by Robert Gardner, Think Green Correspondent
This fall, Montgomery County Community College will open a brand new parking lot at its Central Campus designated, exclusively, for students, faculty and staff who carpool or who drive energy-efficient vehicles. Electric and hybrid vehicles are included in this class, along with conventional vehicles that have earned an EPA rating of 27 combined city and highway MPG or higher.
Drivers can apply for a permit to the 185-space parking lot, which is adjacent to the Advanced Technology Center, through the College’s online portal. Accepted applicants will receive an access card and parking decal. The lot will be open for general access parking on weekends.
The new parking lot is the College’s first to include charging stations for electric vehicles. Ten efficient GE Durastation charging stations at five pedestals will enable drivers to charge their electric vehicles in only four hours, half the time as a typical charge cycle of eight hours.
In addition to the charging stations, the lot includes a variety of additional “green” features, including:
- LED Lighting — The lot is lighted for maximum safety by energy-saving LED lamps. LED lighting consumes less energy, lasts longer and operates cooler than other lighting applications.
- Subsurface Infiltration System — The effects of runoff will be reduced as rainwater flows into the system, which assists in groundwater recharge and prevents downstream erosion.
- Rain Gardens — A “natural bowl” also helps alleviate the effects of erosion by collecting excess rainwater from both the Advanced Technology Center parking lot and the roof of Parkhouse Hall.
- Vegetated Swales with Check Dams — Compared to piping, these increase cost-effectiveness and slow the rate of runoff conveyance. They also provide aesthetic enhancement to the areas between parking spaces.
The green lot was developed in coordination with the Climate Commitment Advisory Council, which works to reduce the College’s carbon footprint and promote sustainability education.