Parks Department Announces Release of Sustainable Design Guidelines
| | More
For Immediate Release
March 30, 2011
Released By:
Parks and Recreation
For More Information Contact:
Parks Dept.

The Boston Parks and Recreation Department (BPRD) is pleased to announce the release of its Sustainable Design Guidelines.  As part of the Parks Department’s mission to foster and serve the community, a comprehensive review of existing design standards, design details, specifications, and operation and maintenance practices throughout Boston’s park system was undertaken with the goal to improve the overall sustainability of its Parks and Open Spaces.

Based on this review and in consultation with Parks Department staff, a new set of guidelines was established to use when reviewing and evaluating the sustainability of BPRD projects. The report is split into two volumes with the second acting as a stand-alone planning and assessment tool.

“Mayor Menino has engaged all city departments in addressing sustainability as a way to better serve our people, protect our environment, reduce operating costs, and grow our local economy,” said James Hunt, Boston’s Chief of Environment and Energy.  “Boston’s Parks Department is leading the way in creating more sustainable park spaces through reduced resource use and by showcasing green technologies to the countless visitors enjoying our quality green spaces.”   

The report reviews existing practices and design standards with recommendations for improvement.  It also provides a mechanism for BPRD staff and/or consultants to use to evaluate additional sustainability opportunities as part of the planning process for BPRD projects.

The difference between a “green” project and a “sustainable” project is that a “green” project focuses solely on environmental stewardship such as reducing waste, minimizing carbon and water footprints, preventing pollution and conserving natural resources while a “sustainable” project moves beyond these and not only includes green components, but also integrates economic growth and social responsibility.

The guidelines are designed to facilitate integration of sustainable principles into current BPRD operations and future projects.  The short-term recommendations in the report focus on the next two budget cycles and the long-term recommendations target what can be accomplished in three to five budget cycles depending on the scope and the availability of funding.

Among the recommendations are: managing storm water runoff from BPRD sites to aid in the reduction of potential flooding, reduce pollutant loading and recharge groundwater;  managing the establishment of new and larger vegetated zones with native plant species to reduce soil erosion, provide wildlife habitat, and enhance air quality; and reducing energy consumption by utilizing energy-efficient lighting and equipment such as LED lights and timing controls to aid in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions

The report also lists current BPRD practices that demonstrate the Department’s ongoing commitment to integrating sustainability into their operations including completion of a renewable energy study for all BPRD facilities, an ongoing LED lighting demonstration project on Boston Common, use of Big Belly solar compactors at BPRD facilities, the utilization of hybrid vehicles by BPRD staff, and the introduction of single stream recycling at BPRD offices.

In addition, the Department will work to identify locally available materials and sustainable products, implement a small-scale renewable energy demonstration project and/or solar lighting project at an existing BPRD facility, and reduce consumption of resources such as water, fuel, and paper by setting benchmark reduction levels and monitoring progress.

With the report now in hand, BPRD staff will be able to implement the report’s sustainability guidelines and accompanying pre-design checklist to maximize effectiveness in design and planning.  The Department will also be able to continue to expand use of other "green" techniques in ongoing maintenance, operations, and capital improvement projects.

To read the report’s Conclusions and Recommendations, go to  The entire Sustainable Design Guidelines can be viewed at the Parks Department offices located at 1010 Massachusetts Avenue, Roxbury, during regular weekday office hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In a related story, the William J. Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park has received certification in Environmental Planning from the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses (ACSP), an international program administered by Audubon International designed to help landowners preserve and enhance the environmental quality of their property. The plan was developed by Russell Heller, Golf Course Superintendent, who is also recognized for his effort to plan for environmental stewardship.

The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses provides an advisory service to help existing golf courses develop effective conservation and wildlife enhancement programs.  This worldwide effort is coordinated by Audubon International and is sponsored in part by the United States Golf Association.

"The open space of a golf course is utilized not only by golfers, but is habitat for a variety of wildlife species," explained Jim Sluiter, Staff Ecologist for Audubon International.  "We welcome William J. Devine Golf Course’s commitment to the environment and to managing the golf course with wildlife in mind.

”By joining and participating in the ACSP, William J. Devine Golf Course will be involved in projects that enhance habitat for wildlife and preserve natural resources for the benefit of the local community.  These projects may include: placing nesting boxes for cavity-nesting birds such as bluebirds and swallows, utilizing integrated pest management techniques, conserving water, and maintaining food and cover for wildlife.

“The Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program benefits both people and wildlife," said Sluiter.  "It's a great way for the managers of developed properties and environmental organizations to work together to become better stewards of land and natural resources."




Related Links