Sustainable Landscape Design and Site Engineering

Sustainable Landscape Design
and Site Engineering
Dr. Lou Mills
Dept. of Landscape Architecture
April 11,2012
Energy Facts
Large imbalance with US versus World Supplies and
 Changing energy usage relative to availability and cost
 Impact of global warming, greenhouse gases
 International political strife
 Economic sustainability/energy conservation
 Cost of food and water
 Efficiencies and renewable sources
 Poor regional and site planning/ fixed lifestyle needs
 Options
 Human biophysical parameters for comfort (bioclimatic
Design For Energy Conservation
Minimal field studies for energy use relative to site
Most field research is agricultural related
Good site design stresses conservation of existing
resources and optimal solar orientation
Cheap energy since 1960’s in Western economies has
caused a lack on interest in Energy Conservation
Impact of Arab Oil embargo of 1972-73- vast increase in
energy conservation
Early research on Landscape Design & Energy started
during Carter Administration- Now virtually none
Bush administration has no energy policy- stresses
existing sources
Impact of renewable energy sources and conservation
Poor Sustainable Design Practices
Large Lawn area
 Inappropriate landscape materials- nonnatives, exotics, disease plants
 Poor choice of plant materials requiring
extensive maintenance. i.e. pruning,
spraying, fertilizing, irrigations
 Irrigation used when not needed
 Imported construction materials
 Over estimates of construction materials
Good Sustainable Design
Use of native plant materials
Local source of construction materials
Increased use of recycled content
Low maintenance needing plants
Good site design- shade plants in shade, sunny plants in sun
Proper mulch thickness
Biological and natural pest control (integrated pest management
Organic fertilizers
Soil testing
Irrigation with zones, water sensors, limited lawn materials
Natural Ventilation
Use of Grey water for irrigation
Sources for Green Materials
American Society of Landscape Architects –
Sustainable Design and Development Professional Practice Network:
Green Building Council
Rodale Press
New Alchemy Institute, Woods Hole, MA
Farallones Institute – Occidental, Ca.
Sunset Magazine
EPA’s Greenscape Program
US Botanical Garden
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin
Center for Urban Forest Research
Landscape Architecture and Sustainable Development
McGraw-Hill GreenSource
UC Berkeley Environmental Design Library
University of Washington: Sustainable Landscape Construction
Design Needs
Good drainage and contouring of the land
On-site water retention or detention ponds
Porous pavements
Limited curbs and gutters
Good drainage design rather than highly
engineered sub-surface drainage design
 Solar access and natural ventilation with types,
sizes, placement of trees and large shrub
 Ease to remove snow
Horticultural Practices for
Limited soil compaction
No pruning except dead wood- use correct plant
type in right location
Proper disease prevention – proactive
Use of local professionals and consultants
Knowing the land…..
Needs of client match design objectives
Lion’s Head & Table Mt, Cape Town,
South Africa
Cape Point, Cape of Good
Hope Visitor’s Center,
Cape Town, South Africa
Sustainable Landscape Maintenance
Correct design at right site using natural systems
emphasizes low impact, sustainability
Avoid use of power equipment for maintenance
Limited lawn area- limited cuttings
Using dwarf materials and new varieties that
require less water, maintenance
Use grey water and recycled water for irrigation
Communication with all employees to promote
sustainability- ie. Suggestion box
Sustainable Asphalt
Less binder
 Cooler mix
 Surface courses for longevity
 Don’t use sealant
 Recycled content and asphalt
 Recycled tires
Site Sustainability Index
Leeds certification is for buildings, not
 ASLA in conjunction with US Botanical
Gardens, Lady Bird Wildflower Center
developed rating systems for sites:
“Sustainable Sites Initiative”
Think in terms of regional design and conditions
Minimize work required for construction and
Do an energy audit and post-construction
Retrofitting site more expensive than doing it
right the first time
Energy costs one of largest factors in materials
Use local materials, labor and talent
Work with unique site elements and sense of
Books, Magazines, References
Landscape Architecture Magazine
Urban Land Institute
Lynch, Kevin. 1962. Site Planning. MIT Press
Thompson, George F. and Frederick Steiner. 1997. Ecological Design
and Planning. Wiley PublishingA Green Vitruvius
Building Green, Environmental Building News & Green Specs
Environmental Design + Construction Magazine
The HOK Guidebook to Sustainable Design
Land and Water
Land Development Today
Materials for Sustainability Sites
National Park Service, Principles of Sustainable Design
Natural Landscaping for Public Officials
Residential Landscape Sustainability: A Checklist Tool
Stormwater Magazine
Sustainable Landscape Construction