This week we celebrate Earth Day, a day intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environmental. We in the community development world can use this day to reflect upon our previous projects and plan for new developments that will implement environmentally-sound practices and minimize the footprint we leave behind.

Here are a few tips to help you be environmentally responsible in your design and planning:

LEED: Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. LEED is flexible to apply to all project types, including building and design, and neighborhood development.

ENERGY CONSERVATION: One way to conserve energy is by installing solar panels as a source of electricity. Using a renewable power source, such as solar, produces less carbon emissions and reduces air pollution.

DESIGN A WALKABLE COMMUNITY: Livable, walkable communities provide a sense of place and reduce the dependency on personal automobiles, which means cleaner air and a greater appreciation/demand for green space.

PLANT A TREE:  Trees are an important element to any design as they reduce air pollution and temperatures of parking lots and streets; slow stormwater runoff and erosion; and reduce energy costs by shading buildings and paved surfaces.

GROW LOCAL:  Sustainable agriculture rests on the principle that we must meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Through sustainable practices, we can maintain and enrich our natural resource base for the long term.

CLF supports economically-sound design principles. Here are a few examples of the projects we’ve helped finance over the past year:

Hub City Farmers’ Market in Spartanburg, South Carolina, supports and practices sustainable agricultural practices. Through its Food Hub, it manages its land by growing food that it sells through its grocery store and farmers’ market. CLF provided a healthy food loan to help with land improvements to support the construction of the farmers’ market.

Port Royal Apartments is an environmentally-sound affordable housing development. The project followed LEED for Homes design criteria and is the first Low Income Housing Tax Credit project in the state to utilize solar panels as a source of electricity. CLF’s CICCAR (Community Investment Corporation of the Carolinas) participation loan provided permanent financing for the project.

For more information on how our loan program might be able to assist with your next environmentally-responsible community development project, contact Patrick King at patrick@sccommunityloanfund.org.