DURHAM, N.C. — Duke University’s $35 million Research Drive Garage is the nation’s first single-use, stand-alone LEED certified parking facility, according to university and parking officials.
Walker Parking Consultants — which contracts with Duke — in conjunction with design teams from Ratio Architects and Stewart Engineering, used a mix of sustainable design elements and new methodologies to design a garage that could qualify for LEED status. The design, which has allowed the garage to be 50 percent more energy efficient than Duke’s existing garages, was also cost-neutral compared to traditional parking structure projects.
The $35 million, 1,900-space Research Drive Garage, which opened in early 2010, replaced an existing surface parking lot, enabling Duke to retain green space in the vicinity. Built by Bovis Lend Lease, it features two, 10,000-gallon cisterns to collect rainwater for landscaping, green trellises and walls to reduce the “heat island” effect, rain gardens to filter excess storm water and slow its reintroduction into the Durham’s storm water system, energy efficient LED lighting and “daylight harvesting” technology, preferred parking for low-emission, fuel-efficient and carpool vehicles, recycled building materials and an operations and payment system that reduces idling and excessive driving when entering, exiting and searching for a parking spot.
Up to now, developers have only been able to win LEED status for garages by attaching them to construction projects with occupied space or by incorporating mixed-use components, such as commercial or retail space, that feature green design elements but having nothing to do with the parking structures themselves.
“On behalf of the entire Duke University community, we are very pleased to receive the USGBC’s recognition that the Research Drive Garage is among the greenest parking facilities in the country,” said Paul Manning, director of Duke University’s Office of Project Management. “Thanks to our partner Walker Parking Consultants and the design and construction team for thinking outside the box on this proposal, and for refusing to accept the commonly held belief that single-use parking structures could not achieve LEED Certification. The Research Drive Garage at Duke University is one of the projects that will enable us to maintain a leadership role in environmental stewardship and sustainability on our campus.”
“Our partnership with Duke and the Green Building Council’s recognition prove without a doubt that parking facility design and construction with a sustainable approach to development — once considered antithetical concepts — can coalesce seamlessly to deliver game changing projects like the first-of-its-kind Research Drive Garage,” said Todd Lohman, Walker Parking Consultants’ project manager. “We now have an ideal facility that will serve as a ‘best practices’ model for green parking design for countless institutions and private businesses across the nation and around the world.”