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SBU's Eco-Friendly Solar Powered Parking Pay Stations

by Chelsea Moccio

Stony Brook University's metered parking lot pay stations are not just eco-friendly, but user friendly as well. The University is home to 11 metered parking lots, which are located throughout the University and provide convenient fee-based parking for visitors, students and faculty/staff on a first come, first serve basis. As another sign in its commitment to reduce energy consumption and minimize its carbon footprint, Stony Brook University utilizes a total of 13 solar powered pay stations in its 11 metered lots, which includes the following West Campus locations: LeValle Stadium, Student Union, Administration Overflow, Mendelsohn & H Quad, Humanities, Student Activities Center, Chemistry, Earth & Space Sciences, Life Sciences, Sports Complex and Heavy Engineering.

The solar powered parking pay stations are exclusively powered by the sun and communicate individual transactions and station status via cellular service. The University selected this pay station model, which is made by Parkeon, because of its environmentally friendliness, applicability to the University environment and ability to process transactions via credit/debit cards. As SBU Site Manager James Ambroise explains, "The University is committed to implementing environmentally friendly solutions that provide our University community with as many services as possible. The installation of 13 solar powered pay stations in all 11 of our metered parking lots highlights this effort." Each pay station is equipped with a solar array on top, which together with the opaque pay station shelter roof, allows light to pass through the shelter, power the station and charge the station's batteries. As a result of this unique solution, all 13 stations operate completely "off grid" and conduit trenching was not required during the installation process - which also minimized labor installation expenses.

In addition to environmental advantages, the pay stations have a sleek appearance, are user friendly and are quite reliable. In the event that it is not a "sunny" day, the pay stations continue to operate as they only require a few hours of daylight per week to charge its batteries. In addition, Parkeon pay stations have been installed worldwide in every type of climate, including those with extreme warm and cold temperatures. Prior to installation, the University spent considerable time investigating the Parkeon pay station and seeking out other clients in order to learn about the devices operational performance. During this process, Stony Brook University reached out to Portland's Bureau of Transportation, who installed similar stations and found that the Parkeon stations remained "in service" longer than conventional individual meters due to their increased reliability and design. With the addition of cellular technology, each pay station also communicates its status on a live basis to SBU maintenance staff, who receive software updates continuously and are able to respond to each station accordingly.

Another environmentally friendly aspect of the solar pay stations are the batteries, which are rechargeable and typically last 5 to 7 years longer than the previous model's alkaline battery. Stony Brook University metered parking lots are available to visitors, students, faculty/staff on a first come, first serve basis and each metered space is $1.50 per hour, for a maximum of $7.50 per space per day. The pay stations accept coins, cash and credit cards as forms of payment. Metered parking lots are in effect Mondays through Fridays, 7:00am to 7:00pm, and are "free" during all other times.

For more information on this initiative, contact:
Stony Brook University
Office of Sustainability
E-Mail: sustainability@stonybrook.edu

Created by Application Support for Administration
Sustainability @ Stony Brook University