Evaluating the environmental impacts of building materials.
By Meg Calkins, ASLA
Landscape architects are increasingly employing green strategies
in their work, from the use of native plants to innovative stormwater
management techniques. These are preliminary results of a nationwide
Green Building Practice Survey of landscape architects, undertaken
by the University of Illinois in association with ASLA. But many
landscape architects do not give as much consideration to the environmental
impacts of the materials and products they specify, or place an
emphasis on using "green" materials.
Some landscape architects are just not aware of the huge environmental
impacts that some building materials have on the earth. These impacts
are often difficult to see. The impact of destroying a wetland on
the site can be clearly understood, but it is difficult to see damage
to the ozone layer from CO2 released during concrete manufacture,
or destruction of a rain forest halfway around the world from bauxite
mining for aluminum.
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