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ASLA 2020 Residential Design Award of Excellence. Marshcourt, Cambridge, MA. Reed Hilderbrand >

Shifting Toward Climate Positive Outcomes with the New SITES Carbon Pilot Credit

Dell Medical District—University of Texas at Austin / Albert Vecerka

Last month, the U.N. climate change report  was a "code red for humanity". For those of us invested in sustainability and climate mitigation, the results were sobering but unsurprising. To assist with these goals, the SITES certification program for sustainable landscape development has recently released a new pilot credit, Assess and Improve Site Carbon Performance. The new credit encourages and rewards projects that quantify the carbon emissions and sequestration capacity of their designs and then make improvements to their impact on carbon based on this new understanding.

Sustainable landscapes provide the unique opportunity to not only reduce carbon emissions but to protect and even create carbon sinks. Studies show that with concerted global action on land use over the next decade, nature-based solutions can be a significant and necessary part of the climate solution, offering up to 37% of the mitigation needed, in addition to fossil fuel mitigation. These solutions also have a multitude of co-benefits like controlling flooding, reducing urban heat island effects, improving air quality, boosting mental health, and expanding wildlife habitat. These strengthen our community’s resilience from the impacts of climate change, particularly in the most vulnerable populations.

Through collective action and leadership, we can make a difference by acting aggressively now. While there is much to do, SITES and this new carbon credit provide tools, guidance, and accountability to make positive change. Read more.

For more information, feedback or assistance with SITES, please contact: sites@gbci.org.

This article was originally published in ASLA’s The Field blog on September 23, 2021, written by Danielle Pieranunzi, LEED AP, SITES AP, SITES Program Manager at the Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI). Read the full article.

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