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Building Sustainability with Electric Vehicles

The rapid adoption of electric vehicles and the demand for charging stations is affecting many of the markets and projects that SSR serves. Eric Sheffer, LEED AP BD+C, O+M, ISSP-SA, Sustainability Principal, provided insight to how owners, developers, and industry leaders are embracing electric vehicles and charging stations.


Widespread Adoption

Interest in electric vehicle charging stations is seen across many of the markets that SSR provides services for, with the most coming from owners and developers of commercial, educational, healthcare, and sports and entertainment projects.

Ten years ago, most of the interest was driven by projects seeking LEED certification. The Green Building Rating System offered an incentive to have preferred parking on site for low emitting or fuel-efficient vehicles, hybrids, or carpool. In the mid-2010s this evolved from priority parking to a specific demand for charging stations. In the Nashville area specifically, there was a rise in popularity of the Nissan Leaf, attributed to Nissan’s North American headquarters being in the region. Commercial developers were looking for ways to differentiate their property from competitors and installing charging stations was a way to draw and keep traffic to their properties.

More recently, we have seen an increased demand for charging stations because of increased awareness of carbon emissions from vehicles, Corporate ESG goals, and the rise in popularity of Tesla vehicles. The increase in the performance and production of Teslas are creating appeal across many demographics. This has many owners and developers seeking guidance on how to plan for popularity and demand. Many are wondering how to best plan for the number of charging stations needed – do they install many spaces at once, or just a few spaces now and the infrastructure for more down the road?

The common trend has been that consumer demand is driving the trend of installing charging stations, not regulatory requirements. Some states, like California, are starting to pass regulatory requirements which are more common in Europe.

Tesla is also doing a lot to make charging away from the home more accessible with their global Supercharger network. Located on major routes near high-traffic areas, Superchargers can add up to 200 miles of range in just 15 minutes. Currently, these charging stations are exclusive to Tesla, but they are expected to be used by all electric vehicle types soon.


USGBC LEED Rating System

The Location & Transportation category of the LEED BD+C New Construction rating system version 4.1 offers a 1-point credit for electric vehicles. Below is a simplification of the two options to achieve the credit:

  • Option 1. Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment: Install electrical vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) in 5% of all parking spaces used by the project or at least two spaces.
  • Option 2. Electric Vehicle Ready Infrastructure: Make 10% of all parking spaces or at least 6 spaces EV Ready, whichever is greater.

Each of these options require the charger or infrastructure to be sufficient to provide Level 2 charging or greater.

Green Globes also offers credit for having charging stations on site or in the general vicinity.




Electric Vehicle Charging Station series links:

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations 101

Design Considerations for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Designing EV Charging Station Infrastructure

Building Sustainability with Electric Vehicles

The Future Impact of Electric Vehicles on Transportation Planning

Do you have questions about electric vehicle charging stations? Don’t hesitate to reach out to SSR for our guidance and expertise. Email and someone will promptly follow up.