Two parkades at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto, owned by Oxford Properties, are the first Canadian sites to be certified under the Green Business Certification Inc. Canada Parksmart sustainability program.
Parksmart is the world’s only rating system designed to advance sustainable mobility through smarter parking structure design and operation, according to GBCI Canada.
Yorkdale’s newly constructed E Parkade east structure has been certified Parksmart Bronze by achieving between 110 and 134 points, while the existing G Parkade southwest parking garage achieved certification at the Pioneer level for existing structures by surpassing 90 points.
“We saw Parksmart certification as a way to redefine parking at Yorkdale,” said Yorkdale’s director and general manager Claire Santamaria, in a release. “It also complements our overall industry-leading corporate sustainability initiatives which aim to reduce carbon footprints by lowering energy use and improving environmental quality.”
Sustainability measures which helped earn these certifications include:
– Rainwater is collected through four cisterns in Parkade G and one in Parkade E, with capacity of 60,000 litres and 749,000 litres, respectively, to irrigate the centre’s landscaping and green roofs, and to power wash the garage;
– A 30,000-litre tank in Parkade E collects grey water, which is repurposed for toilets and urinals in the public washrooms of Yorkdale’s East expansion;
– Energy-saving programmable lighting with occupancy sensors and exterior photocell lighting;
– Four electric vehicle charging stations for Parkade E and 10 for Parkade G;
– A complimentary tire inflation station at each parkade for drivers and cyclists.
Modernizing parking assets
For Oxford Properties Group, the Parksmart certification process highlighted opportunities to maximize and modernize parking assets, ensure strong returns on investment, and provide an enhanced parking experience for mall patrons.
“The parking garages encompass significant square footage and should not be overlooked,” Santamaria said in the release. “It is our responsibility to operate our garages with the lowest environmental impact possible.”
For GBCI Canada, the certifications are a promising addition to the green building landscape in a less traditional setting.
“I would like to congratulate Oxford Properties Group and their team at Yorkdale on this significant achievement,” said Thomas Mueller, chief executive officer of GBCI Canada, in the release. “With these certifications Oxford is continuing its leadership, and again proving their strong commitment to excellence in greening its real estate portfolio.
“Parksmart certification demonstrates that commitment to shoppers and the local community, provides additional value to retail tenants, and can reduce operating costs by as much as 25 per cent.”
Parksmart in Canada
Parksmart was introduced in Canada in February 2018 as a part of a new suite of tools and programs offered by GBCI Canada, aimed at assisting the industry in leveraging new opportunities to validate enhanced building performance and increase emissions reductions, operational savings and human health benefits.
The system also integrates with existing GBCI certifications like LEED, with projects capable of achieving up to half the necessary requirements for Parksmart certification within the LEED point system.