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Green Building Code Makes Parksmart Certification Simple in California

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CPPA Newsletter, June 2015

As a Parksmart Advisor managing the certification for Stanford University’s Roble Field Parking Structure, I was pleased to discover that the Bronze or Silver Level Certification is easily attainable without adding additional costs to the project. This is especially true in California where C3 wastewater requirements and other sustainable practices are required by the California Green Building Standards Code for new design and construction. And for clients looking to make a more substantive commitment to sustainability, Gold Level Certification is still within reason by adding elements, such as Photovoltaics. 

When we began the Parksmart Certification, we were well into the design of the structure. So, we took the approach of examining each section of the requirements to see where we stood on points and then looked carefully at the return on investment for Stanford of any additional elements.


After talking with Stanford about how they intended to manage the garage, it became clear that they already intended to incorporate many best practices which equate to points, such as the following:

  • charging for parking,
  • having transportation managers who belong to a transportation management association,
  • recycling trash,
  • purchasing sustainable products,
  • performing maintenance on a regular basis,
  • commissioning the garage’s HVAC system,
  • recycling construction waste,
  • using regional materials whenever possible.

So, the management processes that Stanford already intended to use yielded 43 points out of a possible score of 90 under management. 


After analyzing Stanford’s planned sustainable programs, we had similar findings. Since the project is retaining the existing playing field above, we were eligible for placemaking points. Access to mass transit is provided via the Marguerite shuttle system and Cal Train provided additional points. The University had already planned to provide many of the internal and external signage requirements equating to more points. Since Stanford already has car share and rideshare programs in place on campus, the project received points. Preferred, exclusive AFV parking is required by Cal Green, which leads to points. In total, the Roble Field Parking Structure initially qualified for 34 out of a possible 64 points. The University agreed to add a marketing and educational program to provide an additional 4 points. 

Technology & Structural Design

Possibly the most impactful category due to the energy savings and other environmental benefits, Current Sustainable Technology is a prerequisite for Parksmart Certification. Through collaboration with Stanford’s project managers and transportation director, it was discovered that a substantial number of points were achieved through already included, sustainable best practices. The program for the Roble Field Parking Structure already included idle reduction payment systems to allow users to quickly exit the structure. In addition:

  • fire extinguishers without halon are the industry standard,
  • in California VOC’s have not been allowed in paints for years,
  • 32 EV charging stations with infrastructure for 32 more were planned for due to high demand,
  • an efficient HVAC system with variable speed fans was included due to the high energy savings
  • energy efficient lighting with lighting controls is standard due to the energy savings over time.

In California, C3 wastewater requirements meet the storm water management benchmark. Since cast in place concrete is a very durable material, additional points were achieved. The University decided to add a tire inflation system to the program, which equates to 2 additional points. The project qualified for 44 out of a possible 88 points. 


Finally, the innovative approach of adding below grade parking under an existing green roof playing field qualified for an additional 3 out of 6 points. The Parksmart elements described above come to a total of 124 points. Bronze certification is 110 –134 points, Silver is 135 – 159 points and Gold requires 160 – 248 points. While the Stanford Roble Field parking structure currently qualifies for the Bronze certification with very little added project cost, we are exploring the possibility of adding elements that move the garage into the Silver garage certification level. The project is currently under construction.

About the Author

Matt Davis has been creating parking solutions for over 20 years. He has worked on over 125 parking projects and is a certified Parksmart Advisor. In addition to delivering projects to satisfied clients, Matt’s projects, such as the Tustin Metrolink Station Parking Structure and UC San Diego Osler Parking Structure and Visitor's Center, have received recognition from the International Parking Institute and other associations. An active participant in the International Parking & Mobility Institute and the Pacific Intermountain Parking & Transportation Association, Matt has penned and spoken on a number of industry topics, such as Healthcare Parking as the First Line of Customer Service, Green Parking, Transit Parking Best Practices, the Future of Parking, Protecting Your Parking Investment and Right Sizing Parking.

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