The worsening condition of our environment, rising levels of toxic CO2, and deteriorating air quality is a growing concern among several quarters of society. What makes it worse is local governments not doing nearly enough to provide relief to citizens.
A major reason for our present situation is the crumbling infrastructure of cities that is unable to handle the burden of a growing number of vehicles. To improve conditions, perhaps the best place to start at is parking.
Let’s see how.
Parking Lots – Problem to the Environment
Parking lots can pose problems for the environment and can contribute to pollution in the following ways-
- Toxic materials – Vehicles produce harmful emissions such as carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide.
- Enclosed Spaces – Enclosed spaces can make the conditions worse as the noxious chemicals have nowhere to escape.
- Grid electricity – By making use of grid electricity to power electric equipment, traditional parking lots contribute to pollution.
- Space Inefficiency – The space needed to create a parking system that satisfies the needs of a large city is huge. This land could have been used for other uses.
Sustainable Parking Lots
Sustainable parking lots reduce environmental damage and generate relatively less pollution than traditional lots. The exact numbers which qualify a parking lot as a sustainable parking lot differs from state to state and country to country. To build a sustainable parking lot, these basic steps can be undertaken-
- Green spaces – Installation of plants on the walls using plastic modules for green walls. The same can be done for indoor as well as outdoor parking lots. The empty spaces in the parking lot can be filled with plants, shrubs, and green beds.
- Solar panels – Installation of solar panels instead of using grid electricity to power the electric equipment in the parking lot.
- Multi-storey parking – Multi-storey parking, especially automated parking, can save a lot of space which can be used for better alternatives.
Benefits of Sustainable Parking
Sustainable parking lots may seem like a big investment, which involves a high cost for the initial years but there are a lot of benefits involved both for the society and the owners of the parking lot.
- Space Saving: Sustainable parking lots optimize space use compared to traditional parking lots. The use of multi-storeys and automated parking makes space saving a notable feature of these parking lots.
- Efficient Use of Space: Already, sustainable parking lots use a lot less space than traditional lots, but also the use of space is maximized. In simple words, sustainable parking lots make use of less space per vehicle for parking. This is achieved through less empty spaces and machines parking the vehicles, eliminating scope for more space consumption due to lack of human skills.
- Less Toxic Gases: Emission of toxic gases is much less in comparison to traditional parking lots, as automated lifts do not require car engines to be turned on. Also, the existence of plants increases the oxygen in the air, and absorb the carbon dioxide present in the lot.
- Reduced Heat Effect: The greenhouse effect created by traditional parking lots is reduced by a big margin in sustainable parking lots. This is primarily due to the presence of a huge number of plants and shrubs inside the parking lot.
- Safety: Users enjoy greater safety in these parking lots since automated parking allows only a few areas where customers can enter. These are the drop-off, pick-up and waiting areas. All other areas are restricted for users, lessening the scope for accidents and mishaps.
- Energy Efficient: Only the areas where there is human presence requires to be lit up. All other areas, wherever the vehicles are parked don’t require lights since they are parked by machines, which follow a specified path and don’t require lights for the same.
Shifting to sustainable parking lots is not a choice but a need of the hour. And why not, when there are so many benefits of doing the same. Sustainable parking lots are not only beneficial to the users, but also to the owners and to the overall society also. So cities must invest in sustainable parking lots without delay, and take a step towards improving environmental conditions.