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Stewardship of the environment has been part of the core mission of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) since its founding in 1899. Like the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), ASLA has numerous programs that directly improve the environment or increase sustainability through public education and outreach, including a dedicated area on our website called "Designing Our Future: Sustainable Landscapes" that includes studies and an animation channel. Also like DDOE, ASLA could not accomplish so many initiatives without the full commitment and participation of its leadership and staff.
Green Roof: ASLA has launched a number of programs to directly improve the environment, but perhaps none more visible than the Society's Green Roof Demonstration Project. Green roofs can solve significant environmental problems, including stormwater runoff, stormwater pollution, air quality, urban heat island effect, lost habitat, and more. ASLA's green roof was designed with the goals of demonstrating the environmental and aesthetic benefits of green roofs, and encouraging more widespread use of green roofs locally and nationally.
As part of the commitment to serving as a demonstration project, ASLA maintains an ongoing monitoring program and provides educational programs on green roofs as well as tours of the ASLA roof. The 3,000 square-foot roof keeps over 30,000 gallons of stormwater out of the DC sewer system each year-more than 77 percent of all precipitation that falls on the roof-and is reducing the amount of nitrogen entering the watershed. The roof lowers air temperature by as much as 43 degrees in the summer compared to neighboring roofs, while lowering utility costs 10 percent in the winter and 2 percent in the summer. You can learn more about the green roof, sign up for a tour, or view our webcam at www.asla.org/greenroof.
ASLA is a founding partner of the Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™), a program to transform land development and management practices through the nation's first voluntary guidelines and rating system for sustainable landscapes, with or without buildings. (Other major partners in
SITES are The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin and the U.S. Botanic Garden.) The guidelines and rating system represent four years of work by dozens of the country's leading sustainability experts, scientists, and design professionals and incorporates public input from hundreds of individuals and dozens of organizations. SITES is currently working with more than 150 pilot projects to employ the cutting-edge guidelines and performance benchmarks outlined in the SITES Rating System. Eleven local pilot projects are among them, including the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History & Culture, American University's School of International Service, Square 80 Plaza at The George Washington University, Casey Trees, Brent Elementary School, U.S. Department of Commerce's Herbert C. Hoover Building Landscape Renovation, U.S. Department of Agriculture's People Garden, U.S. Tax Court's Landscape Renewal, the United States Botanic Garden's Bartholdi Park, Oxon Run Park Trail Rehabilitation Project, and Washington Canal Park. Additional information can be found at www.sustainablesites.org/pilot.
In addition to outreach and education, ASLA incorporates sustainable practices across everything from human resources to publishing. In fact, a staff "green operations" committee is charged with identifying additional ways to green building operations, and to educate the full staff on eco-friendly processes. Some highlights include:
Top row from left to right:
Jared Green, Jim Lapides, Monica Barkley, Keith Swann
Bottom Row, L to R:
Krista Sharp, Terry Poltrack, Nancy Somerville, Brooke Hinrichs.