LTU and Parjana create green parking lot with integrated technology

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published December 21, 2015

 The porous pavement called Xeripave, which filters stormwater, will be used on the project.

The porous pavement called Xeripave, which filters stormwater, will be used on the project.

Photo by Donna Agusti

SOUTHFIELD — It might look like a regular old parking lot when it’s done, but there will be a lot going on under the surface.

Construction began Dec. 17 on parking lot D at Lawrence Technological University, 21000 W. 10 Mile Road, to install an innovative drainage system, which utilizes new green technology called energy-passive groundwater recharge products.

The school is one of the first in the nation to test the drainage system.

“For Lawrence Tech, we’re very interested in new and innovative ways to deal with stormwater runoff. We have a vegetated roof, rain gardens, bioswales — there’s a lot of things we have going on on campus. This just represents the next opportunity to kind of explore and research an innovative drainage system,” LTU professor Donald Carpenter said.

The parking lot is in front of the new Taubman Complex, which is also currently under construction, Next year, the university will open the $55 million Taubman Complex, housing the school’s architecture, engineering, biomedical, science, technology, engineering and math programs.
LTU is partnering with Detroit-based green water management company Parjana on the new drainage system.

Energy-passive groundwater recharge products work by balancing soil moisture and facilitating the movement of water between horizontal soil layers, according to a news release from Eric Pope, managing editor of LTU’s University News Bureau. The system addresses soil moisture imbalance, excess water runoff and the lack of underground water recharging, which is the process of surface water becoming groundwater.

The new drainage system incorporates haydite, a stone that provides water quality and control, and the porous pavement Xeripave.

Carpenter said stormwater runoff is a major cause of water pollution, and the system is designed to absorb up to an inch of rain in a 24-hour period.

Parjana CEO Gregory McPartlin compared the function of the project to that of a common household appliance. 

“We’re basically building a giant Brita filter and putting a cap on top of it so you’ll never see it. That allows the earth to absorb the water before it ever hits the storm drains,” McPartlin said. “We’re just restabilizing Mother Nature. We’re taking the water where it is supposed to be in the first place before we built all this stuff.”

Parjana and the school have received a $100,000 grant for the project, Pope said.