There are a myriad of ways to determine if a project is sustainable, LEED certification coming immediately to mind. There is, however, a new model, started by the American Society of Landscape Architects and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, since joined by the United States Botanical Garden. This project, called the Sustainable Sites Initiative, has published a document on rating just how sustainable a landscape project is, from design through construction. Experts from across the country are developing sustainable benchmarks for all aspects of landscape projects, from design to construction. This is landscape specific, and goes far beyond LEED certification, which is all-encompassing for green building in general.
I can’t imagine we will be scoring the project based on these guidelines, but I highly recommend reading, or at the very least skimming through the Sustainable Sites document (PDF, large!) for ideas and inspiration. Even the website itself is a trove of information, with good pages on Hydrology, Soils, Vegetation, Materials, and my favorite, and perhaps the most important to our project, Human Health and Well-being. Given some serious constraints of the site I think we’d be hard pressed to ‘score’ well on some of the construction guidelines, but we’ll do our best.
Middlebury even has a connection to this project-Jose Alminana is on the technical steering committee. He’s a principal of Andropogon Associates, who’ve done extensive landscape design work here, and is a parent ’10. And an all around nice guy.