The recognition of the world’s first Certified Green Garages at the 2015 IPI Conference & Expo was a statement to our patrons and communities that parking will play a key role in the sustainability movement.
Green Garage Certification offers a menu of 48 elements garages can deploy to increase efficiency and lower environmental impact. Each element highlights an opportunity for increased sustainability through smart construction practices, alternative mobility programming, efficient technologies, or low-impact operations. Garages achieve certification by employing the elements that best fit their operations.
Since the launch of certification in June 2014, 29 facilities have registered. As professionals at each of these properties work toward certification, they’ve come to realize that the program offers much more than recognition for sustainability achievements. Whether highlighting new patron amenities, educating frontline staff, or providing a platform for standard operating procedures, Green Garage Certification has emerged as a tool for organizational improvement.
Bank of America Plaza, a Brookfield Properties Certified Green Garage in Los Angeles, deployed a rideshare/carshare package developed by Enterprise to earn credit toward the facility’s Green Garage Certification. “I’m now evaluating the opportunity to bring this offering to a number of locations throughout the U.S.,” says Laura Longsworth, Brookfield’s vice president of national parking operations. “I’ve come to realize that it is not just a sustainability initiative but a valuable tenant amenity.”
Green Garage Certification has also ignited an awareness for sustainability within the industry. Canopy Airport Parking, another of the seven certified garages announced at the 2015 IPI Conference & Expo, was designed to incorporate technologies that promote sustainability through improved efficiencies and clean energy generation. The certification process has helped the operations staff at Canopy and other locations become more familiar with the effects of these green technologies. “Going through Green Garage Certification has brought these technologies into focus,” explains Charles Billera, general manager at Canopy Airport Parking. “I now have a greater understanding of how they benefit Canopy’s triple bottom line.”
Others have found the Green Garage Standard to be a useful tool for standardizing garage operating procedures. After going through the certification process for the Forest Home Garage, Cornell University Transportation Services is embracing the program for making decisions campus wide. “We didn’t have a manual for garage operations,” says Bartt Smith, facilities coordinator. “The Green Garage Standard now acts as our playbook.”
These emerging trends are a testament to the industry-driven process that created Green Garage Certification. “The program was developed by our industry for our industry,” explains Green Parking Council Executive Director Paul Wessell. “The ripples beyond facility recognition show that we’ve established a program that meets our business needs in a socially responsible manner.”
As more parking professionals become familiar with Green Garage Certification, the program will create positive change not just for high performers but industrywide.
“Working through the process gave me more familiarity with a number of sustainability initiatives that can be worked into future projects whether or not the owner is seeking certification,” says Eric Haggett of DESMAN, who was instrumental in the certification of Cornell’s Forest Home Garage. “This program is already beginning to reshape the market.”
For information on Green Garage Certification, visit greenparkingcouncil.org/certified-green-garages.
Trevyr Meade is a program manager with the Green Parking Council. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.