Green parking refers to a set of techniques for reducing the contribution of parking lots to the total impermeable cover, which includes setting a ceiling for parking lots creation, minimizing dimensions, using bio-retention areas to treat storm-water, encouraging shared parking etc. Such lots feature permeable or semi-permeable paving and porous design to reduce the runoff volume of storm-water.
In addition to this, they may reduce or completely eliminate curbing and include extensive landscaping. This improves the appearance of the parking lot while improving water quality by filtering pollutants. Green facilities often use local codes that are geared toward minimizing the parking area.
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Green lots require soil types which are suitable for easy construction and porosity to allow adequate infiltration. Because clogging is often a risk in areas with sediments and dust, frequent maintenance is required for smooth installation.
Porous pavements can be used in areas with either low or high traffic. While hot climates are better suited to previous concrete than porous asphalt, cold climates must have designs with a stone subbase. Permeable pavers are not accessible by disabled people and are not suitable for high-traffic areas.
Green parking lots also need special treatment during snow removal. Sand and other abrasive materials could clog the system and plow blades could damage the surface. Moreover, such lots should not be built in areas with contaminated runoff as this can pollute groundwater. When it comes to maintenance, permeable pavements in green parking lots have a lifespan comparable to that of conventional asphalt but need regular maintenance to avoid clogging.
Benefits of Green Lots
Green parking lots have a host of benefits:
- They improve water quality
- Increase groundwater supply
- Reduce the urban heat island effect
- Less heat generated
- Re-absorption of water into the ground for recharge
- Remove sediments and other pollutants
- Provide effective storm-water management
Compared to traditional parking lots, installation cost for green parking lots is higher, especially if the underlying soil has to be replaced to make it suitable for infiltration. However, the positive is that the storm-water system helps realize cost savings – because green parking lots reduce run-off and improve water quality, the need for a conventional management system can be done away with.
Green parking lots feature various practices for reducing the harmful environmental effects of asphalt parking lots. They are able to effectively remove pollutants and replenish groundwater resources. Green lots offer not just storm-water benefits but also have a larger environmental impact that cannot be ignored.