Park Achieves Lofty Sustainability Rating
When students toss a football or frisbee on The Green at College Park, they’re standing on exclusive ground. The Green is one of three projects worldwide to receive certification from the Sustainable Sites Initiative, or SITES.
A partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at UT Austin, and the U.S. Botanic Garden, SITES provides a ratings system for landscaping similar to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design designation.
With the help of design and sustainability experts, SITES partners in 2009 established guidelines and performance benchmarks. More than 150 pilot projects have been working toward initial certification.
“This is a very rigorous process,” landscape architecture Associate Professor David Hopman says. He and faculty research associate Sonal Parmar led UT Arlington’s effort to achieve certification. “You not only have to say what you’re going to do, you then have to measure what you’re doing and show that you’ve accomplished it.”
The Green at College Park opened in March 2011 and includes 2.6 acres south of College Park Center. It contains several recycled features, such as a walkway made from recycled beer bottles, and helps reduce and filter storm water runoff from College Park Center before it flows toward flood-prone Johnson Creek.
“This designation shows that UT Arlington is on the cutting edge of sustainable practices, not just in our buildings but all across campus,” says Meghna Tare, the University’s sustainability director. “The Green is a place to enjoy nature and learn how to preserve the natural environment.”