Updates from ASLA


GSA uses SITES certification to nurture the landscape and manage stormwater

The SITES-certified Peter V. Domenici U.S. Courthouse in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photo by Robert Reck.

GSA has a long history of implementing sustainability strategies at scale. “GSA has a big opportunity to support biodiversity,” Hartz nodded. “Not just [by] checking a box, but [by] embedding it into our whole process.”

As an agency of the U.S. government, GSA was founded to help manage and support federal property and provide contracting options. In 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) decreed more ambitious requirements for stormwater management, laying the groundwork for GSA to require the SITES rating system at the Silver level for its capital construction program in 2016.

GSA currently operates five SITES-certified projects, with a dozen more in progress. It began with a SITES pilot project, the Peter V. Domenici U.S. Courthouse in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Concerns that lawn irrigation was causing damage to the site’s underground parking sparked a hydrological renovation. Using SITES, GSA switched to primarily native plants and began to harvest stormwater to slash potable water use for irrigation and better support the local ecosystem, while carefully maintaining the site’s 85 existing trees.

“Even a couple decades ago, a project like this would have been thought of very differently. They would want it to be a lush oasis in the desert, not a part of the desert itself,” Hartz points out. “Today, our focus is on creating landscapes that support their regional ecosystems, goals, cultures and communities.”

Learn more about GSA’s adoption of SITES certification.

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