Building a green home requires considering more than just the structure itself. Even the greenest home couldn’t be reasonably considered sustainable if you had to cut down an entire forest to build it and then covered half the site in an impervious parking area. This is an extreme example, but how much you need to disturb the site is a factor that must be weighed if your goal is to minimize your environmental impact. 7
The greenest solution is to build on an area that has already been developed so that you don’t have to remove any additional plant life. However, this isn’t always possible. If your property has a lot of trees, think about ways you can position the house so that you have to cut down as few as possible. Can you use that wood in the construction of the home or for some other beneficial purpose?
Think about all of the possible options for the placement of your new home and choose the one that requires the least amount of tree removal and blasting, while still allowing you to optimize the orientation and shading.
Another factor to consider with respect to site disturbance is the amount of impervious surface you will create. Features like driveways and walkways are practically necessary, but you have the option to limit the space you will cover. You can also choose materials that allow water to penetrate into the ground, limiting runoff from your property.
Your home’s distance from the road will also impact site disturbance, especially if you will require a long driveway or significant digging to install utilities and other services.