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Green Development

Benefits & Basic Elements

Guiding Principles

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Green Development Benefits & Basic Elements

Developers often equate green development with reduced profits and delayed schedules. On the contrary, however, green development projects often "perform extremely well financially," according to the Rocky Mountain Institute, and often command a price premium in the marketplace. There are many additional benefits of building green, as well, including lower operating costs for residents, increased comfort, higher perceived value, reduced sprawl, and protection of the natural environment.

The elements of green development fall into three basic categories: environmental responsiveness, resource efficiency, and community and cultural sensitivity. Thus, green development projects consider siting and land-use issues; conserve energy, water, and other precious resources; provide a healthy and comfortable indoor space through the use of reused and recycled products, as well as energy- and resource-efficient products; blend in with the natural environment and protect open space; increase a sense of community; and address cultural issues.

The following resources provide more information on the benefits and basic elements of green development. For additional information, see our section on Guiding Principles.

"Doing Well by Doing Good -- Benefits of Green Development"
Illustrates the benefits of green development approaches through an excerpt of Green Development: Integrating Ecology and Real Estate, a book produced by the Rocky Mountain Institute.

Literature Summary and Benefits Associated with Green Development Approaches
Provides a compendium of examples, case studies, and issues related to urban development and the implementation of Green Development. EPA's Oceans and Coastal Protection Division (OCPD).

Green Development Benefits, Community
Outlines the Green Building Alliance's perspective on the multiple advantages that green development offers for strengthening communities.

"Sustainable Design Can Be An Asset to the Bottom Line"
Reviews studies that indicate that increased efficiency and worker productivity associated with sustainable design can have a major positive impact on company profits."

US Green Building Council Research Compendium on the Benefits of Green Buildings and Development
Provides access to multiple research documents and presentations on the benefits of green development in economic, environmental, and social terms.

The Practice of Sustainable Development (publication by the Urban Land Institute)
Analyzes the concept of sustainable development and the relationships between sustainable development and ecology, economic development, and social equity. Specific topics covered include site design, financing, building systems, marketing, and approval processes. ISBN: 0-87420-831-9

"Quantifying the Business Benefits of Sustainable Buildings"
Aims to define the business benefits arising from sustainable construction techniques through case studies. (PDF file.)

Center for Land Use Education's "A Look At Conservation Subdivisions "
Outlines the potential benefits of conservation subdivision to a community.

The Economic Benefits of Parks and Open Space: How Land Conservation Helps Communities Grow Smart and Protect the Bottom Line
A report from the Trust for Public Land that describes how communities around the country are learning that open space conservation and green development are an investment that produces important economic benefits.

Benefits of a Green Building - City of San Jose, CA
Offers the perspective of a city government agency on the benefits of Green Development.

SmartGrowth British Columbia Fact Sheet and Background on Alternative Development Scenarios
Provides an array of potential benefits for creating and maintaining municipal infrastructure by use Green Development approaches.

"The Market for Green Development"
Describes consumer preference for green buildings and developments, as well as the profitability and marketability of such projects. An excerpt from Green Development: Integrating Ecology and Real Estate.

"The Elements of Green Development"
Describes the common features of green development projects. An excerpt of Green Development: Integrating Ecology and Real Estate.

Environmental Benefits of Smart Growth
A section of EPA's smart growth website discusses environmental benefits of smart growth development approaches.

Last updated: January 30, 2004

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