The best land usage on your home’s property.When people think of green in the home, the last thing that is paid attention to is the landscape and the benefits that come with the property. Some say that there is no such thing as a green home because the land that it replaces is never the same as the original ecosystem that existed there before building. However, the impact of your house is really based on the amount of original ecosystem that surrounds it on the property. The fact that new track homes are clean with new lawns and asphalt driveways are not anything like or resembling the original ecosystem. This is where home owners can make a quantifiable difference in the environment for the better.
The soil of the earth and it's plants are like the lungs of our planet. It's approximated that 3% of the square footage area, not counting roads, of the United States is inhabited by residential and commercial buildings. If you had a lung blockage of 3%, you'd be in the hospital or at least on medication.
The goals for responsible stewardship of your property is to reduce waste, retain and utilize resources, and replenish surface foliage. Waste is anything that doesn't stay on your property or contaminates the environment. By reducing the use of petroleum based asphalt or non porous concrete as walkways, a home owner can reduce waste from leaching and water damage. Water management is important part of sustainability and pertains to land use as well. The water on your property should be properly used and distributed to foliage and returned to the water tables for natural runoff. Natural run off can turn neighborhoods into swamps as they were originally. So home owners are encouraged to use municipal systems if there is a need in your local community and retain water for personal use in a rain water collection and irrigation system. Water is a resource to conserve and utilize with care and your property can take advantage of that to enhance the ecosystem.
The GAPScore looks for design techniques that incorporate these goals into the property and work with the environment regardless of the lifestyle changes of the owners. The percentage of your property that is open soil for foliage growth is an important aspect and urban dwellers are generally at a disadvantage when the amount of space available is taken in consideration. The amount of physical surface area of the globe is expanded when you build a structure. The area that used to be earth covered by the roof now contains walls with greater surface area. This extra area can be covered with foliage that would increase your land use management skills and have a better impact on the environment. Homes with green or vegetative roofs, living walls, and vines on the walls are more environmentally compatible than a building without. So, if your lot size is environmentally challenged for living space and the ecosystem, then there are always techniques to enhance our environment.
The landscaping for green techniques are using native plantings for decoration with a dual purpose for aesthetics and the environment. When a tree is planted in the parkway of your house, it's to beautify the neighborhood. When you plant a tree and decorative grasses on your property, it looks great while providing resources for composting, wind breaks, air quality, natural habitat and shade for energy efficiency.
Here's some great links from Better Homes and Gardens and the Landscaping Network for your information.
Driveways have never been an issue until now. The appraisers are looking for paver, crushed limestone, and porous concrete or materials for driveways because they are more expensive to install but also have a green sustainable potential benefit. The amount of water that stays away from nonporous concrete and flows through to the earth below is better for the environment. The less area used by a driveway is better also. So, urban and city residents have an advantage by not having a driveway, sharing or using a public alley way as a driveway.
Land use from neighborhood development has design water management techniques that flows surface water past natural aquifers and tributaries. Areas that may have had surface water or flooding during wet seasons are now dry areas. This makes for a stable dry ground area on which build. It takes a lot of water in the soil to fill aquifers and it takes a lot of time for the ground to soak up and relaese that much water. When the water is passed through sand like ground it can move the earth and cause sink holes, sliding or sink-age in entire neighborhoods, Storm water management tries to reduce the risk of sinkage by diverting water away from neighborhoods. Many times this system can be efficient to the point the soil doesn't get replenishment. Plants can only absorb so much water and the water moves too fast for the aquifers to replenish. So through water management and land management skill, the water on your property can stay on the property longer and distributed slowly and responsibly through the newly created soil from your luxurious vegetative landscaping. This will help provide cleaner drinking water for generations to come. By using the ecosystem with your land, your communities can stay more sustainable.