October 12, 2009

Florida university debuts 'green' parking garage


The University of Florida's new LEED Platinum certified Southwest Parking Garage Complex includes a two story building made up of transportation, parking service, public safety offices and retail.


 The University of Florida’s (UF) new $20 million Southwest Parking Garage Complex has earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification, the highest possible status. The garage opened in September.

The Boca Raton, Fla. office of architectural firm Pierce, Goodwin, Alexander & Linville (PGAL) designed and built the parking facility, which consists of a six-level, 313,000 square-foot parking garage that can accommodate up to 950 cars, along with an attached 52,000 square foot, two story building made up of transportation, parking service, public safety offices and retail. A 12,000 square foot office building for the University is also included.

PGAL partnered with Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based contractor James A. Cummings Inc. in 2001 to design, document and construct the garage for UF. The initial goal of the project was to obtain LEED silver certification, which is the objective of many universities when constructing new buildings, according to Bruno Phillips, architect and project manager for PGAL. However, all three partners wanted to exceed expectations. “PGAL as well as James A. Cummings and the University…raised it up a notch or two. We were able to get the points up to platinum,” said Phillips.

The parking garage and facilities offer several environmentally-friendly features. The builders took advantage of density by building vertically to add 650 parking spaces in addition to the 300 spaces in the original site. The site is also more biker-friendly than the original. Additional bicycles racks and spaces as well as secure storage for bicycles and mopeds have been provided. There are also changing rooms and showers for added convenience for those who park in the garage and then use their bicycle or moped to get around campus. Public transportation is easy to access, with the parking transportation offices located right next to a main bus transit hub, Phillips adds.

Other green features include green space in landscaping around the perimeter of the garage and incorporating as many shade trees as possible; reflective roof coatings on the office and reflective content on the roof of the garage to mitigate the heat generated from sunlight on surfaces; and energy-efficient lighting systems and light pollution reduction.

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