Company management should evaluate and prioritize green options while remaining aligned with their organization’s overall business mission. In this post, Susan Buchanan advises organizations that are just beginning the approach to sustainability to start with the low hanging fruit, i.e. the relatively achievable and lower cost green initiatives that can deliver short-term paybacks by reducing energy and natural resource consumption. Starting with an objective evaluation of their current state of sustainability and the options for change both in terms of financial metrics of course, but also looking at other metrics such as footprint and life cycle costing. Once these baseline metrics are established then the many green opportunities become more clear.
This, the second article in our three part series on green parking lots continues by looking at some of the green parking lot design techniques and materials and how they help make parking surfaces more environmentally friendly and improve the urban space most of us live in. It suggests how smaller lots and smaller parking stall sizes, both acting to reduce the overall size of the parking lot is the very first thing to consider when designing a green parking lot. It then goes on to discuss in some detail the subject of alternate pavers that can absorb rain, allowing it to infiltrate into the ground below and thus substantially reduce runoff.
The Green (or Sustainable) Building: Part III – The Importance of Location, Orientation and Landscaping
For new projects where the building site is not already decided, an important green consideration is the selection of a location for the building that fits into the existing urban fabric, especially the existing mass transit network of the city. Prospective sites should also be selected based on how easily they can integrate into the existing electric, gas, water, and sewage utilities. Fitting into a city’s existing infrastructure so that a project has the smallest impact on the existing energy, water, sewage and road systems is the first point at which the green decision making process comes into play. In addition to siting a green building should be oriented and landscaped to make the most of its site ant to integrate into the urban fabric so that it organically fits into it and enhances its surroundings. Orientation and landscaping can have major impacts on a buildings water and energy efficiency as well as on its environmental impact.
Many green buildings also seek to promote a green aesthetic and ambiance in their design and in how they are sited within the urban fabric they will exist within. Often these other additional design considerations flow from and are achieved in a synergistic manner by the structure’s other central design goals of reducing energy impact, water impact and providing a healthy inner space for its occupants. Sustainable buildings often promote a more livable environment and ambiance within and around them; enriching both the inner and the outer spaces.