How to fight against energy consuming parking lots?

At the time when energy prices are rising continuously and almost daily, the issue of optimizing energy performance – lowering and controlling consumption, and therefore expenses – is catching up with more and more owners and operators of parking facilities, large or small, infrastructure or superstructure. And to be honest, we understand and share this concern. The economic-ecological awareness is real, as well as the will to react, and everywhere forerunners are implementing effective solutions.

Three items of electrical load

If we exclude the particular case of heating, which concerns the superstructure more than the infrastructure, almost all the energy needs of a parking lot are met by electricity, that good old versatile fairy; agile as the fashionable consultants say…

So flexible and accessible that at the end, a few operators have really looked at this electricity consumption. I consume electricity. Yes, you do. But in what purpose? And is this consumption related to my real needs?

Traditionally, the electricity consumption of parking lots is divided between two clearly identified items: lighting and the various devices connected to the network, from the elevator to the computers and the loudspeakers to the electric motor of the smoke extraction and the air quality fans. These last ones are not the least greedy and constitute a well identified item for the operators, the so-called ventilation item.

And recently, a third electrical consumption item has been added to lighting and ventilation: the recharging of electric vehicles, cars and two-wheelers.

Opting for usage-based management

If your parking lot has not been designed from the outset with energy responsibility in mind, two schools of thought will clash to bring some rationality back to consumption. The first, which is in the minority, is the purists who wants to replace anything that consumes too much. Is the engine too greedy? Let’s replace it.

This approach – if not radical, at least expensive – is opposed by the pragmatists. Indeed, a possible alternative to any change is the solution of an intelligent or analytical management of the consumption and a piloting of the solutions according to the use.

For a significant reduction of the consumption linked to lighting, we will complete the relamping (migration of bulbs or neon lights to low consumption LED technology) by lighting controlled by presence detectors.

Who can imagine continuing with a permanent ventilation practice? Fortunately, no one… The new trend in parking lots is to move from permanent ventilation to ventilation on a timer (or fixed time slot), or even on events (triggered by the detection of polluting gases, for example).

Finally, in order to optimize consumption due to the recharging of electric vehicles, detailed knowledge of the habits and needs – real needs – of users will be decisive. All serious studies have shown that slow charging is the most appropriate to needs. In a residential or professional parking lot, there is either a full day or a full night of vehicle inertia, which is perfectly sufficient for a slow charge that consumes less.

Towards a regulation of consumption

The central question is how to reconcile these three needs? We will have to set up a regulation of energy consumption that will take into account available energy quotas, but also tariffs according to the different times of the day. What costs the most? What has priority? Is there a source of optimization?

It is not necessary to have a large surface area to ask the question of energy optimization. Whether the facilities are large or small, the economic slippage can be significant, and the savings based on these different elements are considerable. In the same way, the absence of a “low energy label” should not dissuade from undertaking a low energy approach.

In the beginning there is the energy audit

An energy audit will make it possible to answer to all these questions by consolidating the consumption of each of these three items: lighting, ventilation, and recharging. It will provide a real quantified vision of the costs at different times of the day, and even days of the week. This pragmatic approach will make it easier to make decisions to change practices, replace equipment, and implement management measures and tools.

Once the right size of the different elements has been determined, solutions can be implemented at a lower cost. From a purely economic point of view, the amortization of the implementation of the selected solutions can be achieved in a few months… it all depends on the starting situation!

Hesion and its partners can assist operators in finding solutions adapted to their needs. From recommendation to implementation, we provide daily recommendations that have a direct impact on your carbon footprint and your energy bill.

To go further…

    • Eolparc 3, Intelligent ventilation control system for underground parking lot (in French)
    • Underground parking lot for residences: innovation for your budget! (In French)
    • Incub’Ethic offers solution for optimizing lighting, deploying charging stations and managing electric vehicle fleets