Tags: Global Warming | cars | global warming | parking lots

Cars and Global Warming: Are Parking Lots Bad for the Environment?

By    |   Sunday, 22 Mar 2015 07:11 AM

Parking lots have a variety of negative effects on the environment. Cars themselves produce greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming when on the road, but even parking them on pavement can compound the problem. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the pollutants caused by parking lot issues.

The need for more parking spaces suggests an increase of traffic and congestion, which increases gas emissions that damage air quality.

Too many parking lots and garages can also contribute to area blight that continues a cycle of environmental damage. More paved parking areas reduce green space that allows trees and plants to thrive, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing clean oxygen into the air.

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Natural areas are robbed of the means to collect rainwater that replenishes aquifers.

Meanwhile, cars parked on paved lots leak toxins that include oil, grease, coolants and other fluids. They also accumulate heavy metals and sediment on parking spaces to increase the spread of pollutants. These fluids and materials pile up on the pavement and are eventually washed away by the rain into storm drains and natural areas that lead to waterways, lakes and steams.

The pavement on parking lots creates an increase in heat that affects global warming. The heat on asphalt and concrete is absorbed from the sun’s rays more readily than through the natural ground. This increases temperatures a few degrees and could make lots up to 30 degrees hotter. The excess heat can affect surrounding buildings by increasing the demand for air conditioning and energy needs.

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So sprawling parking spaces in urban and suburban areas have a significant impact on environmental harm, especially when it leads to unnecessary energy output. For example, many malls have parking lots that are nearly empty or empty of cars late into the night while leaving safety lighting on. Other public and private lots aren’t designed well for use, creating an overabundance of parking spaces not needed.

Many companies and governments are addressing the environmental issues by encouraging shared parking lots among establishments and using pervious surfaces on newer parking lots that easily absorb stormwater to avoid build-up. More parking lots are improving landscaping techniques with trees to provide shade and improve air quality. Some parking garages are also built with green roofs to collect stormwater.

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Parking lots have a variety of negative effects on the environment. Cars themselves produce greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming when on the road, but even parking them on pavement can compound the problem. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the pollutants.
cars, global warming, parking lots
405
2015-11-22
Sunday, 22 Mar 2015 07:11 AM
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