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SITES™ First Four-Star Project

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pa., achieved SITES' highest certification by, among other things, managing stormwater on site, using primarily all native plants, responsibly sourcing landscape materials from appropriate distances and origin, and sustainably managing the project's waste stream.

The Sustainable SITES Initiative™ program recently announced three new projects that achieved certification under the SITES™ 2009 Rating System, including the first pilot project of the program to receive the maximum four stars.

That honor went to The Center for Sustainable Landscapes at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh, Pa. The CSL was actually designed to be the first project in the world to simultaneously achieve LEED Platinum, SITES four-star certification, and The Living Building Challenge, which is still pending.

Built on a previously paved city maintenance yard and documented brownfield, the nearly three-acre site supports a new 24,350-square-foot education, research, and administrative building; manages all sanitary waste and a 10-year storm event on site using a range of green infrastructure strategies; has successfully reintroduced 150 native plant species; and is designed to be net-zero for energy and water.

The CSL's building and landscape performance is being extensively researched and monitored to inform the design and construction of similar projects that restore ecosystem services, generate their own energy, and clean and re-use their own wastewater.

The other two newly certified projects are Shoemaker Green, a university green space in Philadelphia that received two stars, and Washington Canal Park in Washington, D.C., which received three stars. The new projects join 23 others across the country that have achieved certification since June 2010 as pilot projects. These diverse endeavors represent landscapes of various sizes, locations, types and costs.

SITES program director Danielle Pieranunzi states, "Each project has achieved a great deal by demonstrating innovative applications of sustainable land design and development practices while meeting the SITES 2009 criteria."

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October 17, 2019, 6:43 am PDT

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