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Project Name: Hotel Emma at the Pearl

Project Location: San Antonio, TX

Hotel EmmaWhat started as a project to preserve the historic Pearl Brewery building in San Antonio, Texas, turned into the development of a mixed-use retail/residential complex and entertainment district known as The Pearl. The developers wanted to preserve the brewery’s history while creating an eco-friendly and sustainable destination near the heart of Downtown San Antonio. To accomplish this, project leaders considered the following requirements when planning the transformation of the historic Pearl Brewery site:

  • Sustainable site access: Planners required that the site be easily accessible by foot and bicycle. They also wanted the development to be close to public transportation to limit emissions.
  • Efficient use of water and energy: They sought to use the recycled and captured rainwater, as well as integrate low-water landscaping, energy-efficient windows, and insulation.
  • Use of sustainable construction materials: Planners wanted to use materials containing a high percentage of recycled content.

Preserving History & Sustainability

With these goals in mind, developers designed an access way to the Pearl’s Hotel Emma with a permeable pavement/water collection and filtration system. The GEOPAVE® Gravel Pavement System situated above a sand filtration system provided a way for water to infiltrate at its source in the motor court and be treated and controlled before its release into the adjacent San Antonio River.

One-Two Punch for Managing Stormwater; Eliminating Point Source Pollution

The GEOPAVE system was used in conjunction with the Environmental Passive Integrated Chamber (EPIC) system. The combination of GEOPAVE pavers with a highly permeable, open-graded aggregate at the pavement surface and the EPIC collection chamber underneath to collect and treat the water before releasing it delivered a complete on-site stormwater system.

The EPIC system captures rain during storm events and stores it for use during drier times, and it removes 70-85% of the suspended solids and up to 35% of pathogens through natural sand filtration. This process creates healthier water for irrigation and discharge into waterways, virtually eliminating Point Source Pollution. The system’s efficient, fast infiltration and on-site treatment eliminated the need for additional storm drainage infrastructure or ponds.


How the GEOPAVE® Pavers Work

The GEOPAVE pavers confine open-graded aggregate, delivering high rates of infiltration to minimize stormwater runoff. Water flows through the pavement layer into the stormwater retention base layer for storage and natural percolation. The GEOPAVE system’s molded mesh bottom keeps aggregate from moving, even under high vehicle traffic, and offers a stiff resistance to loading stresses.

The Results

The Pearl Brewery Development is recognized as one of the top green developments in the United States. The Pearl is registered with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system and achieved Gold Level certification.