by Danielle Pieranunzi
In order to create a truly sustainable, resilient, equitable, and healthy society, we must address our outdoor spaces. Unlike conventional buildings, which play an immense role in impacting both our outdoor and indoor environments, healthy and functional landscapes appreciate in value over time, providing a multitude of benefits at various scales—from reducing urban heat island effects and cleaning stormwater runoff in cities to improving the mental and physical health of those who interact with these spaces.
While every building has a site, not every site has a building, and the SITES program fills a necessary and important gap in elevating the importance of landscapes and sustainable site development.
This is why it’s so exciting to see the ways that the market is growing for SITES. Within the past year alone, we saw new project types, new countries implementing the rating system, and stronger commitments to sustainability with Platinum-level certification. To keep up with market demand, we also began formally offering precertification, which can help projects attract community supporters, funders, and can even expedite permitting in some localities.
The SITES program celebrated many “firsts” in the past year, and it is through projects’ leadership that we continue to see demand and ingenuity move the market for sustainable outdoor spaces forward.