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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : The Environment & Land Use : Evaluating Green Claims

  Evaluating Green Claims


A sustainable development considers its long-term impacts on the greater community, on air quality and traffic; on resources such as wilfdlife habitat, forests and wetlands; and on its carbon footprint - or contribution to climate change.  A "green-certified" home could be located far from existing services, requiring numerous car trips daily, consuming land and resources, and degrading water quality. 

DNREC developed a set of Environmentally Sustainable DeSuper Green logo velopment Criteria, also known as "Super Green," in an attempt to define a set of development principles and provide a Delaware alternative to LEED, Leadership in Environmental Excellence and Design.  While LEED is considered the standard in environmental certification, its different rating systems can be confusing and it is generally considered quite expensive to implement.  Also, LEED-ND, for Neighborhood Design, is still in pilot stage and requires minimum densities that are difficult to achieve outside of Delaware's largest municipalities.   

 Super Green focuses on eight facets of development, not just on the individual home:

  1. Site location.  Is it in a designated growth area, close to existing infrastructure and services?
  2. Site conservation.  Addresses impacts to critical natural resources including wetlands, floodplains, wildlife, recreation, and forests.  It provides opportunities for protecting and enhancing exsiting resources and recreational opportunities.
  3. Site design.  Focuses on design elements such as site layout, transportation, amenities and facilities, recreation and utilities. 
  4. Streets and parking.  Discusses parking alternatives, reduced street widths, sidewalks, and sidewalk and parking materials.
  5. Stormwater management. Focuses on runoff reduction strategies, innovative and low-impact management practices (green-technology best management practices), and managing discharges.
  6. Site construction.  Encourages a higher level of environmental controls during construction, use of local labor, recycling of resources on site, and type of materials and equipment used.
  7. Landscaping. Addresses type of vegetation that should be used, resource conservation measures, long-term management and maintenance of landscapes and use of community trees.
  8. Building and energy efficiency.  The section encourages builders to build to national certification through the LEED system developed by the Green Building Council or the National Association of Homebuilders green building standards.



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