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Pilot Projects Selected for Sustainable Sites Initiative

Among of the 150 Sustainable Sites Initiative's Pilot Program projects is Rios Clementi Hale Studios' renovation of the landscape for the Pete V. Domenici United States Courthouse in Albuquerque. The firm is in the conceptual design phase of the project, commissioned by the U.S. General Services Administration. Renovation will restore native habit, conserve water and reintroduce a park-like environment to the 4.5-acre downtown site. Sustainable elements will include a xeriscape to replace Kentucky bluegrass lawns and nonnative plants, removing and reusing excessive hardscape, installing a rainwater collection and reuse system and employing photovoltaics to supply the site's energy needs.
Rendering: Rios Clementi Hale Studios

Over 150 projects will be included in the Sustainable Sites Initiative's (SSI) two-year pilot program (June 2010-June 2012). These projects represent a diverse cross-section of projects in size, location and in various stages of development.

Oxford Garden
John Deere
Cost of Wisconsin
Land F/X
Ewing Irrigation Teak Warehouse
BCI Burke Company The Cedar Store
Belgard Playworld

The pilot projects will be the first in the U.S. and abroad to demonstrate the application of the "Sustainable Sites Initiative: Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks," released Nov. 5, 2009. The SSI is a partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin and the U.S. Botanic Garden. It was created to promote sustainable land development and management practices. The U.S. Green Building Council, a stakeholder in the initiative, envisions incorporating these guidelines and performance benchmarks into future iterations of LEED.

The SSI guidelines include a four-star rating system based on a 250-point scale. The projects achieving 15 prerequisites and at least 100 credit points will become "Pilot Certified."

Certification levels (250 total points)
One Star (minimum points 40%): 100
Two Stars (minimum points 50%): 125
Three Stars (minimum points 60%): 150
Four Stars (minimum points 80%): 200

Feedback from the Pilot Program will be used to revise the final Sustainable Sites Initiative's rating system and provide real world examples of achieving sustainability goals and document the practices pilot projects used in solving site problems.

The project types participating in the pilot program are:

  • 25% open space, parks
  • 20% Institutional/Educational
  • 15% commercial
  • 13% residential
  • 9% transportation corridor/ streetscape
  • 8% open space, garden/arboretum
  • 6% government complex
  • 3% mixed-use
  • 1% industrial

The project locations encompass 34 states, with three percent of the projects on foreign soil (Canada, Iceland and Spain).

Twenty-five percent of the pilot projects are less than one acre; 26 percent are 1-5 acres; 40 percent are 6-100 acres; 8 percent are 101-500 acres; and one percent are larger than 500 acres.


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February 17, 2020, 1:45 pm PDT

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