Green Building Moves Outdoors

Oct. 15, 2007
A new rating system has been developed for sustainable landscape design, called the Sustainable Sites Initiative

The Washington, D.C.-based American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), The University of Texas at Austin's Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the United States Botanical Garden announced the development of a new rating system for sustainable landscape design, called the Sustainable Sites Initiative.

Just as the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) LEED® rating system measures a building's environmental impact, the Sites Initiative will measure the sustainability of designed landscapes of all types, including public, commercial, and residential projects. The USGBC is lending its support to this project and plans to adopt the Sustainable Sites metrics into its LEED system once the initiative is completed.

"This will provide the missing link for green building standards," says Nancy Somerville, executive vice president and CEO at ASLA. "Developers, designers, owners, and public officials will now have the tools at hand to significantly increase sustainability in the built environment, from interiors to landscapes."

Frederick R. Steiner, dean of The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, says, "We are acutely aware that the best guidelines and standards in the world will not be adopted if they are not cost effective for builders and landowners. Sustainable landscapes have enormous environmental benefits, and any additional costs should be easily recovered over the life of the project in energy, water, and other savings."

For more information on the Sustainable Sites Initiative, visit (

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