Three Landscapes Achieve SITES’ Certification

The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) program has announced three new projects that have achieved certification under the nation’s rating system for sustainable landscapes.

The newly certified projects are Shoemaker Green, a university green space in Philadelphia that received two stars; Washington Canal Park in Washington, D.C., which received three stars; and Phipps’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes in Pittsburgh, which is the first SITES pilot project to have received four stars.

The new projects join 23 others across the country that have achieved certification since June 2010 as SITES pilot projects.

The newly certified projects applied the SITES Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009 and met the requirements for pilot certification.

The three newly certified projects incorporate diverse sustainable features:

Shoemaker Green
Two Stars, Andropogon Associates, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Size & Type of Project:
2.84 acres, Open space – Park

Site Context:
Urban

Former Land Use:
Greyfield

Terrestrial Biome:
Temperate Broadleaf & Mixed Forests

Budget:
$6,500,000

As part of the University of Pennsylvania’s “Penn Connects” campus master plan, this deteriorating site with underused tennis courts was redesigned as a passive open space of lawns, tree-lined walkways, and sitting areas. The green space is both a destination and a pedestrian route from the core of campus to the historic buildings surrounding it. The site can be adapted for multiple events and activities at a wide range of scales, from secluded areas for eating lunch to staging areas for the Penn Relays and graduation ceremonies. Through the innovative use of various sustainable strategies and technologies, Shoemaker Green has also been optimized to capture and control stormwater from the site and surrounding rooftops, provide viable native plant and animal habitats, minimize transportation of materials to and from the site, and serve as a starting point for the development of a sustainable maintenance strategy for the university at large.

Washington Canal Park
Three Stars, OLIN, Washington, D.C.

Size & Type of Project:
3 acres, Open space – Park

Site Context:
Urban

Former Land Use:
Brownfield

Terrestrial Biome:
Temperate Broadleaf and Mixed Forests

Budget:
$20,000,000

One of the first parks built as part of the District of Columbia’s Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, Canal Park is a model of sustainability, establishing itself as a social gathering place and an economic catalyst. Located on three acres of a former parking lot for district school buses, the three-block long park is sited along the historic former Washington Canal system, and is a centerpiece for approximately 10,000 office workers and about 2,000 new mixed market-rate and affordable housing units. Canal Park’s focal point, a linear rain garden, functions as an integrated stormwater system that is estimated to save the District of Columbia 1.5 million gallons of potable water per year. The park also features electric car charging stations and a neighborhood-scale system for capturing treating, and reusing rainwater. Numerous opportunities are provided for residents and workers to enjoy the park, including an ice rink, a café, pavilions and space for concerts, movies, and farmers’ markets.

Phipps’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes
Four Stars, Andropogon Associates, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Size & Type of Project:
2.9 acres, Open Space – Garden / Arboretum

Site Context:
Urban

Former Land Use:
Brownfield

Terrestrial Biome:
Temperate Broadleaf & Mixed Forests

Budget:
$15,000,000

The Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens was designed to be the first project in the world to simultaneously achieve LEED Platinum, SITES four-star certification, and The Living Building Challenge (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 ten-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 is open to the public and its 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 waste water.

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