Green Parking Lots

Green parking lots are an impressive way to embrace eco-friendly implications into our traditional parking designs. Green parking lots tend to benefit the environment while modifying and enhancing the usual appearance and design of our parking lots.

This concept helps in transforming a common parking lot into a much more greener and ecological aspect of our society.  The design of a green parking lot makes use of advanced storm water management methodologies and viable paving materials in order to diminish the negative environmental impacts of lengthy stretches of paving.

Why Green Parking Lots are a necessity today?

Although the necessity of parking lots cannot be ignored, the wide expanses of paving tend to increase air and water pollution. On the contrary, green parking areas lessen storm water runoff and refine the quality of water in our rivers and streams through excessive filtering and eliminating pollutants.

Another important benefit lies in the fact that green parking lots also manage to reduce the temperature of storm water streams flowing in our waterways. Moreover, green parking lots add a noticeable amount of greenery in our society and adapt to sustainable paving materials for creating eco-friendly parking areas.

Apart from innovative design solutions, green parking lots can also help in integrating local codes created for reducing the land consumption assigned for parking. Some of the most prominent aspects might include shared parking arrangements; minimized parking stalls dimensions and decreases in the minimum number of parking slots that are required.

Adverse Effects of Traditional Parking Lots

Parking lots are one of the most important features of suburban and urban landscapes. Likewise, their impacts on the environment are of critical significance as well. Most conventional parking lots are made up of pavements – usually comprising of concrete, sand and crushed stone.

Pavement is defined as a resistant, heat-absorbing material that functions by gathering storm water from its surface and prevents it from filtering into the soil and spoiling the water cycle. Bearing this in mind, parking lots are traditionally built with the important goal of directing storm water into water channels as swiftly as possible via drains, gutters and pipes. Thus, the contaminated runoff comprising of petroleum residues, pesticides and other pollutants mixed from parking surfaces combine with water, thereby adversely affecting the ecosystem.

Thus, conventional pavements deteriorate the quality of water and collect large amounts of impurities as well. Moreover, the materials employed for constructing parking lots have prominent effects on our eco system.

Location and Sitting Considerations

Most green parking lots essentially demand appropriate soil types and characteristics for allowing suitable filtration. One major risk involved is clogging, and this threat is certain to arise in areas comprising of high volumes of dust. Thus, implementing green parking lots in such areas require frequent maintenance as a necessity.

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Hazard Alleviation

Green parking areas provide an effective way of managing storm water flows through infiltrating the water runoff into the ground in the midst of storm events. This helps in minimizing runoff rate and volume to an extent. In some cases of smaller storm events, they have the capability of eliminating the runoff to the whole. For larger storm events, green parking lots tend to capture around 50-80 percent of the runoff.

Maintenance Considerations

The life span of permeable pavement is somewhat similar to that of the conventional concrete or asphalt pavement. However, frequent maintenance is a requirement that can’t be neglected. The maintenance procedure typically involves high pressure washing which is usually followed by vacuuming to remove dust particles.

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Green Features

Green parking lots combine a diversity of green features for instance rain gardens or bio swales. Vast amounts of runoff that is difficult to contain within a parking lot are sent off to larger storm water management systems of the lot, including wetlands, green areas or more open spaces.

Safe and accessible pedestrian routes

To ensure the safe access of pedestrians, clear pathways should be integrated with the parking areas.  This is achievable via using landscape medians for pedestrian walkways, thus splitting vehicles from pedestrians along the driveways. Vegetative areas and generous tree islands that accompany pedestrian pathways are bound to deliver smart and safe pedestrians routes through parking lots.

Conclusion

Green parking areas enhance the water quality, and certainly help in reducing the urban heat island effect. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the porous pavement assists in removing around 65-100 percent of metals, sediment and other pollutants.

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