Sustainable Master Planning

Green Building Starts in the Master Planning phase.

What is Sustainable Master Planning?  It is an opportunity to set up the rules of the game before the game begins.  Whenever possible think about sustainability as early in the design process as possible.   There are hidden opportunities that can be taken advantage of in the Master Planning stage.

Things to think about, a good site analysis should include the following considerations:

1. Solar Siting:  Layout plats to allow for maximum solar control for the future buildings. This means allowing for horizontal siting along the east/west axis to maximize Southern exposure North of the equator and Northern exposure South of the equator.  Direct South/North exposure is easier to control architecturally, through the use of shading devices, then East/West exposure.  This is the same for solar gain in cold climates or solar shielding in warmer climates.

2. Wind Path:  Understand the direction of the breeze, use massing to take advantage of cooling breezes in a warm climate or to block cold wind in a cold climate.  Generally, Wind Roses can be obtained from local airports.

3.  Walkability:  Create a pedestrian friendly environment.  Encourage walking, provide shade and understand walking distances – site uses strategically to encourage strolling rather than driving.

4. Limit Paving:  Use as little paving as possible.  This increases permeability and reduces runoff.  It also reduces urban heat islands.  Asphalt paving is a petroleum based material – it is a carcinogenic material for the folks building it and for the environment where it sits. Consider using things such as permeable pavers or previous concrete.

5. Encourage natural habitats and green belts:  Allow for native wildlife and ecosystems to exist within your site.  Utilize native plantings wherever possible, they will thrive in the climate and will contribute to the local ecosystems.

6. Step lightly – respect the earth.

Clark Richardson Architects recommends these basic design strategies for every project, small or large.

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