Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 45.27
Liaison Meghna Tare
Submission Date July 12, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Texas at Arlington
IN-2: Innovation 2

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Meghna Tare
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Title or keywords related to the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:
Sustainable Sites Initiative

A brief description of the innovative policy, practice, program, or outcome:

The Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) is an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction, and maintenance practices. The Sustainable Sites initiative is dedicated to fostering a transformation in land development and management practices that will bring the essential importance of ecosystem services to the forefront. The University of Texas at Arlington’s $78 million Special Events Center and Campus Green Park, designed with Sustainability in mind, received one of the first three certifications issued worldwide by the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) in February of 2012. This new certification system is the landscape corollary, with or without buildings, to the USGBC LEED ratings. The Green at College Park is a pioneering project at UTA that predominately functions as an ecological water detention system and large scale rain garden. The project is the first university campus project certified of the over 150 projects that were accepted by SITES for participation in the pilot project phase.

A brief description of any positive measurable outcomes associated with the innovation (if not reported above):

The SITES certification showed the value of considering all aspects of sustainability early on in the design process. The certification elevated the thinking of all participants. SITES raises the bar on landscape sustainability from LEED standards by rigorously covering the 9 areas above. This helps keep decision makers and designers from focusing on a few of the areas at the expense of others. The challenge for SITES will be to balance the rigor of their system with the commercial verities that will allow the certification to become a regular part of the development process. UTA has become an important part of that process by pushing through all obstacles and obtaining one of the first three certifications.
The SITES certification has been extensively covered in print and especially on the web. The SITES certification of the first three projects is currently featured on about 10,000 websites—down from a high of over 60,000 in April. They span the globe and information can be found on the Green in many languages. Most national websites covering sustainability issues have covered it and Reuters sent out a national article in March. It has been featured in a number of professional forums including the Texas ASLA (American Society of Landscape Architects) state and national conventions, the national conference of CELA (Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture), The Dallas Sierra Club and many more. The sites certification has been in most of the local media including the Star Telegram and the Dallas Morning News. It has also been covered in professional magazines such as Landscape Architecture and Texas Architect.

A letter of affirmation from an individual with relevant expertise:
Which of the following STARS subcategories does the innovation most closely relate to? (Select all that apply up to a maximum of five):
Yes or No
Curriculum ---
Research Yes
Campus Engagement ---
Public Engagement Yes
Air & Climate ---
Buildings ---
Dining Services ---
Energy ---
Grounds Yes
Purchasing ---
Transportation ---
Waste ---
Water Yes
Coordination, Planning & Governance Yes
Diversity & Affordability ---
Health, Wellbeing & Work ---
Investment ---

Other topic(s) that the innovation relates to that are not listed above:

The website URL where information about the innovation is available:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.