LEED catalyst issues sustainable landscape development credential

U.S. Green Building Council affiliate Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) has unveiled SITES Accredited Professional. The new credential establishes a common framework to define the profession of sustainable landscape design and development and provides landscape professionals the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, expertise and commitment to the practice. The SITES system is a comprehensive program for developing sustainable landscapes that aligns land development and management with innovative sustainable design.

“As LEED has undeniably transformed the built environment, SITES has the power to transform land development and use to help reduce water demand and improve air quality and human health while also connecting people to nature,” says GBCI President Mahesh Ramanujam. “Introduction of the new SITES credential signifies the growing understanding that a sustainable built environment is not just what is inside the four walls of our homes or offices, but also includes a holistic approach to site selection and landscape development.

SITES provides a metrics-based approach to ecosystem services and green infrastructure concepts so developers and owners can make informed decisions about their land use. Used by landscape architects, engineers, architects, developers and policy makers, SITES aims to transform landscape development and management practices by enabling the creation of regenerative systems and fostering resiliency; ensuring future resource supply; and, helping mitigate climate change through careful land planning and development practices.

The rating system was developed through a collaborative of the American Society of Landscape Architects, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin, and United States Botanic Garden. It can be applied to development projects located on sites with or without buildings and draws on experience gained from a two-year pilot program. Nearly 50 of 100-plus pilot projects have achieved SITES certification, including landscape schemes at corporate headquarters, national and city parks, academic campuses and private homes. www.sitesonline.usgbc.org

Concrete furnishings are central to a GBCI-spotlighted SITES project, the George ‘Doc’ Cavalliere Park in Scottsdale, Ariz.PHOTO: Bill Timmerman, Timmerman Photography

GBCI and ASLA illustrate how prerequisites and credits support natural water cycle processes in Site Design—Water, one of 10 SITES v2 rating system sections.