The nation’s first voluntary rating system for sustainable landscapes, called SITES, has selected 175 pilot projects to test its green-landscape design, construction and maintenance program. The goal is to apply “The Sustainable Sites Initiative: Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009” to real projects to see whether the four-star rating system needs tweaking. Feedback from the pilots will be used to revise the SITES’ final rating system and inform the technical reference manual, scheduled for release in 2013. The fledgling SITES, under development since 2005, is modeled after the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green-building rating
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.