. Currently, in Melbourne, five hundred billion litres of water falls on the city each year and only one per cent is captured1. Permeable pavements can capture up to 95 per cent of all stormwater runoff which creates an opportunity to enhance water recycling efforts while also mitigating the effects of stormwater flooding. With record levels of drought across Australia, increasingly less consistent rainfall and ongoing water restrictions throughout many parts of the country, the time to implement permeable paving systems is now.

World renowned paving engineer Dr. Brian Shackel has identified six key objectives achievable through the use of permeable paving in the whitepaper, ‘The Design, Construction and Evaluation of Permeable Pavement in Australia.’ Shackel believes it is possible to;

1)     Reduce the amount of rainfall runoff from pavement surfaces, thereby eliminating or minimising the extent of the stormwater drainage system, leading to substantial savings in the overall project costs

2)     Reduce the size and need for rainwater retention facilities in road works by using the pavement itself for retention, improving land use

3)     Reduce or avoid downstream flooding

4)     Recharge and maintain aquifers and the natural groundwater

5)     Trap pollutants that would otherwise contaminate groundwater or drainage systems

6)     Assist in the biological decomposition of hydrocarbon contaminants

The growing trend towards permeable paving in residential projects is set to continue in 2015 according to Adbri Masonry’s Marketing Manager Karl Wood. “Successes in some of Australia’s most iconic commercial projects coupled with the environmental and practical benefits of permeable paving will stimulate increased interest through the residential sector,” explained Adbri Masonry Marketing Manager, Karl Wood. “We are already seeing a spike in inquiries for Adbri’s Ecopave permeable paver, a brick shape permeable paver which has been specifically developed for use in residential landscaping and driveways. The trend is to use an underground water tank placed under the permeable driveway – removing the eye sore of above ground tanks and reducing water usage for the home.” continued Wood.

Water is our most valuable resource. It’s fundamental to our health, our way of life, our economy and environment. Countries all over the world have had great success in incorporating permeable pavements as part of their urban surfaces; however for one of the driest continents on earth, the use of this proven Water-Sensitive Urban Design in Australia has been minimal at best, something that permeable paving manufacturers believe is set to change.

Permeable pavers are available in a large range of colours, textures and formats for both commercial and residential projects; choose the environmentally sustainable surface solution.

For further details on types of permeable paving available and to download the white paper, please visit

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