Green Building Components - Regional Land Use Planning
Regional land-use planning; air, water and resource management; ecological preservation and restoration; reducing carbon emissions and equitable economic development are all components of going green. Green building adopts an integrated design process with a regional scope and site-specific action. Each component is defined and discussed on the web site.
In regional land use planning
Accelerated climate change, a growing dependence on imported fossil fuel and the rising cost of energy have made the energy dependent growth patterns of the past unsustainable. To assure communities will grow sustainably while taking action to shrink their regional carbon footprints, redevelopment agencies are becoming more involved in resource reclamation, alternative-energy technology and land-use planning that focuses on expanding multi-modal rapid transit and goods movement around compact, energy-efficient, environmentally sensitive development that supports a mix of uses and a range of housing options.
Sustainable Design, Ecology, Architecture, and Planning Daniel E. Williams, FAIA, John Wiley & Sons, 2007
Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development John Tillman Lyle, John Wiley and Sons, 1996
The Transit Hub
The Technical Advisory Committee to the Statewide Transit-Oriented Development Study defined Transit Oriented Development (TOD) as: "moderate to higher density development, located within an easy walk of a major transit stop, generally with a mix of residential, employment and shopping opportunities designed for pedestrians without excluding the auto. TOD can be new construction or redevelopment of one or more buildings whose design and orientation facilitate transit use.”
New Dukakis TOD Policy & Planning Toolkit (which includes City of San Leandro, Calif., TOD Planning Strategy)
Traditional development hardscapes land by building structures to slough off water and funnels it through a guttering and drainage system that overloads stormwater systems, washes pollutants into those systems and carries precious amounts of water, along with pollutants, to the sea. Aquifers are denied their natural source of water – normally percolated and filtered through soils after storms – and as a result cities need to use too much water to replace what they have funneled away. Cities risk water rationing and flooding because water is not stored but is wasted.
Infill opportunity can provide incentives for stormwater management and treatment systems; wastewater management systems; transit-capital projects; green-street, parking-lot and green-roof demonstration projects that reduce runoff and recycling irrigation water.
Wetlands naturally break down and digest pollutants with the help of a diverse community of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, plants, snails, clams and fish, which clean and filter the wastewater by processing our waste as their food. "Wetlands are the most biologically productive ecosystems on earth. The many plants and animals that live there can use the nutrients that occur in wastewater and transform the waste into harmless byproducts. Engineered wetlands can process wastewater from cities and housing developments, preserving open space and natural wildlife habitats. Build vegetated swales for stormwater conveyance and design space for infiltration basins and trenches, detention and retention ponds and filtration systems"[Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design With Nature, Douglas Farr]
On a grander scale, Chicago, Illinois is launching a series of projects based upon the integrated street-design system Growing Water that won the History Channel's 2007 City of the Future competition – the insertion of "eco-boulevards" into the city's street systems that would filter and clean the city's wastewater and stormwater through bioremediation.
Agile Energy Systems
Agile energy systems have been compared to the Internet or wireless infrastructure because the systems are models of flexibility in order to meet the diverse needs of differing markets and conditions. An agile system can be designed for malls, office complexes, hospitals, college campuses and residential developments. In an agile system, larger facilities or clusters of buildings generate their own power, using alternative-energy sources like wind and solar, storing the excess or selling it back to the grid. The small generating facilities' on-site generation, storage and distribution smoothes out fluctuations in supply from renewable resources and reduces transmission losses, cutting down on operating costs, and eliminating the need for overhead power lines. Agile systems also insulate communities from the debilitating energy crises of the past. Renewable energy generated by central plants can connect groups of buildings, and strategically spaced central plants can power a region. Financing is based on load demands for the building, the complex or the cluster.
Infill is the best value, in terms of greening development. Infrastructure is in place. There is no line loss in distributing energy from the grid; rather there is, perhaps, the chance to augment it. Density allows for the clustering of energy generators on urban rooftops. Services and transportation are nearby.
The potential for repurposing an estimated 4.5 million older buildings through restoration or adaptive reuse is the greenest form of green, as disturbance of the energy embodied in the materials and the construction of the structure is minimal, compared to new building, and fewer new resources are required to bring the site back into operation.
Cleaning up a brownfield or a grayfield and siting a new structure on an empty lot benefits the ecology of the site by also addressing water, wastewater and other pollution issues.
Infill development can be eligible for historic-preservation tax credits, brownfields, LEED points, tax-increment financing in RDAs, state infill grant funds and proposed incentives for green infill such as green-zoning overlays with tax incentives.
The perception that increased housing density leads to local traffic and parking congestion is legitimate. While it is true that increased density tends to increase the number of cars on the road per square mile, and so tends to increase local traffic and emissions, sprawl actually increases total traffic congestion more. Smart growth strategies, including infill, can significantly reduce per-capita vehicle ownership and use when paired with reductions in road and parking-facility costs, accidents, energy consumption and pollution emissions and increased options for walking, cycling and improved transit. Local governments have begun to adopt alternative traffic-mitigation fees that can finance improvements to multiple modes rather than just roadways.
American Society of Landscape Architects Sustainable Design Resource Guides and Toolkit
Sustainable Design Resource Guides
Preservation Green Lab [national clearinghouse for best practices and model policies]
"Understanding Smart Growth Savings," Todd Litman
Visualizing Density: A Catalog Illustrating the Density of Residential Neighborhoods, Julie Campoli and Alex MacLean (2002), Lincoln Institute of Land Policy
Creating Great Neighborhoods: Density in Your Community, Local Government Commission LGC (2004), US Environmental Protection Agency and the National Association of Realtors
Building A Green Team
Green Case Studies
» Adaptive Reuse
» Brownfields Cleanup
» Ecological Restoration
» Industrial Development Bonds
» Infill Development
» Sustainable Community
» Transit Oriented Development
» Capital Building Projects
» Tax Credits
» Sustainability and Implementation Plans
» More Projects
Cost And Benefits
Janet Myles, Independant Consultant
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