Purpose Of The Guidebook
Environmentally Green...Economically Green is intended for local-level practitioners who want
to incorporate green land development practices into their work. Part One of the guidebook
contains a brief overview of green land development and information on how to create a local
green land development program. Part One is geared primarily toward Home Builder
Associations (HBA) that are considering developing a “green” program of their own. However,
other organizations interested in developing a local program could also find the information
useful. Part Two of the guidebook lists green land development principles and offers brief
explanations for each principle. Although these principles are essential parts of a successful
green land development program, they can also be used for many other purposes.
Developers can use Part Two to identify ways in which their companies can become more
resource-efficient and save money. Local government officials will find the principles beneficial
as they review local regulations, such as zoning ordinances, street standards, and stormwater
management ordinances that govern land development. While current regulations may prohibit
developers from implementing some of the action items contained in Part Two, the principles
can nevertheless provide a centerpiece around which private industry representatives and public
sector officials can discuss how affected parties can work together to address cost-effective,
environmentally sensitive land development.
What Is Green Land Development?
Each year, the United States witnesses the construction of over 1 million new homes. Many of
these homes are built in subdivisions, on land that was previously undeveloped. The goal of this
guidebook is to help individuals incorporate environmental considerations into all phases of the
land development process.
Green land development does not conform to a narrow definition. For this document, we define
it as making improvements over current practice that produce a more environmentally-friendly
development within reasonable economic limitations. To the extent possible, we focus on
residential design and development that addresses both the cost and the environmental issues
associated with development. The guidebook emphasizes improvements that developers can
make at their discretion or improvements that require some minor or moderate institutional
change by local regulatory agencies. For the most part, improvements are limited to items within
a site’s boundaries.
Current discussion about green development represent a push to foster land development
practices that preserve open space and undeveloped land, limit stormwater runoff, reduce
automobile traffic, decrease soil erosion, and increase aquifer recharge. These practices
encourage more resource-efficient land use practices and residential environments while
ensuring that development keeps pace with economic growth.
The principles outlined in this guidebook can help the reader enhance a project’s resource
efficiency. The guidebook’s goal is to explain the advantages of each principle and to discuss
considerations in implementing a given action item.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Innovative Transportation Programs & Partnerships
NAHB Research Center
Upper Marlboro, MD
Purchase a hardcopy of this report from the NAHB Research Center's bookstore.