Despite the growth of public transportation and other transportation alternatives, parking locations remain necessary in much of the nation. Even though parking consultants and design teams have been using sustainable practices for parking structures in recent years, many do not calculate energy use as part of their standard methodology. Unknown to most, a garage typically uses 15% of the energy that the building that it is designed to support uses.Worse, this energy use is often lost in the periphery of energy efficiency efforts. Parking structures should not be overlooked, though, because the savings potential is immense. Energy use can be reduced by more than 90% over an ASHRAE Standard 90.1 2007 baseline parking structure with typical construction costs.
Here are some design elements that can be implemented to improve the energy efficiency of parking structures
Design the parking structure to maintain an approximate 40% façade openness, which allows natural ventilation on all levels. This will be enough ventilation to preclude the need for mechanical ventilation systems.
Lighting is typically the largest load, particularly for naturally ventilated structures. To reduce the lighting load to almost zero during daylight hours, perforate the façade with aluminum panels that let in sunlight (while keeping out weather) and, if possible, design to include a “light well” in the middle of the structure to meet a full daylighting effort in the center of the space. If done properly, only a few places in the structure, such as under the stairs, need to be electrically lighted between sunrise and sunset.