Opportunity: Building & Development

From City of Keene’s Climate Adaptation Plan

Reduce the likelihood of structural damage resulting from predicted increases in severe weather events.


  • Encourage more pitched roofs and incorporate design standards that consider snow stacking (zones and increase in roof loads) and ice falling zones.
  • Identify a 200-year floodplain and prevent future development in these areas.
  • Investigate design standards for buildings that currently handle weather conditions similar to the climate forecast New England can expect in the future (e.g., buildings constructed in the southern states).
  • Continue to research and allow City staff to participate in educational opportunities to learn about advances in green building design and practice.

Create, adopt, and implement a City building and energy code that incorporates sustainability, green building materials, and energy conservation principles by 2012.


  • Research and review existing information and how similar codes have been developed and implemented in other communities.
  • Improve existing energy conservation standards to a minimum of 25% through implementation of the code in both commercial and residential development.
  • Garner input from the development community and other stakeholders to ensure the development of a code that is easy to understand and easy to implement, while simultaneously achieving the City’s sustainable development and energy conservation goals.
  • Explore the use of traditional and alternative building materials for added strength and durability of construction to improve the longevity of buildings and then incorporate these materials into building code requirements.

Make all new development in Keene “green” (i.e., sustainable).


  • Build a green building (City-owned or private) in Keene that can serve as an example for the community that incorporates sustainable design and materials and is 50 to 70% more energy efficient than a conventionally designed building, within five to seven years.
  • Incorporate sustainable stormwater design and management techniques to lessen the ecological footprint of new development, and take into account the potential for greater storm loads, by 2012.
  • Explore, craft, and implement design standards that will support development that creates a smaller ecological footprint for municipal and public buildings (e.g., LEED certification for municipal buildings) while enhancing their resiliency to severe weather events.

Goal D: Lower the ecological footprint of existing buildings.


  • Update City code to include green building standards for all major renovations, in a fashion consistent with Goal A outlined above, by 2012.
  • Include options and incentives in the building and energy code for developers and homeowners: alternative building materials, alternative energy sources, HVAC system designs that achieve, at a minimum, 50% greater energy efficiency, by 2012.
  • Update the City’s Infrastructure Standards to ensure public safety in the event of major flooding or severe storm events.

Reduce sprawl and promote infill development/redevelopment.


  • Identify areas within the City that have infill or redevelopment potential and are outside an area of potential significant impact to flooding. Aim to have 50% of these areas developed by 2027.
  • Adopt smart growth principles in the comprehensive master plan to support this goal, which provide for growth boundaries to avoid new or continued development in areas that are deemed high risk through a vulnerability assessment.
  • Revise conservation subdivision regulations to create incentive for the developer to provide greater densities and community services in this type of development, while achieving open space conservation.
  • Devise incentives to foster infill development in areas within the City that have been identified as being at low risk for flooding.