Sierra Club Toiyabe Chapter: Housing development sustainability scorecard

Project title

Housing Development Sustainability Scorecard

Research question

How can concerned citizens, community organizations, and city planners evaluate proposed housing developments from the standpoint of environmental sustainability? How well are developers addressing the needs to address climate change, conserve energy and water, protect wildlife and habitats, and provide citizens with equitable access to transportation, services and infrastructure? This project will create a tool to help quantify the benefits and impacts from proposed housing developments.


According to the United Nations, the battle for sustainable development will be won or lost in cities. By 2050, roughly 70% of the world's population will live in cities. In Nevada, more than 90% of our population already lives in the Las Vegas Valley, the Truckee Meadows and other urban centers. Currently, more than half of our nation's greenhouse gas emissions come from our buildings and transportation sectors. The future livability of cities and towns across Nevada and the world depends on how well we respond to our climate crisis and other environmental and social challenges; on how well we conserve energy, materials, water, and wildlife habitats while accommodating an ever-growing population -- in other words, how well we design and build our cities.


A Housing Development Sustainability Scorecard. A spreadsheet or other tool that allows users to rank proposed housing developments according to criteria such as the efficient use of energy, water, and materials; the compliance with sustainable planning best practices; the conservation of open space; and the equitable access to affordable housing, transportation, goods and services.

Suggested skills

  1. Interest in urban planning, design, and sustainability.
  2. Excellent research capabilities.
  3. Interview skills to facilitate learning from sustainability and urban planning experts.
  4. A creative and innovative mind that can wrestle with modern sustainability challenges and convey solutions with easy-to-understand concepts.
  5. Excellent writing and speaking skills to convey your findings to the community.

Agency representative

Brian Beffort