Environmentally Sensitive Design

Promoting Environmentally Sensitive Design and Building Practices

Environmentally sensitive design places the same amount of homes/properties in the same area as a standard subdivision design would, but saves room for green space. Instead of having larger lots, the same homes are placed on smaller lots and community green spaces are created. This gives everyone in the community a larger green space rather than a small backyard.

Roads are made narrower, and there is less total mileage in the development by incorporating newer road designs such as a lollipop and stick design versus the standard block design. By designing in this manner, money can be saved by not having to develop large lots and saving money by reducing infrastructure needs.

By creating larger green spaces, there is room for many shared features including:
  • A larger area of trees or plantings
  • Environmental features
  • Sports fields
  • Historically significant buildings
  • Parks
  • Ponds
  • Preserved natural spaces
  • Stormwater Controls
Stormwater control is simpler because more open previous space is preserved, and fewer impervious surfaces are constructed. This reduces the amount of stormwater volume and pollutants discharged, while maintaining natural buffer areas and infiltration and space for stormwater treatment devices.

Home and Lot Design

The homes themselves may also be constructed in an environmentally friendly manner. Minimal trees may be cut down, as well as onsite recycling of extra building materials (small wood scraps). Landscaping can be created in such a manner with natural tall grasses that require less maintained lawn and also have a similar effect as building a rain garden to help with infiltration. Building a berm against the house can help with insulation, as well as incorporating a geothermal heating system. There are also stores which carry used building supplies at a discount, or even free, so leftover building supplies may be used up.

To the right are examples of the same plot of land. The top picture is developed in the standard fashion, whereas the bottom picture shows a development with Low Impact Development taken into consideration.
Old Evironmentally Sensitive Design image
New Evironmentally Sensitive Design image