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Renovate older buildings
Conscientiously renovating existing buildings is the most sustainable construction.
Development patterns can either inhibit or contribute to the establishment of strong communities and neighborhoods. Creation of cohesive communities should be a high priority.
Encourage in-fill and mixed-use development
In-fill development that increases density is inherently better than building on undeveloped (greenfield) sites.
Mixed-use development, in which residential and commercial uses are intermingled, can reduce automobile use and help to create healthy communities.
Minimize automobile dependence
Locate buildings to provide access to public transportation, bicycle paths, and walking access to basic services.
Commuting can also be reduced by working at home.
Consider home office needs with layout and wiring.
Value site resources
Early in the siting process carry out a careful site evaluation: solar access, soils, vegetation, important natural areas, etc.
Let this information guide the design.
Locate buildings to minimize environmental impact
Cluster buildings or build attached units to preserve open space and wildlife habitats, avoid especially sensitive areas including wetlands, and keep roads and service lines short.
Leave the most pristine areas untouched, and look for areas that have been previously damaged to build on.
Seek to restore damaged ecosystems.
Provide responsible on-site water management
Design landscapes to absorb rainwater runoff (stormwater) rather than having to carry it off-site in storm sewers.
In arid areas, rooftop water catchment systems should be considered for collecting rainwater and using it for landscape irrigation.
Situate buildings to benefit existing vegetation
Trees on the east and west sides of a building can dramatically reduce cooling loads.
Hedge rows and shrubbery can block cold winter winds or help channel cool summer breezes into the building.
Environmental Building News.
Used with permission.
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