ARLINGTON - The University of Texas at Arlington's $78 million Special Events Center, designed with sustainability in mind, will have a landscape and adjacent park that is certifiably green, too.
Center Street Green rendering
The nine-acre site that includes the events center and the Center Street Green under construction at Center and Mitchell streets is among 150 sites worldwide that will test the first-ever rating system for green landscape design, construction and maintenance.
The rating system is a project of the Sustainable Sites Initiative, a partnership created to promote sustainable land development and management practices. SITES partners include the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden. SITES selected the UT Arlington campus landscape project based on its extensive environmentally friendly elements, according to the organization.
The pilot ratings system operates similar to LEED, the certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council that rates buildings based on green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. The council, a stakeholder in the Sustainable Sites Initiative, anticipates incorporating the guidelines and performance benchmarks into future iterations of its LEED Green Building Rating System.
"Think of it as a LEED certification, without the building," said David Hopman, UT Arlington assistant professor of landscape architecture who helped draft the proposal to include the Center Street Green in the SITES pilot project.
The Center Street Green was designed by Schrickel, Rollins and Associates of Arlington, Texas, and is a joint project between the city of Arlington and UT Arlington. Construction of the $2.1 million green space is funded through a grant from the North Central Texas Council of Governments.
The park will feature native grasses and adaptive plants that consume less water and a dry creek bed that will help manage rainwater and storm water runoff that drains into Johnson Creek. It also features a large lawn, a curved stone wall that offers seating and paving materials made from recycled bottles that will allow water to permeate.
The Center Street Green is expected to be complete this fall.
The 6,500-seat Special Events Center is expected to open in late 2011 and was designed by HKS Inc. to meet LEED Silver standards. The venue will incorporate energy-efficient features, such as low-emittance glazed windows, a highly reflective roof to reduce the solar load on the building and a low-use water system. The building will use regional materials and also includes native landscaping.
More than 150 other projects from 34 states, Canada, Iceland and Spain were chosen for the SITES landscaping rating system pilot project. Such landscapes can help clean water, reduce pollution and restore habitats while providing significant economic and social benefits to land owners and municipalities, according to project guidelines.
SITES will use feedback from these projects and the other selected developments during the pilot phase, which runs through June 2012, to revise the final rating system and reference guide by early 2013.
More information is available at www.sustainablesites.org. For general media queries about SITES, go to: http://www.sustainablesites.org/news/.
The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.