Even our parking lot is helping to heal our city! TreePeople’s Parking Grove demonstrates an environmentally friendly alternative to the traditional asphalt and concrete parking lots that blanket much of Los Angeles.
It incorporates a number of integrated sustainable features:
Light colored pavement
Many urban parking lots are paved with dark asphalt, which absorbs the sun's energy. These heated surfaces then warm the air around them, creating "heat islands" in Los Angeles and other large cities. This increases the need for air conditioning – a source of greenhouse gas emissions.
In our Parking Grove, we painted over black asphalt with a light color that reflects heat. If all the parking surfaces in the world’s 100 largest urban areas were switched to reflective material, it would offset 44 metric gigatons of greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere and alter our global climate.
We've planted new shade trees in and around our parking spaces. Trees absorb virtually all of the sun’s energy without radiating heat back into the air. The radiant energy from the sun is absorbed or deflected by leaves. Shade on parked cars can decrease cabin temperatures by 40-50°F and also reduces evaporative hydrocarbon emissions.
Traditional concrete and asphalt parking lots block rainwater from soaking into the ground. Instead, the water becomes runoff, which picks up contaminants before being directed into storm drains. The water from storm drains eventually makes its way to our coasts, where it pollutes our oceans and is wasted.
The gravel in TreePeople’s parking stalls enables rainwater to soak into the ground. Permeable surfaces like this can help replenish our region's groundwater supplies. There are a variety of permeable surfaces that can be used for parking lots and driveways. Gravel is just one inexpensive option.
Rainwater harvesting system
Our Parking Grove captures and filters rainwater that we store for irrigating our gardens. We sloped the lot to make the water flow into a centralized, gravel trench drain. From there, the water seeps down into pipes that carry it to our huge underground storage tank known as a cistern.
Additional drains in the Parking Grove also direct water to the cistern, where it is used to irrigate the on-site gardens, especially during the dry summer months.