LEED for Landscape: Metrics in Landscape Architecture

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Most people are familiar with, or have at least heard of the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. Started by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2000, LEED has become the key metric for measuring the cost-efficiency, energy-efficiency and sustainability of buildings in the US (with global aspirations). While LEED might not be a perfect system, it has successfully built up a notable brand that is affecting positive change in the building industry.

In 2006 the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) began work on their own version of LEED, called the Sustainable Sites Initiative or SITES. They have been collaborating with the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, the University of Texas and the United States Botanical Garden (USBG) on the framework. Together their goal was to create, “voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices.”

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The key areas of measurement for…

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