BWP EcoCampus Receives Certification from National Sustainability Rating System

BWP General Manager Ron Davis, Mayor Jess Talamantes and President of AHBE Landscape Architects Calvin Abe look over the new eco friendly Centennial Courtyard. (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

BWP EcoCampus of Burbank has become one of four pilot projects newly certified by the Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) for its sustainable site design, construction and maintenance. They join 11 other projects nationally that have received certification since January 2012.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES™) is the nation’s most comprehensive rating system for the sustainable design, construction and maintenance of built landscapes. These projects, as part of a group of 150 projects participating in an extensive, two-year pilot program, have applied the SITES guidelines and met the requirements for certification.

The other three certified projects include Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens in Seattle; the Taylor Residence in Kennett Square, Pa.; and the Grand Valley State University Student Recreation Fields in Allendale, Mich.

SITES is a partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden. SITES was created in 2005 to fill a critical need for guidelines and recognition of sustainable landscapes based on their planning, design, construction and maintenance. The voluntary, national rating system and set of performance benchmarks applies to sites with or without buildings.

“These projects include a park, a private home, an industrial plant and university playing fields,” said Susan Rieff, executive director of the Wildflower Center. “They demonstrate how SITES guidelines can be used in different settings to produce landscapes that make a positive contribution to the environment.”

Since June 2010, pilot projects have been testing the 2009 rating system created by dozens of the country’s leading sustainability experts, scientists and design professionals. The diverse projects represent various types, sizes and locations as well as budgets. Fifteen pilot projects have achieved certification to date.

The SITES 2009 rating system includes 15 prerequisites and 51 additional, flexible credits to choose from that add up to 250 points. The credits address areas such as soil restoration, use of recycled materials and land maintenance approaches. Certification levels include one through four stars, which are awarded to projects that achieve 40, 50, 60 or 80 percent of the 250 points.

“The pilot program has informed and helped us refine the next iteration of the SITES rating system, which will be published in the fall of this year. Many additional projects are continuing to work toward certification while we proceed with our preparations for open enrollment this year,” said ASLA Executive Vice President and CEO Nancy Somerville.

  • BWP EcoCampus. One Star. Burbank, Calif. Burbank Water and Power transformed an electrical substation into a regenerative green campus, showcasing products and techniques for stormwater treatment within a public right-of-way, including permeable pavers, tree-pod bio-filters, silva cells and planted infiltration planter bump outs.  Other sustainable features include three rooftop gardens, a solar power array that hosts a rainwater catchment system, a canal that  purifies storm water with plants, LED lighting, a solar powered fountain pump and salvaged and repurposed concrete and gravel. The project has also implemented five different water filtration technologies, including infiltration, flow-through, detention, tree root cells and rainwater capture.

“This new group of certified projects represents that applicability of the built landscape being sustainable and adding to ecosystem services,” said Holly Shimizu, executive director of the U.S. Botanic Garden.