International Parking Institute publishes Framework on Sustainability for Parking Design, Management, and Operations

The International Parking Institute (IPI) has published its Framework on Sustainability for Parking Design, Management, and Operations, outlining industry-wide goals and organization action items that provide education, incentives, and forums for members to learn about and contribute to sustainable parking solutions.

According to IPI Chair Casey Jones, CAPP, “This Framework represents a fundamental shift in thinking and reflects the integral role parking professionals play in helping communities achieve sustainability goals.” Jones noted that the Framework is not an endpoint, but a living document that will be adapted over time to accommodate new ideas and advancements in the sustainability movement.

As stated in the Framework on Sustainability, parking and transportation solutions should balance economic feasibility, public health and welfare, and consideration of environmental effects. The Framework lists seven goals related to sustainability, as well as 10 action areas through which IPI, in close collaboration with its members, will focus efforts.

In the Framework on Sustainability, IPI pledges to promote and support seminars, publications, awards, education certification programs, and other tools and resources on sustainability topics. The Framework also states support for peer-to-peer sharing, long-term views, and third-party collaboration, which are all critical steps in making informed sustainability decisions.

IPI has already made significant strides in implementing many of the actions. Two years ago, the association created a Sustainability Committee, now co-chaired by Rachel Yoka, LEED AP BD+C, CPSM, Timothy Haahs & Associates, Inc. and Rick Decker, CAPP, Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. In addition to working collaboratively with other organizations to advance environmental approaches, a book on parking sustainability, including case studies, is in the works.

Sustainability will also be a focus at IPI’s 2012 Conference and Expo, the world’s largest parking industry event. Scheduled for June 10-13 in Phoenix, Ariz., this year’s conference includes an educational track on the topic.

In addition, IPI’s annual Awards of Excellence competition, which recognizes outstanding achievements in parking, recently added two new categories to reward environmentally-friendly innovation in new and renovated facilities, as well as operations.

“Contrary to common misperceptions, parking is vital to sustainability,” said Shawn Conrad, CAE, executive director of IPI. “Well-planned parking can increase use of mass transportation, reduce the number of people commuting, and encourage alternative travel methods such as bicycling.

Conrad also noted that just reducing the amount of time it takes for drivers to find a parking spot can significantly reduce fuel waste and emissions, and this can be accomplished through smart planning combined with new technologies and mobile apps that make it easier to find and navigate to available parking spaces.

According to IPI’s 2011 Emerging Trends in Parking Report, an increasing demand for green and sustainable parking solutions is a leading industry trend.

Many parking facilities today are adopting best practices in sustainability with energy-efficient lighting, solar panels, and innovative water and waste management systems to reduce their carbon footprints.  These include implementing recycling systems, using local and recycled materials in construction, and installing renewable energy technology such as photovoltaic, wind power, bio-fuels, and hydrogen fuel cells. An increasing number of parking facilities are also supporting sustainability by accommodating alternative fuel vehicles.

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