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Sustainable Cleanup and Redevelopment

National Information

Green Remediation
Sustainability
Green Buildings
Green Buildings on Brownfields Pilot Projects
Low Impact Development
Clean Energy
Greenscapes
Reducing Construction & Debris Material
Smart Growth
Guide to Sustainable Reuse of    Brownfields
Tools for Ecological Land Reuse

On this website, you will find information to minimize the environmental impact of site cleanups and redevelopment projects.  Under EPA’s Superfund, RCRA, UST and Brownfields programs, cleanups of abandoned and underutilized properties are performed to protect human health and the environment.  EPA’s Land Revitalization program aims to return these remediated properties to productive use, creating jobs and strengthening the social fabric of communities. 

On this page:

Sustainable Redevelopment: Sustainable Redevelopment considers land use and building practices that best manage environmental, economic, and social responsibilities for the long-term. There are many aspects of sustainable design. 
The earlier you begin the process the better. Incorporate sustainable design during the environmental assessment and cleanup phase of your project. For example, if you are removing buildings or other infrastructure as part of the cleanup, can you reuse any of these materials?

Balancing Industry and the Environment: How to Achieve Win-Win on the Industrial Waterfront (PDF) (82 pp, 7.92MB) (published by The Elizabeth  River Project, Sept. 2008)

Using one or several of the following sustainable practices can make your development project better for the environment, the community and your project's bottom line.

Photo of one of Region 3's success story, North Penn. Solar Panel InstallationPhoto of a fern at one of Region 3's success story, North Penn.

Solar powered irrigation system for phytoremediation at the Crozet Arsenic Site, Crozet, Va.

Sustainable cleanup (“green remediation”):  EPA’s strategic plan calls for increased research and application of sustainability throughout all of its operations, including the cleanup of hazardous waste sites, Superfund sites and other abandoned or underutilized properties.  EPA is encouraging the use of “green” technologies (e.g., use of renewable fuels in construction equipment and to power soil and groundwater treatment systems, use of native plants in soil covers and caps, etc.) in the cleanup of all properties, including Brownfields sites.  EPA has developed a primer on Green Remediation, as well as other technical guidance, available at EPA’s Clu-in website.

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Sustainable redevelopment: Redevelopment of abandoned or underutilized properties is beneficial to the environment and can also be profitable for the developer and the community.   These benefits can be enhanced when properties are developed in a sustainable manner.  To get started on a sustainable redevelopment, consider the following ideas:

  1. Green Buildings design and certification :  A Green Building is a resource efficient building, meaning it minimizes the use of energy, water, and environmentally unfriendly building materials.  This area of architecture and engineering is constantly evolving.  In addition to the linked resource above (which provides guidance on energy and water efficiency and funding opportunities) and our National EPA page resources, check out these other webpages: 
    • U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Green Building Rating SystemClick here to read the "Exit EPA Website" DisclaimerThe Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design –LEED- is a voluntary rating system for all types of buildings.
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    • Click here to read the "Exit EPA Website" DisclaimerThe GBI has a green building rating system, as well as guidance and a life-cycle calculator.
    • Energy Star – This joint EPA/Department of Energy program has an energy-efficiency rating system for buildings (as well as appliances) and provides guidance and tools, such as the Target Finder, which estimates energy consumption in new building design.
    • The Whole Building Design GuideClick here to read the "Exit EPA Website" Disclaimer– This website, managed by the National Institute of Building Sciences through Federal and private support, offers one-stop shopping, including guidance and continuing education geared towards Green Buildings.
    • BEES (Building for Environmental and Economic Sustainability) software: A program developed by the National Institutes of Standards and Technology to help select environmentally-friendly and cost effective building products.
    • Virginia Sustainable Building NetworkClick here to read the "Exit EPA Website" Disclaimer
      Offers technical assistance and pre-construction training for green building projects in the Mid-Atlantic area.
         
  2. Cape Charles Sustainable Technology Industrial Park, in Cape Charles, Va. A former junkyard was transformed into a first of its kind eco-industrial park supporting a solar roof, indoor air quality monitoring, day lighting, and porous storm water runoff chutes. Additionally, nearly one-half of the land in this 200 acre park was set aside as natural habitat with boardwalks and trails open to the public.

    Cape Charles Sustainable Technology Industrial Park, in Cape Charles, Va. A former junkyard was transformed into a first of its kind eco-industrial park supporting a solar roof, indoor air quality monitoring, day lighting, and porous storm water runoff chutes. Additionally, nearly one-half of the land in this 200 acre park was set aside as natural habitat with boardwalks and trails open to the public.

  3. Energy reduction and clean energy alternatives:  In addition to the National EPA webpages listed in the box above, here are some others to get you started:
    • RE-Powering America's Land: Renewable Energy on Contaminated Land and Mining Sites
      EPA is encouraging the development of renewable energy by identifying currently and formerly contaminated lands and mining sites that present opportunities for renewable energy development. These pages contain information and resources for developers, industry, and anyone interested in renewable energy development on formerly contaminated land and mining sites.
    • The Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy website provides energy calculators, guidance on energy audits, as well as the latest information on wind, solar, biomass, biofuels, hydrogen and fuel cells.
    • EPA’s Green Power Partnership – Provides technical advice, tools and resources to lower your organization’s costs for purchasing green power.
    • Energy Star– This joint EPA/Department of Energy (DOE) program provides advice and resources to reduce energy consumption in the home or business.
    • State Incentives for Renewables and EfficiencyClick here to read the "Exit EPA Website" Disclaimer– Find out about the local, state, utility and Federal incentives for choosing Clean Energy in your state (a project funded by DOE)
    • Clean Energy States AllianceClick here to read the "Exit EPA Website" Disclaimer– Eighteen states, including Pennsylvania and Maryland, have banded together to promote clean energy.  This website provides success stories, research and funding information.
       
  4. Storm water management:  Reducing stormwater runoff from new construction and remodeling protects our waterways and ecosystems.  EPA’s Low Impact Development (LID) website provides design information.  Other websites include:       
  5. Environmentally beneficial landscaping and native landscaping.  EPA’s Greenscapes website provides landscaping information (see the “National Information” box above).  Other resources include:
  6. Before: An abandoned gas station with leaking underground storage tanks

    Before: An abandoned gas station with leaking underground storage tanks

    After: A sustainably designed parking lot and community park

    After: A sustainably designed parking lot and community park

  7. Reduction of construction and demolition debris. EPA’s Construction and Demolition Materials website provides ways to reuse, reduce and recycle this waste.  Other resources include: 
  8. Hiring professionals with sustainable design experience
  9. Funding your sustainable redevelopment project 
    • Green Building financing: EPA’s clearinghouse of funding opportunities.
    • Sustainable Reuse of Brownfields: EPA’s guide listing finance and other resources for local communities.
    • Sustainable Management Approaches and Revitalization Tools electronic (SMARTe)Click here to read the "Exit EPA Website" Disclaimer: A web-based tool to assist anyone in land revitalization decisions.  Information on funding mechanisms, as well as liability, environmental factors and community involvement are also provided. 
    • Pennsylvania: The Sustainable Energy FundExit Disclaimer of Central Eastern Pennsylvania, provides creative financing options for LEED certified buildings, energy efficiency projects, renewable and alternative energy for non-profits, government, industry and small businesses. Products range from low interest loans for non-profits and small businesses to direct equity investments in technology based businesses.
       
  10. Benefits to the community (such as mixed uses, recreational areas, walking and biking paths, public transportation and reuse of existing infrastructure):
    • EPA’s SmartGrowth website provides guidance and resources on sustainable redevelopment.  
    • Green Communities: EPA’s portal for tools and information to help communities reduce their environmental footprint.
    • State and Local Transportation Resources (includes models to estimate benefits for businesses using mass transportation and funding opportunities for local governments)
    • EPA’s Recycle on the Go website provides guidance on recycling programs in public places, such as parks, stadiums, and shopping centers.

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Check back on this website for updates on green remediation technologies and Sustainable Redevelopment in the Mid-Atlantic region.  The quarterly Land Revitalization Newsletter is a good source of current information on activities at Mid-Atlantic sites.  Articles on phytoremediation and solar energy at the Crozet Superfund site and a pilot project at a Dupont facility on sustainable remediation have been highlighted.  Sign up for the automatic mailings of this newsletter and other Brownfields and Land Revitalization information in the Mid-Atlantic area. 
We can also provide consultation as you plan your project. For further information or assistance on your sustainable brownfields reuse project, contact Paula Estornell (estornell.paula@epa.gov)

Related Links

Region 3 | Mid-Atlantic Cleanup | Mid-Atlantic Brownfields & Land Revitalization


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