Green Parking spots, the need of the hour.

Cars have increased over the past few years and along with them the services that are required to cater to the car market. The biggest of these is Parking Lots. Parking lots are not only a ugly blob on the landscape, but ecologically they replace in most cases the environment around that area with tarmac and then infuse the area with more car exhaust smoke killing anything that has a chance of growing around the area as well. With more and more people getting aware about the budding environmental issues, companies and designers are continuously thinking of new ideas that promote the use of clean energy. Industrial designers have always dreamt about the possibilities of solar-powered parking lots that not only recharge with clean energy but also generate electricity for lighting purpose. Car parking lots of the future are definitely going to be much more than just storage areas for our vehicles. The image of the Volkswagen Automated Parking system sparked the interest to find similar or better green parking designs around the world. Here we have some of the best green car parking concepts. The list also includes green car parking lots that have already been set up at some places. A note, most of the designs are from the Think Outside the Parking Box competition organized by Designboom and Nissan.

Volkswagen factory Automated Parking system

This is a picture that is circulating the internet for a very long time, and for the most part I thought it was a render of a parking solution which is a bit futuristic in design. I was bowled over to see that this is actually in use and it makes use of only 20% of the space of a conventional parking space for similar capacity. The robotic sorting and storage system is a remarkable engineering marvel. I would love to see a lot more of these in the world, at least in Dubai as parking is a nightmare here. Add to that, its ecologically friendly also.

Japan

If at all there was a country in the world that is synonymous with innovation it would have to be Japan. They take the quote, “Necessity is the mother of all inventions” to the extreme next step. All over Japan there are awesome examples of how car parking is handled in the city. Here are some pictures from the interwebs. Select few are displayed here : http://www.pbase.com/selsadek10/parking_in_japan

Green P parking system:

Designer: Algis Berziunas and Laima Rimkute

The concept is based on the decentralization of parking systems into many smaller spots that can be placed in unused spaces such as under flyovers and bridges. The Green P system also includes a lighting system that can replace or supplement ordinary road lights by charging them with solar energy generated by panels installed on the Green P’s roof. Check out some of the renders below :

More on a city wide

The Eco Parking lot:

Design: Green Corridor

Bringing environmental technologies and green design practices under one roof is the Eco Parking Lot. The stylish design will incorporate green plantation and stormwater remediation technology making it more efficient while maximizing greening potential. This visual treat with special student parking will benefit the Community and city of Windsor. The Eco Parking Lot will utilize environmental technologies and green design practices to create a hardscape that is practical and innovative. The surrounding community will benefit from the additional planting, stormwater remediation technology and designated student parking. The stylized layout of the parking lot acts to make parking more efficient while maximizing greening potential within the lot. As another aesthetic marker for the Community and city of Windsor, the Eco Parking Lot will utilize current dormant space to provide a welcomed service for its users and neighbors.

The Solar Forest Concept

Designer: Neville Mars

As the name suggests, this concept brings trees like structures into action. The Solar Forest Concept consists of trees that are made up of photovoltaic leaves, whose sole purpose is to collect solar power. At the truck of each tree is a power outlet that is used to charge up electric vehicles. Apart from providing charge, the photovoltaic leaves also gives shade to the cars. Instead of having parking lots filling the urban landscape, the Solar Forest offers shade, free EV charging, solar energy generation while simultaneously greatly improving the appearance of the urban landscape. Check out the YouTube video below:

90 degrees vertical parking system

Designer: Baita Bueno

The 90 degrees vertical parking system, one-of-a-kind parking concept parks your car vertically. While you tuck your vehicles into the parking lot, the panels on the flip-side pursue the solar vigor to energize the reclining motor or just keeps piling on for some better use in future. Along with power generation, the unique system allows three cars to park vertically where normally a single car is parked. I remember vividly the scenes from iRobot starring Will Smith. They had these shown, was really impressed. Again, now since this might be coming to life it will be an awesome addition anyway. More pics below:

The Solasis Light Tower:

Designer: Klaud Wasiak and Yongbang Ho

Here is a concept offshore parking area that generates solar energy to recharge electric cars and add valuable juice to the grid. This renewable energy generating parking lot is equipped with a solar power concentrating tower that uses the windshields and hoods of cars as sun tracking and concentrating mirrors. Drivers of the vehicles will also have the option to either use the underground metro line to get back to the city center from the offshore location or walk into the city.

Solar parking Concept:

Designer: Nejur Andrei

Romanian designer Nejur Andrei’s Solar Parking Concept is an impressive perception, for it offers a dual solution to parking and charging of electric vehicles as well. What the design proposes is the wireless transmission of charge from the solar canopy to the charging coil embedded in the asphalt and later, to the car battery.

After sensing an electric car parked, the parking system automatically starts the wireless charging process. The underground battery pack passes this charge on to the multiple charging coils just below the parked car and from here, a receiving coil integrated under the car sucks that charge up. Once the car’s battery is full, the sensors embedded in the asphalt stop the charging process.

Solaire Parking Canopy:

Design: Solaire Generation

Solaire Generation proudly revealed the Solaire Parking Canopy at the Intersolar North America conference in San Francisco, CA. This innovative creation is a modular system that converts the underutilized open parking lots into power plants by providing ingenious structure for PV solar panels. Solaire Generation aims to revolutionize the solar parking lot market with its innovative design. The key features of the Solaire Parking Canopy include Outputs high energy regardless of geographic orientation, Acts as a grey water system, Well-suited for all solar panels and films, Solid steel decking, Dual charging facility – electric and fuel, Establish pioneering advertising space,

This multi-featured unique creation makes Solaire Generation America’s leading provider of solar parking canopies. Apart from the canopy, the company has also developed the Solaire Tree. The solar powered tree shaped structure has a seating at the bottom that could act as a wireless and solar charging station.

Santa Monica Civic Center parking structure:

The building does meet or exceed many of the US Green Building Council’s LEED guidelines. A solar photovoltaic array on the roof provides shade for top level parking and on-site renewable energy. The materials used in construction were recycled and finished with low-VOC paints and finishes. The building envelope utilizes low-e glazing to decrease heating and cooling loads and the mechanicals are energy efficient. A storm-drain water-treatment system helps reduce tainted runoff from directly entering the hydrosphere and greywater harvesting provides for landscaping and on-site facilities.

The Santa Monica Civic Center garage provides 900 parking spaces throughout six above ground stories and 1 ½ below ground levels. Of those 900 spaces, 14 (or less than 2%) are devoted to electric vehicles with public electrical outlets. There’s also free bicycle storage available to “encourage alternate transportation modes.”

Dell’s headquarters parking lot

Any of us who have left their car in a sunny parking lot for a few hours and returned to an oven-like interior know that there’s a lot of wasted energy right there. To make matters worse, we usually then crank up the A/C to compensate, increasing the environmental damage.

Well, here’s a clever way to leave cars in shade and generate electricity at the same time: A solar-power-gathering parking lot. Above is a shot of a “Solar Grove” built by Envision Solar for Dell Computer’s corporate headquarters in Texas. The panels not only generate juice for the facility, but are also connected to two CleanCharge stations that electric vehicles can plug into. Check out the concept video below:

Romag’s PowerPark canopy

The PowerPark canopy at Romag’s headquarters in Consett generates enough juice to power the EVs parked under it. It is capable of producing 1.5kW of peak power in optimal conditions. It has been designed to be linked to the National Grid, so any power generated but not pumped into an e-car can be utilized in a more efficient manner.

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