Natural Resources Defense Council BUILDING GREEN FROM PRINCIPLE TO PRACTICE
Home Build Your Business Case Set Your Budget and Goals Adopt a Whole-Building Approach Apply Sustainable Building Strategies Capitalize on Your Achievement
CHOOSE A SUSTAINABLE SITE

By making smart decisions about your building site early on, you can have a dramatic impact on the costs and savings of your project over the long term.

Location

Redevelop a brownfield, locate your project in an existing structure or use an in-fill strategy to help limit sprawl and preserve natural land. While there may be extra cleanup and insurance costs associated with building on a contaminated brownfield, many programs now exist to help defray those costs. In addition, redeveloped brownfield sites that are centrally located and offer river views, for example, are available at rates that are significantly below market level and can surge in value once remediated.
Orientation and Shape

Orient your building to minimize or maximize solar heat gain, according to your heating and cooling needs.
Design the shape of your building to optimize daylighting and reduce your electric lighting costs. Take care, though, to minimize any cooling load increases that can result from daylighting.
Use a combination of strategies -- such as high-performance windows and planted roofs -- to control solar heat gain and loss throughout your envelope.
Landscaping

Landscape your building's grounds or roof with native or adapted trees and plants. This type of greenery absorbs heat, helping to increase occupant comfort and lower air-conditioning costs by bringing down interior temperatures and providing shade. Green roofs also provide extra insulation in colder weather.
Stormwater Management

Surround your building with permeable pavement, plantings or soil to allow stormwater to seep into the ground instead of washing into sewers. These techniques can cost less than traditional culvert drainage strategies and at the same time reduce pollution runoff. They can also enhance your corporate or institutional image in the eyes of employees, tenants and the public.
They can also enhance your corporate or institutional image in the eyes of employees, tenants and the public.
Make use of grassy channels, known as bioswales, to reduce and slow the flow of stormwater from your property. Bioswales can help prevent erosion and filter stormwater, keeping harmful pollution, fertilizer and pesticides out of storm sewers.
For similar stormwater management results in urban areas, use rainwater cisterns, in conjunction with green roofs, which can also provide a water source for cooling towers and irrigation.
Construct wetlands and retention ponds to improve the look of your grounds, filter polluted stormwater runoff and reduce the need for storm sewers.
Next: Maximize Water Efficiency »
TOP STRATEGIES
Choose a Sustainable Site
Maximize Water Efficiency
Save Energy
Make Smart Use of Materials
and Resources
Safeguard Indoor Environmental
Quality
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Links: Sustainable Sites »

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