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Site and Landscape Planning for Green Building Construction

Site and Landscape Planning for Green building Construction

Site and Landscape Planning for Green building Construction

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The site and landscape planning for green building construction are performed such a way that the design and construction strategies are sustainable and efficient. Site and landscape planning for green building ensures following objectives:
  1. Minimum disruption of the site
  2. Landscaping in Appropriate way
  3. Maximum usage of microclimate features
Here, the basics requirements in site and landscape planning for green building construction is explained.

Site Planning for Green Building

Sustainable site planning is followed in green building construction. These involve the following features.

1. Planning

A collaborative approach is followed where the owners, engineers, architects, contractor and important stakeholders to bought together to develop a sustainable design process. This helps to combine valuable inputs from different expertise.

2. Site Plan

A sustainable site plan is developed based on the discussions and inputs. A sustainable site plan of green building construction is the plan that has less impact on the environment while meeting the project goals of the client. The site plan must fit to the project parameters without compromising environmental concerns.

3. Site Selection

Important parameters to be considered while selecting site are:
  1. The site must not fall under the disaster zone. Flood plain areas must be avoided.
  2. If the building is to be constructed around water bodies, buffers of undisturbed soil must be provided.
  3. Ease of transportation of resources for construction purpose must be kept in mind. The site accessible to public and other means of transportation is a good choice.
  4. 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 .

4. Site Layout

Proper orientation of building or site layout helps to save energy by 25%. Following parameters are considered while siting and orienting building.
  1. The plan is elongated along East/West axis
  2. Exposures to north and south are good for daylighting
  3. Windows must not be provided facing east and west
  4. The most populated area must be oriented towards the north or south direction

5. Reduce Impervious Surfaces of Site

Implementing large impervious surface throughout the site to avoid water runoff issues and to increase the aesthetic is not a sustainable practice. Increase in the impervious surface affects the groundwater recharge causing heat island effect. Limiting the impervious surface helps reduce the environmental impact drastically. Site imperviousness can be reduced by the following methods:
  1. Implementing green roofs
  2. Placing plants around parking areas
  3. Implementing permeable pavement options

Fig.1: Plastic Pervious Pavement System; Image Courtesy: McVeigh Parker

Read More: Selection of Green Building Materials

Landscaping for Green Building

In most of the project, landscape design is ignored in the planning stage. There are many benefits a sustainable landscape design can provide beyond the aesthetics of the site. Good landscape design is an effective microclimate modifier. A good landscape design provides shading for the outdoors which is one way of modifying microclimate. It helps to modulate the air flows within the building. Improperly designed landscape consumes large amount of potable water for its maintenance. Some important parameters to be considered for landscape planning for green building construction are:
  1. The landscape is placed to directly receive the runoff and captured water
  2. Landscape is placed and design such that it filters and clean stormwater
  3. Provide site rain gardens in parking areas
  4. Instead of constructing retention ponds, bio-retention ponds can be employed.
Care needs to be taken to avoid an undesirable increase in humidity levels, by excessive plantations. Plant species for landscaping have to be chosen based on the microclimatic benefits they provide and their water demand.

Fig.2.Bioretention System; Image Courtesy: Virginia Water Resource Research Center

Landscaping Considerations for Green Building Construction

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