Five Steps to Greener and more Intelligent Parking Decks


Parking Decks are likely one of the last buildings you think of when considering building automation, but they are a prime opportunity for Iintelligent use of automation for enhanced safety, energy conservation and light harvesting.

This is what you should be considering when you build your next parking deck:

  1. Green – Light Harvesting
    1. Lamp Dimming
    2. Solar Tubes
  2. Green/Safety – Occupancy Activated Interior Lighting.
  3. Convenience – Entrance Light Level Step for easy eye transition. All lighting control is Automatic.
  4. Performance – Remote Monitoring from the Cloud.
  5. Access Control – with RFID access control occupants can be directed to available parking spaces.
Solatube delivery2

Light Harvesting – Like any building, a parking deck can use sunlight to more efficiently illuminate the interior. Active light harvesting senses that the light level outside the building is providing sufficient lumen levels to safely reduce the interior lamp levels in affected edge space. Passive harvesting comes from the use of light collecting tubes on the top of the deck that will pass light to the covered areas that never see sunlight. Light collecting tubes have almost no cost of ownership, long life space, are easy to retrofit and direct sunlight to space that would otherwise use energy to light. See more here on the importance of natural light.

Occupancy Activated Lighting – Typical green lighting protocols require occupants to manually turn on the space lighting, but in a parking deck, security concerns override the environmental concerns. Occupancy sensors with short timeout’s shift the lighting from minimal levels to occupied levels when they see motion and then return it back to minimal levels when the area is vacant. Light harvesting logic ties into the decision process of how much to lower lamps when empty on a bright day.

Parking Deck AutomationConvenience – In a totally automated environment there is no need for manual control of lighting after hours. Another convenience is lighting at the entrance/exit that steps light levels up slowly when entering at night and the reverse during the day – this helps customers to more quickly adjust their eyes to the change in light levels.

Performance – An intelligent automated system is aware of it’s status and can share that information with assigned maintenance personnel. For example; By tracking energy usage of each zone in the system maintenance can be alerted when bulbs fail – indicated by reduced energy usage. Additionally Phase Loss monitoring alerts maintenance to electrical failures.

Access Control – Using access control designated users can be directed to reserved parking by lighting a path to the assigned area. With more advanced tracking available spaces can be monitored and users directed to a specific space (coming to a Parking Deck near you).

OK Conversations on intelligent parking decks may not be the most exciting topics, but who hasn’t been alone in a scary dark parking deck late at night and thought “… I wonder if they are harvesting sunlight?”