Green parking lands at Denver International Airport

dia-can-solar-combined1Wouldn’t it be nice to have somewhere to plug in your electric vehicle while traveling? That is just what Canopy Airport Parking envisioned when planning its state-of-the-art, EV-friendly and green parking structure.

The parking lot near Denver International Airport (DIA) is a collaboration between ProPark America and Greenscape, and is partnered with Frontier Airlines to bring indoor valet, covered self-parking and open-air parking lots to paying customers traveling in and out of Denver.

The unique thing about Canopy Airport Parking is that it utilizes numerous green technologies such as solar panels, geothermal energy and wind power to run everything from the parking facility to the biodiesel and hybrid shuttle buses that transport people to and from the airport.

“Canopy believes that excellent customer service, enjoyable rewards and amenities, and reasonable prices form the basis of the off-airport parking decision for most travelers,” says Karl Kelman, marketing manager for Canopy Airport Parking. “However, for many customers, green technologies are an important additional consideration.”

Denver sunshine
Canopy Airport Parking has the potential to hold over 4,200 cars, with 500 spaces for indoor valet, more than 1,000 spaces for covered self-parking and around 2,700 spaces designated for open air parking.

The Denver lot is an optimal location for the introduction of such green technology in airport parking because of its climate and location.

dia-cng-hybrid-vans“Denver’s airport is one of the largest and busiest in America — and a much higher percentage of travelers drive private vehicles to DIA than at most airports,” says Kelman.

Colorado experiences over 300 days of sunshine, and is perfect for solar power generation.

“The high altitude reduces the loss of solar radiation caused by [the sun’s] passage through the atmosphere,” explains Kelman.

He adds that the open plains surrounding DIA are ideal for wind power generation.

DIA’s latest green parking area will essentially serve as a prototype for other Canopy Airport Parking lot facilities around the United States.

“Canopy Airport Parking is the first parking facility to employ such a broad variety of green technologies, and, Propark and Greenscape hope to employ the knowledge gained the construction of Canopy at a variety of locations,” says Kelman.

Green Technology
There are currently six photovoltaic solar panel arrays that line the driveway leading into the parking lot. Together, they will generate 16.9 kW of solar power. Windspire turbines, vertical wind turbines around 30 feet tall and 4 feet wide, are currently being installed near the entrance. The wind turbines will produce a total of 9.6 kW of electricity.

For many customers, green technologies are an important additional consideration.
— Karl Kelman, marketing manager for Canopy Airport Parking

The parking lot is also made up of recycled asphalt, recycled steel, and incorporates 300-foot deep geothermal energy bore boles that will provide heating and cooling inside the buildings. Canopy is also planning on adding additional solar panels and wind turbines in the future.

Canopy is one of the nation’s first lots in the Green Parking Council Demonstrator Site Program, which will kick off in December. The company will also be LEED certified, and will play a part in the CPC Certified Green Garage Program that will debut in July.

EV capable
The indoor valet parking area and covered self-parking lots will be able to charge electric vehicles through Canopy’s “Juice Bars,” free EV charging sources distributed by Green Garage Associates.

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Designed by BMW Designworks, the Juice Bars are not only illuminated with LED lighting, but include both level one and level two recharging systems.

Level II chargers are “a universal plug that enables you to charge your battery at a higher voltage, “ explains Kelman. “Being able to charge at a higher voltage with a more powerful system, you can charge your battery faster.”

According to Kelman, the Juice Bars are able to charge an electric vehicle utilizing Level II charging in about four to six hours.

Green shuttle buses
Canopy Airport Parking will also be equipped with seven biodiesel buses, six CNG buses and one hybrid shuttle bus to transport travelers to and from the airport and the parking facility.

dia-solar-entrance1“Airport parking transportation is particularly well-suited to hybrid technology,” notes Kelman.

Airport shuttle buses run on short trips with many stops and starts and roll up a large amount of very low speed operation as well as a substantial amount of idle time – all factors which increase the energy efficiency of hybrids over conventional vehicles, says Kelman.

One of the goals of Canopy Airport Parking is to demonstrate that new technology can be manipulated to increase the efficiency of transportation to and from places such as the airport.

Canopy a solution to ‘range anxiety’
Kelman drives a Toyota Corolla, yet admits he is interested in either purchasing an older Toyota Prius, or a newer EV such as a Chevy Volt, Nissan LEAF or a plug-in Prius.

The marketing manager thinks that a lack of recharging stations leads to “range anxiety” for many. Much of this anxiety is due to a lack of an EV fueling infrastructure, he says.

By providing recharging stations, Canopy Airport Parking hopes to be part of the solution to this problem, says Kelman.

Kelman also emphasizes that if more parking facilities at hotels, restaurants, and businesses provide charging stations, more people will buy into EVs because such parking lots exist.

“Many major auto manufacturers have planned roll-outs of PHEVs and EVs within the next few months. With more vehicles on the road, and greater support from manufacturers, the infrastructure to support them will naturally increase,” notes Kelman.

Canopy recently had a job fair to hire new employees to run its green parking facility, and is projected to be open for business in late November.

To find more information about Canopy Airport Parking, visit:

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