While it is impossible to prejudge what ANSI will do with the National Green Building Standard, Draft No. 2 contains some time-proven, sound principles on land planning and site development that will benefit your project—and the environment—no matter when ANSI acts. It’s time now to incorporate them into your planning.
Chapter 4 of the publicly available Draft No. 2 identifies numerous opportunities for site selection, design, and development that not only will minimize environmental impacts but also will protect, restore, and enhance the natural features and environmental quality of the site.
Some of these considerations and recommendations are:
Locate streets, buildings, and other features to conserve high-priority vegetation;
Incorporate a hydrological/soil stability study to guide the design of the buildings;
Reduce long-term erosion effects by using terracing, retaining walls, landscaping, and restabilization techniques;
Schedule construction activities to minimize the length of time that soils are exposed;
Use low ground pressure equipment or temporary matting to minimize excessive soil consolidation;
Install utilities by alternate means such as directional boring in lieu of open-cut trenching;
Preserve natural water and drainage features;
Select permeable materials for roads, driveways, parking areas, walkways, and patios; and
Preserve the natural environment while landscaping, and enhance areas that were cleared during construction with native or regionally appropriate plantings.
Selecting a team of qualified professionals trained in green development issues is invaluable to advise on-site supervisors and team members about the procedures to follow.
Additional recommendations for green building certification practices will be included in future columns.
Draft No. 2 of the National Green Building Standard is now available as a downloadable document on the Research Center’s Web site at www.nahbrc.org/technical/standards/DraftVersion2.pdf.