The Sustainable Sites Initiative is a Voluntary and National set of guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction, and maintenance practices.
It’s like LEED for Landscapes! As a matter of fact, the U.S. Green Building Council is a stakeholder in the Initiative, and they anticipate incorporating these guidelines and performance benchmarks into the LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™.
Locally, here in San Diego County, we have three different project types that are participating in this program. One Public Park, one Corporate Headquarters, and one Brew House/Organic Restaurant. One in Escondido, one in Encinitas, and one in La Mesa. Three local cities who should be proud that these three projects are in their cities, and can serve as a model and an inspiration for others.
From the Sustainable Sites Initiative website:
HELIX Environmental Planning, Inc. Headquarters Landscape Conversion
La Mesa, California
Project Type: Commercial
Project Team: HELIX Environmental Planning, Inc.; HELIX Environmental Construction Group
Description: The project is a landscape conversion of the HELIX headquarters from an over-watered lawn to a multi-use garden with native plants, walking paths, seating, gathering areas, compost bin, and food garden. The project will address runoff with potential detention basins, bioswales, or cisterns. Employee input shapes the project, which is a source of pride for the workers and the company.
Cottonwood Creek Park
Project Type: Open space – Park
Project Team: Schmidt Design Group, Inc., Nolte Associates Inc., Helix Environmental Planning, Inc., Turpin and Rattan Engineering, Inc., Southland Geotechnical Consultants
Description: This 8-acre neighborhood park is notable for its incorporation of low impact development storm water practices. Two creeks were daylighted to create native riparian habitat; pervious concrete in walkways, driveway, and parking lot provides infiltration; and bioswales improve the quality of urban runoff that flows through the park. Interpretive signage informs park visitors about the watershed, plants, and animals of the riparian habitat and sustainably harvested IPE wood was used for observation decks and fencing.
Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens
Project Type: Commercial
Project Team: Schmidt Design Group, Inc., Stone Brewing Co.
Description: Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens was created as a park-like environment for dining, relaxing, exploration, and special events. The project represents an important concept in combining recreation with stormwater management and water quality improvements. Thousands of tons of local stone were used for walls and other decorative features and the planting palette is intentionally eclectic but grounded in regionally appropriate and edible species.