CT, U.S. garage operators copying LEED

Connecticut's biggest parking operators and electric utility have teamed up to create a certification for "green'' garages, similar to the LEED format for environmentally sustainable buildings.
Indeed, the U.S. Green Parking Council was formally established a month ago because the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) won't certify any of the thousands of existing garages retrofitted to LEED standards, said council charter member John Schmid, CEO of Propark in Hartford.

In Hartford, Propark manages State House Square garage, 100 Pearl St., and Travelers Co. garage.

Hartford rival Laz Parking, which owns and operates parking garages and surfaces lots nationwide, is also a charter member.

"We decided as an industry to set up our own standard,'' Schmid said.

Based in Boston, the nonprofit parking council's members own or manage about 10,000 garages in the U.S. and Canada, Schmid said. Once those garages, including the downtown Hartford locations Propark manages, are refitted with sustainable features, such as energy-efficient lighting and electric-car recharging stations, they would be eligible for the council's "green'' certification.

The group's primary goal, he said, behind focusing public awareness on their green garages is to "set up infrastructure ' for the estimated 500,000 plug-in electric cars on the road by 2015.

Another charter member, Northeast Utilities, the Hartford parent of power utilities in Connecticut, western Massachusetts and New Hampshire, along with the Regional Electric Vehicle Initiative, is promoting development of plug-in stations in parking garages in downtown areas, and at airports, hotels and convention centers.

Connecticut also is promoting plug-ins through the Governor's Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council.

Board nominees for the U.S. Green Parking Council includes some familiar names in Connecticut business circles. Aside from Schmid, the list includes Alan Lazowski, Laz Parking's co-founder and CEO; Watson Collins, director of business development for Northeast Utilities; and Brendan Fox, an attorney in Jay Malcynsky's New Britain law firm.

Other nominees to the 13-member board include executives from shopping-mall operators Simon Property Group and Macerich; Canadian landlord Brookfield Properties; and parking operators Standard Parking and The Parking Spot, both based in Chicago, and Towne Parking of Annapolis, Md.
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