Itís Not Easy Being Green, but Itís Worth It.
May 5, 2017
The trend for “going green” in the municipal world is very strong. With climate change a very real issue and mounting public pressure for cleaner, greener products, there has been a need for all industries to look at reducing their carbon footprint. Even the parking industry.
But to borrow a line from the late Jim Henson, “it’s not easy being green”. If it were easy, most municipalities would have done it by now. The major issues standing in the way of greener communities include:
- The initial investment in green technology can be costly
- Switching to green solutions can take some time
- Using green products, may jeopardize performance.
- Going green may require finding new vendors
So why go green? In addition to helping create a more sustainable world for our children’s future, there are some real benefits to green technology. These include:
- Green technology can reduce operating costs through energy efficiency and less waste
- Municipalities can see an increase in revenue as patrons are often willing to pay a little more for greener solutions
- Green technology builds goodwill and community pride
- Municipalities can take advantage of tax credits and incentives to go green
So, what are we doing in the parking industry to help move communities towards green technology?
One thing is a greener parking meter.
MacKay Meters has a long history in providing products and services to all levels of local government, not only in the United States and Canada, but also internationally. Since 1960, MacKay has manufactured parking meters that have stood the test of time. Product durability, product innovation and customer service have been the cornerstone of the company for years. More recently, the move towards green technology has been a focus for the company and fully embraced by ownership.
Enter the mkBeacon™ wireless parking meter. The mkBeacon™ is arguably the “greenest” single-space / duo-space parking meter available today due to its low power consumption, green materials and optional two-space configuration.
The new mkBeacon™ is the world’s first parking meter powered entirely by renewable energy. The meter has the largest solar panel of any single space parking meter available and has proven to be power-neutral through numerous tests. A single rechargeable battery pack is all that is needed to keep the mkBeacon™ running for several years under normal conditions. It is currently unmatched in the industry for power efficiency.
Additionally, MacKay has the most energy-efficient coin chute available on the market. The MacKay Smartchute™ has been perfected over many years of development to be the most reliable and power-thrifty coin chute available.
Wherever possible, internal components were made from light- weight, recycled materials. The internal casing that holds the components in place is made entirely of recycle plastics as are several component bezels. This reduces the overall carbon footprint of each unit while still providing a strong, secure meter mechanism.
The mkBeacon™ supports either a single-space or two-space configuration from a single pole. The two space (or 2-Bay) configuration reduces the need for two meters to monitor two vehicles. This subsequently reduces the capital costs per space, the operating costs per space and the power usage per space while still collecting the same revenue as two meters.
Maintenance Made Easy
The mkBeacon™ was designed to allow maintenance staff easy access to all modular components within the meter and to allow them to make repairs at the pole. The battery pack, coin chute, card reader, contactless card reader and communications module can all be replaced in less than a minute each, at the pole, ensuring the meters have very little downtime and maintenance staff time are not wasting time shuttling meters back and forth to a repair facility.
The mkBeacon™ was designed to allow for new technologies to be integrated easily into the existing frame. The communications module, for instance, can be removed and replaced with an upgraded module should the need for a different communications technology be required in the future.
The Bottom Line
Although going green comes with obstacles, the benefits are clearly too important to ignore.
The mkBeacon™ overcomes these perceived obstacles by being:
- the most cost effective wireless single space meter available
- the easiest to install
- the highest performance product in the single space market
- from a company that has the experience to ensure a successful deployment
The feeling that comes with doing your part to save the future of this planet is something that can’t be understated. If part of that process is simply choosing a greener parking meter over other meters that rely on non-rechargeable battery packs, non-recycled materials and require constant maintenance, then it is a step in the right direction.