Parking Garages Get Their Green On
The concrete colossus known as the parking garage may now join its green-building brethren in a new rating system that focuses on the structure's design, technology and operation.
The “Green Garage Certification” is billed as the first system of its kind and the parking industry's equivalent of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
The certification was initiated by the Green Parking Council, an affiliate of the International Parking Institute.
"Green Garage Certification provides both a roadmap and assessment tool for real estate owners, developers, planners, architects, tenants, parking operators, and others to strive toward a more environmentally and economically sustainable future," Green Parking Council Executive Director Paul Wessel said in an announcement of the launch Monday (June 2).
Wessel said the “consensus-driven program” had been established over several years, honed by external reviewers and a beta-testing phase that included more than 40 parking facilities throughout the U.S. and Canada.
One facility tested during the beta phase was the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s parking garage in Golden, CO. The structure opened in 2012.
|Dennis Schroeder / NREL|
The NREL garage features a large, daylit, central atrium and staircase.
With 1,800 parking spaces, the 578,320-square-foot, five-story structure is described as a “showcase for energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.”
Technologies at the parking garage include daylighting, occupancy lighting sensors, a rooftop solar photovoltaic array, open sides for natural ventilation, and dozens of charging stations for electric vehicles.
The Green Parking Council says the new certification system represents a “holistic approach,” evaluating facilities based on their achievement toward a menu of standards developed by more than 200 experts.
Based on an overall level of performance, structures may achieve Bronze, Silver, or Gold Certification, which is awarded for three years and is renewable, according to the Green Parking Council.
|Green Parking Council|
The system evaluates facilities based on their achievement toward a menu of standards developed by experts.
Nearly 50 elements can be used to help achieve certification under the system, including the use of low/zero VOC paints, coatings and sealants; lighting controls; ventilation systems; and rainwater harvesting.
More information: greenparkingcouncil.org/certification.