Concrete contributed to sustainability in multiple ways for the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan parking structure. The main structural components—locally produced precast panels and double-tees—reduced on-site waste and labor as well as decreased transportation distance. Because they are efficient to produce and subject to stringent quality control measures, precast panels require fewer materials and are therefore associated with reducing a building's carbon footprint. For panels used in the 600,000 square foot parking structure, slag replaced a portion of the cement, further lowering CO2 emissions while also providing a more durable structure.

Water conservation is a major environmental goal, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield parking structure employs extensive stormwater management features. Underneath it lies a concrete cistern capable of collecting 90,000 gallons of rainwater. Water is filtered through the building's green roof, as well as being collected from adjacent buildings. It is then reused for irrigation on the campus. In addition to reducing runoff, the green roof mitigates heat island effect and protects the underlying concrete deck, enhancing its durability.

Improving land use is a form of resource conservation, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield project replaced a 125-car surface parking lot in downtown Detroit with a nine story structure that holds 1808 cars, thereby helping to control sprawl. In addition to housing amenities such as meeting rooms and a fitness center, its vegetated roof provides urban green space, planted with 4,800 square feet of pink and yellow blooming sedum. The building also makes a positive contribution to the neighborhood's living and working environment by incorporating a walking track on its top level. Even the pavers constituting part of the track surface are recycled.

Awards and Certifications

  • LEED Certified
  • International Parking Institute Award of Excellence
  • Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute Best Parking Structure