Parkade lighting upgrades provides savings and improved light quality

By David Poole

In a program involving 13 hospital parkades in Calgary and Red Deer, Alberta Health Services (AHS) upgraded old HID lighting to LED technology, creating an annual cost savings of almost $250,000, while bringing light levels to current standards, and improving the overall quality of illumination.

Illumination in many covered or underground hospital parking lots in Alberta is provided by a mixture of HID (High Intensity Discharge – typically metal halide or high pressure sodium) and fluorescent T8 lighting. Lighting levels varied greatly, from very dim in some cases, to illuminated well beyond current standards for parkade lighting in others. In a retrofit and redesign program, funded by AHS Parking Services department, thirteen parkades were selected for a change-over to LED lighting technology. It should be noted that AHS Parking Services is an ancillary operation and is committed to providing an operation that is sustainable, effective and efficient. With this in mind, the project included a redesign of the lighting, and the use of motion and ambient daylight sensors in order to provide adequate light at all times and further reduce energy consumption and costs.

Project Details

Alberta Health Services engaged a lighting consultant to provide tender documents for the upgraded lighting system and provide pre and post electrical measurements in order to verify the savings. The consultant utilized the current Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) recommendations to redesign the parkade lighting. The lighting consultant and AHS worked together to evaluate a number of LED lighting products in order to provide an acceptable number of approved products based on a number of factors including performance, quality, warranty, history, etc.

A total of 4895 fixtures were affected by this project. The simplest upgrade consisted of replacing existing fluorescent T8 tubes with LED tubes of equal length but reduced wattage, using the…

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North American Precast Concrete Industry Issues Environmental Product Declarations

By Ariane Sabourin and Brian J. Hall

In the context of environmental impact, the choice of construction products and building systems is significant, and is continuing to grow in importance. In 2013, the building and transportation sectors combined for an estimated 256 Mt or 35% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. Emission intensive industries accounted for an estimated 76Mt, or 11% (Globe and Mail, January 23, 2016).  Selecting a product, brand, or building system will determine the resources used, pollution created, carbon dioxide emitted and waste generated – preference impacts more than just style, function, performance and cost. (more…)

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Sustainability for Surface Parking

By Ellise Gasner

Times are positively evolving and the focus on sustainability is being embraced by various industries worldwide.

The Parking industry is fortunate that sustainable parking surface alternatives are readily available, easy to incorporate and affordable. Permeable parking has been the norm for our European neighbours for well over two decades and is now becoming widely incorporated throughout North America. (more…)

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Parking Lots: Making Operations Profitable by Optimizing Management

Too often, ancillary parking lots are under-appreciated assets, neglected by their owners and managers until a problem arises.

Yet as we’ve learned in an article published in BOMA Magazine, the International Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) magazine, poor management decisions – deficient outsourcing contracts, inefficient operations, maintenance issues, employee theft, fraud, financial irregularities and poor use of occupancy statistics – can cause losses of up to 28% of parking revenues1.

This is a sign that managing this essential mobility tool in our cities deserves to be examined more closely.

Parking Lots: woven into the urban fabric

The history of parking lots is of course linked to the history of automobiles. Before they debuted in cities, streets were designed for travel by coach, tram or bicycle, or on foot. Then cars became financially accessible for a growing segment of the population and on-street parking quickly became saturated.

We believe that drivers searching for on-street parking represents about 30%2 of all traffic volume. This is particularly high near sites that generate parking needs such as subway stations, hospitals, shops, schools, educational institutions and workplaces. In a big city, where about 90% of on-street parking is free3 (this drops to 50% for downtown areas), this is one of the reasons why municipal authorities, concerned about the environmental, societal and economic implications of traffic congestion, rely more and more on policies that limit free on-street parking and often depend on the private sector to fill the gap.

Optimum Parking Management: the Art and Practice

Sound management of these infrastructures that are indispensable to city life allows us to optimize their operation and improve their profitability. Beyond the financial benefits, however, parking lots managed with profit in mind as well as efficiency can support the efforts of city authorities concerned with ensuring the quality of life and the environment of…

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Best Practices for Securing Parking Facilities

By John Mosebar

The parking industry is moving rapidly to contain costs, primarily by creating unstaffed facilities through the automation of ticketing and payment processes. Pair that with a large number of patrons and vehicles in easily accessible facilities and it’s easy to see why parking lots and garages can become magnets for criminals.

Crimes range from theft of property and vehicles to violent assaults against patrons. Fortunately, nearly all parking facility owners and operators feel a very real need to protect their patrons. Security is also an important issue with drivers. Surveys show one-third cite safety as a top factor in choosing where to park their vehicles.

Providing security has become easier with tried-and-true tools and procedures. But there is no one-size-fits-all security plan as parking facilities vary widely by size, type and location. For a parking operator, the process should begin by choosing a security integrator with proven experience securing parking facilities.

Security Tools 

All-hazards assessment – Don’t spend money on security before first analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the facility. Check out the surrounding neighborhood and traffic patterns. Monitor patron’s daily routines. Identify
danger zones such as remote areas of lots and garage stairwells and elevators. This will help create a plan to allocate money for the right equipment, where it is most needed.

Then here’s a look at some of today’s best security tools solutions.

Audio intercoms – Build audio intercoms into entry/exit gates and ticket dispensers to provide instant two-way communication with an offsite security guard or facility operator.

Emergency stations – Although most parking patrons carry their own mobile phones, those devices can’t be counted on in many subterranean or concrete structures or even outdoors during severe weather. Mobile phones also are often the first target of thieves.

Emergency towers, wall-mount boxes or flush mounted stations are effective when placed throughout garages…

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Automated Lighting Controls: A Data Driven Business Case from Vancouver, BC

By Karim Abraham

Automated lighting controls such as occupancy sensors present significant savings potential for parking facilities. However, quantifying potential savings and assessing the financial viability of a lighting automation project can be challenging. The missing link in planning energy savings projects is actual data to build an accurate business case.

Recently, a parkade in Vancouver’s Chinatown neighbourhood underwent an exercise to reduce energy costs and improve building performance. The parkade had been approached a number of times to update their lighting to save costs. Each time, the numbers looked slightly different – and there was no way to tell what the actual return on investment would be. Eventually, the automation project that was implemented would accurately predict savings and reduce the parkade’s costs by installing occupancy sensors in conjunction with real-time data monitoring.

Energy specialists recognized that the parkade lights did not need to be on 24 hours a day, and that the best business case involved adding occupancy sensors to dramatically reduce the amount of time lights were on each day. The problem was that they were still making assumptions on how much of a reduction the occupancy sensors would generate. Busy days could have significantly lower savings than weekends, and at night the traffic would be different again.

Using a systematic approach, data loggers were installed on the lights in the parkade, and pilot occupancy sensors were installed on one floor only. The data that was produced over the coming weeks showed a reduction in consumption by 49.3% as a result of the installation of occupancy sensors. An excellent result.

The data was then pro-rated to factor the varying traffic flow by floor, and savings calculations were adjusted accordingly. For example, lower floors are likely to receive more traffic and therefore achieve lower savings. The pilot occupancy sensors were installed on…

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Small Changes

Policy-makers are waking up to the fact that cyclists and pedestrians have to be protected if multi-modality is to be a success. As a result, there is a thriving market in vulnerable road user detection but technology choice is an important factor in its success. Here, Q-Free TDC’s Colin Reekie talks about initiatives currently under way in Scotland.

Vulnerable road users — the collective term for cyclists and pedestrians — present traffic engineers with especial challenges. They are small, often numerous and often to be found in traffic monitoring situations which have complex geometries and occluded lines of vision. Modern bicycle design also means they have very little metallic content, which makes the use of inductive loop technology for their detection problematic. Bicycles are also highly likely to come off second-best in a collision with a car or larger vehicle.

Globally, as governments look to reduce overall numbers of those killed and seriously injured on roads whilst also looking to reduce transport’s environmental footprint, there is increasing recognition of the need to detect and protect vulnerable road users in crowded, multimodal traffic environments. This has implications both in terms of the types of technologies used and how it is deployed.

Q-Free TDC is currently helping local authorities in Scotland to monitor how they are supporting UK Government efforts to increase numbers of cyclists and build more sustainability and fitness into personal mobility. The national goal is to have 10 per cent of traffic in the UK be cycle-based by 2020, and so there is a real need to have specific data on how and where people are cycling.

Specifically at three sites in Glasgow, Scotland’s largest city, Q-Free TDC has provided a solution which has already been in successful operation for over a year in the Danish capital, Copenhagen. This so-called ‘Copenhagen Solution’…

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Will That Be A Parking Space For The New Condo, or Something More Useful?

Canada is becoming a more urban country.  As Cities continue to grow and prosper, more and more people are making the choice to embrace truly urban living. This lifestyle includeas a strong preference to live close to a wide range of amenities, social activities and employment opportunities that can be accessed with short travel times.  It also includes choosing to live in an urban environment consisting predominantly of apartment buildings and townhouses in a mixed use setting with grade level retail, restaurant and personal service uses and nearby employment space.  This approach to urban living provides convenience for residents and also generates activity for local service business owners. If the density of the mixed use environment is high, residents will be able to walk to many activities.   (more…)

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Green Initiatives: Solar Power Generating Parking Garages

By David Watts

If you drive past the Parking garage at the Ajax GO station, or the Erindale GO station, there is nothing visible that sets them apart from the other dozen or so parking facilities Metrolinx has constructed over the past 2 years.

You must get to the top floor to see the difference – approximately 1,200 solar modules on each of the those roofs, and a purpose built inverter room, designed specifically for the unit that converts  the direct current generated by solar modules to the alternating current that powers our houses.

Each garage will generate approximately 342,000 kWH per year, which is the equivalent consumption of 32 or 33 average Ontario homes.

It can also be looked at as offsetting the consumption of the parking facility.

Consumption projections at Erindale showed projected electrical consumption of about 1,000,000 kWH per year. The solar on the roof covers about a third of the annual needs, but if you break it down by season, it covers the summer consumption almost entirely. Winter is another story- the days are shorter and cloudier, and the nights long.

Long term analysis will show us if actual consumption reaches the projected levels, as all the lighting is LED, and lights are on timers and photo-sensors.

How do you plan a solar garage?

It is actually quite simple.

The racking system which connects the solar modules to the building is an engineered, ballasted system.  Wind tunnel testing shows us just where we need to place the weight to ensure that the entire array stays put, no matter what nature throws at us.

Typically the universal load for this ranges from 3 PSF to 6 PSF. If the parking facility in the design stage has a top floor that has a minimum extra 7 PSF allowance designed into it, I would call that solar ready….

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Who Are You Completing This Street For?

By Darnel Harris

On January 30, 2013 Richard Florida, the creative class guru published a piece on his CityLab blog entitled, ‘More Losers than Winners in America’s New Economic Geography.’ Effectively distancing himself from the way the theory he popularized for a decade has been implemented, Florida wrote that, “on close inspection, talent clustering provides little in the way of trickle-down benefits. Its benefits flow disproportionately to more highly-skilled knowledge, professional and creative workers whose higher wages and salaries are more than sufficient to cover more expensive housing in these locations. While less-skilled service and blue-collar workers also earn more money in knowledge-based metros, those gains disappear once their higher housing costs are taken into account.” In effect, the ‘creative class’ attracting investments municipalities made were now exacerbating urban inequality, and, were not just, “a vicious cycle but an unsustainable one — economically, politically, and morally.” While Florida has expressed his regret, families continue to swell the ranks of that vicious cycle in North America’s major cities.


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