Sites Initiative TM (SITES TM) program has announced three new projects
that have achieved certification under the nation's most comprehensive
rating system for sustainable landscapes.
The newly certified projects are Shoemaker Green, a university green
space in Philadelphia that received two stars; Washington Canal Park in
Washington, D.C., which received three stars; and Phipps' Center for
Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, which is the first SITES pilot
project to have received the maximum four stars.
The SITES program is a collaboration 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.
The SITES program was created to fill a critical need for development
guidelines and recognition of sustainable landscapes based on their
planning, design, construction and intended maintenance. This voluntary,
national rating system and set of performance benchmarks can be applied
to projects on sites with or without buildings.
The new projects join 23 others across the country that have achieved
certification since June 2010 as SITES pilot projects. These diverse
projects represent landscapes of various sizes, locations, types and
"We are very pleased to announce three new certified projects -
particularly the first four-star rating," said SITES Program Director
Danielle Pieranunzi, who is at the Wildflower Center. "Each project has
achieved a great deal by demonstrating innovative applications of
sustainable land design and development practices while meeting the
SITES 2009 criteria."
As with the other pilot projects at universities, corporate headquarters
and other landscapes that have previously achieved this recognition, the
newly certified projects applied the SITES Guidelines and Performance
Benchmarks 2009 and met the requirements for pilot certification.
The guidelines and rating system were created by dozens of the country's
leading sustainability experts, scientists and design professionals.
The three newly certified projects incorporate diverse sustainable
Shoemaker Green, Two Stars, Andropogon Associates,
Philadelphia, Pa. As part of the University of Pennsylvania's "Penn
Connects" campus master plan, this deteriorating site with underused
tennis courts was redesigned as a passive open space of lawns,
tree-lined walkways, and sitting areas. The green space is both a
destination and a pedestrian route from the core of campus to the
historic buildings surrounding it. The site can be adapted for
multiple events and activities at a wide range of scales, from
secluded areas for eating lunch to staging areas for the Penn Relays
and graduation ceremonies. Through the innovative use of various
sustainable strategies and technologies, Shoemaker Green has also been
optimized to capture and control stormwater from the site and
surrounding rooftops, provide viable native plant and animal habitats,
minimize transportation of materials to and from the site, and serve
as a starting point for the development of a sustainable maintenance
strategy for the university at large.
Washington Canal Park, Three Stars, OLIN, Washington, D.C. One
of the first parks built as part of the District of Columbia's
Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, Canal Park is a model of
sustainability, establishing itself as a social gathering place and an
economic catalyst. Located on three acres of a former parking lot for
district school buses, the three-block long park is sited along the
historic former Washington Canal system, and is a centerpiece for
approximately 10,000 office workers and about 2,000 new mixed
market-rate and affordable housing units. Canal Park's focal point, a
linear rain garden, functions as an integrated stormwater system that
is estimated to save the District of Columbia 1.5 million gallons of
potable water per year. The park also features electric car charging
stations and a neighborhood-scale system for capturing treating, and
reusing rainwater. Numerous opportunities are provided for residents
and workers to enjoy the park, including an ice rink, a café,
pavilions and space for concerts, movies, and farmers' markets.
Phipps' Center for Sustainable Landscapes, Four Stars,
Andropogon Associates, Pittsburgh, Pa. The Center for Sustainable
Landscapes (CSL) at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens was
designed to be the first project in the world to simultaneously
achieve LEED Platinum, SITES four-star certification, and The Living
Building Challenge (still pending). Built on a previously paved city
maintenance yard and documented brownfield, the nearly three-acre site
supports a new 24,350-square-foot education, research, and
administrative building; manages all sanitary waste and a ten-year
storm event on site using a range of green infrastructure strategies;
has successfully reintroduced 150 native plant species; and is
designed to be net-zero for energy and water. The CSL is open to the
public and its building and landscape performance is being extensively
researched and monitored to inform the design and construction of
similar projects that restore ecosystem services, generate their own
energy, and clean and re-use their own waste water.
The 2009 SITES rating system for the pilot projects includes 15
prerequisites and 51 additional, flexible credits with assigned numbers
of points that total 250. The credits address activities such as soil
restoration, use of recycled materials and land maintenance approaches.
Projects can achieve ratings of one through four stars by amassing 40,
50, 60 or 80 percent of the 250 points.
Based on the experiences of many of the pilot projects, a refined set of
guidelines and rating system, SITES v2, is finalized and incorporates
added recommendations from technical experts. This enhanced version of
the 2009 SITES rating system is ready to be published for distribution
and use by the general public.
For more information about SITES, visit www.sustainablesites.org.
For images, interviews and more on SITES, contact [email protected].
Terry Poltrack, 202-216-7852
Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin
Laura Condeluci, 202-226-4145