23 February 2011

LiveBlog: Ray Mims on SITES

Ray Mims, US Botanic Garden
Applying the SITES rating System: Lessons from Pilot Projects

One of his favorite quotes:
We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."
— Aldo Leopold

He used a photo of three LEED Plantinum buildings, none of which had any trees anywhere around them. He pointed out how different meanings of green can proliferate. We are missing out on, or ignoring, countless free ecosystem services that we should be appreciating. Examples like the Catskills and New Orleans illustrate how important ecosystem functions are.

SITES is up to 165 pilot projects. 65% were grayfield projects while 15% were brownfields and 20% were on greenfields. The pilots worked - they discovered some issues they hadn't thought about. For instance, it changed their treatment of prime farmland and the submittal materials. The goal of using these case studies is to make the Sustainable Sites Initiative as well thought out as possible.

A detailed description of the Bartholdi garden explained how the USBG  is trying to apply the sites criteria themselves, in the shadow of the US Capitol. (I love that fountain)

They've worked to be very open and collaborative so avoid lawsuits like LEED

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