Tag Archives: TPP-2012-03-

Hide Lock Take

TPP-2012-03-Hide Lock TakeBy Jordan Wendelken

It’s not every day that a person can boast about being a crime fighter or helping thwart experienced criminals, but people are doing so across the nation. With a simple concept in mind, growing populations have taken a stand to fight auto theft by just being aware. “Hide your things, lock your car, and take your keys” is the phrase that is making all of this happen without using negative language that can make patrons nervous about leaving their cars.

Hide Lock Take (HLT), made its debut at a 2004 police crime prevention demonstration in Dallas. When crime was at an all-time high and departments all over were investing in many ideas and concepts to help stop vehicle burglaries, the small program started spreading. Within the city limits, yellow, black, and red signs were placed in high traffic areas and parking lots. The signs featured the phrase that caught the eyes and attention of those who chose to park in those areas. What seems to be a simple and obvious solution became precisely that. Crime does not have to be fought by police reports and detectives; true crime fighting starts with the average citizen.

During the early 2000s, Texas experienced 500,000 auto burglaries and thefts. Large cities were hit the hardest by this crime wave. Once the Dallas Police Department took on HLT, vehicle crimes were reported to have decreased by more than 80 percent. From there, surrounding cities took on the awareness campaign with similar success.

Shopping areas, parks, fitness centers, schools, theaters, stadiums, and other locations where patrons stay for an hour or longer at a time are top on the list for criminals. Mounting the signs in these areas on poles or directly to the wall in plain sight gives everyone the reminder to lock their cars and hide their valuables. HLT signs are also an easy solution for parking garages to prevent any problems or potential problem areas. When criminals notice that vehicles in an area are lacking the easy smash and grab items or unlocked doors, they move on and rarely return.

Cities and neighborhoods with low crime are the most desired by thieves. College towns, with their high concentrations of vehicles and busy college students who are not always aware of what is in their cars are high targets as well. Custom signs with the awareness messages were produced in several areas and rolled out onto campuses and into neighborhoods, reminding everyone to just be smart and aware. As a result, college towns began to notice a difference they attributed to the program’s message. Displaying the HLT signs was all it took for the message to make its way into the minds of the citizens.

After spreading across Texas cities down to the Gulf by way of police conventions and crime prevention gatherings, HLT grew beyond signage and launched www.hidelocktake.com. Using email, web marketing, and social media, HLT reached beyond its word of mouth network. Twitter and Facebook feeds began spreading the HLT campaign, and police departments began contacting their local news stations with reports of lowered auto crime rates. In 2011, the HLT promotions team left Dallas for Pittsburgh, stopping along the way to take photos of the signs in front of famous and historic places. Once in Pittsburgh the team assembled their booth at the 2011 IPI Conference & Expo. The message reached colleges from coast to coast along with many other international parking professionals. Signs were also purchased and taken back to Canada, where the program is now growing as well.

While other like-minded programs exist, there is a clear separation that many hold strong to with the HLT message: the HLT signs do not say crime, theft, burglary, or any other associated words. Why display a sign that could negatively advertise a safe area as being dangerous? Education is the first line of defense with HLT. There is no other automotive crime prevention program in existence that has taught even children to become crime fighters like Hide Lock Take.

Grant opportunities are available to retailers, insurance groups, and other businesses to help to start the HLT program on their properties. Non-profit groups and law enforcement agencies are great resources to collect and distribute grants and HLT materials. Partnering up with associations and ordering custom logo printed signs helps to balance costs as well. New ideas are also being developed, such as doorknob hangers and rearview mirror displays, with the message to help reach everyone. With the program’s recently awarded copyright protections, HLT keeps its message and integrity safe too. Starting the awareness is as easy as visiting www.hidelocktake.com to view free printable brochures and videos.

Most importantly remember to Hide your things, Lock your car, and Take your keys, and help spread the word while you’re at it!

Jordan Wendelken is the founder of Hide, Lock, Take. He can be reached at info@hidelocktake.com or 888.235.1HLT.

TPP-2012-03-Hide Lock Take

Explosion Erosion

TPP-2012-03-Explosion Erosion By I. Paul Lew, P.E., CAPP

It’s been nearly two years since a failed attempt to detonate a vehicle bomb in New York’s Times Square. As was demonstrated in this event and more so in the 1995 Oklahoma City federal building bombing and bomb in the garage of the World Trade Center in 1993, vehicle-borne bombs offer terrorists an opportunity to bring large amounts of explosives close to a target. Parking provides a convenient way to accomplish these terrorist objectives. Pre-emptive planning can be critical to preventing these sorts of crises, and parking professionals have an important role to play.

Figure 1 shows the zone of effect of a car bomb. Although large, its damage is more limited than that of larger vehicle attacks. Figure 2 shows the zone of effect of a truck bomb. In a truck explosion, the zone is much more extensive and the ability to mitigate the damage and injury is much more limited.

The key factor in determining the effect of a given blast is the “standoff distance,” which is the distance between the blast and the target. The greater the standoff distance, the less damage and injury to the target can be anticipated. Figure 3 provides a comparison of standoff distance and size of explosive payload that various vehicles can deliver, and the damage and injury that can result. Obviously, trucks are the greatest risk; where possible, remote truck loading and docking is advisable to limit access to a main campus.

Fortunately, truck access is not the parking professional’s primary concern, but medium range vehicles, such as vans, are. Vans have been the vehicle of choice in some of the most lethal terrorist attacks in America, and the strategies to address the potential threat from these, SUVs, and small pickup trucks are all part of a parking risk management plan.

The First Step: Risk Assessment
The parking risk management plan is itself based on a risk assessment. It’s important to understand that the goal of terrorism is not to blow up a parking lot or structure, but rather to blow up an adjacent asset or target. A risk assessment covers the adjoining asset’s risk and its proximity to parking. A key source for this risk assessment is the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) publication 426, entitled “Reference Manual to Mitigate Potential Terrorist Attacks Against Buildings.”(1) This is a good source for preemptive planning for a terrorist event, and helps parking professionals and other stakeholders ascertain the risk for a particular situation.

A risk assessment covers three things: the asset’s value, the asset’s vulnerability, and a threat assessment. The assessment of the asset’s value is a first step in the risk assessment; in this context, it’s defined as a “resource of value requiring protection.”(1)

The asset’s values can be identified as core functions and processes, including services and outputs; activities; the building’s occupants and visitors; and inputs and outputs to external organizations.

Once the building’s core functions are identified, the impact of a terrorist attack
can be evaluated. This includes:

How many people would be injured or killed in a terrorist attack?
What happens to the building’s functions and services if the asset is lost or degraded?
Whether critical or sensitive information is stored in the building.
Whether backups exist.
Replacement availability.

FEMA 426 also provides a basis to weigh the impact of the possible destruction of the asset, from grave to very low. These weights can be adjusted by the stakeholders.

Next is a vulnerability assessment of the asset. The key factors in the vulnerability assessment are utility, visibility, accessibility, presence of hazardous materials, collateral damage potential, and population density.

In 1995, the Department of Justice developed scaled recommended asset value standards for federal facilities. General definitions of these value standards on the scale of one to five are:
Limited employees and low public contact.
Fewer than 150 employees, with moderate public contact and routine operations.
151 to 450 employees with moderate to high public contact and either law enforcement roles or government records.
More than 450 employees with high public contact and high risk law enforcement activities or intelligence roles.
High-profile agencies or mission critical agencies to national security.

The modification of this scale to a particular situation is a subject for determination by stake holders in each unique situation, but it provides a context for making decisions.

The last aspect of the risk assessment is a threat assessment. The aggressor may seek publicity for his cause, monetary gain, or revenge for some perceived action against him or his group. A common method to evaluate terrorist threats is to analyze five conditions that may exist:
Existence: Who is hostile?
Capability: Can they get access to the material?
History: Is there a history of violence?
Intention: What does the terrorist hope to achieve?
Target: Ability to perform surveillance.

Once a risk assessment is performed using the asset’s value, vulnerability, and threat, risk management strategies can be developed.

Parking Risk Management
A key factor in any parking risk management scenario for blasts is standoff distance. The feasibility of having the necessary standoff distance may be constrained by site conditions, but planning must be developed within the limits available.

First, let’s address trucks. When possible, try to provide relatively remote truck loading docks that do not require trucks to traverse the main campus. At the John Hopkins Medical Center, Baltimore, Md., a central loading dock facility was placed above a parking facility that sits across a wide boulevard from the hospital’s main campus. This greatly increased the standoff distance from the main campus and negated the need for truck traffic to be on the main hospital campus. As a result, the potential damage from explosive events was substantially reduced.

Many university campuses have adopted pedestrian-only zones to increase the viability of campus life. In some instances, all parking is at the periphery of the campus and shuttles are provided to the academic quad. This strategy obviously facilitates security and increases the standoff distance while enhancing campus life.

Another approach to site planning is to have exclusive and non-exclusive zones that are typically based on standoff distances. Entry into the exclusive zone, where standoff distances are small, is through controlled access and only permitted for authorized vehicles.

Controlled access is warranted where risk assessment has indicated a threat. One approach is to limit access to only authorized vehicles only via decals, placards, and card readers, with in-depth vehicle inspection required to access exclusive zones. These procedures limit or prohibit access of vans and require greater scrutiny of SUVs, which frequently have tinted rear windows that obscure any view of the cargo area. In cases where the risk assessment warrants, retractable bollards at entrances can be used to prevent entry.

Another way of screening vehicles entering large office or industrial campuses is to have a gated complex with a visitors’ center to verify credentials and potentially inspect vehicles. Staff can then direct the visitors to the proper parking area.

Structural Mitigation
Parking structures can be designed to better withstand blasts from automobiles, SUVs, and small pickup trucks. Floors should be designed for upward pressure as well as gravity loads. This is a key consideration: blasts work upward on ceilings and downward on floors. This upward load is typically not considered in a building, but was a contributing factor in the Oklahoma City bombing.

Column spacing should be limited where blasts are a major consideration. Thirty foot column spacing is a practical limit that allows for short-span parking. Columns, too, should be designed to stand the weight of multiple floors (see Figure 4). This is to allow the building above to stand if floors are damaged. Designing columns for three stories unbraced has been suggested where circumstances warrant.

A critical concern in blast mitigation is progressive collapse, which is defined in FEMA 426 as a situation where a local failure of a primary structural member leads to the collapse of adjoining members in an expanding manner until part or all of the building collapses. Transfer girders should not be located in an area where vehicle-borne explosives could have access; this is because of the potential damage that could occur due to the lack of redundancy of such critical members.

Redundancy of load paths for both gravity and lateral load is a primary goal of blast mitigation from a progressive collapse. Where blasts are a significant concern, strategies that find alternate structural load paths when one primary member (typically a column) is destroyed can be implemented. Figure 5 shows the structural methodology that allows a building to stand when a column is destroyed. This approach comes at a large cost premium, and where structural mitigation of blasts is sought, structural engineers skilled in this matter should be engaged.

A final consideration is blast screens. As can be seen in Figure 3, the zone of injury from glass fragments can be very large, and blast screens can be used to deflect the fragments from areas of high population density. But blast screens tend to be unsightly and, as a result, are not typically used if other measures can provide protection.

Assessing when conditions warrant special concern for vehicle-borne explosives is the first step in the risk management process. Once this risk assessment is determined, the preemptive risk management strategies described here can be used to mitigate injury and damage.

I. Paul Lew, P.E., CAPP, is senior vice president with Thornton Tomasetti. He can be reached at PLew@ThorntonTomasetti.com or 917.661.7800.

TPP-2012-03-Explosion Erosion

Lancaster Parking Authority Lights the Way to Savings

TPP-2012-03-Lancaster Parking Authority Lights the Way to SavingsBy Larry J. Cohen, CAPP

Budgets for parking organizations across the nation have been strained from declining or flat patronage, steadily rising operating expenses, and increasing maintenance costs. Raising rates can alienate long-time customers, especially in a struggling economy. But that doesn’t leave parking professionals without options to improve the bottom line. One place to look for savings is the lighting system.

In facilities with older, yellow light, high-pressure sodium (HPS), T-12 fluorescent lamps (obsolete in June), or even newer metal halides (MH), a more efficient system can cut electric and maintenance costs considerably. Tie in a new electricity supply contract (in deregulated states), utility rebates, and low-interest financing options, and the picture gets even brighter. Done right, the result is not just curtailed operating expenses and a healthier bottom line, but better lighting quality for improved safety and customer comfort, and environmental benefits as well.

For all these reasons, the Lancaster Parking Authority (LPA) recently made a smart investment in its lighting system and energy spending. Vendors were asked to provide plans for a new lighting system with a turnkey process, along with an electricity supply contract and innovative financing options. Because the power market fell since our current agreement was signed a few years before, LPA sought to accomplish two goals with a single contract: to provide for a lighting upgrade, and strike a new multi-year electricity deal. The plan was to keep our total expenses nearly constant and end up with newer, better lighting with no cash outlay; we essentially wanted a free lighting system. At the end of the payback period, all the ongoing energy savings would accrue to LPA.

LPA’s five garages contained more than 1,800 fixtures made up of several different systems that included MH, HPS, and old T-12 tubes. Annual energy and maintenance costs were around $200,000. Some facilities were over-lit and others were under-lit; both situations diminished our customers’ experiences.

The winning bidder for our retrofit, BlueStar Energy Solutions, proposed replacing most of the MH and HPS fixtures with a fixture designed specifically for parking applications housing the latest, highly-efficient, long-life T-8 fluorescent lamps. In addition to speeding up installation and cutting project costs, this approach lowers long-term maintenance costs and throws out more light. The fixtures will enhance the garages by providing better illumination, which we feel contributes to our customers’ safety and enhances their experience in our garages.

Because of product warranties, initial maintenance costs will be zero. The total system wattage was reduced by more than 40 percent and energy costs were cut by nearly half. BlueStar worked closely with PPL Electric Utilities, the local energy provider, to maximize the value of their rebate. The company also offered a combined supply contract and leasing option in which LPA’s flat monthly fee for electricity and lighting project repayment was less than our previous monthly electric bill.

In the end, the LPA chose BlueStar’s three-year fixed rate energy option that provided significant savings, and decided to pay cash for the project out of existing funds.

One option LPA considered was LED. “LED gets a lot of publicity, but for a garage, it’s not there yet,” said board member and lighting expert Brian Reynolds.

Wayne Callham, BlueStar’s vice president of lighting and efficiency, agreed. “At this point in time, LEDs don’t necessarily last longer or improve efficiency over the latest fluorescent technology, and will cost more up front,” he said. “Further, one has to make sure to work with manufacturers that will be around to service their warranties.”

Because the project is reducing energy consumption, fewer electrons need to be generated from coal and other sources, so there are significant environmental benefits. Environmental estimates include more than 600 tons of CO2 avoided annually, along with several tons of SO2 and NOX—the same as taking more than 100 cars off the road or planting more than 15,000 trees.

BlueStar’s holistic approach, which included several options packaged in a complete turnkey process, gave the board different options to consider. BlueStar took all the risk on labor, material, the rebate, and project execution. They finished on time and delivered what they promised.

LPA Chairman Mark Vergenes is also pleased with how it turned out. “A turnkey project smoothly executed that cuts operating costs, improves safety, provides a better customer experience, and benefits the environment—what’s not to love?”

Larry J. Cohen, CAPP, is executive director of the Lancaster Parking Authority. He can be reached at lcohen@lancasterparkingauthority.com or 717.299.0907.

TPP-2012-03-Lancaster Parking Authority Lights the Way to Savings

Eyes Wide Open

TPP-2012-03-Eyes Wide OpenBy Kim Fernandez

Mishka Chorny, senior parking specialist, Boise State University, says that a few months ago, the guy putting a camera in a tree on campus might have caused anything from a quick “What are you doing” yelled over the fence to a full sweep of the football stadium where a game was going on.

Because a university parking officer noticed the odd visitor shortly after going through the First Observer parking-specific, anti-terrorism security awareness program, instead of quickly questioning the man and letting him carry on, he did what he’d been trained to do: get an accurate physical description and call the authorities.

“Our officer stood off to the side for a minute and watched the man jump down from a fence,” Chorny says. “Our guy talked with him and got a reasonable answer about what he was doing, but he still reported it to the higher-ups.”

As it turned out, the mysterious camera-wielder was a Homeland Security officer placing surveillance equipment on the fence as part of his job. The officer’s quick call clarified that, and saved everyone the trouble and expense of further investigation.

“The Department of Homeland Security representative we talked to thanked us for calling it in,” says Chorny. “That’s the sort of thing we were trained to do in First Observer, and before that, we might not have followed up.”

That’s exactly the kind of thing First Observer administrators say illustrates the value of the program, which launched in 2008. The parking module was developed through a partnership between the International Parking Institute (IPI) and the federal Transportation Security Administration, and launched in February 2010. Since then, response has been fantastic.

“Since the program started, we’ve taken 10,000 calls,” says First Observer Call Center Operations Manager Pat Rather. “Of that 10,000, 354 were deemed suspicious or terrorist in nature—situations that could have turned into something, but where somebody took the training, called in, and stopped it.”

Those who’ve completed a First Observer course say it helped change the way they think about security in their jobs, and that’s more than enough reason to encourage others to be trained as well.

“A lot of our employees are saying they’re more aware of things after that training,” says Wanda Brown, assistant manager, UC Davis Health System. “They’re thinking about why something doesn’t look right as opposed to just that it’s violating a parking policy.”

How it Works
Bill Arrington, general manager, Transportation Sector Network Management/Highway and Motor Carrier Division, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), says parking first piqued his interest for a very good reason.

“Parking matters,” he says. “Parking is important, and a little over two years ago, I saw The Parking Professional and became familiar with IPI. Upon reviewing the magazine, I became extremely interested in the industry because I saw the nexus between transportation security and parking.”

“I thought about it from the standpoint of the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995; in both cases, the terrorists were parked in the facilities and could have been observed by parking professionals. Had those professionals been trained in First Observer, could we have made a difference?”

Since partnering with IPI, the program has trained more than 7,000 parking professionals across the United States. All of that training has been free of charge to participants thanks to funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and is currently available online and in-person. Also available is a customizable training website for organizations of 100 people or more.

“It initially started off as a security grant program geared or directed at training truck drivers,” says Arrington. “It expanded to school bus drivers, and in 2008, it was renamed and re-branded, and then spread to all modes of transportation.”

Parking, he says, is critical in that mix.

“I spent 28 years with the Maryland State Police,” he says. “If an individual’s home is burglarized, chances are that the criminal drove a car of vehicle to the place of that crime, and then hauled the goods away with a vehicle on the roadways. There is a transportation nexus to all of the things we see happening today.”

That holds true for large-scale terrorism events as well. “When a target is selected, casing surveillance takes place,” he explains. “They do dry runs and have rehearsals. So a parking professional may start to see the same person in the same location for no apparent reason. And a rehearsal will look an awful lot like the real thing.”

First Observer trained professionals call their suspicions into a 24 x 7 call center, where information is routed to the Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAC). There, analysts work to determine if what’s been reported may be a sign of terrorist activity.

“The specialists start to ask probing questions,” says Rather. “We get a really good, detailed report, and then the information is compiled electronically and shared.” The analysts also link different reports to each other and with other intelligence, she says. “They try and figure out if this piece fits into a bigger piece,” she explains. “They figure out where it fits into the puzzle and push it out to other agencies.”

It can also be pushed out to specific transportation sectors, so that their professionals know to keep an eye out for activity. “If we see something happening in the motorcoach industry, for example, we’ll push it out to our industry partners and our industry affiliate,” says Rather. “They find that very useful.”

Currently, she says, First Observer has 127 affiliates in a number of transportation sectors. “All of those—everyone—has signed a standard letter that endorses the mission of First Observer and recognizes that national security is everyone’s responsibility,” she says. “I have all 127 letters framed and on the wall in the call center, and have space for more”

Those who’ve taken First Observer training say it opened their eyes to activity that might not have seemed suspicious before they signed up for the program.

“I think what it really expressed to us was the importance of relaying information even if it seemed casual,” says Chorny. “I think people often see things like that and walk away.”

Brown agrees. “First Observer taught our employees to look at what seems out of place,” she says. “It helped our employees start looking in a more purposeful manner at what just doesn’t look right.”

She looks back on an incident where a parking officer noticed a man driving with a young child laying down on the seat of his car, took down the plate number, and called police. As it turned out, the child had been snatched from a local hospital by an abusive parent, who was arrested as a result of the parking officer’s call.

“Because the officer was so aware, she helped catch that person,” says Brown. “That’s what this is all about: looking at things not only from a parking violation perspective, but wondering what might be strange about what we’re seeing.”

The training opens professionals’ minds to things that seem fine at first, but may be suspicious, says Arrington. “We talk about the eight signs of terrorism,” he explains. “These are things people don’t otherwise think about—an individual approaches a parking professional and asks questions that seem innocuous but are really probing-type questions: things like what time does this lot open, when does it have the most vehicles, what is this parking facility near,” he says. “Taking photographs seems harmless, but if someone’s taking photos of things that aren’t of great concern, that’s something to watch out for.”

And success stories, he says, aren’t all that unusual.

“We held training last year in Dallas in preparation for the Super Bowl,” he says. “The training was at 10:00 that morning. Three hours later, a lady who took the training came back all excited, saying, ‘It works!’”

The woman left the training and noticed a man taking pictures for no apparent reason, Arrington says. “Without the training, she said she probably wouldn’t have noticed or thought about that. But she now saw it as being suspicious in nature and reached out to law enforcement who approached the individual, questioned him, and carted him off.”

“Those kinds of things—raising the level of awareness, teaching and training officers to observe, assess, and report—are what this is about,” he says.

And there are other benefits as well.

“One of the things we want people to leave with is a greater level of being security-minded,” he says. “It’s not something you turn off once you walk out the door and punch the clock for the day. You can certainly use this in your personal life. And the more people we have trained, the better success we’ll have in stopping the next event.”

Kim Fernandez is editor of The Parking Professional. She can be reavched at fernandez@parking.org or 540.371.7535.

TPP-2012-03-Eyes Wide Open

The 179D tax deduction for energy- efficient lighting investments in parking structures

TPP-2012-03-The 179D tax deduction for energy- efficient lighting investments in parking structuresBy Dominick Brook

This article is about a tax deduction. I’ve got my work cut out for me in making this interesting, but let me try: it’s also about money in your company’s pocket.

How does a $300,000 federal tax deduction for a lighting retrofit of a 500,000 square-foot parking garage sound? What about a $600,000 federal tax deduction for designing the lighting in a new parking structure for the U.S. General Services Administration? Interested now? Then read on. We’re going to discuss what this deduction is all about, how much it may be worth, who can claim it, and how to claim it.

Energy Efficient lighting is big business in all types of buildings, including parking garages. Whether driven by higher electricity prices, potential savings, or customer expectations, facilities are becoming more energy efficient. The federal government wants to encourage this practice, so they have incentivized energy efficiency with tax deductions. While the energy savings from modern lighting are often sufficient to produce a very favorable return on investment (ROI), a tax deduction might improve an 18-month payback period to less than a year.

So, what is this tax deduction? On the tax side, we know it as Internal Revenue Code Section 179D or IRC §179D. Engineers generally refer to it as the EPACT 2005 deduction, referring to the piece of legislation that created it: the Energy Policy Act of 2005. In the simplest terms, it is a tax deduction that is triggered by installing energy efficient assets in commercial buildings. These assets can include energy efficient lighting, HVAC, and components of the building envelope. With parking garages often being exposed, unconditioned spaces, HVAC, and the building envelope are often not relevant to parking garages. But energy efficient lighting alone can trigger a substantial deduction, and thanks to the way the deduction is calculated, the large square footage of parking garages and their low levels of lighting make them outstanding candidates for this deduction.

Calculating the Deduction
The amount of the deduction is based on three factors: the energy efficiency of the lighting; the square footage of the parking garage in which the lighting is installed; and the total cost of the lighting (fixtures and installation costs).

For purposes of the 179D deduction, the energy efficiency is calculated against a baseline ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers) 90.1-2001 standard. Note that it is a 2001 standard, not a 2010, a 2007, or even a 2004 standard. For projects that include HVAC or the building envelope, a full energy model must be conducted using IRS-approved software. For projects that only incorporate lighting, which will include the majority of parking garages, you can either use energy modeling or lighting power density (LPD) calculations. The LPD is calculated by adding up the watts for all light fixtures in the garage and then dividing by the square footage of the garage to provide a number in watts per square foot.

For lighting-only projects, LPD calculations are generally the most simple and cost-effective method. The calculated LPD for the garage is compared to the baseline LPD reported in ASHRAE 90.1-2001. The LPD must be at least 25 percent below the ASHRAE standard to qualify for the deduction. At 25 percent below, the facility would qualify for a deduction in the amount of $.30 multiplied by the square footage of the building. At 40 percent or more below, the facility would qualify for a deduction in the amount of $.60 multiplied by the square footage of the parking garage.

In terms of the square footage used for the deduction, only enclosed space should be included. Unfortunately, this means that surface lots, even if they have very energy efficient lighting, are not eligible for the deduction. Also, parking garages with uncovered top stories should exclude the square footage of that uncovered space from their calculations.

Finally, in terms of calculating the deduction, the calculated amount of the deduction ($.30 – $.60 x square footage) is capped by the total cost of the lighting. Generally, this cost will include the fixtures, controls, wiring, and labor to install it. Often, and especially with new construction, this cap does not come into play. However, on retrofits where costs may be lower as wiring and controls are already installed, the calculated amount of this deduction may approach this cap.

Who Can Take the Deduction?
There are two main categories of taxpayers who can take the deduction. First, the owner of the lighting for tax purposes is eligible. More often than not, this will be the owner of the parking garage, although there could be alternate tax ownership of some of the tenant improvements if the parking garage is leased or managed. Second, for energy efficient lighting installed in government-owned parking garages, the designer of the lighting can take the deduction. That’s right: for government buildings, the person taking the deduction doesn’t even need to own the lighting. They just need to design it.

Basically, a government entity pays no tax and so would not be able to take the deduction. Therefore, the IRS allows them to assign the deduction to the taxpayer who designed the lighting. Any government entity—be it federal, state, or municipal—can make these allocations (non-profits are not able to). The “designer” can include a variety of taxpayers, including the architect, engineer, contractor, environmental consultant, or energy services provider. However, the designer must be the person who created the technical specifications for the installation of the lighting, not the person who merely installed the lighting.

If the taxpayer is able to claim the deduction, then he must evaluate whether he can realize a benefit. If a taxpayer has no income on which he pays tax, the deduction will not provide any value to him on that year’s tax return. There are also some restrictions around the designers of government buildings, especially for LLCs, S-corps, and partnerships. But if they can take the benefit, it can be substantial.

Potential Benefit
To provide an example of the magnitude of the potential benefit, let’s consider a fairly large parking garage—say, 500,000 square feet of enclosed space. As part of an upgrade, all of the sodium lighting is being replaced with T8 linear florescent fixtures at a cost of $350,000. The calculated lighting power density for the facility works out to be 46 percent lower than the ASHRAE 90.1-2001 standard for parking garages.

Based on this information and assuming the other requirements discussed below are met, the parking garage will qualify for a deduction of $0.60 per square foot:

500,000 X $0.60 = $300,000 deduction.

It should be noted that 179D is a deduction, not a tax credit. As such, the cash value of the deduction depends on the effective tax rate of the taxpayer. Let’s assume the taxpayer pays a typical federal tax rate of 35 percent:

$300,000 deduction x 35 percent effective tax rate = $105,000.

So on a 500,000 square-foot parking garage, the owner would realize a $105,000 cash benefit in the first year. The net present value of the benefit will actually be slightly smaller, as the taxpayer has to reduce his basis in the property by the amount of the deduction. As such, he does not get to depreciate the $105,000 over the life of the property—generally 39 years—in subsequent years. This does not apply to the designers of government property though, as they do not have to reduce their basis.

Technical Requirements
While energy efficiency is the ultimate requirement to secure the deduction, a couple of other requirements must also be met. First, the parking garage must have controls and circuiting that comply fully with the mandatory and prescriptive requirements of ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2001. Second, the lighting must meet the minimum requirements for calculated lighting levels as set forth in the IESNA (Illuminating Engineering Society of North America) Lighting Handbook, Reference & Application, Ninth Edition (2000). In addition to these technical requirements, there are several procedural requirements that must be adhered to.

Procedural Requirements
The first procedural requirement to take the deduction is to either conduct an energy model or calculate the LPD of the parking garage. Once you have confirmed that you meet the energy efficiency, you then need to certify these calculations. This is done through a field inspection by either an engineer or a contractor licensed in the state where the parking garage is located. This certificate must contain statements that the technical requirements above have been met and that inspections were conducted in accordance with guidelines from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and must be signed under penalties of perjury.

While the certificate is required, it is the minimum amount of documentation needed. It is advisable to compile an audit support package that contains all documentation to support the calculations and value of the deduction. This would allow the IRS to verify the amount of the deduction should it ever be audited.

One additional step is required for an allocation of the deduction to a designer of a government building. For the allocation to be made, the government entity must provide a written form that provides information on the designer being allocated the deduction and the amount of the allocation. This allocation form must be signed by a representative of the government entity under penalties of perjury. Some government agencies, including the GSA and the U.S. Army, have established policies on who can request the allocation and how they can do so.

Once these requirements have been met, it is time to take the deduction on your tax return. Generally, the deduction must be taken in the year the property was placed in service, although there is a tax procedure that allows you to take deductions for property from as far back as 2006 on your current year tax return. It is taken on Form 1120 under the “other deductions” line. No supporting information—not even the certificate—needs to be attached to the tax return. However, as mentioned above, it is advisable to hold both the certificate and a full audit support package, in case the IRS ever review sthe deduction.

So there you have it. You may have learned more about this tax deduction than you ever wanted to, but, along with all the technical requirements, you now see the potential value of this deduction. As you proceed with the construction of your next parking garage, retrofit of your existing garage, or design of a government-owned garage, consider how the 179D deduction can further improve your ROI beyond the energy savings from the lighting fixtures.

Dominick Brook is a manager in the Tax Credit and Incentives Advisory Services Group at Ernst & Young, LLP. He can be reached at Dominick.Brook@ey.com or 614.232.7376.

TPP-2012-03-The 179D tax deduction for energy- efficient lighting investments in parking structures

Being Prepared

TPP-2012-03-Being PreparedBy Geary L. Robinson, Ph.D., CAPP

Do you have a disaster plan for your parking facility?

Safety and security planning is used to protect the nation’s critical infrastructures and key assets, and parking facilities have a role to play. Threat analysis requires a true understanding of a facility’s purpose, be it a transportation terminal or bus maintenance building, to determine what threat potential exists for it, and how to best plan for safety and security. Several questions should be addressed when developing a scenario for protecting human and physical assets:

What is the organization trying to protect?
What kinds of actions would damage the asset(s)?
Is there a likelihood negative events could occur based on these factors?
What are the varying threat levels on adjacent properties?

Site safety and security planning for countermeasures has changed since the attacks of September 11, 2001. Transportation assets designed for cross-country flights were used as airborne bombs to destroy or incapacitate fixed targets on the ground. The difficulty for planners since then has been to imagine the worst possible catastrophe to ensure the highest levels of safety and security countermeasures, while also requiring the use of a passive countermeasure program that avoids creating a fortress out of a building project.

Cost determinations have to be made when planning the level of countermeasures an owner desires or can afford for a project. The use of setbacks, barriers, access control, layered perimeters, and video/audio devices and/or human personnel should be considered part of the countermeasure of any project. When considering safety and security threat level decisions for defensible design, other factors to consider are the level of risk management associated with facilities and human assets to be protected.

Disaster Definition
Understanding the definition of a disaster is as relevant as the event itself when differentiating between a human-made or natural event. Both kinds of disaster often contain elements of the other type with unintended consequences.

An example of a human-made disaster is the series of coordinated bombings that occurred on the commuter rail system in Madrid, Spain, on the morning of March 11, 2004—just three days before Spain’s general elections. The goal was to disrupt the general elections and ostensibly bring about a change in government. Multiple attacks involving 10 passenger trains caused 191 deaths and wounded 2,040 people, effectively shutting down the passenger rail services across the country (Fox News 2004).

Natural disasters are characterized as weather-related events or earthquakes, and have the same potential as human-made disaster events to disrupt a community, state, or nation.

In recent years, the most significant weather-related events in the U.S. were Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, and Ike in 2008. Each created unique situations in which the local transit assets were underutilized or not used at all to aid in evacuations.

New Orleans was extensively affected by both natural and manmade disasters as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Because of its location, the New Orleans had developed a series of levees and pumping systems that were designed to keep the city dry, compensating for the elevation of the city (below sea level). Flooding from Katrina could be attributed to design flaws in the construction of the levees around Lake Pontchartrain (Daniels, 2006). Human error was in part to blame for the disastrous flooding of New Orleans.

Disaster data collected by FEMA shows there has been an increase of disaster events in the United States. The increase in major disaster declarations from 1953 to 2011 is dramatic, from 13 major declarations in 1953, to 99 in 2011, as shown in Figure 1.

Disaster Preparedness Planning
Disaster preparedness planning involves many areas—human resources, infrastructure (most notably power, water, and communications), and transportation—that, when brought together, effectively produce a positive outcome for societies, governments, private businesses, and individuals before, during, and after a disaster event.

Unfortunately, disaster planning often takes place after an event occurs. Planners, administrators, public officials, emergency management agencies, and ordinary citizens often come together to build a plan based on the most recent event rather than creating a proactive, holistic document that covers all potential infrastructure and societal issues of an event before it happens.

University Transit Systems
The Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) Committee for the Role of Public Transportation in Emergency Evacuation reported in 2008, “While recognizing that transit plays a supporting role in emergency response… it is the mutual responsibility of transit agencies, as well as emergency managers, to ensure that transit is included.” The TRB Special Report 294 (2008) did not focus on university transit systems, but its findings are applicable to university transit professionals, recommending that they be actively engaged in disaster emergency preparedness within their communities.

Mineta Transportation Institute faculty members and researchers Frances Edwards, Ph.D., and Dan Goodrich, believe university transit systems should play an active role within the local framework of disaster planning. Their recommendation is straightforward: “University emergency planners would be well advised to thoroughly think through the obvious applications of resources and personnel, and plan for their uses in advance” (Edwards 2009). The integration of campus transit systems into emergency operating plans has the benefit of aiding in evacuations and recovery assistance during and after a disastrous incident. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools developed an Action Guide for Emergency Management at Institutions of Higher Education, Washington, D.C., in 2009. This guide is available on the Department of Education’s website at http://www.ed.gov/emergencyplan.

Institutional behavior often determines what is accomplished in a disaster and how needs will be met during and after an event. The “Disaster Response and Recovery Resource for Transit Agencies” (USDOT FTA 2006) provides a guide on how to deal with the varied issues brought on by a disaster. Concerns and issues at the institutional level might consist of one or more of the following:
Information for transit providers in affected areas.
Information for transit providers serving displaced/relocated persons.
Charter service requirements.
Funding eligibility and reimbursement.
Helping emergency evacuees.
Emergency transportation for persons with special needs.
Assisting the special needs populations.

The USDHS developed two plans to further assist all agencies: the National Response Plan and the National Incident Management System. The National Incident Management System provides a template for government and nongovernmental responders to respond to all domestic incidents using a coordinated and modular approach.

Higher Education Involvement
Before, during, and after a disaster occurs, many different federal, state, regional, and local agencies might play a role in the response to events.

At the state level, assistance may be delivered through universities. For example, Louisiana State University (LSU) provided facilities to house evacuees and students displaced by Hurricane Katrina. LSU also converted its Carl Maddox Fieldhouse (Figure 2) and Pete Maravich Assembly Center into an 800-bed medical facility.

Many universities along the Gulf Coast found themselves in the path of Hurricane Katrina; Tulane University was one of several universities directly affected. That particular weekend was Tulane’s new student orientation. For the administration, it was decision time: close the university, or stay open. Tulane President Scott Cowen made the hard decision; he closed the university in the middle of orientation weekend.

After Katrina, Tulane incorporated in its renewal plan the courage, strength, and resolve the administration, faculty, staff, students, and the New Orleans community had to summon from within themselves to rebuild from a disastrous event. Property damage estimates at Tulane were approximately $600 million, which did not account for the loss of faculty and staff who were laid off or students who did not return to campus. In its Action Guide for Emergency Management at Institutions of Higher Education (2009) the U.S. Department of Education published the following statement about Tulane (emphasis added):

“The devastation of Katrina forced the university to undertake a major reorganization, which resulted in the layoff of hundreds of faculty and staff members, elimination of several undergraduate majors, removal of men’s and women’s sports programs, and significant changes to its school of medicine and other graduate programs. The university swiftly developed a renewal plan, approved by the Board of Tulane on Dec. 8, 2005. For Tulane University, the challenges of emergency management became a way of life and a constant struggle.”

However, from their experiences in this tragedy, they “gathered once again and are now called to be the architects of and witnesses to the renewal of a great American university and a great American city.” (Tulane’s renewal plan is located at http://renewal.tulane.edu/renewalplan.pdf.)

Parking facilities need their own disaster management plans, incorporating them with those of the surrounding community where appropriate. The time to formulate such a plan is before, not after, a disaster strikes.

Geary L. Robinson, Ph.D., CAPP, is the parking and transportation services director at IUPUI. He can be reached at gearylr@iupui.edu or 317.274.1390.

TPP-2012-03-Being Prepared

More Than Conventional Wisdom

TPP-2012-03-More Than Conventional WisdomBy Norman D. Bates, Esq.

A woman went to an urban hospital to visit an ill friend. While walking to her car in the nearby parking garage, she was stabbed and robbed by an unknown assailant. A year later, the garage manager finds himself sitting in a deposition that is being taken by the woman’s attorney. The attorney has many questions, but, in particular, wants to know how that manager determined how much and what type of security measures to provide in that garage at the time his client was attacked.

If you were that manager, would you be able to answer the following questions?
How did you arrive at the decision to have only the local police randomly patrol that garage and not retain the services of a security company dedicated to the facility?

On what basis was the decision made to place closed-circuit television cameras only at the vehicle entrances and not inside the garage as well?
Was any kind of security risk analysis conducted, and is that analysis acceptable in the parking industry?

In short, the attorney for the victim wants to determine how the manager can support his decisions about the type of security program the garage provided its customers.

Security programs often develop and grow over a period of years, with changes made in response to certain incidents (e.g., a rash of thefts from vehicles) or when crime in the neighborhood has increased. What the garage facility may have needed 10 years ago may be far different from its current needs. But all too often, the current manager will have difficulty explaining the rationale for certain decisions about staffing levels and the use of security technology. Sometimes, the reasons for doing something may reflect what a manager thinks is needed or are the result of the influence of various constituencies, such as customers or employees.

For example, if customers parking in the garage do not feel safe walking to their vehicles at night, then garage management might respond by increasing the lighting levels. However, one consideration is whether increased lighting will actually make a place safer. Based upon a number of studies published to date, there is no absolute proof that increased lighting actually reduces the occurrence of crime. Given this fact, how does the garage manager justify the decision to increase lighting levels versus using other security measures such as increased security patrols?

Security programs are frequently based on someone’s intuitive feeling about the needs of the facility, an increase or decrease in criminal activity, or fluctuations in business levels due to seasonal changes. Frequently though, security programs are not evaluated in their entirety in light of crime trends over a greater period of time, such as one to three years.

In recognition of the need to conduct regular security assessments that are based on a logical approach, the private security industry has developed a variety of peer supported methodologies. One of these methodologies is the “General Security Risk Assessment Guideline,” published by ASIS International (the largest security industry professional association) in 2002 as a tool for managers to use when conducting a security risk and needs analysis. While this guideline is only one tool among others that have been developed, it provides managers with some direction when analyzing security risks as well as a means to consider the various available security measures.

The Guideline includes seven distinct steps, regardless of the business or organization type, whereby the practitioner can analyze crime risk and evaluate whether the various security measures available are practical and cost-effective:

1. Understand the Organization and Identify the People and Assets at Risk.
The first objective in the risk assessment process is to understand the nature of the organization being evaluated, including its peculiarities, business purpose, method of operating, and business goals. The nature of the assets and the type of people (e.g., customers and employees) at risk are essential information if a proper risk assessment is to be conducted. Assets include tangible items such as property in vehicles and the vehicles themselves.

2. Specify Loss Risk Events/Vulnerabilities.
This step in the Guideline addresses incidents that are likely to occur at a site based on a history of such events at or around the facility, among other factors. The risk of an incident can also be affected by the value of assets present at a facility. The existence of prior criminal activity at the garage and/or immediate vicinity, and crimes that may be inherently common to that type of industry (e.g., robberies at convenience stores, burglaries in apartment communities, etc.) should also be taken into account.

The local law enforcement agency can be very helpful to the garage manager in understanding the nature and frequency of crime both at and around the garage. The manager can contact the agency and speak with the law enforcement officer assigned to act as liaison with the business community to get such details and also obtain a list of calls to the department for incidents reported to have occurred at and around the property.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics, analysis of crime victimization in 2008 (the most recent year for such data), showed that 10.5 percent of all violent crimes involving strangers was reported to have occurred in parking garages.

3. Establish the Probability of Loss Risk Events and Frequency of Events.
Probability of loss is a concept that considers such issues as the occurrence of prior incidents, crime trends, or other threats. Probability is not necessarily based on some mathematical certainty, but simply the consideration of the likelihood that an event will occur based on historical data, events at similar establishments, crime in the immediate vicinity, social and economic conditions (i.e., a poor economy), and other factors.

Frequency of events relates to the regularity of the potential loss event. For example, if the threat is the robbery of patrons in a parking garage, the frequency of exposure to the potential crime would be the number of times customers park in a garage and walk to and from their vehicles.

4. Determine the Impact of the Events.
The impact of an event refers to the financial, psychological, and other related/potential costs of the loss of the assets of an organization. Financial costs would include the value of an item stolen, increased insurance premiums due to a history of claims, deductible expenses on insurance policies, labor costs for an increase in security coverage after an incident has occurred, lost management time to deal with the aftermath of a serious incident (e.g., rape/abduction from the garage), and damage awards not covered by the facility’s insurance policy.

Indirect costs include negative media coverage and the consequential decline in business, poor consumer perception, the inability to obtain insurance coverage, and poor employee morale that affects worker productivity.

5. Develop Options to Mitigate Risks.
It is well understood in the security industry that one cannot eliminate all risks nor prevent all losses. However, there are often several different options or security measures that can be taken to address a particular security problem or crime risk. Those options may include security personnel and security equipment such as card access systems, alarm systems, and locking devices. The financial risk of loss can be transferred through insurance coverage, indemnification agreements with security service providers, and any one of a number of creative approaches to address the problem.

6. Study the Feasibility of Implementation
of Options.
Feasibility is whether or not certain security measures available are practical within the realm of the organization’s operation and do not substantially interfere with that operation. For example, if there has been a series of automobile thefts from a parking garage, one possible “solution” would be to simply lock all the doors of the garage. In doing so, the thieves would be prevented from stealing the vehicles, but legitimate customers would also be unable to park their vehicles in the facility and the garage would go out of business. Feasibility is the consideration of various security options and a determination of whether any of those options makes it impractical to operate the business.

7. Perform a Cost/Benefit Analysis.
The impact of a loss, whenever it involves people, can be substantial in a variety of ways, from the obvious emotional loss up to and including economic loss caused by the death or serious injury of key employees. Some property losses, however, are more bearable than others and, as such, the manager would be expected to compare the cost of the various options against the cost of the potential loss. While some people would insist that no cost is too great to save a human life, others would argue that it makes no sense to spend $100,000 in security equipment to prevent the loss of $1,000 worth of property.

The methodology found in this Guideline provides an approach to considering what constitutes a security risk and a manner to evaluate the various options available to management.

The critical point for the garage manager conducting a security risk assessment is the ability to justify the methodology and thought process used when making decisions about the facility’s security program. Following this approach or a comparable one will help managers justify their decisions about security.

Norman D. BATES, Esq., is president and founder of Liability Consultants, Inc., and a nationally-recognized expert in security and the law. He can be reached at info@liabilityconsultants.com or 978.779.9906.

TPP-2012-03-More Than Conventional Wisdom

Government Public Records Transparency

TPP-2012-03-Government Public Records TransparencyBy Leonard T. Bier, JD, CAPP

The public has always had a common law right of access to government records and information, balanced by needs for individual privacy, government confidentiality, and the efficient operation of the government.

A public record under the common law is one that is required to be kept by law; is kept in the course of performing one’s governmental duties; and/or is a written memorial of an action or decision of a public official or body. Under the common law, if the requestor of a public record could demonstrate a legally recognized interest in the content of that record, the interested party’s right to know exceeded the government’s interest in maintaining secrecy.

The public’s common law right to know has been expanded in virtually all states by the Open Public Records Act (OPRA). In New Jersey, OPRA was enacted to give the public greater access to records maintained by public agencies. The New Jersey statute requires all government entities and agencies, including parking authorities, to each appoint a Public Records Custodian (PRC), whose responsibility is to accept, process, and respond to requests by the public, including the press.

In many jurisdictions, public records are required to be accessible to the public for review every day during regular business hours. Some states have granted exceptions and limited hours for smaller cities and agencies with few employees. Certain records that are kept in the ordinary course of business by public entities are required to be made available to the public the next business day.

The State of New Jersey Public Records Council specified the form and content of agencies’ public records request form; they must contain the following information:

Name, address, and phone number of the requestor.
Brief description of the government record sought.
An explanation of the procedures for requesting the document.
Area for the PRC to indicate what documents will be provided, when they will be provided, and any cost.
Explanation of the time period in which the agency is required to provide the document requested.
Statement advising the requestor of their right to challenge a denial by the agency to provide a record and the procedure for filing a protest.
Area for the agency to explain why a request was denied.
Place for the requestor’s signature.
Place for the PRC to sign and date receipt of the request.
Place for the PRC to indicate whether the request was fulfilled or denied.

Requests for government records must be made in writing to the PRC. A valid records request must seek specific identifiable government records and does not ask questions or ask the public agency to perform research or create a new record.

The public agency is required to compile documents and records even if they are voluminous. The PRC is also required to deliver the information in electronic form when requested. If the records are lengthy, the public entity may charge for the actual time spent compiling the information. However, the requestor must be given notice of the compiling employee’s hourly wage and an opportunity to accept or reject the formatting charges. The agency must select the lowest paid employee capable of formatting the information to do so.

Public records requests that may be rejected by an agency have content that contains attorney-client privilege; victims’ information; pending criminal investigations; employee investigations; sexual harassment investigations; pending litigation; contract negotiations; land purchase negotiations; individuals’ personal information including medical treatment and diagnosis; Social Security numbers; drivers’ license number or other data that could lead to identity theft and employee invasion of privacy; and those records and data specifically exempted by state and federal statutes.

Leonard T. Bier, JD, CAPP, is the principle of Bier Associates. He can be reached at lenbier@optonline.net or 732.828.8864.

TPP-2012-03-Government Public Records Transparency

Sustainability and Valet Operations

TPP-2012-03-Sustainability and Valet OperationsBy Isaiah Mouw, CAPP, LEED Green Associate

Modern valet parking in the United States began as early as the 1930s. As parking demand in urban areas increased, available parking adjacent to a driver’s specific destination grew smaller and smaller. Drivers became willing to pay to have someone else park and care for their vehicles, and valet parking was born. It has now become an expected parking service for sporting events, restaurants, casinos, hotels, theatres, and even airports, hospitals, and shopping malls.

But is valet parking sustainable? Some people scoff at any vehicle service that provides a positive parking experience, as it encourages the public to drive rather than use mass transit. I disagree, and argue that valet parking is green by nature for two reasons. One, valet drivers park more vehicles in less space by stacking them in front of each other. This creates less runoff, utility consumption, and real estate needed for parking. Two, valet operations reduce vehicle idle time and cruising from individuals seeking prime self-parking spaces. Drivers using valet take a more direct route than typical customers.

Donald Shoup, author of The High Cost of Free Parking, explored the damage vehicle cruising does to our environment by researching 16 different studies in central business districts around the world. The average time it took a driver to find a convenient parking space was eight minutes, and nearly 30 percent of vehicles were cruising for convenient parking spaces.1 Valet parking, where available, helps eliminate such vehicle cruising.

A valet operation can implement strategies to mitigate environmental impacts:

Encourage green vehicles. Some valet companies offer free valet parking for hybrid or electric vehicles (EVs). Unfortunately, because of the bottom line impact, not all companies can do this. Consider offering a discounted rate for green vehicles. In some cities, valet operations offer EV charging at a free or at a discounted rate.

Use spaces efficiently. Once charged, an operator can move an EV to another space and allow the next one to charge. Locating the EV spaces within sight of customers encourages their future use or even purchase of EVs.

Recycle and buy recycled. Many suppliers now carry recycled products such as tickets, podiums, and uniforms. Keep an eye out for post-consumer recycled content. Post-consumer refers to waste material that did not involve the production of another product. Buying recycled products and recycling is a sustainable strategy that all parking operations should implement.

Go paperless. This one is tough depending on your budget, but doable. Going paperless involves a License Plate Recognition (LPR) system. Reusable key tags can be purchased to put on customer keys to match them to the plate numbers, and recording preexisting damage could be done with handheld technology or video systems, thus eliminating paper use.

Valet parking can help reduce greenhouse emissions, clean the air, and reduce congestion, all while eliminating the need to develop on previously undeveloped land in many situations. Implementing green strategies will help the environment, set a positive example for others, help your company gain a competitive advantage, and potentially lower operating costs.

Isaiah Mouw, CAPP, LEED Green Associate, is a member of IPI’s Sustainability Committe and a general manager for Republic Parking System. He can be reached at imouw@republicparking.com or 502.574.1497.

TPP-2012-03-Sustainability and Valet Operations