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Green light for better parking

Parking technology has moved on considerably in recent years, as has the desire of landlords to make their car parks as inviting and efficient as possible


lthough car parks are fairly uniform in structure and operation there are

techniques that could make yours stand out from the crowd, and green options and clever lighting solutions are leading the way. Green Parking UK is brand new to the British market, having launched at Parkex in March. Its sister company Green Parking is based in Dubai and has been operating in UAE since 1996. Offering parking management, maintenance, operations, equipment and consulting services, its focus is to offer a different way of doing things, providing environmentally friendly parking products and a real focus on customer care. “We felt that the UK market needed new blood and a new way

of doing things,” says general manager Jack Creeber. “We wanted to bring fresh air and a new alternative.” Managing director Nick Jolmers thinks that a new era of car

parking is underway with owners starting to think about the environment and not just out-and-out profit. “People are aware of the need to go down the green road but

they don’t know how to get there,” he says. “We want to be as sustainable as possible but we’re not going to

force our clients to be absolutely environmentally friendly if it’s not commercially viable, instead we can steer them in the right direction with simple ideas.” “We’re not saying we can deliver absolutely everything

sustainability-wise but we’ll look at what we can do within the client’s means,” adds Creeber. “Going green might give the owner peace of mind but if it isn’t

financially viable then it’s not going to be a major selling point. In time the technology will get better and cheaper.” Promoting chip coins rather than mag-stripe tickets is one of the

core ideals of the business. As Green Parking’s brochure highlights, developers and landlords


ask their partners not to print emails unless they have to but they often won’t think twice about installing parking systems based on toxic-waste paper- tickets. “With paper tickets, they’re

used once and thrown away, whereas chips can be reused again and again. In a shopping centre you might have 10,000 people using the car park every day – producing that amount of tickets is very expensive,” says Jolmers. Whereas chips are dispensed in half a second, paper tickets rely on moving parts in the

machinery – cutters, transporters, ribbons – that have a lot of wear and tear and need to be replaced regularly. Paper jams, barcodes that can’t be read if the network is down

and people’s tendency to insert tickets upside down also slow the process and frustrate busy shoppers. As well as coin chips Green Parking utilises vehicle guidance

systems, electric vehicle charging points and installs glass and paper recycling bins.

The company is also keen to consider renewable energy sources

like solar panels, but as Creeber explains it’s important to think about cost and effectiveness. “We have solar panels in UAE and it’s something we’d like to

consider in the UK but it’s important to really understand the cost element. Being able to cover all lighting and electricity with solar panels is utopia but it isn’t cost-effective yet. If we can derive part of a car park’s energy usage from solar panels then we’ll do it. “In UAE it’s sunny all the time whereas in the UK solar panels

don’t work as consistently. But it is windy so we can start looking at wind turbines – they might be another solution.” Vinci Park is making use of solar panels. It currently has a car

park under construction, due to open in September, belonging to East & North Hertfordshire NHS Trust. Solar panels and wind turbines are going in to generate 10 per cent of the car park’s energy. And,

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