They look black, but they’re actually green. In an effort to improve the university’s impact on local water quality, Facilities Management is incorporating “green” parking lot design strategies.
Conventional parking lots can be major contributors to water pollution. As storm water flows across them, the water picks up surface pollutants, particularly oil, particles, and chemicals from automobiles. This contaminated runoff enters local creeks, degrading water quality and straining stormwater management systems.
New parking lot surfaces near the Rec Center and the Institute for Behavioral Sciences utilize permeable concrete pavers that allow water back into the soil and filter pollution through sand. In addition to reducing pollutants, the new pavers absorb less heat than conventional asphalt (reducing the heat island effect) and are more cost-effective over time.
In addition to installing porous pavers, Facilities Management is employing other strategies for greening its parking lots. For example, the department has implemented vegetated detention basins in lots near Leeds School of Business and Williams Village. The basins detain storm runoff, partially removing pollutants before the water is discharged. They also help limit flooding and maintain wildlife habitat.
The parking lot enhancements are part of a pilot program within the broader context of campus-wide sustainability. For more about Facilities Management’s role in greening our campus, visit our website.