An empty parking garage

Parksmart: Your Tool to Building Sustainable Parking Structures

By 2030, two billion motor vehicles are predicted to be on the roads worldwide, and in general, vehicles are parked 95% of the time. It follows then that parking is one of the major uses of land in urban areas, and a contributing factor to deforestation to create the parking spaces and roads it requires.

Although Covid-19 dramatically reduced purchases of new cars in the UAE, by 2024, new car sales in the UAE are predicted to rise back to their pre-covid peak of just over 400,000 cars, and continue to grow. Rising fuel prices as well as rising activity in the electric vehicle market in the UAE call for parking structures that can reduce travel pollution and inefficiency in operations and accommodate for more sustainable alternative travel options.

With an ever-growing need for sustainable built assets regionally and globally and an increase in green building certifications, it’s no surprise that a rating system for sustainable parking structures was created.

Parksmart, owned and administered by Green Building Certification Inc. (GBCI), and developed by industry experts, adds to GBCI’s existing array of sustainable certifications such as LEED, WELL, SITES, and EDGE, among others. 

Parksmart is the only rating system in the world that specializes in improving sustainability in mobility and travel through the optimization of the design and operations of parking structures. The rating system allows users to distinguish their project structures as pioneering parking facilities that have a significantly positive impact on the sustainable mobility network of the future.

What makes a project Parksmart-certified?

Some of the guiding principles that the Parksmart system uses to create high-performing parking facilities are the minimized use of resources, multimodal mobility, consumer choice, smart parking, and other advancing technologies in the field.

Projects need to receive a minimum of 15 points in each of the 4 elements of Parksmart certification: 

    1. Management (e.g., use of regional materials and reduction of parking pricing), 
    2. Programs (e.g., development of traffic flow plans and establishment of rideshare programs),
    3. Structure and Design (e.g., EV charging stations and tire inflation stations),
    4. and Innovation.

 To give a better idea, here are some specific examples of requirements your project may need to have and the objectives they fulfill:

    • Increased bicycle parking spaces as well as increased accessibility and security of these spaces, to encourage bicycle commute instead of single-occupant vehicles.
    • Enhanced signage, in-garage staff assistance, and single direction designs to reduce delays in traffic while vehicles exit parking facilities.

 A project can be certified as one of four levels of Parksmart certification: Pioneer, Bronze, Silver, or Gold, by earning up to a maximum of 248 points. 

 Certification LevelPoints Earned
Existing StructuresPioneerAbove 90
New ConstructionBronze110 to 134
Silver135 to 159
GoldAbove 160

(Adapted from Version 2.4 of Guide to Parksmart certification.)

Why get Parksmart-certified?

Increased building performance and overall sustainability: Structures that fulfill Parksmart requirements result in higher performance and operational efficiency and lower waste production and energy consumption, reducing their negative environmental impact. For example, for projects such as airports, aligning with Parksmart requirements has allowed for increased daily efficiency and performance (through improved traffic flow and reduced delays and idling) as a significant part of their revenues rely on parking operations.

Encouragement of sustainable behavior among building occupants: Parksmart-certified structures promote sustainable travel options such as carpooling, bicycling, car sharing, and driving vehicles which use non-conventional fuels. The certification therefore allows for an enhanced customer experience while simultaneously increasing sustainability awareness among the community a project is based in.

A head start with other sustainability certifications: Achieving certain requirements within the Parksmart certification also fulfills some requirements in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED certification, equipping the project with LEED Innovation points that improve its chances of achieving LEED certification as well. In the same way, already being LEED-certified may also mean you have credits that may be applicable towards a future Parksmart certification.

Improved public relations: The Parksmart certification can be used to promote your project and its efforts in sustainability in a credible manner, especially as it is accompanied by a seal of approval and possible promotion from the well-renowned GBCI, following third-party verification. As a growing number of customers around the world are willing to pay premium prices for sustainable products, the certification becomes a major selling point for projects.

The Certification Process

Eligibility: Parksmart certification is open to projects located anywhere in the world, and those in varying stages such as structures that are already existing or those being newly constructed. They may also be a stand-alone or a mixed-use or part of a mixed-use building. Projects are allowed five years to complete their Parksmart certification.

Costs: The implementation of Parksmart to a project does not inherently add extra construction costs. In fact, as it is based on following best practices, it often aids owners and operators of parking facilities to lower total facility ownership costs. 

Regular applicants for a new construction project will have to pay around $8,000 USD for registration and certification. Precertification, which is not necessary for certification, along with a supplemental review, could add up to $5,500 USD to this cost. Members of GBCI can get discounted prices up to $2,300 USD less for the whole process. 

A 15% registration and certification fee discount is also available to parking facilities included in new or existing LEED projects.


  • Register for the certification on the Arc website, a platform used for the detailed monitoring and reporting performance of projects across building components such as energy, water, and waste. After completion of registration and payment, you receive access to the Parksmart application. You then decide upon the strategy that works best for your project to achieve certification, with the help of a reviewer from GBCI.
  • Gather and submit all project documentation to the Arc platform to allow GBCI to review the project’s performance.
  • Undergo GBCI review of the project’s alignment with the set strategy for achieving Parksmart certification. After 20 to 25 days following submission, the GBCI review will be available, and will indicate which intended measures have been achieved and how well. Following this feedback, any additional information required to fulfill the measures properly can be submitted for review.
  • Accept the finalized GBCI review of your project, after which you will receive formal certification and can begin promoting your achievement publicly.

Does everything sound a tad bit confusing? Our experts at Alpin Limited can take the burden off you, from the very start to the finish of your project.

How Alpin can help

The International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI) offers Parksmart Advisor Training that certifies trained professionals as Parksmart Advisors who are then able to guide clients through the Parksmart certification process. 

Our Parksmart Advisors at Alpin can help you with your next project in the same way! It adds to the strengths of our experts that they are equipped with knowledge and years of expertise across other GBCI certifications as well as other building sustainability and wellness certifications.

Want to know more about ParkSmart or sustainable building in general?

Reach out to us at or give us a call at +971-2-234-6198.