What LEED Did for Buildings, Sustainable SITES Will Do for Landscapes—and Not a Moment Too Soon

Read the full story at Retrofit.

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.

Meet the new LEED-like standard for professional services

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

A significant economic sector — professional services — has joined the growing number of major industry coalitions developing and adopting specific approaches to address climate change and other global sustainability challenges. Consequently, the first sustainability standard for the professional services sector could be a reality by early 2018.

Appliance and Equipment Efficiency Standards: A Roadmap for State and Local Action

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This new working paper examines how the Energy Policy and Conversation Act (“EPCA”), and the DOE regulations promulgated thereunder, place limits on the ability of states and cities to outlaw the use of inefficient appliances and equipment.  It surveys existing state efficiency laws that cover products beyond federal jurisdiction, and discusses several steps states can take to advance appliance and equipment efficiency including: (i) seeking EPCA waivers from DOE to create and enforce statewide standards for federally covered products (and, if necessary, litigating the rejection of any such waiver petition); (ii) regulating non-federally covered products such as computers; (iii) encouraging the use of more efficient appliances and equipment through local building codes for new construction; and (iv) revising procurement laws to require the use of products that exceed federal efficiency standards.

New ASTM standard on recycling concrete helps boost sustainable construction

Read the full story in Aggregates Manager.

According to ASTM International, its new standard on recycling returned fresh concrete, C1798, Specification for Returned Fresh Concrete for Use in a New Batch of Ready-Mixed Concrete, will help manufacturing plants better support sustainable construction practices. Developed by ASTM’s C09 committee on concrete, the new standard covers process, verification, and record-keeping procedures for concrete recycling.

New Higg Module Empowers Apparel, Footwear, Textile Producers to Design Impacts Out of Products

Read the full story from Sustainable Brands.

The Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) today launches the Higg Index Design and Development Module (DDM). Along with the release last month of its updated Higg Materials Sustainability Index (MSI) – a cradle-to-gate scoring tool that measures and communicates the environmental performance of thousands of materials used in creating apparel, footwear and home textile products – the DDM is the latest tool in the Higg arsenal aimed at empowering product designers and developers to make sustainable choices at the earliest stage of apparel, footwear and textile prototype design.

Waste Management: There Are Several New Standards for That

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Companies are increasingly realizing the environmental and economic benefits of effective waste management — fewer methane emissions from landfills, reduced waste hauling costs and new revenue streams from reuse and recycling among them.

Several new tools aim to help companies and other organizations achieve these goals and receive recognition for their work.

What You Need to Know About the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Corporate reporters rejoice: in a move aimed at making it easier for companies to report on their sustainability initiatives and progress, the Global Reporting Initiative today launched the GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards.