SITES Wraps Pilot Phase, Begins Revisions
Native plantings and stormwater management, in addition to a vegetable garden and walking path, earned the Novus International headquarters in Missouri three out of four stars during the pilot phase of the Sustainable Sites Initiative.
The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES), a guideline and rating system for planning, design, construction and maintenance of sustainable landscapes, finished its two-year pilot project phase in early June.
The program, a collaboration between the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the U.S. Botanic Garden, will undergo revisions to better account for landscapes without buildings, such as parks, streetscapes and botanical gardens, as well as regional changes in climate.
SITES began in 2006 to promote sustainable land development and best management practices. It is currently geared toward new construction and major landscape renovation. Improvements planned for the ratings include:
• Expanded set of calculation guidelines, examples and performance benchmarks
• Easier, more streamlined documentation
• A professional credentialing program
• Revised rating system based on feedback from the pilot project phase (in 2013)
• Partnership with a third-party certifying body to manage project certification (in 2013)
The system measures 15 prerequisites and 51 flexible credits in areas like soil restoration, use of recycled materials and land maintenance, totaling a possible 250 points. One through four stars are awarded for earning 40, 50, 60 or 80 percent of the 250 points.
Three projects were certified out of 150 applications during the pilot phase. Popular trends among the projects submitted have included xeriscaping with native vegetation, green roofs, removing invasive plants and stormwater management.