Guide to Sustainable Practices for Building Owners and Occupants

The City of Rochester’s Office of Energy and Sustainability has created a handbook entitled, “Sustainable Practices for Building Owners and Occupants,” which provides guidance on practical solutions and informative resources for all members of the Rochester community to incorporate sustainable planning and design practices into one’s home, rental unit, or development of residential, commercial, and mixed-use projects within the City.

The guide to sustainable practices handbook is an extension of the City of Rochester Bureau of Planning & Zoning’s Developer Guidance Handbook, which assists prospective developers through the City’s permitting and code requirements and facilitates the City’s construction-related development and rehabilitation processes. Furthermore, the guide to sustainable practices handbook is one of the implementation actions of the City’s Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% from 2010 levels by 2030.

The target audience for this handbook includes developers, institutions, homeowners, and tenants.  

Download the full handbook:


To view specific sections of the handbook as it pertains to your needs and interests, please refer to the below links. Each linked section encompasses the related, bulleted subtopics.

Building Envelope  

  • Insulation
  • Air infiltration
  • Windows

Building Energy Efficiency  

  • High efficiency furnaces/boilers
  • Heat pumps
  • Lighting
  • On-demand water heaters
  • High efficiency appliances
  • Internal energy monitoring 

Renewable Energy  

  • Photovoltaic panels
  • Wind

 Water Efficiency  

  • Efficient fixtures
  • Indigenous landscaping

Indoor Air Quality  

  • VOC-containing materials
  • Mold/mildew prevention

Stormwater Management/Green Infrastructure  

  • Porous pavements
  • Stormwater capture
  • Green roofs
  • Rain gardens


  • Recycling
  • Composting

Reuse of Building Materials 

  • Recycled materials
  • Construction
  • Demolition

Reuse of Vacant and Underutilized Properties 

  • Greyfield redevelopment
  • Vacant land/underutilized properties

Green Space 

  • Create or enhance green open space networks


  • Parking
  • Alternate transportation

Community-Oriented Services  

  • Mixed-use development