The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) has released a site planning guide to help homeowners and builders lower environmental impacts from construction and renovation.
“There are a number of green building guides available, but they often cover large geographic areas and can be difficult for residents to adapt to their location,” said RDN Director Bob Rogers, Electoral Area Services Committee chair. “This new guide will enable residents to easily adopt region-specific sustainable practices on their land that integrate with natural processes and support habitat preservation.”
Sustainable site planning reduces environmental impacts from developments by considering characteristics of local areas such as water, soil and climate, before design begins, according to the RDN. It aims to reduce the impact on natural ecosystems such as wetlands and shorelines.
In rural areas, the RDN said single family dwellings account for approximately 90 per cent of building permits issued in the regional district. The guide provides homeowners with a three step process for planning.
The first step is local context evolution — this helps to understand the area beyond the property boundaries to determine how it is impacted by its surroundings, according to the RDN. The second step laid out in the guide is identifying areas best suited for development. The third step is developing a sustainable site plan using information from the first two steps.
“We enjoy considerable ecological diversity in our region and this guide features the latest in sustainable best practices to help protect our natural assets,” said Chair Tyler Brown. “The guides are part of the Green Building Action Plan, developed to support the RDN’s strategic goals to protect and enhance the natural environment and to be leaders in climate change adaptation and mitigation.”
The RDN said many homeowners choose to do work themselves, but for those who hire contractors, the guide provides knowledge to help communication with contractors.