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Automated Parking and Garage Lights take “Green” garages to new levels

Posted on Monday 3rd September 2012
California has had the reputation for innovation on the environment and overall energy efficiency and sustainability. An Automated Parking Structure for West Hollywood, California is no exception.

The parking garage structure will have five levels of parking, but will only be about 45 feet tall. Since drivers do not have to walk within the structure, the clearance needs only to accommodate vehicles. Here is the link to the Automated Garage Presentation

The “Green” advantage here is the conservation of space. The least eco-friendly parking layout is surface parking due to the impervious cover that creates run off issues. The dense stack automated solution takes the parking structure to a new level, because the 45 feet height may have traditionally only held four levels vs. five. This 20% increase in the number of vehicles stored simply reduces the burden on surface parking adjacent to or in the neighborhood around the facility. Personal vehicles are inevitable across the American landscape despite attempts to promote ride-share, public transportation, and…bicycles, so this automated structure is a welcomed step toward efficiency.

For the California project, the average storage/retrieval time will be approximately 90 seconds, and peak two-way traffic flow is designed to process 111 vehicles per hour, or approximately two per minute. To avoid delays in case of a malfunction, the structure is designed with back-up systems to cover any failing system, including four entry/exit bays and five transport machines.

Advisory groups like Walker parking ( support parking garage owners and operators by advising them the right type of technology to apply for their facility. As the parking garage industry grows, organizations like the Green Parking Council ( have been established to take a leadership role to foster “Green” energy efficiency and sustainability across this commercial property sector. Plus, for advanced work at the “Green” level, companies like Green Garage Associates ( provide a range of different solutions from solar panels and charging stations for plug in hybrids and electric cars to high performance parking garage lighting retrofits for the increasingly popular parking garage LED lights.

To date, parking garage lighting has typically been the focus for energy efficiency given that safety requirements dictate 24/7 illumination for parking garage lamps or parking garage tubes. The typical parking garage lamp uses a metal halide bulb which runs on about 150 or 175 Watts. By contrast an LED parking garage fixture typically uses only about 50 Watts, which only a third of the energy of the metal halide bulb for parking lamps. The typical parking garage tube is the 4 ft. T8 or T12 fluorescent tube which uses either 40 watts or 32 watts. By contrast a 4’ LED tube uses only about 15 Watts, which is less than half of the energy of the traditional fluorescent garage tube.

As the adoption level of the parking garage LED tube and the parking garage LED fixture increases to replace the inefficient tubes and metal halide bulbs, the energy savings is significant across the U.S. given the estimated 40,000 parking garages. As the innovation in the “automated” structures increase, the impervious land savings is significant as well. These are two positive trends for “Green” Parking Garages.

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