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Home > By DEPARTMENTS > Buildings, Real Estate and Facilities > Corporate Campus Best Practices for Green and Sustainable Facilities > Landscaping and Irrigation

The Sustaiinable Sites Initiative for Landscaping

Healthy landscapes provide benefits to human functioning, health, and well-being.

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The Sustainable Sites Initiative promotes sustainable land development and management practices that can apply to sites with and without buildings.

Sustainable sites can include open spaces such as local, state and national parks, conservation easements and buffer zones and transportation rights-of-way.

Sustainable sites also apply to sites with buildings including industrial, retail and office parks, military complexes, airports, botanical gardens, streetscapes and plazas, residential and commercial developments and public and private campuses.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks – Draft 2008 report is available here.
The Sustainable Sites Initiative provides tools for those who influence land development and management practices and can address increasingly urgent global concerns such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, and resource depletion. These planning tools can be used by those who design, construct, operate and maintain landscapes, including but not limited to planners, landscape architects, engineers, developers, builders, maintenance crews, horticulturists, governments, land stewards and organizations offering building standards.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative is an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices.

Santa Monica Case Study

You can read complete details about this case study at: A Comparison in Santa Monica

In 2003, the City of Santa Monica, CA, initiated a project called "garden\garden", designed to encourage city residents and the local landscaping community to adopt sustainable garden practices. The city wished to promote practices that would, among other things, conserve water and energy, reduce waste and also decrease urban runoff, the single largest source of pollution in Santa Monica Bay.

From 2004 to 2008, the city tracked costs, labor hours, plant growth, water consumption, green waste production, and other environmental factors for both gardens. The ever increasing costs of water, maintenance man hours and the transporting costs of green waste disposal required to support a traditional landscape will determine the long-term dollar amount offset of costs for installation.

A few of the results for the Native Garden include:

CostAdditional $4,000 or 34%
Water Use77% less water use
Green Waste66% less
Maintenance Labor68% less cost for labor

Lessons Learned about Traditional : Native Plant Gardens

Collected site data have validated theories that a south California native landscape would yield significant reductions in resource consumption and waste production as compared to a traditional south California style landscape.

Pollination Matters

80% of the world's food plant species, including those produced by intensive agricultural systems, are dependent on pollination by animals.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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