SITES® at the ASLA Annual Meeting

Shoemaker Green, 2014 ASLA Honor Award, General Design Category image: Barrett Doherty and Andropogon

Shoemaker Green, 2014 ASLA Honor Award, General Design Category
image: Barrett Doherty and Andropogon

A comprehensive SITES® workshop will take place on Friday, October 21, from 1:30 to 5:00 p.m. at this year’s ASLA Annual Meeting and EXPO in New Orleans. Last year, this session was rated 4.6 of a possible 5, which put it on the list of top 20 rated sessions. This year promises to match or better that performance!

Entitled “WS-003 SITES: Navigating the Submittal Process and Trouble-shooting Challenges with the Experts,” the workshop’s presenters include José Almiñana, FASLA, LEED AP, and Jason Curtis of Andropogon Associates; David Yocca, FASLA, Conservation Design Forum; Micah Silvey, Green Business Certification Inc.; and James Moyer of Grand Valley State University.

Expect a definitive overview of the SITES rating system and certification process. We’ll explore the SITES prerequisite checklist used early in the planning phase, then walk through the submittal process with real examples by SITES experts. We’ll also examine some of the actual challenges faced with the certified pilot projects and how to navigate solving them, including how to engage clients in the process.

Register by the advance deadline on September 16 and save $50, a 20 percent discount. Then join us in New Orleans to learn all you need to know about getting your project certified!

See you there!

GBCI to Develop a New Professional Credential for SITES

image: ASLA

image: ASLA

In a recent GBCI survey, 80 percent of respondents said that they planned on implementing SITES in their organization or practice, and 89 percent indicated interest in earning a professional credential, such as SITES-accredited professional.

Development of a new professional credential called the SITES Accredited Professional (SITES AP) is currently under way at GBCI.

The new SITES AP credential will not only establish a common framework to define the profession of sustainable land design and construction, it will also provide landscape professionals with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, expertise and commitment to the profession, and will help scale and educate the market on SITES.

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SITES at the ASLA Annual Meeting & Expo

Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, TX image: James Wilson Photography

Perot Museum of Nature and Science, Dallas, TX
image: James Wilson Photography

Are you attending next month’s Annual Meeting in Chicago? Then take advantage of these opportunities to engage with SITES experts, staff, and project leaders.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES®) is a set of comprehensive, voluntary guidelines together with a rating system that assesses the sustainable design, construction, and maintenance of landscapes. By aligning design and development practices with the functions of healthy ecosystems, SITES provides a valuable tool that demonstrates how designers and other stakeholders can improve upon the value of a site through regenerative landscapes and an ecosystem services framework. Administered by GBCI, the SITES rating system can apply to developed projects located on sites with or without buildings—ranging from national parks to corporate campuses, streetscapes, homes, and many more.

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SITES™ Certifies Eight Pilot Projects

The School for International Service at American University

American University School for International Service

The Sustainable SITES Initiative™ (SITES™) has announced eight new projects that have achieved certification under the nation’s most comprehensive rating system for the sustainable design, construction and maintenance of built landscapes. To date 23 projects have achieved SITES certification. An additional 60+ projects continue to pursue certification using the 2009 Rating System.

The newly certified projects are Blue Hole Regional Park in Wimberley, Texas; Harris County WCID 132’s Water Conservation Center in Spring, Texas; American University School for International Service in Washington, D.C.; Bat Cave Draw and Visitor’s Center at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, N.M.; Mesa Verde Visitor and Research Center at Mesa Verde National Park, Colo.; George “Doc” Cavalliere Park in Scottsdale, Az.; the National Renewable Energy Laboratory Research Support Facility in Golden, Colo.; and Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park in Beacon, N.Y.

The projects certified up to this point have qualified under the 2009 rating system. It includes 15 prerequisites and 51 additional, flexible credits that add up to 250 points. The credits address areas such as soil restoration, use of recycled materials and land maintenance approaches. Projects can achieve one through four stars by amassing 40, 50, 60 or 80 percent of the 250 points. An updated rating system, SITES v2, will be published this fall, using information gained through the pilot project certification process.

Read more about the sustainable features and practices of the eight newly-certified SITES pilot projects below.
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Restoring the Home Landscape

Outdoor fire pit and seating area made from repurposed stone photo by Margot Taylor

Outdoor fire pit and seating area made from repurposed stone
image: Margot Taylor

A budding spring day was a welcome setting for the recent ceremony on May 2, 2013 to honor the Taylor Residence, a newly-certified SITES™ pilot, and the first residential project in the country to earn 3 star certification as part of the SITES Pilot Program. Located in the horticultural epicenter known as the Brandywine Valley and Delaware River watershed, the 1.69 acre residential property and former dairy farm in Kennett Township, Pennsylvania, earned recognition from SITES for its successful application of sustainable strategies including preserving native woodlands and hillside vegetation, designing innovative stormwater management and conveyance systems, and the creative reuse of soils, plants, and construction materials.

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SITES™ Public Comment Period Extended Until November 26

Hunts Point Landing, Bronx, New York
image: Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects

SITES has extended the public comment period seeking input on the proposed 2013 Prerequisites and Credits. This incorporates feedback received during the two-year pilot program and additional research from SITES staff and technical advisors. To provide comments, please click here. The public comment period will close on November 26, 2012 at 5:00pm Central.


Watch a live 1.5 hour webinar on Thursday, November 8, 2pm CST/ 3pm EST to learn more about the proposed 2013 credits. Click here to link to the webinar (enter as guest). Prior to the webinar, follow these steps to make sure your computer’s system requirements are met.

One Week Left for SITES Comments

New seating area outside Mann Library

Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens
image: Schmidt Design Group, Inc. 

SITES™ Public Comment Period Closes November 5: Give Your Feedback!

The deadline to submit comments on the Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) proposed 2013 credits is Monday at 5:00 p.m. CST, November 5, 2012. SITES™ is the most comprehensive set of voluntary, national guidelines ever developed for sustainable landscapes. The proposed revisions are based on experience gained through the two-year pilot program, which involved 150 projects, 11 of which have been certified so far.

The proposed 2013 credits will serve as the basis for transitioning SITES to open enrollment in mid-2013. This update is available for comment and download at the SITES™ website.

All industry professionals and interested parties are urged to participate during this public comment period to ensure the quality and applicability of the revised guidelines. Responses will inform the SITES 2013 Reference Guide, which will be released in mid-2013.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative is a partnership between the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, and the United States Botanic Garden to create a system to evaluate sustainable landscape design, construction, and maintenance.