WASHINGTON, DC, March 5, 2013 -- The Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) has announced four new projects that have achieved certification under the nation's most comprehensive rating system for the sustainable design, construction and maintenance of built landscapes. These projects, as part of a group of 150 projects participating in an extensive, two-year pilot program, have applied the SITES guidelines and met the requirements for certification.
The newly certified projects include Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens in Seattle; the Taylor Residence in Kennett Square, Pa.; the BWP EcoCampus in Burbank, Calif., and the Grand Valley State University Student Recreation Fields in Allendale, Mich.
SITES is a partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden. SITES was created in 2005 to fill a critical need for guidelines and recognition of sustainable landscapes based on their planning, design, construction and maintenance. The voluntary, national rating system and set of performance benchmarks applies to sites with or without buildings.
"These projects include a park, a private home, an industrial plant and university playing fields," said Susan Rieff, executive director of the Wildflower Center. "They demonstrate how SITES guidelines can be used in different settings to produce landscapes that make a positive contribution to the environment."
Since June 2010, pilot projects have been testing the 2009 rating system created by dozens of the country's leading sustainability experts, scientists and design professionals. The diverse projects represent various types, sizes and locations as well as budgets. Fifteen pilot projects have achieved certification to date.
The SITES 2009 rating system includes 15 prerequisites and 51 additional, flexible credits to choose from that add up to 250 points. The credits address areas such as soil restoration, use of recycled materials and land maintenance approaches. Certification levels include one through four stars, which are awarded to projects that achieve 40, 50, 60 or 80 percent of the 250 points.
"The pilot program has informed and helped us refine the next iteration of the SITES rating system, which will be published in the fall of this year. Many additional projects are continuing to work toward certification while we proceed with our preparations for open enrollment this year," said ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville.
The four newly certified projects each incorporate sustainable features and practices.
|Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens: Site Tour Explaining Permeable Paving as Part of Sustainable Education and Public Outreach. Photo: Gustafson Guthrie Nichol.
|The Taylor Residence: Artful conveyance of rain water. Photo: Margot Taylor.
|BWP EcoCampus: Centerpiece of the EcoCampus is the Centennial Courtyard and its repurposed substation structure. Photo: Heliphoto.
|Grand Valley State University: Newly constructed stormwater bay south of fields complex. Photo: Andy Schwallier, FTC&H.
"This new group of certified projects represents that applicability of the built landscape being sustainable and adding to ecosystem services," said Holly Shimizu, executive director of the U.S. Botanic Garden.
About 80 of the initial 150 projects in the two-year pilot program have indicated they will continue to pursue certification. The feedback from these projects plus additional work by staff and technical advisors is influencing the next SITES rating system that will be available this fall.
Major funding for the Sustainable Sites Initiative is provided by the Meadows Foundation and Landscape Structures. For more information about SITES, visit www.sustainablesites.org.