New Landscape Rating System to Transform the Industry, Complete Green Building Puzzle
“While carbon-neutral performance remains the holy grail for green buildings, sustainable landscapes move beyond a do-no-harm approach,” said Nancy Somerville, Executive Vice President and CEO of ASLA. “Landscapes sequester carbon, clean the air and water, increase energy efficiency, restore habitats and ultimately give back through significant economic, social and environmental benefits never fully measured until now.”
The rating system works on a 250-point scale, with levels of achievement for obtaining 40, 50, 60 or 80 percent of available points, recognized with one through four stars, respectively. If prerequisites are met, points are awarded through the 51 credits covering areas such as the use of greenfields, brownfields or greyfields; materials; soils and vegetation; construction and maintenance. These credits can apply to projects ranging from corporate campuses, transportation corridors, public parks and single-family residences. The rating system is part of two new reports issued from the Initiative, The Case for Sustainable Landscapes and Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009, both available for download at www.sustainablesites.org.
To test the rating system, the Sustainable Sites Initiative opened a call for pilot projects in conjunction with the release of the rating system. Any type of designed landscape is eligible, so long as the project size is at least 2,000 square feet. The call will remain open until February 15, 2010, and the initiative will work with and oversee the projects during the two-year process. More information about the pilot projects is available at www.sustainablesites.org/pilot.