Reduction of environmental impacts due to using permeable pavements to harvest stormwater

Antunes, Lucas Niehuns and Sydney, Calum and Ghisi, Enedir and Phoenix, Vernon R. and Thives, Liseane Padilha and White, Christopher and Holdefer Garcia, Emmanuelle Stefânia (2020) Reduction of environmental impacts due to using permeable pavements to harvest stormwater. Water, 12 (10). 2840. ISSN 2073-4441 (

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While rainwater harvesting can provide additional water resources, this approach is largely undertaken using water from roofs. More recently, the potential for using stormwater harvested from permeable pavements was recognised as a potential additional water resource. The objective of this study was to estimate the reduction of environmental impacts caused by traditional drainage systems and centralised water utilities if permeable pavement systems were used to harvest stormwater for nonpotable purposes in buildings. The lifecycle environmental impacts and costs associated with the proposed pavements and hydraulic systems were assessed. The city of Glasgow was chosen as a case study. We used the Netuno computer programme to estimate the potential for potable water savings considering the use of stormwater for nonpotable purposes and the SimaPro software to perform a lifecycle assessment (LCA). With the implementation of permeable pavements and stormwater utilisation, great reductions in lifecycle emissions (i.e., CO2-, SO2-, and PM2.5-equivalent emissions) were observed. The proposed system also proved to be economically feasible, i.e., a payback period equal to 16.9 years. The results show the economic and environmental feasibility of permeable pavements when used on a large scale, proving to be an important strategy to reduce water and environmental stresses caused by centralised water utilities and traditional drainage systems.