Environmental Sustainability

Energy Harvest and Passive Climatic Relationships

A primary component of the site plan for the LISD CSF is reduced reliance on non-renewable energy sources and a substitution of renewable sources. All buildings are oriented with large south faces and deep porches to maximize solar gain. The geothermal field will be located in the central garden space inside the entry drive loop. Wind harvest could take place at the site’s high points.

On Site Water Management

Water supply and use will be governed by the following principles: improving water conservation and storage measures, selecting drought tolerant species, reducing water loss and harvesting and managing runoff from structures and paved areas to promote infiltration.

Paved areas will utilize permeable surface applications to reduce runoff and non point source pollutants, roof water should be harvested, and drainage should be localized. Recognizing that water quality is affected by petroleum, herbicides and fertilizers as well as erosion, site areas should reflect an effort to reduce the need for these as well as reducing initial application. Breaking up the large monoculture planting areas would be beneficial. Reducing tillage would promote overall soil quality and health and could be achieved by planting permanent crop areas like orchards, berries, and grapes. Vegetated swales in crop areas could help to localize drainage and promote infiltration. Erosion and sediment control measures should accompany all construction efforts and land disturbance. Animal pasturing areas should have drought tolerant forage. Reforestation and improving the site’s riparian corridors will improve overall water quality as well as the restoration of wildlife habitat.

Materials Selection

Materials selection should consider using materials with recycled content, materials from local sources to support local economies and reducing impacts from transportation, and materials that use rapidly renewable sources. Additionally, materials should look toward technologies that reduce runoff, increase surface permeability, reduce solar reflectance and reduce heat island effect.

Plant Selection

Restoration oriented and agricultural plant choices should be made based on the LISD CSF goals—plants should be appropriate for the site’s soil types, climate, and be planted and maintained so as to reduce the use of irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides and prevent runoff. Planting native plants and carefully selecting sites for planting will foster a self sustaining landscape that will require minimal maintenance and water over time. Restoration planting should take advantage of the endemic plants of the site, soils, and region in mind.

Restorative Landscape Types

Highlighted as the number one priority from stakeholder meetings, environmental education begins with understanding and improving the site’s current ecosystems. The site provides opportunities to learn about managing and rebuilding the following ecosystems that occur on site: the woodland, wetland areas, naturalized upland, the pond and wetland fringes and the cultivated cropland. The site has areas in various stages of ecological succession that could be expanded for study purposes and presents opportunities for native prairie and savannah plantings. Instituting an invasive species monitoring program should be a key component of the restorative landscape program since the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has identified invasive species as one of the top 3 threats to wildlife and landscape features in this region next to fragmentation and development.