14-017-rendering-of-parking-lotPaul Wessel, director of market development at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), last week made remarks at the opening of Connecticut’s first “green” parking lot (read about it here). We liked them so much we wanted to share them here:

Mayor Harp has called us all to embrace a “kindness initiative” this month.

This parking lot project is a wonderful example of how—when we take a moment to be mindful—we can do much kindness.

I Googled the origins of the word “kind” this morning and was delighted to discover that it is derived from Old English word meaning “natural, native, innate” and “with the feelings of relatives for each other.” Not surprisingly, it’s related to the word kin. At its core, kindness is about recognizing our relationships with one another—and that it’s in our nature to do so.

This parking lot is a symbol about how we improve the world when we are mindful of our relationships with each other and the planet that supports us. This lot enhances our ability to access a number of restaurants and small businesses—and increasingly residences—to our north on State Street and to two train stations to our south. It helps us park our bikes. And it helps us fuel our electric vehicles.

It does so with an eye and design toward protecting the Quinnipiac River and the Long Island Sound. It provides high-quality lighting while limiting energy consumption and light pollution. It uses surface coatings to reduce the amount of heat normally generated by paved surfaces. And its landscaping makes this a pleasant respite to walk, bike, bus, or drive by.

Thirty months ago in New Haven, across the street from Gateway Community College, a small but mighty group of visionaries launched what’s become a global program to encourage kinder, more thoughtful development of parking and transportation infrastructure. It’s called “Parksmart” and is now part of the family of offerings of the U.S. Green Building Council and Green Business Certification Inc., that include LEED for buildings, SITES for landscaped sites, and PEER for microgrids.

Parksmart recognizes parking structures specifically and is looking at how to best embrace surface lots such as this. So far, a small number of sites across the country have stepped up as Demonstrator Sites for what can be done when we put our minds. And so today the U.S. Green Building Council is happy to recognize the State-Trumbull lot as New England’s first Green Surface Parking Demonstrator Site.

We recognize the leadership of Mayor Harp and the City of New Haven, Park New Haven, Tighe and Bond, Turner Construction (a longtime member of the USGBC family), Laydon Construction, and a host of subcontractors who made all this possible.