Design Guidelines

Building a deckThe Planning and Resource Management Division strives to advance stewardship efforts in the park system through the establishment of design guidelines that are drawn from standards such as the US Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification program. These guiding principles will help to provide high quality, energy efficient, low impact parks, facilities and features.

Stewardship in Planning

To accomplish the goal of becoming more environmentally responsible toward the land and its resources, environmentally sustainable objectives and materials should be incorporated wherever possible in the planning, construction, and operation of new or renovated park facilities.


  • Develop a master plan utilizing low impact development strategies
  • Maximize natural spaces
  • Provide facility access through alternative transportation opportunities (walking, bicycle, public transport, etc)
  • Provide safe pedestrian and bicycle connections within the parks and facilities
  • Protect or restore habitat areas
  • Enhance, improve or expand wildlife habitats
  • Reduce heat emissions produced by development
  • Reduce construction pollution (promote construction waste management)
  • Reduce light pollution
  • Improve water quality and reduce storm water run-off
  • Balance cut and fill of grading during development
  • Optimize building orientation to maximize solar impact, views, land and environmental disturbance,
  • Retain and utilize native plant materials in the landscape
  • Locate recycling facilities in appropriate locations
  • Provide shared parking facilities
  • Safety, graffiti & vandalism prevention


  • Use low water consumption irrigation technologies and techniques
  • Utilize water use reduction strategies
  • Provide low consumption plumbing fixtures
  • Incorporate innovative wastewater technologies
  • Develop rainwater collection systems


  • Maximize natural lighting
  • Minimize night light pollution
  • Optimize energy performance in buildings (equipment, appliances, HVAC & lighting)
  • Utilize on-site renewable energy (solar, wind, rain, tides, geothermal, etc).
  • Incorporate new technologies in roof design (highly reflective, insulating, heat reduction capabilities)


  • Provide low maintenance, long-life materials
  • Obtain materials locally/regionally
  • Use Forest Stewardship Council certified wood, where possible
  • Distribute organic debris on site versus taking off site, where possible
  • Consider using rapidly renewable materials
  • Reuse/repurpose products and materials
  • Use products containing recycled content

Indoor Environmental Quality

  • Specify low-emitting materials (paints, coatings, carpet, adhesives and sealants, etc.)
  • Maximize daylight and views
  • Minimize artificial light
  • Minimize indoor chemical & pollutant sources; Increased natural ventilation
  • Provide local controllability of systems such as lighting, and HVAC