Electric car chargers installed in Clifton Parking Garage

Two electric car charging ports are now available for students to use in the Clifton Parking Garage.

The Student Government Association (SGA) used $12,000 of the $250,000 allocated from the Facility Operations sustainability fund to install the two car ports over the summer.

Rick Popp, SGA president, said this addition is an important one for the university as the world moves into a more environmentally conscious mindset.

“As people transition into more energy efficient vehicles, cars powered by electricity and gas or vehicles charged purely by electricity, we want to be accommodating and encouraging that,” he said.

Electric car charging ports are located on the first-floor of the Clifton parking garage. (Josh Leff/The DePaulia)
Electric car charging ports are located on the first-floor of the Clifton parking garage. (Josh Leff/The DePaulia)

Adriana Kemper, executive vice president of operations for SGA, said this is an important step in the right direction for the university.

“I think it gives a tangible example of what can happen in the future and how to make a community move forward with sustainability,” she said. “All these little steps are steps toward sustainability and being able to live in an environment where that is a focus.”

Bob Janis, vice president of Facility Operations, said student safety was a major concern when deciding how to allocate the sustainability funds.

“For people who drive electric cars, it helps to ensure they get back home again at the end of the night if their cars have a limited distance capacity,” he said.

The car ports were just one of the major suggestions made to Facility Operations, but Kemper said they also had to think about how doable each project would be in a metropolitan area like Chicago.

“We had a list of things we wanted to do,” she said. “For example, we looked at doing a green roof and the costs of that, but unfortunately it was not feasible. We had a lot of different projects we could do.”

Kemper said SGA has a method to compiling the list of ideas.

“We have based some of our measures of sustainability on other schools that we compare ourselves to,” she said. “A couple of other schools had car charging stations, so we thought it’d be beneficial to do that.”

Janis said they used “anecdotal information” to determine the need for the stations on campus.

“It is a known fact that more and more people are buying electric cars or hybrid vehicles, and we want to accommodate them like all other parking facilities on the planet for their being environmentally smart and conscious.”

With most projects, there’s an immediate cost savings. However, with this project, the savings will not be so immediate.

“Overtime, those cost savings usually bring back money, even if it’s over a longer period of time,” she said. “But (for this project) it’s even better for the larger scale environment and it’s going to show an innovative look toward the future and transportation.”

Janis said the university will measure track more statistical information from the stations.

“Our system has monitoring software, so we will be able to track the volume of users, length of charge, energy used and other data that will eventually tell us whether or not we should add more charging stations in the future,” he said.

With the remaining funds, DePaul also installed more LED lighting, motion-sensor lighting and added more recycling bins.

This SGA allocation is behind many of DePaul’s more eco-friendly features, including the water bottle refill stations, solar lighting on campus and the solar charging stations in the Quad and on the 11th floor of the DePaul Center.

“It shows that DePaul is dedicated long term and in every year they’re making this promise toward sustainable innovation,” Kemper said. “Each year, they are able to invest in newer, more effective technologies.”

The car charging stations are free for the campus community at the first-floor level of the Clifton Parking Garage.