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Amid the political and media firestorm, however, the building industry has quietly continued its persistent march on the path to sustainable market transformation. Although the U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, has made incredible strides toward that end with its LEED Rating System (certified buildings are said to produce 34 percent lower carbon emissions, consume 25 percent less energy and 11 percent less water than traditional structures), energy-efficient buildings can’t fight the battle against climate change alone. Thankfully, landscape architecture professionals are joining the effort to enact mitigation strategies that will help reduce GHG emissions by 50 to 85 percent by 2050 and limit temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius if deployed at a mass scale, according to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Washington.
At the forefront of this movement toward “greening” our landscapes is the Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES), a program based on the understanding that land is a crucial component of the built environment and can be planned, designed, developed, and maintained to avoid, mitigate, and even reverse the detrimental impacts of urbanization and development.