Center for Urban Waters building cutaway: pervious pavers

LEED credit symbol: sustainable sitesPervious pavers allow natural filtration

The pervious pavers used to construct the esplanade and the parking lot allow water to pass through and infiltrate the soil. Unlike typical asphalt, these pavers allow rainwater to penetrate and drain into the soil, naturally filtering some pollutants. This helps reduce the need for and the size of the surface water collection system.

Because they are gray, pervious pavers help reduce the heat island effect that commonly occurs when asphalt is used.

pervious pavers diagram

Interactive diagram

Select an element in the diagram to learn more.

paverscoarse sandcrushed gravelgeotextile


1. The pavers have interlocking spacers which add strength for use in parking areas. Gaps between the pavers allow rainwater to flow through.

coarse sand

2. Three inches of coarse sand is placed between and under the pavers for stability.

crushed gravel

3. Six to eight inches of crushed gravel provides storage for rainwater, allowing it to gradually filter into the subsoil below.


4. Geotextile prevents fine soil particles from migrating up into the crushed gravel.