As cities across the US become more aware of the environmental impact development has on energy use and local water quality, many cities have begun to adopt strategies to mitigate these ecological concerns and help the environment.
–>Santa Monica, California has adopted green building codes that address storm water runoff, mandates bicycle storage, carpool spaces, storage space for recyclable materials, requires the recycling of construction material, and the installation of water efficient fixtures among other environmentally friendly, low cost building codes.
–>Montgomery County, Maryland has voted unanimously to adopt the LEED standard for all new multifamily residences greater than 4 stories, commercial buildings, and county buildings. This legislation will go into effect this November and mandates energy efficiency, indoor air quality, site selection, water use, and other environmental protections.
–>Chapel Hill, North Carolina passed an ordinance in 1997 that required town owned buildings to use 30% less energy than required by the North Carolina building codes. Accepted strategies include solar orientation, daylighting, renewable heating resources, water conservation, appropriate landscaping, energy efficient lighting, and the use of building materials and colors to lower cooling load.
More cities than we could possibly profile here have adopted environmentally conscious building codes, and many of them have adopted comprehensive green building strategies such as the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program. From energy and water efficiency to alternative transportation, from site selection to the beautification of public spaces, cities are learning how to make themselves allies of the landscape instead of adversaries. Even Chicago’s city hall, pictured above, incorporates a insulating green roof.
The city of College Park is not unique in its lack of Green Buildings codes, but it’s foreseeable that the city (or county) might jump on the bandwagon if the influx of CP development continues as we expect it will. Certainly the university can do more in this area and join a growing list of universities that have done the same. In the past we’ve suggested that the East Campus Development initiative incorporate some form of green building standards and we reported on the NOAA building in UMD’s research park that will be LEED certified.
Here are some ideas to get the ball rolling (if it hasn’t already):
- Require demolitions, renovations, and new construction to recycle 60%+ of their construction waste
- Mandate the use of low-flow faucets in new construction and renovations
- Encourage the installation of waterless urinals
- Relax parking space requirements for multifamily construction
- Provide funding for covered bicycle parking facilities
- Organize a renewable energy credit purchasing program for residents of College Park
What do you think?