Saturday, April 16, 2011


1. Resource Evaluation. Does the pre-design study:

  • Evaluate the terrain, flow of water, plants and wildlife?
  • Analyze the climate?
  • Research the history of the area?

2. Site Design. Does the development/design project:

  • Preserve fragile ecosystems?
  • Use natural grades to contain new run-off?
  • Ensure that a minimum of earth & vegetation are disturbed during development/construction?

3. Circulation. Does the layout:

  • Minimize distances between points of destination?
  • Cluster medium and high density areas while leaving other areas undisturbed?
  • Include non-residential functions within residential areas?
  • Provide safe paths for self-powered means of transportation?
  • Include paths that are as direct as or more direct than routes provided for motor vehicles?
  • Provide the self-powered paths on a separate grade where possible to enhance safety?
  • Have paths (such as sidewalks) ramped to street level to allow easy access for wheelchair pedestrians and bicyclists?
  • Provide routes for connecting with the mass transit system and facilities for encouraging ridership?
  • Provide a way to upgrade nearby road facilities to accommodate self-powered transportation?
  • Provide the least maintenance to roads by keeping their slope under 11%.

4. Infrastructure. Is your development/design project:

  • Designing roads and utilities to minimize energy costs?
  • Using the most efficient types of outdoor lighting only where needed?
  • Integrating infrastructure into natural habitat?

5. Power. Are you taking an approach that:

  • Exhausts all biological and non-tech solutions first?
  • Uses the most energy-efficient method of performing tasks?
  • When possible, uses renewable energy directly instead of indirectly?
  • When renewables are not available, uses fuel (eg natural gas) directly instead of through the production of electricity?
  • Generates power within the development from co-generation or renewable sources?
  • Contracts for maintenance with a utility or renewable energy equipment specialist?
  • Minimizes lengths of distribution lines?

6. Building. Is the development/design project being designed to:

  • Orient streets on an east-west axis so that the predominant sides of buildings╩╝ glass areas will face within 20 degrees of north and south?
  • Incorporate natural ventilation, day-lighting and passive solar heating into building designs?
  • Situate building so that they do not block solar access to adjacent buildings?
  • Situate buildings in such a way that they do not block natural ventilation of adjacent units?
  • Use renewable energy sources for water heating and space heating?
  • Use architectural guidelines to ensure quality designs instead of imposing minimum square footage requirements?
  • Minimize the use of incandescent lighting?
  • Promote wall and roof surfaces that either reflect (in hot climates) or absorb (in cold climates) the majority of the sun╩╝s heat?
  • Promote the use of locally available non-toxic materials for building components?
  • Provide a low-cost method for upgrading to renewables at a later date. were renewable systems are not presently cost-effective?

7. Landscape. Does the design:

  • Preserve natural landscape and habitats?
  • Incorporate landscape design that provides shade from the summer sun?
  • Employ landscape materials that will minimize long-term requirements for maintenance, irrigation, pesticides or herbicides?
  • Use native vegetation?
  • Use natural biological controls to reduce pests, avoid toxic chemical use?

8. Water. Do the design and facilities:

  • Use drought-tolerant plants?
  • Mandate low-water-use toilets (1.5 gallons/flush or less)?
  • Reuse water (eg household greywater) for watering landscape?
  • Where needed, distribute drinking water using solar energy?
  • Use efficient hydraulic designs and pumps?
  • Collect rainwater to serve as the water supply?
  • Use groundwater only in quantities that can be replenished?
  • Use natural means for water treatment and water disposal?

9. Food. Does the development/design project:

  • Include food-producing landscapes sufficient to meet the needs of residents?
  • Integrate tracts of food-producing lands throughout the design that can be gardened or farmed without excessive quantities of polluting machinery?
  • Provide guidelines to grow crops organically?
  • Offer methods to use solid and liquid wastes from the sustainable development as fertilizers?

10. Wastes. Does the property and management agreement regulations/guide lines:

  • Include on-site recycling centers?
  • Require separation of organic waste from other garbage?
  • Provide for a community tool and appliance sharing/renting center?
  • Allow only non-toxic, biodegradable and recyclable items to be sold within the development?
  • Provide for periodic collection of toxic materials?
  • Ensure the use of natural biological systems to treat sewage?

11. Education. Does the development/project design sales team:

  • Offer literature on all aspects of sustainable developments?
  • Offer “how-to” workshops on projects that enhance the sustainable community?
12. Miscellaneous. Do the regulations:
  • Impose noise limits on regularly-used equipment and ensure good sound insulation in closelyspaced units?
  • Permit clotheslines, solar collectors, and other items that reduce energy use?
  • Encourage the use of natural ponds and lakes a “swimming holes instead of an energy-and chemical-intensive swimming pool”?
  • Create a neighborhood association to help maintain the quality of development?


Record your score for each characteristic in the Score column, then multiply this score by the weight to get the weighed score. 5 Excellent! ! 4 Good! 3 Average! 2 Mediocre !1 Poor 0 Non-existent
The minimum weighted score points require for a viable permaculture design project/development is 400-420.

Characteristic                             Weight               Score             W/Score
Price                                               10
Water                                              10
Development ease                       10
(include political ease)
Commercial suitability                   8
Percent utilization                          8
Aspect (Solar)                               8
Privacy                                           8
Natural resources-local                8
Electric power                               7
Access                                          7
Proximity to service facilities      7
Comfort (max/min temps)           7
Size                                               5
Soil suitability                               5
Character (personal taste)         5
Natural features (views)              5
Natural boundaries                     5
Wind (good and bad)                 4
Tree cover                                   4

Bonding to each other
Bonding to the community
Clear aims of the group
Membership processes
Decisions making protocols
Tolerance and generosity
Forgiveness/ability to let go
Bonding to the land
Spiritual connectedness
Connections and relationships with the outside world
Structure and processes
Reflection and evaluation
Clear communication
Clear philosophy
Safety and trust