Free Metered Parking For Vehicle Owners That Purchase Carbon Offsets
Substitute Ordinance No. BL2010-825
Step 1: Calculate Your Vehicle Emissions
Note the number defined for the greenhouse gas emitted item is your vehicle's annual CO2 emissions in Tons.
Step 2: Pick An Approved Non-Profit And Purchase Your Carbon Offsets
Using the annual tons of CO2 determined in step 1, purchase a corresponding carbon offset from an approved qualified non-profit organization.
Step 3: Bring Proof Of Carbon Offsets To County Clerk To Obtain Parking Permit
During your next vehicle tag renewal, bring your carbon offset certificate obtained from an approved qualified non-profit organization to the County Clerk's office and purchase your parking permit.
Step 4: Park Downtown !
With the valid parking permit you may park in the Central Business District of downtown Nashville.
Beginning July 1, 2011, no parking payment shall be required for a vehicle parked in a parking meter space subject to the following:
  • Meter is located within the boundaries of the Downtown Central Business Improvement District as designated by Section 12.44.040 of the Metropolitan Code. Central Business Improvement District Boundaries for Downtown Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Vehicle may park only for duration that does not exceed posted time limit on meter.
  • Vehicle must display a valid sticker issued by the Davidson County Clerk.
  • Per Metro Public Works Guidelines, Carbon offsets must be purchased from an approved qualified non-profit organizations (see List Of Approved Qualified Non-Profit Organizations) during the calendar year during which you purchase your green parking permit from the County Clerks office.
  • Permits are issued by the County Clerks office and will expire when your tag registration expires. The $10.00 permit fee cannot be prorated.
NOTE: The County Clerk manages free parking for Clean Technology Vehicles (Ordinance No. BL2010-734) as well as parking permit issuance. More information on that program can be found here.

What is a “Carbon Offset” and how does it apply to this ordinance?

The June 2009 Green Ribbon report established a goal of reducing the Metropolitan Government’s greenhouse gas emissions back to 2005 levels by 2012. Nashville’s baseline Greenhouse Gas Inventory was conducted in 2009 and found that the community produced 14.4 million tons of CO2 equivalents in 2005. The sectors producing these emissions were found to be:
  • Electrical Use for residential, industrial and commercial: 62.4%
  • Transportation: 32.6%
  • Waste generation and disposal: 4%
  • Closed Landfill: 1%
This program is an opportunity to reduce our community’s Greenhouse Gas emissions and become an even greener city.

A carbon offset may be established when a project or activity occurs that reduces the quantities of Greenhouse Gases (GHG) released to the atmosphere. A carbon offset can be used to compensate for emissions from other activities. With regard to BL2010-825, the carbon offset is a payment made by an owner of any vehicle to a qualified nonprofit organization to ‘offset’ the carbon emissions that a particular vehicle is producing.

The organization must then use the funds for carbon counterbalance (“green” projects) within the area of the Metropolitan Government. There is then an ‘offset’ of the GHG emissions produced by the vehicle. The nonprofit organization offsets by investing in GHG reducing green projects locally.

Vehicle Carbon Offset Calculator

Using the EPA formula, the Metro Public Works department has created a Vehicle Carbon Offset Calculator for their website for this program. The calculator will provide citizens a simple way to determine the annual amount of CO2 emitted from their vehicle by inputting the make, model and year of their vehicle.

Once calculated, an electronic record displaying the annual tons of CO2 emitted from the vehicle will be created.

Purchase of Carbon Offsets

Once vehicle emissions of GHGs have been calculated, the vehicle owner will then be able to use that record to purchase their carbon offsets from a qualified nonprofit organization. Participating qualified nonprofit organizations will be prior approved by an independent environmental firm as determined by the Public Works Department, and will be listed on the Public Works website.

Qualified nonprofit organizations will have a donation link on their website specifically labeled “Green House Gas Reductions for Metropolitan Nashville and Davidson County projects”.

All projects will require approval prior to implementation to ensure appropriateness toward meeting program emission reduction goals. Approval will be completed by an independent firm as determined by the Public Works Department and will include technical due diligence review of projects submitted for this program.

Qualified nonprofit organizations will be required to have a separate funding and process for any funds generated through this program. Additionally, all funding received through this program will be audited at regular intervals as determined by the Public Works Department, and will also be subject to random auditing.

Once carbon offsets are purchased, the vehicle owner will receive a certificate of carbon credits purchased from the qualified nonprofit to evidence that the dollar amount of the carbon credits purchased coincides with the carbon footprint of the motor vehicle for which the parking permit is sought. A copy of this certificate must be submitted to the County Clerk’s Office along with $10 to purchase vehicle sticker.

“Green” Projects

Funds obtained through this program will be used for carbon counterbalance or “green” projects within the area of the Metropolitan Government to offset the GHG emissions produced by the vehicle.
All funds received through this program must be allocated to approved projects by June 30, 2014.

Some example offset projects might include tree planting projects, renewable energy projects, alternative fuel projects, and more.

For questions or additional information, please email us at: FreeParkingProgram@Nashville.gov.
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