Site Assessment & Design

Photo: Bindersbee (public domain)

OVERVIEW

Our built environment is flooded with glass boxes that could be located anywhere, while many of the most successful and celebrated examples of architecture reflect and respond to unique site features. Whether or not a design team has a say in siting a project, carefully assessing the site should be on every project’s to-do list.

Careful consideration of these factors can inform design and support not only sustainable design objectives but also the basic architecture of the building:

  • onsite climate conditions

  • unique weather patterns

  • solar access

  • water opportunities

  • unique flora and fauna

  • topography

A site assessment early in design can reduce costs, allay potential risks, support the health and well-being of occupants and native habitat, and promote other unique site features.

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  • How Environmental Site Assessments Work

    Primer

    Existing buildings and previously developed sites are great, but they often need environmental cleanup. An ESA is the first step.

  • Putting a “LID” on Harmful Stormwater Runoff

    Primer

    Low-impact development (LID) minimizes pavement and maximizes rainwater infiltration, filtering out pollution and preventing erosion.

  • Combined Sewer Overflow

    Primer

    Combined sewer overflows (CSOs) occur in municipalities with older wastewater systems that carry both sanitary wastewater and stormwater; eliminating CSOs involves investment in wastewater infrastructure and reducing stormwater flows.

  • Porous Paving

    Primer

    Pavement that allows infiltration of stormwater comes in a variety of types, and offers many environmental and even cost benefits.