CJL News and Awards

Phipps’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes First Project to be Awarded 2019 SITES Platinum Certification

One of the greenest buildings in the world, the Center for Sustainable Landscapes was also the first building to earn SITES 2009 Pilot Four Star certification

Pittsburgh, PA, (Released Wednesday, March 20, 2019) — Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is proud to announce the Center for Sustainable Landscapes (CSL) is the first project in the world to be certified at the Platinum level under the Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES) v2 Rating System. Owned and administered by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), SITES is the most comprehensive program for designing, developing and maintaining sustainable landscapes.

When it opened in 2012, the CSL was the first and only project to receive SITES 2009 Pilot Four Star certification. It continues to set new records as the first project to be certified as SITES Platinum. In order to achieve SITES v2 certification, the CSL needed to meet the new requirements of the SITES v2 Rating System, which builds on the prior SITES 2009 pilot rating system.

The CSL is one of the greenest projects in the world, developed as an education, research and administrative building which was built over a previously documented brownfield. Dedicated to restoring this site, it has successfully reintroduced 100 native plant species to the surrounding area. The CSL is net-zero energy and net-zero water, generating its own energy through photovoltaic solar panels and a wind turbine, and capturing and treating all water onsite for reuse.

The SITES rating system is based on the understanding that land is a crucial part of our built environment and by fostering its resiliency, we elevate its economic, environmental and social benefits. SITES provides best practices and benchmarks projects against performance criteria, enabling the market to be rewarded for their leadership in sustainability. Used by landscape architects, engineers, architects, developers, policy makers and others, SITES creates regenerative systems and fosters resiliency; ensures future resource supply and mitigates climate change; transforms the market through design, development and maintenance practices; and enhances human wellbeing and strengthens the community. SITES-certified projects are better able to withstand and recover from floods, droughts, wildfires and other catastrophic events. Projects can help reduce water and energy demand, improve air quality and promote human health and wellbeing.

SITES was originally developed through a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort of 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. The rating system can be applied to development projects located on sites with or without buildings and draws on the experience gained from a two-year pilot program involving more than 100 projects. Projects that have achieved certification include corporate headquarters, national and city parks, academic campuses and streetscapes. Learn more at www.sustainablesites.org.