Monash University wins award for sustainable parking facilities

Monash University’s Buildings and Property Division has received an award for outstanding sustainable car park at the 2021 Parking Industry Awards.

Monash received the award for their North 1 multi-level car park at Clayton Campus which has more than 3,700 spaces.

Monash University was selected from 29 finalists at the prestigious national awards which celebrate innovation, excellence and outstanding parking facilities.

Monash University installed a 741kW rooftop solar panel array in 2019 on the western roof of the car park to provide electricity to the two electric vehicle (EV) charging stations within the car park, and more generally contribute to the electricity requirements of the campus.

1876 solar panels generate approximately 890,000 kWh of zero-emissions electricity per year, eight times higher than the current EV charging requirement. This extra generation goes into supplying electricity requirements for the rest of the car park, including the LED lighting, bay occupancy indicators, mobility scooters, and the Bike Arrival Station facility. A power purchase agreement with the Murra Wurra Wind Farm ensures that the car park is powered by 100% renewable power, even on days where solar output is insufficient.

At the start of 2020, the University transitioned to a virtual permits parking system and replaced ticket machines with Pay-By-Plate machines, saving 60,000 paper tickets per year in the N1 car park (and 300,000 per year across the entire University). Annual parking permits were also transitioned to a virtual model, preventing 4,500 paper and plastic permits from being printed for the N1 car park annually.

Building further on the virtual parking payments system, in August 2020 a Pay-As-You-Use (PAYU) system for parking payments was introduced, removing mode lock-in and facilitating flexible mode choices, so that commuters can use a combination of driving and more sustainable transport options without incurring a financial penalty.

Monash University has made a commitment to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2030 and power all buildings and operations by renewable energy sources, including car parks and transport infrastructure.

The judging panel for the Parking Industry Awards program described Monash University’s North 1 multi-level car park as a ‘brilliant project’ with some very ambitious but achievable goals that has really embraced multi-modal transport facilities and innovative environmental initiatives whilst collaborating with external facilities to delivery energy solutions.

Parking Australia CEO, Stuart Norman, commended all winners and finalists for their willingness to embrace a more sustainable outlook, using parking facilities as an opportunity to realise their environmental ambitions and reap the benefits.

“Monash University is a great example of how car parks can be used to generate clean energy and also cut costs by doing so”, said Mr Norman.

The N1 car park has reported an 80% reduction in energy (~680 GJ) per annum and the solar canopy has an expected payback period of 7-8 years, meaning that after this time, the University will incur no costs for electricity generated by the solar panel array.”

Image credits: Drone image of solar panel roof courtesy of Autonomous Energy

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