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A good landscaping job can do more than increase the value of a home. Trees, for instance, can help reduce energy bills by 20 to 25 percent. Trees might provide shade in the hot summer months, reducing air-conditioning costs. Some trees drop their leaves in winter, so that warm sunshine provides free heat.

The soils around and under a home have to be prepared for the foundations before construction, at which time systems are put in place to drain moisture away from the house. Drainage systems, septic planning, water level, and soil type are all important sitework considerations to be addressed long before landscaping begins.

Through ToolBase and the PATH Technology Inventory, PATH offers a list of new technologies and systems that can help homeowners make better decisions about how to plan a site for a new home, as well as to care for the areas around an existing home.

PATH Tools

Building Greener, Building Better: The Quiet Revolution December 2002
This publication outlines the environmentally friendly approach to land development and housing construction and includes case studies on wetlands, open space and storm water management collaborations developed by the Ohio, Connecticut and Alabama state HBAs, respectively.

Enviromentally Green...Economically Green: Tools for a Green Land Development Program October 2001
NAHB Research Center publication for local-level practitioners who want to incorporate green land development practices into their work. This publication can be ordered from the NAHB RC bookstore.

The Practice of Low Impact Development July 2003
This publication presents a land development process--Low Impact Development (LID)--that uses various land planning and design practices and technologies to conserve and protect natural resource systems and reduce infrastructure costs.

The Rehab Guide Volume 9: Site Work August 1999
The Rehab Guides are a series of nine guidebooks to inform the design and construction industry about state-of-the-art materials and innovative practices in housing rehabilitation. Volume 9 covers wood decks, porches, and fences; paved driveways, walks, patios, masonary walls; and underground construction landscape.

Technology Inventory Spotlight

Aerobic Wastewater Treatment Units
Mechanism to inject and circulate air inside a tank, encouraging decomposition for a higher quality effluent.

Modular Block Retaining Wall Systems
Interlocking concrete units tie back into the earth to efficiently resist loads; can accommodate a wide variety of site constraints, project sizes, and aesthetic preferences.

Permeable Pavement
Allows stormwater to seep through so that, instead of running off into storm drains, it is filtered by the soil and regenerated into the water table.

Xeriscaping
Drought-tolerant plants create a visually attractive landscape, reducing outdoor water use while requiring less maintenance than a traditional turf landscape.

Content updated on 7/11/2006

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