Friday, May 21, 2010

Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks for Sustainable Landscapes

Soon your landscape may receive ratings similar to LEED.  Where LEED focuses on environmental impact of building sites, primarily, Sustainable Sites Initiative addresses ecological and economic factors related to a site's land use.  The system proposed by the initiative "will enable built landscapes to support natural ecological functions by protecting existing ecosystems and regenerating ecological capacity where it has been lost."  Follow the link to their report which "focuses on measuring and rewarding a project that protects, restores and regenerates ecosystem services – benefits provided by natural ecosystems such as cleaning air and water, climate regulation and human health benefits."

Naturally, we support the assertion that landscapes (and the people who design, install or maintain them) should focus on native plants for the purposes of conserving, preserving, restoring and celebrating an ecosystem's natural processes and beauty.  Developing a ratings system such as the initiative proposes enhances the credibility of sustainable landscape designers and architects everywhere.  Given one of the partners in this initiative is the Wildflower Center in Austin, sustainable landscape experts in Texas (like us) will be perceived more as professionals than the prevailing "yard men."

We plan to submit several projects for accreditation when the pilot program has concluded.

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