SITES: Landscapes give back

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Pilot projects lead to guidelines for sustainable landscapes

The bioretention pond at John Burroughs School is part of SITES' Pilot Projects..

Although standards exist for sustainable structures, there are no comprehensive guidelines or performance benchmarks for sustainable landscapes.

“Yet landscapes have great potential for both environmental good and severe environmental damage,” says the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES™).

In November 2009, SITES™ released The Sustainable Sites Initiative: Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009 and its companion document, The Case for Sustainable Landscapes. The Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009 include a rating system for the credits that the pilot process will test for refinement before a formal release of voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices to the marketplace. Download the reports here.

Beginning in June 2010, selected pilot projects will test these guidelines and performance benchmarks over a two-year period. Feedback from the pilot projects will be used to create a reference guide which will provide suggestions on how projects earned specific credits.

The SITES brochure.

Over 150 pilot projects in 34 states, Canada, Iceland and Spain are participating in the SITES™two-year Pilot Program (June 2010-June 2012). These projects represent a diverse cross-section of project types, sizes and geographic locations in various stages of development from design to construction and maintenance.

Feedback from the Pilot Program will be used to revise the final rating system and in writing a technical reference manual. This guide will provide real world examples of achieving sustainability goals and document the practices pilot projects used in solving site problems, and it’s slated for release in 2013.

SITES™ began as separate projects of the Sustainable Design and Development Professional Practice Network of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. In 2005, the two groups joined forces to hold a Sustainable Sites Summit in Austin, Texas. In 2006, the United States Botanical Garden (USBG) joined as a major partner in the Initiative.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a stakeholder in the Initiative, anticipates incorporating the guidelines and performance benchmarks into future iterations of the LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™.

Posted by on Thursday, September 2nd, 2010. Filed under Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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