So we all know that cars are bad for the environment. U.S. autos emit more than 333 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, more than one-fifth of the nation’s total carbon dioxide emissions. At Rush, we encourage alternative transportation; the CTA runs right through the middle of campus, and several bus lines service Rush. Plus, Rush has set up bicycle racks all over campus and showers are available to employees.
But our society loves our cars, so Rush built a “green” garage at the corner of Flournoy and Paulina. Although no LEED standard exists for parking garages, Rush’s new garage was built to conform to LEED standards. Its “green” features include the following:
- Otis Gen2 elevators capture the energy created during braking and feed it back into the garage’s electrical grid. The elevators also use polyurethane-coated steel belts and a gearless motor, which don’t need oil or other lubricants. The elevators save up to 50-percent more energy than conventional hydraulic and geared systems.
- The two bathrooms in the garage have low-flow plumbing fixtures.
- Rainwater that falls on the upper deck of the garage is filtered and diverted into tanks to be used for mechanical processes.
- Landscaping is with indigenous perennial plants, which are not discarded and re-planted every year and use less water than conventional lawn grass.
- Filtration planters, mini-wetlands that absorb and filter rainwater runoff, line the sidewalk.
- “Green screens,” or trellises with vines, along the north and west walls of the garage not only hide cars from view but also create natural shade and light control.
- 25 parking stalls near the entranceway to the garage are reserved for hybrid and energy-efficient cars.
- Reusable materials were used to build the garage, including steel from northern Indiana, concrete made from recycled content, and low volatile organic compound adhesives, paintings, sealants and coatings. The materials were produced locally, to save energy transporting them.
- More than 90 percent of the garage’s construction waste was recycled.
“It would have been a lot easier if we did not include preferred parking and the other environmentally sustainable features, but Rush is taking the idea of turning our campus ‘green’ very seriously,” said Joseph DeVoss, assistant vice president, Office of Transformation. “The new garage shows how we can find more environmentally sustainable solutions for everything we do here.”