A guide to transforming brownfields into sustainable assets.
Greening Brownfields provides a framework for sustainable remediation practices that land planners and developers can use to convert a land liability into a sustainable asset. This forward-looking reference presents best practices and creative thinking on how to increase property value by viewing contaminated properties as an opportunity.
Global trends and business drivers related to brownfields and green development are covered. The book outlines all state brownfield remediation incentive programs, as well as the United States Green Building Council (USGBC)/Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) guidelines regarding brownfield redevelopment.
About the Author
William Sarni is founder and CEO of DOMANI, a consulting firm that provides innovative business and technical sustainability solutions to companies committed to increasing revenue, mitigating risk, and improving operating efficiency. He has managed a wide range of complex sustainability and environmental programs throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Mr. Sarni is a member of the Environmental Compliance Committee of the Chicago Climate Exchange and is active with the Conference Board and Sustainable Life Media/Sustainable Brands.
From the foreword
A powerful green wave is moving through the business world and society at large - a rising interest in and concern about the environment. The pressures on businesses and communities to go "green" are evolving and growing, in good economic times and bad. Corporate executives are facing new resource constraints, rising regulations, mega-forces like technology and globalization changing how the world works, and questions from a wide range of stakeholders about their environmental and social performance.
Driving many of these pressures is a set of very real and growing environmental challenges, including the global climate crisis, threats to water quality and quantity, increasing fears about chemicals and toxics, and concerns about loss of biodiversity and how we use land. To tackle these issues, governments at the local, state, national, and international levels are all forcing companies to operate with higher environmental standards. And of course international negotiations about how to tackle the largest environmental problem, climate change, continue to evolve. One near-certain outcome is a price on carbon, which will drastically change everything from how we power our world to how we get around.
The mega-forces also include population growth and the rise of middle-class consumers - some one billion new ones over the coming generation - who are demanding more of everything. This pressure will continue to make natral resources, including land, harder to come by and more expensive. Rising calls for transparency are also forcing companies and communities to disclose more about what's in every product, how it's made, and what happens to it at the end of its life.
Finally, stakeholders are focusing all these pressures onto companies in new ways. As part of a "greening of the supply chain" movement, business customers are asking their own suppliers to reduce energy, water, and resource use. They are also measuring and comparing suppliers on carbon footprints and product toxicity, among other things. The end customers, consumers, are looking for better. social and environmental performance from the companies they buy from, and employees want more meaning and higher standards from the companies they work for.
In total, this melting pot of pressures is forcing significant change on communities, companies, and even individuals. But luckily for all of us, the change is good. Greener businesses are more profitable and sustainable enterprises, and greener communities are healthier and more attractive to live in.
At its core, going "green" means doing more with less - finding a way to satisfy our needs and create a quality of life with dramatically lower energy, water, and other resource use. A big part of this strategy and philosophy is to eliminate the concept of waste. To reuse something that seems like it has no value and create something new from it lies at the core of sustainability. And this is where brownfields come in. Those pieces of land lying fallow, many of which are literally contaminated, represent tremendous opportunities for renewal. Taking something that's going to waste and making it useful and beautiful again is perhaps the highest act of sustainability. The greening of brownfields is literally repairing the earth. What could be greener than that?
But aside from answering a higher calling, the greening of brownfields represents a tangible opportunity for businesses in a range of sectors. Construction companies that understand green practices will get more business. Real estate developers can create commercial or residential buildings that will be in great demand as buyers look for more sustainable options. The evidence is mounting that people will pay more for greener space. In recent years, commercial buildings that are "LEED" certified (the green building scoring system prominent in the United States) have commanded higher rents and higher occupancy rates.
But it's not just the private sector that benefits. At the municipal level, reusing space sitting in the heart of communities reduces sprawl, eliminates fights about using virgin land, shortens commutes, and raises real estate values and tax revenues. The greening of brownfields also creates a big opportunity to develop and implement new building technologies. Since buildings represent over 40 percent of all energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, new designs are imperative if we want to solve our energy and climate problems. And a community renewal initiative that pursues green principles will help our most blighted areas leapfrog to become the cleanest and most innovative around.
At the global level, consider this: More than half of humanity now lives in cities. Where will they all live and work? How can we keep the environmental impacts of rising demands and consumption to a minimum?
We all face a pressing need to provide a quality of life for what will be nine billion people, and do so using drastically less stuff. We need to bring carbon emissions down 80 percent by mid-century to avoid what scientists tell us will be the most dangerous impacts of climate change. Incorporating the growth of population into already dense areas, reusing land, and creating buildings in completely new ways that are low impact and even carbon-neutral - these are the building blocks for solving our biggest problems. The greening of brownfields will be one of the critical paths to sustainability at all levels - financial, environmental, and social. Greening brownfields is an important contribution to a vital movement.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction. Chapter 2: Global Trends. Chapter 3: USEPA meet the USGBC. Chapter 4: Regulatory Drivers. Chapter 5: Incentives. Chapter 6: Brown to Green. Chapter 7: Land Planning. Chapter 8: Green Building. Chapter 9: Integrated Cost Modeling. Chapter 10: Best Practices. Chapter 11: The Next 20 Years.