Ann Arbor DDA earns nod for sustainable design in new underground parking structure

Ann Arbor's South Fifth Avenue underground parking structure has been recognized as a Demonstrator Site" by the Green Parking Council.
Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority officials announced the news, pointing out the designation means the parking structure still in the process of being built now will be among the first facilities eligible for Green Garage certification in 2012.

"The DDA has worked throughout this project to minimize its environmental impacts," Amber Miller, the DDA's planning and research specialist, wrote in an email to "Our efforts now allow this structure to become part of this unique program designed to encourage the standardization of sustainable initiatives within the parking industry."

The Green Parking Council is a nonprofit group dedicated to expanding green parking practices through its Green Garage rating system. It developed the Demonstrator Site program as an evaluative tool to initiate the process toward Green Garage certification.

"The GPC has created the Demonstrator Site program to bring recognition to those facilities that have committed to making an effort towards sustainability and who have made progress towards this end," the group's website states.

Miller cited several examples of the project's commitment to sustainable practices. For instance, the excavated sand from the site is being reused as part of the structural concrete for the project, and all demolished concrete, asphalt and wood from the site has been recycled.

Also, all of the stormwater that falls on the site will be detained, in excess of city requirements, and energy-saving lights will be used that can cast lower light levels in off-peak periods.

When the structure opens, it's expected to include 22 electric car charging stations and set aside prime parking spaces for alternative fueled vehicles.

DDA officials said this represents only the latest in a number of DDA initiatives to promote sustainability as a part of downtown development.

The DDA also has committed nearly $500,000 toward a program providing energy saving audits, recommendations and installation rebates to downtown businesses. DDA officials said the program has encouraged downtown building owners to make nearly $700,000 worth of improvements that are anticipated to save $87,000 a year in energy costs.

The DDA also has played a role in alternative transportation programs by covering 95 percent of the cost for the popular go!pass a free bus pass for 7,100 employees as well as bike hoops and lockers, commuter rail research, Zipcar sponsorship, and the getDowntown program. Additionally, the DDA provided the funds for the installation of a solar-electric demonstration project at the Farmers Market, downtown LED street lights, energy efficient upgrades at the Delonis Center and downtown sidewalk recycling containers.
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