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Introduction to SITES Workshop: Understanding Preliminary Requirements for SITES Qualification

The Sustainable SITES Initiative® is a comprehensive rating system designed to distinguish sustainable landscapes, measure their performance, and elevate their value. SITES is utilized by landscape architects, engineers, planners, developers, and others that assesses the sustainable design, construction, and maintenance of landscapes. This full-day workshop provides an in-depth look at the prerequisites for individuals to become an accredited professional, and focuses on the fundamental requirements for a project to become SITES-certified and how these requirements correlate to additional credit opportunities. The day will culminate with an afternoon tour of Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens’ Center for Sustainable Landscapes, a SITES® Platinum project and one of the greenest buildings in the world. This workshop qualifies for six (6) PA landscape architecture CEUs.

November 1, 2019
8:00 am - 4:00 pm EDT
(registration deadline is October 25)

Chatham University (Pittsburgh, PA)


The SITES Rating System is produced by the Green Business Certification Inc., which owns exclusive rights to the SITES Rating System, its publications and trademarks. The material on which the SITES Rating System is based was developed through a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) Fund, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, and the United States Botanic Garden.

Tour the Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes:
Following the workshop, participants will migrate to the Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes for the tour (this portion is optional but will provide great insight into the SITES rating system). Participants will get to see a SITES® Platinum project where they can connect the prerequisites and various credits to the actual as-built development. During the hour-long tour, participants will learn about the native plant communities of the CSL landscape, and innovative stormwater management features like the CSL roof garden, lagoon, and rain gardens. CSL is net-zero energy and net-zero water, producing all of its energy renewably and managing all storm and sanitary on-site. Instructors will discuss the integrative design process, site assessment, and maintenance and construction of CSL. Learn more about the CSL’s use of SITES

David Himes, RLA, SITES AP, Sustainable Communities Coordinator at The Penn State Center Pittsburgh

David coordinates and guides the implementation of educational demonstration projects, provides training for local green stormwater infrastructure certification, and supports engaged scholarship and community engagement in sustainable neighborhood place making. David received his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree from Penn State and is a registered landscape architect.

Mark D’Amico, RLA, SITES AP Manager of Studio Phipps at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Mark D’Amoico, Studio Phipps’ manager, joined the team after working as a landscape architect for Astorino CannonDesign, creating land development plans for clients such as Department of Energy NETL, the V.A. and Children’s Hospital, Pittsburgh. Mark has written sustainable landscape design guidelines for college campuses and has consulted on design and operational improvements for conservatories and botanical gardens. He has a Healthcare Garden Design Certification from the Joseph Regenstein, Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden. He is a SITES AP and led the effort to recertify the Phipps CSL project to SITES v2 Platinum Certification.

08:00 – 08:30 Registration and Breakfast
08:30 – 08:45 Welcome and History of SITES by Lisa Kunst Vavro
08:45 – 10:00 Introduction to SITES, Sections 1-3 with David Himes
10:10 – 10:20 Break
10:20 – 11:55 Sections 4-5 by David Himes
11:55 – 12:30 Lunch
12:30 – 02:00 Sections 6-8 with Mark D’Amico
02:00 – 02:45 Wrap up and travel to Phipps Conservatory
02:45 – 04:00 Tour of Phipps Conservatory’s Center for Sustainable Landscapes

Location: Chatham University, Welker Room, 1 Woodland Rd., Pittsburgh, PA 15232

Registration deadline: October 25, 2019
Scholarships available through Leslie Montgomery. Please email her at with your request for scholarship.

Workshop partners:
Chatham University
Penn State Center Pittsburgh
Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes

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