Sands Parking Garage

The Sands Parking Garage is the nation’s first single-use, stand-alone LEED™ certified parking facility.  The design, which has allowed the garage to be 50 percent more energy efficient than Duke’s existing garages, was also cost-neutral compared to traditional parking structure projects.  The garage contains 1,920 parking spaces and opened in early 2010.  Sustainability design features of the Parking Garage include landscaping with native species that require minimal or no irrigation, using recycled content, concrete and steel, for construction and providing carpool and vanpool dedicated parking spaces.

View the Sands Parking Garage's LEED™ Scorecard


Sustainable Site Features

The site replaces an existing surface parking lot, allowing remaining portions of the site to be reforested with native vegetation and protected from future development. Rooftop Teflon fabric sun canopies and plants were installed to reflect sunlight and dissipate the heat island effect. Owners of low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles are given preferred parking spaces and discounted passes. There are also power outlets that act as refueling stations for electric cars. Alternative transportation is encouraged with the allocation of 100 parking spaces for bicycles. Furthermore, there are 11 bus stops serving two routes within ¼ mile of the project site.


Water Efficiency

Rain gardens were planted with native plants that naturally clean run-off water and require minimal or no irrigation. No potable water is used for irrigation. Instead, two 10,000 gallon cisterns collect stormwater and provide drip irrigation for the vertical vegetated trellis walls and rooftop trellises on the facility. Low-flow water closets and ultra low-flow lavatories were installed in bathrooms. These features have reduced water consumption by 77% and potable water use by 39.2%.


Energy Efficiency

An energy efficient LED lighting system was installed. Both the lighting power density of interior lighting and exterior lighting were reduced. These features have achieved an energy savings of 29.9%.


Resource Management

During construction, waste was minimized by using recycled building materials and recycling waste. About 11.83% of the total building materials content was manufactured using recycled materials such as concrete and steel. Of on-site generated construction waste, 75.64% was diverted from the landfill. Building materials were also sourced regionally. Of the total building materials, 24.31% were extracted, harvested and manufactured within 500 miles of the project site. Currently, on-site recycling collection for the garage is incorporated into the Duke Medical campus’ recycling system.


Indoor Air Quality

All indoor adhesive and sealant products comply with the Volatile Organic Compounds limits.

Integration of Sustainability in Design & Construction Process

The building's architects used a mix of sustainable design elements and new methodologies to design a garage that could qualify for LEED™ status. The building features additional sustainable design elements, such as preferred parking for low-emission, fuel-efficient and carpool vehicles and an operations and payment system that reduces idling and excessive driving when entering, exiting and searching for a parking spot.  About 82% of the non-building area was reforested with native or adaptive species, exceeding the minimum requirement of 75%. Frequent parkers have been provided with automotive vehicle identification tags for efficient garage access, cutting down the time taken for exit by 50%, nearly eliminating idling at the garage entrance and exit. Visitors use a pay-on-foot system with a central cashier rather than from an idling car, reducing the processing time at exits by 60%.