Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) has selected pilot projects to test a national rating system for sustainable landscape design, construction and maintenance.

CA Projects Picked for Sustainable Landscape Ratings
2001 Market Street

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture, New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward Sustainable Infrastructure Project and the Indianapolis Super Bowl Village join more than 150 others that include educational centers, transportation corridors, industrial complexes and private residences in employing cutting-edge guidelines and performance benchmarks outlined in the SITES Rating System.

California is represented by 21 projects.

Launched in 2005, SITES represents a partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden to fill a critical gap in green design, construction and maintenance by creating voluntary guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable landscapes of all kinds, with or without buildings. The pilot program marks the next phase of SITES – putting to the test a rating system created by dozens of the country’s leading sustainability experts, scientists and design professionals, with public input from hundreds of individuals and dozens of organizations.

“We received hundreds of applications from an impressive array of federal agencies, international companies, major universities and non-profit organizations among many others to participate in the pilot program,” says ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville, Hon. ASLA. “The selected projects represent an elite group covering a diverse range of size, project type and geographic location.”

Located in 34 states along with Canada, Iceland and Spain, the pilot projects include corporate headquarters, botanic gardens, streetscapes, federal buildings and public parks that vary in scope from several thousand dollar budgets on less than one acre to multimillion dollar efforts affecting hundreds of acres. These projects will restore habitats, rehabilitate landfills, clean and store stormwater, lower the urban heat island effect, create outdoor educational opportunities at schools and reconnect neighborhoods to parks and public transportation.

“It’s exciting that many of these pilot projects – eight in every 10 – will revitalize previously built landscapes,” says Susan Rieff, executive director of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. “We can address the serious environmental challenges the world faces in its existing communities by consciously redeveloping these spaces for ecological health as well as beauty.”

“Testing the rating system is critical to ensuring the validity and breadth of these guidelines and performance benchmarks, which have undergone four years of rigorous development,” says Holly H. Shimizu, executive director of the United States Botanic Garden. “The true value of this endeavor is that it offers improved landscape development practices so that we can maximize the essential benefits supplied by the natural world.”

The SITES Rating System includes 15 prerequisites and 51 different credits covering areas such as the initial site selection, water, soil, vegetation, materials, human health and well-being, construction and maintenance – adding up to a 250 point scale. The rating system recognizes levels of achievement by obtaining 40%, 50%, 60% or 80% of available points with one through four stars, respectively. SITES will receive feedback from the pilot projects until June 2012 to revise the final rating system and reference guide for release in 2013.
The California projects, including location, project type and team, are:

  • 2001 Market Street, San Francisco; mixed use; project team includes April Philips Design Works, The Prado Group, BAR Architecture, William McDonough + Partners.
  • Annenberg Project at Lower Point Vicente, Rancho Palos Verdes; institutional/educational; Annenberg Foundation, Melendrez, KPFF Consulting Engineers, Swatt/Miers Architects, Ganahl Construction Corp.
  • Bioswales and Landscaping at Glen Oaks/Sunland Boulevards, Los Angeles; transportation corridors/streetscape; Hollywood Beautification Team, City of Los Angeles Department of Public Works.
  • Boeddeker Park and Clubhouse Renovation, San Francisco; open space/park; The Trust for Public Land, City of San Francisco, Parks and Recreation Department, WRNS Studio, Sherwood Design Engineers.
  • Cottonwood Creek Park, Encinitas; open space/park; Schmidt Design Group, Inc., Nolte Associates Inc., Helix Environmental Planning, Inc., Turpin and Rattan Engineering, Inc., Southland Geotechnical Consultants.
  • Coyote House, Santa Barbara; residential; Blackbird Architects, Inc., Van Atta Associates, Inc., Paul Franz Construction, RJ Foil Landscape.
  • EcoCenter at Herons Head Park, San Francisco; institutional/educational; EcoCenter, Tony Long Design, Fulcrum Engineering, Eckman Environmental, Occidental Power.
  • Environmental Laboratory for Sustainability and Ecological Education (ELSEE), San Jose; open space/garden/arboretum; The California Native Garden Foundation, Middlebrook Gardens.
  • Headwaters Corner at Calabasas, Calabasas; institutional/educational;  Mountains Restoration Trust.
  • HELIX Environmental Planning, Inc. Headquarters Landscape Conversion, La Mesa; commercial; HELIX Environmental Planning, Inc., HELIX Environmental Construction Group.
  • Holland-Yates Residence, Portola Valley; residential; Paul Holland & Linda Yates, Thomas Klope Associates, Inc., Hill Glazier Architects, Design AVEnues, Macleod Associates Civil Engineers, ICS Group Irrigation Design, Coast Range Ecology, TRA Environmental Sciences, Inc., Quilici Engineers, Murray Engineers, Bruce King, P.E., Rumsey Engineers, Biosphere Consulting, Bonny Doon Environmental Consulting, Clanton & Associates, H.T. Harvey & Associates, Total Habitat.
  • Magnolia Power Plant, Burbank; industrial; Burbank Water and Power; AHBE Landscape Architects.
  • Menze-Draper residence, Sonoma; residential; Jeanna Menze, WRA Environmental Consultants, Carol Venolia Architect, Sonoma Ecology Center.
  • Science and Engineering 2 at UC-Merced, Merced;  institutional/educational; University of California, Merced, SmithGroup, Cliff Lowe Associates.
  • Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, Escondido; commercial; Schmidt Design Group, Inc., Stone Brewing Co.
  • Sunnylands, Rancho Mirage; residential; Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, Ganahl Construction, The Cultural Landscape.
  • The Annenberg Center at Sunnylands, Rancho Mirage;  institutional/educational; Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, Ganahl Construction, The office of James Burnett.
  • The Meadow Farm, Santa Cruz; residential; William McDonough and Partners, Bernard Trainer and Associates, Redhorse Constructors Inc.
  • UCSB Ocean Sciences Center, Santa Barbara;  institutional/educational; EHDD, Penfield and Smith, University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • Victoria Garden Mews, Santa Barbara; residential; Allen Associates; Thompson-Naylor Architects; Grace Design Associates.
  • Watson Park Remediation Phase I Improvements, San Jose; open space/park; City of San Jose Department of Public Works; URS Corporation, Inc.