Pictured here left to right: Danielle Pieranunzi , GBCI; Will Howard, PLA, and Krisjan Hiner, Stack Rock Group; Steve Birch, Hewlett-Packard; Hunter Beckham, PLA; Lisa Cowan, SITES AP, Studioverde.
We attended GreenBuild 2017 in Boston and as a GreenBuild first timers, we were not sure what to expect. Connecting with this group – a corporate real estate pro, a couple of landscape architects/SITES consultants, and a SITES Pilot Project manager/GBCI* SITES expert – turned a regular conference into a memorable experience.
It wasn’t just about the party and the laughter – it was about the energy we shared about the SITES rating system, or “LEED for land”. In Boston, we bonded over the sea change in how leaders and the public are embracing the importance of community resiliency. We participated as speakers, leaders, and attendees in well-attended GreenBuild workshops and education sessions around SITES. We heard from college campus leaders about the critical importance of certification when it comes to campus sustainability.
At one SITES session, Jim Walker, Director of Sustainability at UT Austin, spoke about campus transformation and was asked, “Why is certification necessary? Can’t we just do the right thing and save that certification cost?” His answer struck a chord with those who have worked hard on designing and implementing SITES-certified projects: “How about we just hand out college degrees because someone told us they did all the work?” UT is pursuing SITES certification, says Jim, because it is only through documentation and certification that UT will know whether a project has met its sustainability goals and standards.
Our group agreed: the SITES rating system is complex, but not difficult if you are already committed to good design principles and practices in your work and are paying attention to the use and waste of resources. And SITES certification benefits clients who integrate resiliency into their projects and want a return on their investment.
Studioverde’s mission is to advise owners, municipal officials, developers, landscape architects, and professional site development teams about SITES and streamline the SITES process to achieve certification. As landscape architects and SITES experts we understand the process from a design and certification standpoint and work strategically with design teams and their clients. Check out our blog post about our work with Colby College here.
The energy you see in this photo of our Greenbuild group will be carried forward in our projects. We are inspired to keep up the good work and continue to promote SITES for all development projects. Want to catch some of this energy for your campus or facility? Reach out to learn how SITES can help you achieve your sustainability goals.
* SITES is the acronym for the Sustainable Sites Initiative . SITESv2 refers to the Sustainable Sites Initiative Rating System, Version 2. GBCI refers to the Green Building Certification Institute .