The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES)— a partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden—has created guidelines and performance benchmarks for the planning, design, construction and maintenance of sustainable landscapes. The recent announcement of newly certified projects includes two that use permeable pavers.
Of the 150 projects currently participating in the two-year pilot program, only 15 have received SITES certification to-date. Created by some of the country’s leading sustainability experts, scientists and design professionals, the SITES rating system has 15 prerequisites with 51 additional, flexible credits to choose from that add up to 250 points. The credits address areas such as soil restoration, use of recycled materials, maintenance approaches, and more. Certification levels are one through four stars, which are awarded to projects that achieve 40, 50, 60 or 80 percent of the 250 points.
Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens, Seattle, Wash. This project transformed a 1.6-acre parking lot, service road and isolated lawn area into a pedestrian-focused entry to Seattle Center, an urban park and cultural campus located between the Intiman Theatre and the Seattle Repertory Theatre. Permeable pavers help limit stormwater runoff from the theater roofs. Additional stormwater runoff is collected and filtered into bio-retention garden basins.
BWP EcoCampus. Burbank, Calif. Burbank Water and Power transformed an electrical substation into a regenerative green campus, showcasing products and techniques for stormwater treatment. Permeable pavers were used in conjunction with many other sustainable features, including tree-pod bio-filters, rooftop gardens, a solar power array that hosts a rainwater catchment system, a canal that purifies stormwater with plants, LED lighting, a solar-powered fountain pump and salvaged and repurposed concrete and gravel.