Sustainable Landscape Design

 

       

Basalite Products can be used to achieve sustainable landscape design goals.  Permeable Pavers are one of the key hardscape elements that significantly contribute to recharging underground aquifiers and have become a mainstay in drought stricken communiities.  Solar Reflective Colors used in our products are designed to reduce the "heat island" effect. 

Design Fundamentals

Green Infrastructure

The idea that nature is also infrastructure isn't new. But it's now more widely understood to be true. Nature can be harnessed to provide critical services for communities, protecting them against flooding or excessive heat, or helping to improve air and water quality, which underpin human and environmental health. When nature is harnessed by people and used as an infrastructural system it's called "green infrastructure." 

Green infrastructure occurs at all scales. While it's often closely associated with green stormwater management systems, which are smart and cost-effective, it's really bigger than that. 
Green infrastructure can be a centerpiece of smart regional and metropolitan planning, ensuring communities have a livable environment, with clean air and water, for generations to come. Green infrastructure can be designed to address the needs of wildlife, which are increasingly threatened by climate change, providing systems of corridors or greenways to enable movement through human settlements. Those corridors are often beautiful places that people want to live near, too. Green infrastructure is also park systems and urban forests. The message here is that trees are a critical piece in green infrastructural systems and shouldn't be discounted in favor of other technologies. 
Constructed wetlands are another way to harness nature to manage water locally and provide wildlife habitat. Lastly, at the site-scale, smart communities are using green infrastructure for transportation systems (green streets), and green roofs, which can can bring the benefits of nature to the built environment. Researchers are amassing a body of evidence to prove that green infrastructure works: these systems are shown to be more cost-effective than outmoded models of grey infrastructure, and also provide far more benefits for both people and the environment. Nature can be incorporated everywhere to provide many benefits at once. 


Healthy and Livable Communities 

The prevalence of low-density, automobile-dependent communities has resulted in unsustainable lifestyles that increasingly threaten human health and well-being. In addtion to inflating housing and transportation costs and increasing carbon emissions, disconnected communities reliant on cars create sedentary lifestyles. The lack of access to environments that encourage daily exercise, provide clean air and water and offer affordable services and nutritious food has meant growing epidemics of depression, obesity, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. Working with landscape architects, communities can promote human health and well-being by encouraging the development of environments that offer rich social, economic, and environmental benefits. Healthy, livable communities improve the welfare and well-being of people by expanding the range of affordable transportation, employment, and housing choices through "Live, Work, Play" developments; incorporating physical activity into components of daily life; preserving and enhancing valuable natural resources; providing access to affordable, nutritious, and locally produced foods distributed for less cost; and creating a unique sense of community and place. Landscape architects help communities maximize opportunities for daily exercise like walking and biking. Landscape architects encourage communities to move towards compact, transit-oriented land-uses by designing complete streets and other transportation networks that connect mixed-use developments, neighborhood schools, and a range of affordable housing choices.  They assist communities in developing healthy green buildings and open spaces that promote efficient water and energy use and provide substantial amounts of vegetation to clean air and cool temperatures. In doing so, these communities can avoid the expensive health epidemics associated with automobile dependence, sedentary lifestyles, along with the high costs to the environment brought by dysfunctional patterns of living. 



Sustainable Urban Development

Urban development should be guided by a sustainable planning and management vision that promotes interconnected green space, a multi-modal transportation system, and mixed-use development. Diverse public and private partnerships should be used to create sustainable and livable communities that protect historic, cultural, and environmental resources. In addition, policymakers, regulators and developers should support sustainable site planning and construction techniques that reduce pollution and create a balance between built and natural systems. 
New sustainable urban developments or re-developments should provide a variety of commercial, institutional, educational uses as well as housing styles, sizes and prices. The provision of sidewalks, trails, and private streets, connected to transit stops and an interconnected street network within these mixed-use developments provides mobility options and helps reduce pollution by reducing vehicle trips. Walking, bicycling, and other mobility options should be encouraged throughout the urban mixed-use core and mixed-use neighborhoods with easily accessed and well-defined centers and edges.

 


Sustainable Residential Development

Due to reoccurring drought conditions worldwide, using potable (drinkable) water for landscapes is increasingly unviable. Homeowners often wastefully irrigate their lawns with water than should be reserved for human consumption. According to the Sustainable Sites Initiative, irrigation of unsustainable residential landscapes accounts for more than a third of residential water use—more than seven billion gallons of potable water per day in the U.S. Through "integrated site design," a comprehensive approach to sustainable building and site design, sustainable residential landscape architecture practices can not only decrease energy usage, but also improve water efficiency. If part of a broader integrated site design, sustainable residential landscape architecture, if part of a broader integrated site design, can dramatically reduce water usage over the long term while creating a healthy residential environment. Integrated site design is a framework for increasing the quality of the built environment, and involves maximizing existing natural systems to minimize water use. These types of designs leverage the many benefits of natural systems, thereby significantly cutting down the need for centrally distributed water. Decreased water usage also means homes are more resilient to shifts in the availability of water and climate change.Homeowners can promote the infiltration, storing and recycling of water, and limit the use of valuable potable water for landscapes. Bioswales / bioretention ponds, rainwater gardens, and local sustainable water recycling and drip irrigation systems can all be used to efficiently conserve water. Homeowners can use these systems to recycle and reuse greywater (and even blackwater) for landscape maintenance, car washing, and toilet flushing. Homes that include natural stormwater management technologies, such as a bioswales or bio-retention ponds, which infiltrate and remove pollutants, not only better manage stormwater runoff, but also reduce the massive energy costs associated with running complex stormwater management systems. Water utilities' centralized stormwater management infrastructure are heavy users of energy in local areas. Local governments are also partnering with non-profit organizations to increase public awareness about using sustainable residential design practices for improving water efficiency.


Residential Plants

Plants are central to a functioning global ecosystem. Plants oxygenate the atmosphere and reduce atmospheric pollutants. Reforestation in both developed and developing countries is a primary strategy for mitigating the effects of man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, plants are not only key to the global ecosystem, but also crucial to human health. Through "integrated site design," a comprehensive approach to sustainable building and site design, sustainable residential landscape architecture practices can not only improve water and energy efficiency, but also use plants to eliminate chemical fertilizers, produce food, restore ecosystems, and clean air. If part of a broader integrated site design, sustainable residential landscape architecture can extend the many benefits of plants. Integrated site design is a framework for increasing the quality of the built environment, and involves maximizing existing natural systems to create productive and healthy residiential environments. These types of designs leverage the many benefits of natural systems, thereby significantly cutting down the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Decreased chemical fertilizer use means homes are healthier, and ecosystems more resilient. Homeowners can use plants to recreate healthy ecosystems in residential areas, and reduce some of the adverse effects of residential buildings on ecosystems. There are a number of ways to extend the benefits of plants: restoring native plants to residential landscapes, using plants as food sources within residences, creating wildlife habitat through the strategic use of certain plants, adding indoor plants to improve air quality and human productivity, and creating residential composting systems for efficient waste removal. Local governments are also partnering with non-profit organizations to increase public awareness about using sustainable residential design practices to create productive plant systems.

                                                                 

Sustainable Residential Design 

New and non-recyclable materials used in homes and landscapes consume enormous amounts of resources to produce and distribute, and then create additional waste when they are demolished -- they often aren't originally designed to be recycled. Waste materials create waste landscapes: landfills, massive incinerator systems, and multi-square-mile floating plastic garbage islands in the world's oceans. Through "integrated site design," a comprehensive approach to sustainable building and site design, sustainable residential landscape architecture practices can not only improve water and energy efficiency, but also reduce waste. If part of a broader integrated site design, sustainable residential landscape architecture can eliminate waste created from producing and using design materials. Integrated site design is a framework for increasing the quality of the built environment and involves maximizing existing natural systems to produce and apply low-impact materials. These types of designs leverage the many benefits of natural systems, thereby significantly cutting down the use of materials that release toxic substances and fill up landfills. Homeowners can significantly increase the quality of the environment through the use of innovative low-impact materials. These materials include permeable, recycled, recyclable, reflective (high albedo), and non-toxic materials. Using these materials can minimize consumption of newer materials, enable a continual reuse of limited natural resources, and decrease waste and environmental pollution. Used in both landscapes and buildings, low-impact materials can reduce CO2 emissions. Local governments are also partnering with non-profit organizations to increase public awareness about using sustainable residential design practices to apply innovative, low-impact materials.