LEED Parking: Can Green Parking Garages Be Certified?

LEED Certification and Parking Facilities: Reducing Environmental Footprints

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is part of a nationwide green construction program that grants accreditation to buildings and facilities that meet demanding energy efficiency and ecological standards. Earlier in LEED’s history, there was ongoing debate as to whether or not green parking garages, as standalone structures, could qualify for LEED certification. The long and short of it boils down to this: parking facilities by themselves cannot be certified under the LEED program, but they can incorporate features that help the building, as a whole, earn certification.

In addition, after the LEED decision, a new organization and new certification arose: the Green Parking Council and Green Garage Certification, recently renamed Parksmart. To make things even more confusing, Green Building Certification, Inc., which manages LEED certification for the USGBC, now manages Parksmart certification, too. So yes, green parking garages can be certified, just not LEED certified.

Technicalities and certifications aside, there are plenty of ways to “go green” by improving energy efficiency and reducing the environmental footprint of parking facilities. Lighting systems, parking priorities, construction materials and ventilation systems can all be configured to support green initiatives.

The Impact of Efficient Lighting

While parking structures themselves may not be eligible for LEED certification, they can take part in the U.S. Energy Department’s Lighting Energy Efficiency in Parking (LEEP) initiative. When the campaign went widespread in 2014, participating partners were able to cut lighting-related energy use by a whopping 90 percent.

The program encourages parking garages to switch to energy-efficient options like fluorescent, halide and LED-powered systems. It also promotes technologies that offer better control over light activation and deactivation, ensuring energy isn’t being wasted when the facility isn’t in use.

Special Access for Drivers of Efficient Vehicles

Another strategy that’s been used in traffic-heavy areas like Southern California is to give priority access to drivers of fuel-efficient hybrid or electric vehicles. Giving these vehicles access to the most conveniently located spots raises awareness of ecological issues and rewards drivers who are doing their part to reduce carbon emissions.

Getting Creative with Construction Materials

Paul de Ruiter Architects, a Dutch building design firm, recently made waves with a bold approach to parking structure construction. The firm created a garage made completely of recyclable materials, and engineered it so it could be dismantled in the future, when sustainable modes of transportation have become the standard and dedicated parking space for cars is no longer needed.
De Ruiter’s building, known as the Mors Gate garage, also uses natural ventilation, heat recovery systems and other advanced green technologies, leading some to hail it as a new standard in parking structure design. Even though a “future without cars” is still a long way off, innovation remains a powerful weapon in the fight against pollution.

Reducing Demand

While parking facilities themselves may not be eligible for LEED, one step toward certification for your building can include reducing the number of parking spaces you offer. How can this be justified? By reducing demand. TDM programs and software like RideAmigos can have an incredible effect on shifting the way people think about and use transportation, particularly for commuting. Contact us to learn more about how your organization can reduce its parking and environmental footprints and help transform transportation.

Overcoming Congestion By Empowering Commuters

All too often, conventional approaches to fighting traffic congestion amount to little more than wasted taxpayer money.

To the growing frustration of many taxpayers, municipalities and government agencies around the country are throwing money at inefficient ways to relieve the ever-present problem of traffic congestion. Consider the following examples:

  • Colorado’s state government recently proposed a $1.2 billion plan to widen the I-70 freeway in Denver
  • The city of Louisville, Kentucky is bankrolling the expansion of the I-71 freeway from four lanes to six
  • The state of Iowa wants to broaden U.S. Highway 20 up to four lanes to accommodate the growing demands of car-based travel
  • Alabama’s state government supports to widen the I-20/59 freeway — a highway that runs right through Birmingham’s city center

While they may provide the illusion of relief over the short term, these approaches amount to more pollution, more concrete, more construction and more problems in the future. They aren’t effectively addressing the root causes of gridlock and traffic-generated pollution; they’re simply masking the issue. We need commuters to think differently about their transportation options.

Planning for a better future can’t be done by catering to the needs of single-occupancy vehicles. Rather, governments must find ways to inspire commuters and travelers to make better use of alternatives like biking, walking, ridesharing, carpooling, vanpooling and public transit. How? By putting a new generation of powerful transportation planning tools into the hands of an increasingly larger base of users.

At RideAmigos, we’ve created a smarter way forward in the form of our critically-acclaimed transportation demand management software platform. It enables municipalities and governments to strategize and promote alternatives that generate meaningful results by transforming the ways people think about getting from point A to B.

Empowering commuters to make fully-informed transportation decisions is our specialty at RideAmigos. We provide end users with innovative and easy-to-use tools like an interactive commuter dashboard and multimodal trip planner to consider the wide array of options beyond single-occupancy vehicles.

A small investment in technology can pay big dividends and facilitate more effective allocation of limited resources.

Our user-focused software has been proven time and time again to reduce reliance on single-occupancy vehicles and make alternative options more accessible and more convenient than ever before. Effective solutions to traffic congestion happen when municipalities and governments take decisive steps to make it easier for people to leave their cars at home, and that’s the power of the RideAmigos platform.

Make better use of taxpayer dollars and be part of the solution rather than just sweeping the problem under the rug of a widened freeway. Contact RideAmigos today for an informative, eye-opening demonstration of the incredible power of our unique technology.


Reducing Parking Costs

Reducing parking costs doesn’t just boost your bottom line, it also helps the environment and creates a safer community

Providing employees with safe, accessible parking places can cost businesses thousands of dollars per month. This is especially true for companies with offices in high-demand areas, where multiple enterprises have to compete for limited resources.

The most direct path to reducing parking costs is to get employees to leave their cars at home and find alternative ways of getting to work. After all, the cheapest parking spot is one that isn’t needed in the first place.

It isn’t just businesses that can benefit by reducing demand for parking. Community colleges and universities are constantly struggling to make the best possible use of their limited parking resources. Assigning and managing parking passes can be a complicated process that drains finances and makes inefficient use of employee time.

Campus safety is another big concern for college and university administrators. One of the best ways to build a pedestrian-friendly school community is to scale back the number of vehicles using campus roads. Commuter management software tools like the RideAmigos platform helps achieve this while simultaneously reducing demand for parking.

Helping commuters find efficient transportation alternatives is the key to reducing parking costs

Connecting commuters to transportation options that don’t require parking is the simplest and most effective way to cut costs and enhance community safety. The RideAmigos platform puts powerful tools in the hands of businesses and organizations, making it easy to:

  • Create and manage carpool, bikepool, and rideshare networks
  • Put commuters who live in the same area in contact with each other
  • Find a complete range of local transportation alternatives, including public transit, rideshares, vanpools, and walking/biking routes
  • Save journey details for easy future reference
  • Create and manage commuter challenge and incentive programs that give people added impetus to participate
  • Build custom commuter networks for easier program management
  • Generate custom reports to track program progress and make strategic improvements

Together, these capabilities have the potential to dramatically reduce parking costs and relieve traffic congestion.

With an industry-leading suite of powerful commuter management features, the RideAmigos platform is the ideal partner for enterprises and organizations looking to cut parking costs by getting community members out of single-occupancy vehicles.

To learn more about how our revolutionary platform can help your business or organization reduce parking needs and increase commuter satisfaction, contact us today or sign up to view our free video demonstration.