J500 Media and the Environment

A LEED certified… parking garage? by bobbygrace

A LEED certified parking garageThe Santa Monica Civic Center parking garage is to become the first US Green Building Council LEED certified structure of its kind.

The green features are impressive. The structure features a water treatment system on site to capture runoff containing toxic liquids. Photovoltaic panels line the top of the structure providing shade and renewable energy. The structure uses recycled materials and low VOC paint. Public electrical outlets for electric automobiles are available in 14 of the 900 spots. Free bicycle parking is also available.

You may ask, if we’re going to build a parking garage, why not make it more sustainable? This is a valid question, but I hope you realize the contradiction of terms here; this is an earth saving structure dedicated to the machine that has arguably accelerated the destruction of the earth. At what point does the effect of the increased number of cars used due to this structure outweigh the sustainable value of a “green” parking garage? I’m going to guess that tipping point is less than 900 new cars.

Is this making a joke of LEED certification?

via: Inhabitat

Bobby Grace


6 Comments so far
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I enjoy the irony of the situation here. To me, it is a shining example of how, as people become more aware of the environment, they want to make changes for the better. At the same time, some of these changes are benign: how much good does it actually do? Why not put more money into public transportation systems instead of a parking garage?


Comment by jkongs

I really liked the fact that the garage collects and filters its own runoff. Little focus is given to toxic runoff, while a lot of attention is given to carbon emissions. At the same time, the garage will allow more cars on the road creating more toxic runoff.


Comment by bobbygrace

[…] might also want to consider what Bobby Grace asks, at Media & the Environment: I hope you realize the contradiction of terms here; this is an earth saving structure dedicated to […]

Pingback by First LEED-Certified Parking Structure, Santa Monica, California «

Genius post. This is like the new plan to genetically engineer cows’ digestive systems so they will emit less gas (their methane is a big contributor to climate change) rather than just feeding them grass over grain (which is what their stomachs can digest).
Adding to the irony about cars and garages, I also thought about how much money the city is pouring into a sexy place to house cars while people are homeless.
There is no easy answer to all this.

Comment by j500

Clearly there is an interesting paradox of efforts at play here – namely constructing a “green” building functioning to house cars. However, at this stage in shifting toward a “greener” earth, any strategy that aims to minimize the human impact is a step toward a greater good. I mean, heck, parking structures do get built and used everyday… why not make one that is works for us? Salute innovative design!

Comment by Lindsay

Would you think differently of a parking system that could park the 900 vehicles in 40% of the cubic space and earn up to 40 LEED points? A system that could also be relocated and reused? One that is fully automated, vehicles are not running while in the structure. Zero carbon foot print?

Comment by Peter Anderes

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