Project profile: Charles Square

Nora Knox
Published on: 

Parksmart is the world’s only rating system designed to advance sustainable mobility through smarter parking structure design and operation. Developed by industry experts, Parksmart offers a roadmap for new and existing parking facilities to use innovative, solutions-oriented strategies. Points are awarded to parking structures for forward-thinking and sustainable practices in three categories: management, programs and technology structure design.

Parksmart garages use energy-efficient lighting and ventilation systems, guidance systems that help drivers find parking faster, idle-reduction technologies, electric vehicle fueling stations, car sharing, bicycle parking and storm water management practices. The high-performance structures, technologies and practices of Parksmart-certified garages reduce energy consumption, maximize performance, and minimize waste, as well as encouraging biking, car sharing, carpooling and alternative fuel vehicles.

Charles Square

Cambridge, Massachusetts
Owner: Carpenter and Company, Inc.
Operator: Propark America

Charles Hotel Garage, located in the historic Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is a 550-space, two-level garage located beneath a mixed-use complex of a luxury hotel, condominiums, retail and a commercial tower. The garage roof supports an exterior courtyard at street level and an interior raised courtyard, each of which regularly host placemaking activities. The garage offers free EV charging, bike sharing, tire inflation and an innovative small car discount program.

Management highlights:

  • Extensive recycling program with a high participation rate
  • Green cleaning practices with electric sweeper and pressure washing
  • Energy Star Portfolio Manager monitoring of energy use

Program highlights:

  • Active placemaking with two publicly accessible courtyards and year-round public events, including farmers markets in the summer and an ice skating rink in the winter
  • A free bike share program for hotel guests and a nearby public bike share station
  • A prolific green marketing program inside the garage as well as online

Technology structure design highlights:  

  • Demand-controlled, sensor-activated ventilation system with variable speedfan drives
  • Energy consumption offset with renewable energy credits (recs)
  • Innovative and automated small car discount program and small car reserved spaces

Learn more about Parksmart certification