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Contact: Terence Poltrack
American Society of Landscape Architects

Saralee Tiede
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Laura Condeluci
U.S. Botanic Garden

Date: Sept. 26, 2012

SITES™ Public Comment Period Opens

WASHINGTON, D.C. and AUSTIN, TEXAS — Today, the Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) invites public comment on proposed revisions to the Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009, the most comprehensive set of voluntary, national guidelines ever developed for sustainable landscapes. The proposed revisions are based on experience gained through the two-year pilot program, which involved 150 projects, 11 of which have been certified so far.

The proposed 2013 credits will serve as the basis for SITES' move to open enrollment in mid-2013. This update is available for comment and download at, with a public comment period open until November 5, 2012.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative – a partnership between the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden to create a system to evaluate sustainable landscape design, construction and maintenance. The U.S. Green Building Council is a stakeholder in the Initiative and anticipates incorporating SITES metrics into future versions of the LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System.

"As we move closer to the open marketplace, we are very grateful to the pilot projects for the rigor and openness with which they are documenting sustainable landscape practices as they pursue certification," said Nancy Somerville, Executive Vice President and CEO of ASLA. "Their feedback has provided the basis for these revisions and ensures the integrity of the 2013 Guidelines."

SITES staff and more than three dozen technical advisors in hydrology, vegetation, soils, materials and human health and well being contributed thousands of hours to ensure the credits could apply to any landscape, with or without buildings.

"This Initiative is for all those who design, construct or maintain our outdoor landscapes," said Susan Rieff, Executive Director of the Wildflower Center. "If we follow these directions we can create compelling landscapes that actually mitigate environmental harm – making our communities better places to live."

"We are asking all industry professionals and interested parties to participate in this public comment period to ensure the quality and applicability of the revised guidelines," said Holly Shimizu, Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden. "The guidelines will raise public expectations about the essential value that the built landscape can provide if done sustainably."

An online form is available for the public to provide feedback on this draft at Responses will inform the SITES 2013 Reference Guide, which will be released in mid-2013.

About ASLA
Founded in 1899, ASLA is the national professional association for landscape architects, representing more than 18,200 members in 48 professional chapters and 68 student chapters. Landscape architecture is a comprehensive discipline of land analysis, planning, design, management, preservation, and rehabilitation. ASLA promotes the landscape architecture profession and advances the practice through advocacy, education, communication, and fellowship. Members of the Society use their “ASLA” suffix after their names to denote membership and their commitment to the highest ethical standards of the profession. Learn more about landscape architecture online at

About the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin is dedicated to increasing the sustainable use and conservation of native plants and landscapes. Founded in 1982 by Lady Bird Johnson, the former first lady, the Wildflower Center maintains an extensive native plant botanic garden and offers professional and adult education. The Wildflower Center also conducts research on landscape restoration and plant conservation at its 279-acre site, promoting the role of native plants in addressing ecological problems. Recent research initiatives focus on native turf grasses, green roof technology in a sub-tropical climate, prairie restoration methods including prescribed fire, the control of invasive species, and ways in which native plants can aid in combating climate change in urban landscapes. Learn more at

About the United States Botanic Garden
Dating from 1820, the United States Botanic Garden (USBG) is one of the oldest botanic gardens in North America. Operating under the jurisdiction of the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress since 1856, the Garden informs visitors about the importance and fundamental value of plants to the well-being of humans and our planet. It also highlights the diversity of plants worldwide, particularly their aesthetic, cultural, economic, therapeutic, and ecological significance. With nearly a million visitors annually and located on the National Mall, the USBG strives to demonstrate and promote sustainable practices for individuals, organizations, and institutions. The U.S. Botanic Garden is administered through the Office of the Architect of the Capitol as part of the Legislative Branch of the Federal Government. Learn more online at