The Sustainable Sites Initiative, a new rating system for sustainable design in landscape, has named UT Arlington’s The Green at College Park one of the first three projects in the world to be certified according to the organization’s rigorous benchmarks. The announcement acknowledges UT Arlington’s commitment to sustainability as an integral part of College Park District, an entertainment, living and shopping development spanning more than 20 acres that is helping revitalize downtown Arlington.
The Sustainable Sites Initiative, also known as SITES, is a partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Center at The University of Texas at Austin, the United States Botanic Garden and several other organizations. The goal is to provide a rating system for landscape design that is similar to the popular U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED designation. With the help of design and sustainability experts, the SITES partners established a list of guidelines and performance benchmarks in 2009. Worldwide, more than 150 pilot projects – including The Green at College Park – have been working toward initial certification since June, 2010.
The Green at College Park, which opened in March, 2011, represents a collaborative effort between our civil engineers and landscape architects. The park manages storm water from 45 fully developed acres upstream of the site through the use of detention in the park’s oval lawn, reducing the peak discharge rate before it empties into a tributary of the flood prone Johnson Creek. The Green also increases infiltration and filters suspended solids from the adjacent College Park Center through the use of a rain garden, biofilter, porous soil structure, and check dam.