May 11, 2015

Withstanding Winter

Burlington, Vt., college uses permeable pavers to improve walkway’s looks and safety

Burlington, Vt., is a city where you can find dessert, manners and education: It is the home of Ben & Jerry’s, the Emily Post Institute and three colleges: the University of Vermont, Burlington College and Champlain College.

But more than that, it is the “home office of winter.” Ski Vermont urges visitors to come and experience winter in its original state. And at an average of 81 in. of snowfall each year, this place is speaking the truth.


The climate, then, is a necessary part of planning whenever a construction project is undertaken. When Champlain College set out to pave the main promenade that directs pedestrians to Perry Hall (which houses admissions and the enrollment center), its goals were to have a hard surface that would withstand the weight of both pedestrians and vehicles while allowing storm water and snow melt to seep into the ground.

Permeable pavement was required under the renovation plans for Perry Hall, which was converted from a 19th century residential structure to its current use. The college decided early on to pursue LEED Platinum status, which requires that site improvements be sustainable.


Originally, the college used a porous concrete product, which was installed atop a series of graded aggregate materials. The concrete installation failed after one winter’s worth of exposure to the harsh environment.

“The decision was made to look out into the marketplace and see what comparable products were out there, and that’s how we were directed to StormPave pavers,” said John Caolo, associate vice president of campus planning and auxiliary services. “The building is a muted brick with a very 21st-century metal panel addition, so it has one foot firmly in the past and one foot firmly in the future. That’s the metaphor we were shooting for.”

Several materials were considered as replacements for the porous concrete. StormPave by Pine Hall Brick Company rose to the top because it has the advantages of aesthetics, permanence and ease of maintenance. An additional plus was a demonstrated tolerance by Pine Hall Brick’s clay pavers for exposure to road salt in installations in other cold climates.


To fit in with the colors that the college had already chosen for the design, StormPave in a Rose Fullblend was chosen for the field, with a StormPave in gray to match up with building trim and on-site stonework. To install, the contractor added aggregate and compacted it to bring the top of the StormPave pavers up to ground level.

The StormPave pavers offered another advantage: No ice after rain. Caolo said that he did not see any indications of ice on top of the StormPave pavers after rainstorms followed by freezing temperatures, which is consistent with what others have reported at similar installations.

“I think the college has been very pleased with it,” said Adam Portz, a landscape architect with S.E. Group, which provided the project design.

Walt Steele is paver business manager for Pine Hall Brick Co. Steele can be reached at [email protected] or 800.334.8689.

Pine Hall Brick Co.


2701 Shorefair Drive

Winston-Salem, NC 27105

United States

Phone: 800.334.8689