News Brief

First Three Sustainable Sites Projects Certified

The Green at College Park of the University of Texas–Arlington transformed a parking lot with drainage problems into a pedestrian promenade and rain gardens that protect a nearby creek from flooding.

Photo: Schrickel, Rollins and Associates, Inc.
By Erin WeaverThe Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) has certified the first three of 155 pilot projects in its new rating system for the design, construction, and maintenance of sustainable landscapes.

The program was established to provide comprehensive guidelines and performance benchmarks for built landscapes, comparable to the LEED rating systems for buildings. The four-star SITES system focuses on hydrology, soils, vegetation, materials, and human health and well-being, with a total of 250 possible points in specific areas such as brownfield use, native vegetation, and use of recycled materials.

Of the first three SITES projects certified, the Missouri headquarters of Novus International achieved three stars, while a green space at the University of Texas–Arlington and a playground in Memphis, Tennessee, each earned one star. Among the features of the three-star Novus headquarters are stormwater retention basins providing aquatic habitat, a prairie walking trail, and a staff-maintained vegetable garden fed by a windmill-powered well. For more information, see www.sustainablesites.org.

Published March 26, 2012

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