SITES rating system
SITES provides a comprehensive framework for designing, developing and managing sustainable and resilient landscapes and other outdoor spaces. SITES is the ideal tool to support nature positive design. This track record has earned SITES certification an important place in the rapidly evolving ESG reporting world as a standard of leading commitment.
SITES can be applied worldwide to a variety of projects types (with or without buildings), including:
Local, state and national parks; botanic gardens; arboretums
Streetscapes and plazas
Municipal zones; transportation hubs
Retail and office areas; corporate campuses
Neighborhoods or community areas
Educational or institutional
Public and private university campuses; museums; hospitals
How SITES works
SITES-certified projects help reduce water demand, filter and reduce stormwater runoff, enhance biodiversity, provide pollinator and wildlife habitat, reduce energy consumption, improve air quality, improve human health, increase outdoor recreation opportunities and much more.
By providing performance measures rather than prescribing practices, SITES supports the unique conditions of each site, encouraging project teams to be flexible and creative as they develop beautiful, functional and regenerative landscapes. The SITES v2 Rating System is a 200-point system with four certification levels of achievement.
Synergies between SITES and LEED
The SITES and LEED rating systems are complementary and can be used independently or in tandem. LEED applies to your project building and the site it is located on, and SITES applies to everything on your site, except your building (with a few exceptions). If you would like your project to benefit from certifying to both SITES and LEED, you can take advantage of the synergies between them.
Explore SITES and LEED synergies
Eligibility and fees
SITES applies to a diverse set of project types, contexts and stages of development.
- Projects in the Planning Phase: SITES Precertification. is an optional review pathway focused on a project’s plan, including its intended design and construction strategies.
- New Construction and Major Renovation of Existing Sites: Using SITES for new construction projects lays a very important and critical foundation for a healthy, sustainable and resilient project. The decisions made at every stage impact overall performance in future conditions. Ideally, a project should start with SITES when it is selecting a location for its development or during pre-design stages and continue to apply the rating system throughout design and construction. A project can only achieve certification once construction has been completed.
- Existing, Built Landscapes: Projects can be evaluated by their sustainable site management and are encouraged to report their social, environmental, and economic benefits. This certification is currently in a pilot phase. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating or learning more.
There is no maximum size for a SITES project, but the minimum is set at 2,000 square feet (or 185.8 square meters). For projects over 100 acres, please contact email@example.com. Additional fees will apply.
|USGBC and ASLA Members
|Combined (Registration + Certification)
Guide to SITES Certification
SITES certification reflects a project’s commitment to sustainability, improving health and wellness, and protecting and restoring nature. This guide covers the certification process, which involves four main steps. You also can download the free SITES Rating System for an overview of the SITES prerequisites and credits. For projects pursuing certification, the SITES Reference Guide is necessary to understand the details of the rating system and guide the submission process.
Register your project in SITES Online by providing basic information and submitting the registration fee payment to receive access to SITES worksheets and connect with a GBCI representative.
Collect and submit the necessary documentation (per the SITES v2 Reference Guide) to enable a GBCI review of your project. GBCI offers two review paths for SITES projects: Standard and Split Reviews. See Step #3 below for more detail on these two review paths. A GBCI representative will provide an online file sharing platform for your respective project. Once your project is ready for a review, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and inform them of which review path you plan to take (Standard or Split reviews).
GBCI will conduct a thorough examination of your project.
Sign off on your project’s final review. If your project has achieved certification, congratulations!