Site Questions

Now it's time to answer specific site use questions in a more detailed manner. Often, a more detailed exploration of site opportunities and constraints can help inform the building design, in terms of choice of materials, building location on the site, and similar uses.

1 Are there materials onsite that can be used or reused? (Rocks; trees; clay for adobe bricks, soil for "soil-crete," rammed earth, soil "screened" for reuse, existing paving or concrete for fill or retaining walls.)

2 In what ways can we improve and/or limit our impact on wildlife habitat on and near the building site (example: can site design maintain or enhance wildlife corridors)?

3 Can we reduce the development footprint (including buildings, utilities, access, and parking), so that we exceed local open space requirements by 25 percent or more?

4 On previously developed sites, can we restore a minimum of 50 percent of the remaining open area by planting native or adapted vegetation?

5 On a new site, can we limit disturbance including earthwork and clearing of vegetation to 40 feet beyond the building perimeter? How will we write these requirements into the Division 1 specifications for the general contractor to follow?

6 Does the design work with the site or does it overly alter the site? (examples: extensive excavation/vegetation removal, disruption of habitat corridors, and the like)

7 If we have to alter some of the site, can we save the native vegetation and replant it onsite or possibly elsewhere, at a later time?

8 Is our program responding to the site's unique features such as topography, woods, pastures, or proximity to water bodies?

9 Does the site design create ecologically useful outdoor spaces; are we incorporating habitat preservation into the design, for example, by having slatted bridges over swales or streams so that sunlight can penetrate below?

10 Can water features be used for pedagogical purposes, for example, a pond for stormwater management or even constructed wetlands that can also be used by school classes?

*Chartwell School [online],, accessed April 2008.

11 Can the circulation plan reduce the extent of impervious surfaces or find other ways to support vehicles, including emergency vehicles that require less paving?

12 Have we considered site restoration as part of the building program? If so, are we committed to creating natural areas versus providing active recreation areas?

13 Have we begun to consult with the landscape architect about site vegetation preservation and potential restoration, where appropriate? If this is an urban site, are we talking about saving water and creating habitat even in our hardscape plantings?

14 How can the design be made unique to the place and/or region, for example, through the use of regional or onsite building materials, or design references to local or natural features?

15 Are there landscape elements such as trees or watercourses that can be extended into the building, to connect indoors to out and thereby enhance the "sense of place"? What about "winter gardens" or other "inside/outside" features?

Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable Energy Eco Friendly

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable.

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