Apr 12, 2008

Green Building Comes Home

If you're planning a construction project here in Palo Alto later this year, odds are you're going to be held to a higher standard than ever. As reported in the Palo Alto Weekly, a proposed building ordinance will require that residential construction ultimately comply with the "GreenPoint Rated" checklist developed by California's Build It Green initiative; and that commercial projects meet national LEED standards.

On the home front, here are some of the items Build It Green includes on their landscaping checklist:
  • Construct Resource-Efficient Landscapes
  • Use Fire-Safe Landscaping Techniques
  • Minimize Turf Areas
  • Plant Shade Trees
  • Group Plants by Water Needs (Hydrozoning)
  • Install High-Efficiency Irrigation Systems
  • Add Compost to Promote Healthy Topsoil
  • Mulch All Planting Beds
  • Use Salvaged or Recycled-Content Materials for Landscape Elements
  • Reduce Light Pollution
  • Collect and Retain Rainwater for Irrigation

    The proposed ordinance is likely to take effect in July, with a phased implementation (e.g. home builders will only have to earn 75% of the necessary points within the first two years) to allow time to master the new requirements. But whether you're a local homeowner, a builder or a contractor working in Palo Alto, the political landscape is about to dictate major changes to your project's landscaping. If you have questions about what's ahead, I'd be happy to be your local green guide.
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