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Pushing the Green Envelope By Christian Luz, PE, AICP


PMI CHARTED NEW TERRITORY when its first sustainability framework was adopted in 2011. Updated in

When first introduced, the framework raised the eyebrows of parking advocates and critics, but the industry has made progress promoting transportation solutions and sustainable practices that balance economic feasibility, public health and welfare, and consideration of environmental impacts. The industry had to prove the effort was more than just greenwashing (disinformation disseminated by an organization to present an environmentally responsible public image). Through hard work, creativity, and a commitment to tangible triple-bottom-line strategies that promote economic, environmental, and social solutions, we’ve come a long way from the days when parking was largely viewed as antithetical to anything sustainable. The accelerated nature of innovation within our industry, especially with respect to sustainability advancements, is encouraging and necessary. We’ve now mainstreamed innovations such as LED lighting, roof-mounted solar panels, and automatic vehicle identification systems, and new garages now commonly come equipped with a whole host of features that just a decade ago were viewed as out of the question. To keep advancing, we must push the envelope and explore ideas that might

seem (and actually may be) outlandish. So, what are some of the innovative ideas circulating around parking garage design? Let’s take a look at just two ideas that might shape future sustainability innovations in parking garage design.

CO2 Absorbing Concrete

A recent Forbes article described the work of a firm that has designed a concrete product that injects carbon dioxide into wet concrete, which reacts with calcium ions from cement to form


a ­nano-sized calcium carbonate mineral that becomes permanently embedded in the concrete. The firm’s marketing materials note that, “since the CO2 is chemically converted into solid calcium carbonate, and permanently embedded into the concrete, the gas won’t escape when a concrete structure is demolished and pulverized, because it no longer exists.” Because traditional concrete represents a significant portion of global carbon emissions, any innovation that can trap and remove CO2 could be a game changer.


2016, the green manifesto established IPMI as “a thought leader, information clearinghouse, and driving force for increasing sustainability practices in the parking industry.” The framework outlined nine action items assembled along the three areas of knowledge and research, programs and operations, and design and construction. Actions ranged from developing and maintaining strategic partnerships with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI), and the Parksmart program, to creating forums, educational content, and information about successful and promising parking and mobility sustainability advancements.

Profile for International Parking & Mobility Institute

Parking & Mobility, May 2020  

Parking & Mobility magazine, published by the International Parking & Mobility Institute.

Parking & Mobility, May 2020  

Parking & Mobility magazine, published by the International Parking & Mobility Institute.