Written by R. Kirk Johnson, AIA Category SITE & LANDSCAPE

As introduced in the August Edition of the North Texas Chapter digital magazine, the fourth edition public draft of the Standard 189.1P Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings was released in September anticipating a publish date in January 2010.  The standard is a joint partnership between the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America (IESNA) that is designed to significantly move forward sustainable concepts and construction by providing a code-enforceable standard for green buildings that may be adopted by jurisdictions, agencies, clients, rating systems, and regulatory entities.

Written by Caye Cook, RLA, ASLA & Lindsey White, RLA, ASLA Category SITE & LANDSCAPE

Early team collaboration can yield landscape concepts that maximize site assets and minimize costs while harvesting LEED points.   It’s the old “form follows function” recipe which can be revised to include “form follows energy” to match site use with specific site conditions, such as using parking medians to collect and treat surface water runoff.   However, incorporating a few LEED site points does not always consistently equate to a true ecologically balanced ‘green’ site unless a broader more comprehensive complimentary approach is utilized.  Depending on the actual credits pursued, some LEED project sites, although sustainably much better than their non-LEED counterparts, may not be very green after construction completion, especially if existing vegetation is stripped and topsoil is compacted. Even a small clump of trees contributes to the ecosystem and should be spared the blade whenever possible and practical.  As green industry professionals, we are encouraged to think beyond obtaining specific LEED points and adhere to a more wide-ranging philosophy of environmental protection and restoration.   Scraping a site may save dollars on the front end, but may not be the most cost sensitive approach in the long run when new plantings fail to grow due to poor soil conditions as a result of the construction activity.

Written by Michelle McEuen Category SITE & LANDSCAPE

Most of Texas once again is suffering from a severe drought, making water conservation principles more important than ever. But you can save water, time and money by following the seven time tested principles of Xeriscaping — coined by the Denver Water Utilities in 1981 and more recently by Earth-Kind Landscaping from Texas AgriLife.

Written by Caye Cook, RLA, ASLA & Lindsey White, RLA, ASLA Category SITE & LANDSCAPE

Native vegetation, specific to the environmental locality of projects, is one specific element that works in concert with the intent and detail of a sustainable site as defined in the LEED Rating Systems.  These elements affect many credits within the sustainable site and water efficiency categories that should be considered at the outset of each project and implemented to meet overall sustainable strategies of particular projects.  These native plantings are indigenous to the local area and significantly reduce water requirements for the plantings.

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