Thinking Green: The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES™)

 As the industry moves in the direction of sustainable design and sustainable thinking, we need to see how all aspects of our build environment is being developed.  As concentration on construction and interior environment have been touched upon, now the exterior spaces are being to be looked at closely. 

LEED for Landscaping is being tested to help put rules and guide lines on designing outdoor spaces. With the help 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, about 150 test sites are designed and will be monitored for the next two years starting June 2010.

As there are no true guide lines on creating outdoor spaces so the Sustainable Sites Initiative has been developed to help follow these sites progress, as well as create a data base of how to. The site has examples of Sustainable Practices such as how to:

* Preserve and protect healthy soils
* Manage and clean water on-site
* Protect and use existing vegetation
* Reduce urban heat island effect
* Provide spaces for mental restoration, social interaction, and physical activity

This site is a great tool for any designer looking to create a sustainable out door space or for any LEED project that will be using outdoor spaces of all types, including rooftops. There are also documented case studies with pictures, descriptions, budget, project phase and overview. Check them out  at

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