Can a housing development project be concerned with environmental
and social issues and still be profitable? Yes, argues the Rocky
Mountain Institute in "Doing Well by
Doing Good: The Benefits of Green Development."
RMIs work counters some of the widely held misconceptions
among developers about the financial viability of going green
in real estate development:
||Many developers fear that following
a green agenda will delay project schedules and raise costs....The
reality, however, is that well-executed green development
perform extremely well financially. In fact,
even though many of the leading-edge developers
strong environmental backgrounds and ideals, the financial
rewards of green development are now bringing mainstream
developers into the fold at an increasing pace. It is possible
--indeed it is the norm--to do well financially by doing
the right thing environmentally. For example, project costs
can be reduced, buyers or renters will spend less to operate
green buildings, and developers can differentiate themselves
from the crowd--getting a big marketing boost.
Some of the general benefits of green development, then, are reduced capital costs,
reduced operating costs, health and productivity benefits, higher perceived value and
quality, staying ahead of regulations, as the satisfaction of doing the right thing.
In order for a housing development to have a sustainable approach,
whether a planned development or traditional neighborhood development (TND) or New
Urbanist project, the developer/planner must consider land use, site planning, and
building design in a sustainable manner, and consider land-use issues as paramount in the
overall planning process. For this reason, it is difficult to find examples of
subdivisions that are sustainable. If the developer of a subdivision or housing
development wishes to incorporate sustainability into the project design, he or she most
likely will consider some form of planned community, or form of development which
considers the land-use aspect in a more environmentally sound manner.
Subdivisions are the development form most closely associated with sprawl, a negative
land-use pattern that consumes inordinate amounts of land and resources and is now
becoming recognized as a major threat to quality of life in America and other developed
This section is meant to provide resources covering many aspects of a green
approach--from the numerous benefits, to guidelines, programs, articles and relevant
publications--all geared toward those interested and involved in developing projects,
including real estate professionals, developers, architects, planners, researchers and
others. It also provides case studies, with emphasis on housing developments, including
single-family homes and master-planned developments of various forms and scale.
For additional background information, see the
sections of this site on Land Use Planning and Green Buildings.
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