Designing parking floors in an office building - 4 tips on how to get additional points in LEED certification

LEED  is an environmental certification system created by the United States Green Building Council , an organization promoting a sustainable approach to the design, construction and use of buildings. Building materials, including parking floors, are not certified in the LEED system, but their application may contribute to gaining additional points in LEED  certification.

Flowcrete Polska, an expert on resin floors, presents 4 practical ways to increase the chances of getting them.

Office projects that apply for LEED certification are subject to evaluation in various areas related to sustainable development. Depending on the number of points scored, they are classified on one of four levels. The basic level is a certified building, in the case of a higher number of points, Silver, Gold or Platinum certificates are awarded. When evaluating car parks, the following factors related to the design of floors are taken into account: separation of privileged parking spaces, the choice of material and floor technology, even the composition of paint for painting horizontal markings.

1.    Clearly mark the parking spaces only for "green" vehicles

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According to the USGBC guidelines, it is worth allocating 5% of all parking spaces in the building for "green" vehicles. It should be clearly distinguished as places for exclusive use by low-emission or energy-efficient cars. These places should be distributed proportionally in different parking zones. In addition, electric vehicle charging stations or alternative fuel filling stations should be installed – each of them for a minimum of 2% of parking spaces available in a car park. A good way to visually separate these places is to use resin floors in contrasting colors and to paint on them inscriptions or symbolic horizontal markings.

2.    Highlight space for bicycles with a different colour of the floor

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In accordance with the LEED requirements, it is worth to make space for storing bicycles – both seasonal and permanent. Both should be minimum 4 in each building. Short-term cycling infrastructure should be able to handle 2.5% of visitors visiting the building during the high season. These zones should be located within 30 m from the main entrance. Long-term space for bikes should be sufficient for 5% of regular users and be located max. 30 m from any functional entrance to the building. To facilitate the use of bicycle infrastructure, it is worth designing these places in such a way that they can be seen from a distance, for instance by using a different colour of the floor and graphic symbols.

3.    Choose parking floors with a low content of volatile organic compounds
In order to reduce the amount of air pollutants that are irritating, have an unpleasant odour or have an adverse effect on the well-being of contractors or users, the LEED certification limits the volatile organic compounds (VOC) content for building materials. For parking floors this limit is 50 g/l. Deckshield parking floors from Flowcrete Poland do not contain solvents and have a VOC content below 10 g/l (except for anti-UV coating), which means they can be used in office buildings that are applying for LEED certification.

4.    Pay attention to responsible waste management at the construction site
In order to get the least amount of construction waste in landfills or waste incineration plants, it is worth managing them in a thoughtful way. In this category, every detail matters, for example, the fact that contractors of parking floors use large containers (so-called IBCs, Intermediate Bulk Container) and reusable barrels.

A good example of how the idea of sustainable construction works in practice, is the Alchemia office complex in Gdańsk, in the case of which all previously constructed buildings have obtained the LEED certificate at the highest – Platinum level. Deckshield parking floors made of material and technology provided by Flowcrete Polska were applied on the parking lots in these facilities.

Keywords LEED certificate, Flowcrete Polska