Sustainable Design Principles

Sustainable Design promotes an integrated approach to development and redevelopment that considers natural resource protection and energy consumption through a holistic design approach. Sustainable design principles seek to:

  • Protect landscape and water resources;
  • Minimize non-renewable energy consumption;
  • Balance long-term economic, social and environmental needs;
  • Provide cost-effective development solutions; and
  • Enhance quality of life.

To promote sustainable development, HW applies Smart Growth and Low Impact Development (LID) planning techniques to our projects, concentrating higher density (compact) residential and commercial land uses in a manner that is designed to be pedestrian friendly, economically vibrant, easily accessible, visually appealing, and historically relevant. The result is development that minimizes environmental impacts, encourages economic development, and provides significant fiscal benefits over the long-term. In areas where greenfield development is proposed, HW applies master planning techniques to evaluate alternatives to land clearing and incorporate pedestrian green spaces and amenities, such as pedestrian trails and bikeways, pocket parks, community gardens, and courtyards. By concentrating active land uses in this way, greater percentages of undisturbed and/or restored open space are retained for the protection of wildlife habitat, water resource protection, and other environmental values.

Project Selection and Design

HW uses the following guidelines to assess potential projects and clients, and how we will approach the planning and design process.

  • Where possible, projects should be planned and developed with the following approach:
  • Use infill or redevelopment to leverage a net environmental, social, and economic improvement for underutilized or previously disturbed sites;
  • Develop in close proximity to existing infrastructure (e.g., centralized sewage treatment, public water supply, existing roads) with adequate capacity to accommodate the new project;
  • Apply compact design principles that provide mixed use, diverse housing opportunities, and foster economic development in village or urban settings;
  • First avoid, and then minimize, impacts to water resources and plant and wildlife habitat;
  • Consider energy usage, conservation strategies, and renewable energy opportunities;
  • Employ cost-effective, appropriate technologies available for wastewater treatment, stormwater management, site construction, and water conservation;
  • Establish and manage an erosion and sedimentation control plan during construction;
  • Integrate climate change adaptation techniques into project design;
  • Apply architectural and landscape design standards that are compatible with existing neighborhoods, accepted aesthetic standards, and historical precedents;
  • Provide opportunities for multi-modal transportation opportunities including those for pedestrians and bicyclists; and
  • Design projects within the carrying capacity of natural systems.