BY LOGAN WEBB
Just like LEED building structures, there has been a movement to certify parking structures that make their parking environmentally friendly. When it comes to parking structures, the largest carbon footprint marker is what structural material the project is designed with. It is believed that concrete is a material that has a negative impact on sustainability.
To address this hypothesis, The Precast Concrete Institute (PCI) performed a full life-cycle assessment (LCA) on precast concrete and other similar structural systems, steel and cast-in-place concrete, to measure and compare the environmental impact of each building material. They found that despite most perceptions of precast concrete being environmentally unfriendly that it has a similar carbon footprint to other building materials. It even outperforms other building materials in what is called, "the gate to the grave", phase of a buildings life. If you want to know more about this study you can read the full report here.
To accomplish and oversee the process and verification of greener parking garages the Green Parking Council was established by the International Parking Institute. The Green Parking Council, also known as Parksmart, came up with lists of discrete technologies and integrated systems to not only help reduce a garages environmental impact, but also help improve user experience. Found below is a list of all the technologies and systems that Parksmart looks at when judging a parking structure for certification as well as the grading scale. While not every garage needs these features incorporating even just a few into your next parking structure is a great way to reduce the environmental impact. If you are interested in learning more about Parksmart or even how you can submit your job for Parksmart certifications we suggest you check out their website here.