Sustainable Sites

Sustainable Sites seeks to set standards for sustainable landscaping, through guidelines to site development that will greatly reduce the environmental impact of landscapes, much in the same way that standards already exist for sustainable green buildings.

Climate regulation, clean air, clean water and an improved quality of life; these qualities look to supplement already existing green building and landscaping guidelines, setting standards that even stand-alone landscaping projects can use.

As an interdisciplinary partnership, the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the United States Botanic Garden and many stakeholder organizations are working together, to build not only an acceptable model for sustainable landscaping, but also a useable standard that governments and people can learn to follow more easily.

This is the kind of initiative that helps consumers in the world of growing green trends make the decisions that will not only improve their own lifestyle, but imminently our entire planet.

Mostly, because, subjects such as Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Urban Climate, Biodiversity, Waste Water, Water Pollution, Yard Waste, Public Health and Energy Consumption, just usually are not contemplated when putting together a landscaping project.

The average homeowner, especially the average green consumer, just readily excepts that by doing some landscaping, they are already making the necessary impact on their CO2 emissions, but just a dab of awareness into the subject of sustainable landscaping, can go a long way to getting even MORE green than before.

The landscape is an extension of a green building, so we really do have to ask ourselves about the area around the building as well, because, it is what will make an even bigger impact on the well being of our building users than when restricted to the building structure itself.

How sustainable are those new green condo homes up on the hill? If the answer is VERY, then the next question must be, how sustainable are the public garden and recreation areas between them?

Sustainable Sites is a project that looks to address issues with standards and guidelines, a rating system, pilot projects and a reference guide, with the intention to improve quality of life over the long-term as well as health of communities and the environment.

Hydrology, Soils, Vegetation, Materials and Human Well-being are the key factors to determining how sustainable a given site is going to be.

Water, soil and vegetation are key elements in tracing down ecological footprints that lead to CO2 emission calculations and depending on the non-replenishable resources being addressed, materials are also factored in withone of the common standards, such as cubic meters of soil used to build a house, or cubic meters of timber reaped from so many acres, the fuel to transport it…etc.

The more sustainable human factors of well being however are not yet set in stone and are still far more varied, depending deeply on statistics that have shown an increase in human recovery from illness or disease.

Statistical factors of human well-being include; wide and open green areas, spaces for physical activities, on-site food production and areas for social interaction.

Culture and art, such as folklore, theater, music and dance, all seem to have historical equivalents to prove themselves as at the very least useful in the process of well being and the statistics of social interaction, but as of yet, this is an extremely new project that will promote more results as more research and more researchers contribute to it, each in their own specialty.

Research into statistics will allow Sustainable Sites to create standards like those already used in green buildings and, in the long run, will become more and more case specific, as more and more people adhere to the principles behind these standards and guidelines of green spaces until the green space becomes an extension of the green building; not merely a household word, but a household way of life.


Posted in Sustainable by admin on December 3, 2007.

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