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The Parking Professional: Green Building Code Makes Green Garage Certification Attainable

Original Source:  "Green Building Code Makes Green Garage Certification Attainable" by Matt Davis for The Parking Professional, July 2016

Image for The Parking Professional: Green Building Code Makes Green Garage Certification Attainable Stanford University Roble Field Parking Structure #10

As a Green Garage Assessor managing the certification for Stanford University’s Roble Field Parking Structure, I was pleased to discover that the Bronze and even Silver Level Certification can be easily attainable without adding additional costs to the project.

This is especially true in California where C3 wastewater requirements and other sustainable practices required by The California Green Building Code or CAL Green for new design and construction are consistent with the Green Garage Certification point structure. CAL Green was the first statewide building code to incorporate green building provisions into the code as mandatory requirements for all building projects. While most other states are still catching up with this level of sustainability required in the code, the Green Garage Certification process is consistent with the Sustainable Parking Best Practices our firm has recommended for over a decade.

For clients looking to make a more substantive commitment to sustainability, Gold Level Certification is still within reach by adding elements, such as Photovoltaics, water cisterns or geothermal loops. While these elements increase the initial cost of the project, they will substantially offset the incremental cost through energy and water use savings. For this project, the budget was tight and Stanford’s project manager challenged the design team to achieve a Green Garage Certification without adding substantial additional cost. When we began the Green Garage Certification process, we were well into the design of the structure. So, we took the approach of examining each section of the requirements to see where we stood on points and then looked carefully at the return on investment for Stanford on any additional elements.

After talking with Stanford about how they intended to manage the garage, it became clear that they already intended to incorporate best practices that equated to 43 points out of a possible score of 90 under the Management section. We had similar findings for the Programs section, which qualified for 34 out of a possible 64 points. The University agreed to add a marketing and educational program to provide an additional 4 points. Through collaboration with Stanford’s project managers and transportation director, we determined that the Roble Field project reached 42 out of 86 points for the Technology and Sustainability section. The University decided to add a tire inflation system to the program, which equated to 2 additional points. And finally, since the projects is adding below grade parking under a green roof to maintain the existing playing field, the project qualified for an additional 3 out of 6 points in the Innovation section. 

In total, the Stanford University’s Roble Field Parking Structure qualified for 124 points. With Bronze certification ranging from 110 –134 points, Silver from 135 – 159 points and Gold requiring 160 – 248 points, the project currently qualifies for the Green Garage Bronze certification level with very little added project cost.

Currently under construction, we are exploring the possibility of adding elements that move the garage into the Silver certification level and evaluating the potential cost of additional sustainable features.  The project description on our web site will ultimately reflect any updates.

Parksmart, formerly the Green Parking Council, reports that 49 sites have registered for Green Garage Certification.  While we hope that Stanford’s Roble Field Parking Structure will be the first certified new construction, we are looking forward to comparing notes with others who are working on certifying new facilities to see how the program is working for them. For more information, please contact Trevyr Meade at the Parksmart.

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About the Author

Matt Davis has been creating parking solutions for over 20 years. He has worked on over 125 parking projects and is a certified Parksmart Advisor. In addition to delivering projects to satisfied clients, Matt’s projects, such as the Tustin Metrolink Station Parking Structure and UC San Diego Osler Parking Structure and Visitor's Center, have received recognition from the International Parking Institute and other associations. An active participant in the International Parking & Mobility Institute and the Pacific Intermountain Parking & Transportation Association, Matt has penned and spoken on a number of industry topics, such as Healthcare Parking as the First Line of Customer Service, Green Parking, Transit Parking Best Practices, the Future of Parking, Protecting Your Parking Investment and Right Sizing Parking.

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