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Site and Landscaping for Green Building:

The purpose of sustainable site planning is to integrate design and construction strategies by modifying both, the site and building to achieve greater human comfort and operational efficiency. It ensures –

  • Minimum Site disruption.
  • Maximum usage of microclimate features.
  • Appropriate landscaping.

Sustainable site planning:

  • Plan for basic amenities within walking distance of housing. This would reduce the use of private transportation.
  • Confirm that the selected site does not fall within the disaster – control zone as specified by local authority.
  • Ensure that basic amenities such as bank, child care , post office , park , library , primary school , clinic and community hall are near to or within the site premises .

Landscaping for Green Building:

Suitably designed landscape is a very effective microclimate modifier. Landscaping plays a very important role in modulating air flows in a building. Moreover, landscape provides the required shading for outdoor areas, which modifies the microclimate. Care needs to be taken to avoid undesirable increase in humidity levels, by excessive plantations. Selection of plant species should be based on its water requirement and the microclimatic benefits that should result from it.

The points to be noted are:

  • For Projects larger than 1 hectare, remove top soil and preserve for reuse on site. For tsunami Affected areas, ensure that top soil has not been rendered unusable.
  • A pH of 6.0 to 7.5 and organic content of not less than 1.5% by mass needs to be maintained. Add lime where pH<6.0 to adjust to 6.5 or higher, upto 7.5 any soil having soluble salt content >500ppm should not to be used for the purpose of landscaping.
  • Preserve existing vegetation on site. Mark all existing vegetation in tree survey plan. Evolve tree preservation guidelines
  • Do compensatory depository forestation in ratio of 1:5 within the site premises, for all mature trees removed.
  • Do not alter the existing drainage pattern on site.
  • Existing Grades should be maintained around existing vegetation.

Maintenance activities should be performed as needed to ensure that the vegetation remains healthy.

Recycled plastic has been developed into a wide range of landscaping products. Plastic lumber is widely used in outdoor furniture and decking. This lumber is made by shredding and reforming post-consumer plastic containers such as pop bottles and milk jugs. Some brands incorporate waste or recycled wood as well.

Plastic lumber has advantages over wood in that it is impervious to moisture and will not warp, rot, or check. It is available as dimensional stock, or in a wide variety of manufactured garden furniture and accessories. Traffic stops and bumpers are also being made from recycled plastic, replacing concrete and asphalt. By recycling plastic, a major contributor to landfill waste is put to a new use and raw materials are conserved. Water conservation also results, because recycling plastic requires less water than processing new plastic, wood, or concrete. When used in soil erosion control products, recycled plastic also prevents topsoil loss and the resulting consequences of increased water turbidity. The recycled plastic products can themselves be recycled when their useful life has ended. Because the material is inert, it will not degrade into toxic substances if discarded in landfills.

Landscape pavers made from recycled plastic can be used in place of bricks. Pavers are produced in a range of colors and styles, and can be used to replicate any traditional brick pattern. An open-grid rigid plastic mat has also been introduced.(see Figure1 – Porous pavement system made from recycled plastic. Excellent for providing wheelchair access to park and playground.)

Porous pavement system

Figure 1: Porous pavement system

Unlike paving, this product allows grass to grow in the open areas of the grid and permits water to drain through it. It is idea for use in playgrounds and provides a rigid surface for wheelchair access on to lawns.

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