Why Isn’t Your Parking Facility Eco-Certified?

Consumers have spoken: in 2018 and beyond, a relevant business is a green business.

This article is part of our sustainability series. To receive more how-to guides and industry insights straight to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page.

Three out of four consumers are drawn to service providers “making an effort” to be sustainable, according to SolarCity and Clean Edge’s Consumer Trends in Sustainability study. It was also found that more than half of consumers describe themselves as “actively seeking” green products and services.

Key business stakeholders are taking notice of the consumer push for sustainable practices, and modifying their operations accordingly. An Accenture Strategy paper on sustainability and business performance reported that 93% of participating CEOs believe sustainability to be “essential” to their business strategy, while 88% of investors see sustainability as “a route to competitive advantage.”

But without investing substantial time and capital into recognizable sustainability exemplars like solar panels or wind turbines, how do you demonstrate that you’re making an effort to operate a sustainable parking facility? Moreover, how can you help consumers looking for green services to identify that a parking structure is environmentally sound?

One solution is sustainability accreditation. Being recognized as a sustainable facility in an official capacity allows your parking asset to stay relevant — and even gain a competitive edge — in an increasingly eco-minded marketplace.

Here are two sustainable parking accreditations — available in both the U.S. and Canada — that you can pursue.

1. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

LEED is an initiative administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a first-class organization that independently recognizes forward-thinking green design, construction, and operations. Pioneered in the U.S., LEED is an internationally recognized — and sought after — symbol of outstanding sustainability achievement. Canadian property owners can obtain the same accreditation through the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC).

LEED certification can be achieved by any number of new and existing construction projects, from individual homes to entire neighborhoods and beyond. Through a series of technical reviews — like the examination of structural materials, air quality, and energy use — green operators are awarded a Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum rating.

2. Parksmart

Parksmart is the only rating system in the world that solely celebrates sustainable design and operations in parking. Parksmart recognizes new and existing facilities that demonstrate:

  • A reduction to a facility’s environmental impact
  • An increase in energy efficiency and/or performance
  • A smarter approach to parking space management
  • Alternative mobility options
  • A commitment to strengthening community ties

As with LEED, different Parksmart certification levels can be achieved. Existing structures with eco-friendly retrofits and initiatives, such as the Impark-managed Silver Spring Metro Plaza garage, can achieve Parksmart Pioneer status, while new structures can obtain Parksmart Bronze, Silver, or Gold standing.

Better Together

Why settle for one sustainability accreditation when you can have two? Structures with LEED accreditation can now simultaneously achieve Parksmart status, and vice versa, through point conversion. Parksmart’s sustainable accreditation synergies guide is particularly helpful for those interested in learning more about dual accreditation.

Impark’s Commitment to Sustainability

In 2007, Impark became North America’s first parking management company to be certified as carbon neutral. Two years later, we became a founding member of the Green Parking Council (GPC), a nonprofit organization that provides direction and guidance for the conversion of parking facilities to sustainable, environmentally responsible assets.

Today, we are a proud member of the U.S. Green Building Council and are working closely with municipal, state/provincial, and federal authorities across the continent to execute EV charging station retrofits and other government-backed sustainability initiatives.

We’ve coordinated with our portfolio of clients over the years to re-engineer parking structures into sustainable, environmentally sound structures of which they can be proud. Contact us today to see how we can drive sustainable success at your site.

Ian Hodgins is a business development manager based in Toronto. You can contact him at ihodgins@impark.com.

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