Chicago, September 18, 2009 — Today, the Sustainable Sites Initiative™ announced a November 5 call for pilot projects that will test the first national rating system for sustainable landscapes. The Initiative is a partnership between the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden to create guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable landscapes, with or without buildings. The announcement took place at the ASLA Annual Meeting in Chicago.
The Initiative will accept applications starting November 5 and closing February 15, 2010, in conjunction with the release of the next report and new rating system, online at www.sustainablesites.org. Any type of designed landscape is eligible to participate, ranging from academic and corporate campuses, parks and recreation areas, transportation corridors to single residences so long as the total size exceeds 2,000 square feet. Fees for participating in the pilot project process may run between $500 to $5,000 depending on project size. Approximately 75 to 150 projects will take part in testing the rating system.
Until now, design and construction rating systems included little recognition for benefits of sustainable landscape and site design. Landscapes can clean water, reduce pollution and restore habitats, all while providing significant economic benefits to land owners and municipalities. The U.S. Green Building Council, a stakeholder in the Initiative, anticipates incorporating the Sustainable Sites guidelines and performance benchmarks into future iterations of its LEED® Green Building Rating System™.
Major funding for the Sustainable Sites Initiative is provided by the Meadows Foundation and Landscape Structures. More information is available at www.sustainablesites.org.