What is environmental design or “green” building construction? There are a number of construction techniques and practices that could be considered “green” or environmentally friendly. Some of the more well-known green building practices that might come to mind are energy efficient appliances, green roofs (roofs covered in plant materials), or solar panels for providing electricity. However, there are a number of other, more subtle, green building practices that can be employed in individual building design, or even in larger development projects.
Trees, when placed properly, can keep a home cool by blocking sunlight in the summer and letting more light in during the winter when leaves fall. Landscaping materials can be selected that are drought-resistant, reducing the need for water usage. Home sites can be designed and oriented in certain directions to harness passive solar energy. Retaining existing structures can be more environmentally friendly by reusing and conserving resources and materials.
One component of environmental design that is becoming more popular is the use of stormwater bioswales adjacent to streets to manage and treat stormwater run-off in a neighborhood. You may be asking what a stormwater bioswale is, and if so, here is a quick video that explains how they work (you have probably seen one before without realizing it!)
Stormwater bioswales were included in the reconstruction of Alpine Avenue, and you will also see bioswales along the newly reconstructed Hill Road, near the intersection of Hill Road and Baker Creek Road, when that street project is complete. Another new residential subdivision along Cumulus Avenue is also installing bioswales in the streets to treat stormwater run-off.
Do you think that it is important that these types of environmental design or “green” construction techniques be used in our neighborhoods?
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