Green Parking Solutions: Inside Calgary Parking's Sustainable Operations

In the heart of Calgary, where the need for efficient movement meets the need to minimize environmental impact, Calgary Parking is proud to be part of the collective efforts towards a greener tomorrow. With a firm commitment to sustainability and innovation, we have embarked on a series of initiatives aimed at transforming the city's parking landscape into a more eco-friendly and user-friendly environment. In this article, we'll explore some of these innovative initiatives. We’ll also hear from Medina, who coordinates parking operations, about her role in driving these changes.

Q: Before we dive into Calgary Parking's sustainable initiatives, let's first hear from Medina. Medina, can you tell us about your role at Calgary Parking and how it contributes to a more sustainable future for Calgarians?

A: Calgary Parking’s Operation unit manages on-street metered parking and off-street parking lots including surface lots and parkades. My team ensures that all our facilities are safe, reliable and well maintained. We prioritize projects based on safety and climate resilience, continuously upgrading our infrastructure to be more energy-efficient and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Can you give us an overview of the initiatives Calgary Parking are undertaking to promote sustainability and enhance the parking experience for Calgarians?

A: We are committed to sustainability and continuously work to enhance the parking experience for all Calgarians. To reduce our energy consumption, we started our journey by installing solar panels at the Municipal Impound Lot. Currently, these panels offset approximately 30 per cent of the site's energy usage. Our goal is to reach 100 per cent offset at this location by 2034. We are also adding electric vehicle charging stations and exploring renewable energy solutions like solar panels and rain collection barrels. These initiatives help create a greener, more sustainable parking infrastructure for our community.


Q: Looking at the 2023-2026 Climate Implementation Plan, one of the goals is to Accelerate the transition to Zero Emission Vehicles, how is Calgary Parking contributing to the success of this goal?

A: We understand that parking is important and we also recognize the environmental benefits of zero-emission vehicles. We currently offer over 50 electric vehicle charging stations across six parkades. Electric vehicle owners also receive priority placement on our monthly contract waitlists. We are also updating our fleet to align with the Green Fleet strategy, with 45 per cent of our vehicles now electric, including trucks and SUVs.

Q: Given that Calgary Parking operates over 50 parking lots and parkades, what is being done to make these facilities closer to a net-zero standard?

A: We are reducing our environmental footprint and energy consumption through various changes. For example, switching to LED lighting in the City Centre Parkade cut electricity use by 25 per cent. We are rolling out LED lights in all our lots and parkades due to this success.

Q: What else is Calgary Parking doing to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

We have some of the best way-finding signage in the parking industry. We use real-time displays that indicate the number of available stalls and where they can be found. Combined with enhanced signage to direct customers around our facilities, we reduce the need for our customers to drive around unnecessarily trying to find a place to park. In addition, our Variable Messaging System units on major roads leading downtown provide real-time updates on the availability of Calgary Parking Parkades. This helps drivers make informed decisions and change routes to find parking, instead of arriving at a full lot and then driving around looking for a space. These technology enhancements contribute to our efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, we are testing electric F-150 trucks with snowplow attachments for light snow removal around our parking lots, further reducing emissions.

Q: Calgarians have been encouraged to do their part in reducing water use and making every drop count. What is Calgary Parking doing to support water conservation?

A: Over the course of the year, we estimate that we have saved 25% on our water consumption. We only clean parkades levels that require it and are showing the most dirt, usually the first few floors. We have also limited our vehicle washing and it is only done when absolutely required. Furthermore, to be more self-sustaining, we will be using rain collection barrels which will serve as a water source for our operational needs.

Q: In what ways do these green initiatives reflect Calgary Parking's commitment to serving the community and promoting sustainability in the city?

A: These green initiatives reflect our deep commitment to serving the community and promoting sustainability in multiple ways. By investing in renewable energy and electric vehicles, we reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our water conservation and efficient facility management align with The City's sustainability goals. Real-time way-finding signage improves the parking experience and cuts unnecessary emissions. Overall, these initiatives highlight our proactive approach to community service and sustainability, making a positive impact on The City's environmental footprint while enhancing the quality of life for Calgarians.

Q: Lastly, what future green initiatives or plans does Calgary Parking have planned to continue improving sustainability and parking services for Calgarians?

A: We have several projects planned aimed at utilizing renewable energy sources and promoting eco-friendly transportation options.

Firstly, we are exploring the design and installation of more solar panels at various parking facilities, not only to reduce our carbon footprint but also to contribute clean energy back to the grid. Additionally, we are expanding our electric vehicle charging infrastructure, with plans to install more charging stations to meet the growing demand for electric vehicles in the city.

In line with our commitment to sustainable transportation, we are also investing in bicycle parking facilities. We currently offer monthly bicycle parking at six parkades, with plans to introduce daily and hourly bike parking lockers as well as indoor heated bike lockers to encourage more people to choose biking as a sustainable mode of transport. Additionally, as part of our commitment to supporting eco-friendly transportation options, people will be able to charge their e-bikes at the locker facilities.

Furthermore, we will be incorporating more fully electric, electric hybrid, and other low carbon vehicles into our fleets. This initiative will reduce our environmental impact and improve the efficiency of our operations.

In conclusion, we are dedicated to advancing sustainability and enhancing parking services for the community. Together we can create a greener, more sustainable Calgary.


Categories: Sustainability

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