Duke University & Walker Parking Consultants, the nation's recognized leader in parking structure design and consulting, announced that the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has selected the Research Drive Garage project to be the nation's first single-use stand-alone LEED Certified parking facility.

Prior to the development of Walker's groundbreaking approach to sustainable parking design, owners have only secured LEED status for garage projects by physically linking these new facilities to traditional construction projects with occupied space or by incorporating mixed-use components (like commercial or retail space) that feature non-parking-related green design elements that score high on the USGBC's certification criteria. By incorporating a mix of proven sustainable design elements with several new methodologies, Walker Parking, with its design team of Ratio Architects and Stewart Engineering, was able to deliver a design to Duke that qualified for LEED Certification, was cost-neutral when compared to traditional parking projects, and that resulted in a facility that is approximately 50 percent more energy efficient than the University's existing parking structures.

"On behalf of the entire Duke University community, we are very pleased to receive the USGBC's recognition that the Research Drive Garage is among the greenest parking facilities in the country," said Paul Manning, Director of Duke University's Office of Project Management. "Thanks to our partner Walker Parking Consultants and the design and construction team for thinking outside the box on this proposal, and for refusing to accept the commonly held belief that single-use parking structures could not achieve LEED Certification. The Research Drive Garage at Duke University is one of the projects that will enable us to maintain a leadership role in environmental stewardship and sustainability on our campus."

"Our partnership with Duke and the Green Building Council's recognition prove without a doubt that parking facility design and construction with a sustainable approach to development - once considered antithetical concepts - can coalesce seamlessly to deliver game changing projects like the first-of-its-kind Research Drive Garage," said Todd Lohman, P.E. Walker Parking Consultants' project manager. "We now have an ideal facility that will serve as a ‘best practices' model for green parking design for countless institutions and private businesses across the nation and around the world."

Constructed by Bovis Lend Lease, the $35 million 1,900-space Research Drive Garage Project began in June 2008, and opened in January 2010. The garage replaced an existing surface parking lot, enabling the University to maintain green space. The Research Drive Garage also features two, 10,000-gallon cisterns to collect rainwater for landscaping; green trellises and walls to help reduce the "heat island" effect; rain gardens to filter excess storm-water and slow the reintroduction into the City's storm-water system; energy efficient LED lighting and "daylight harvesting"; preferred parking for low-emission, fuel-efficient and carpool vehicles; recycled building materials; and an operations and payment system that drastically reduces idling and excessive driving while customers enter, exit, and search for an available spot.