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Wildflower Center Promotes Green Landscapes

 Wildflower Center Promotes Green Landscapes
asia roofLady Bird Johnson considered the environment a reflection of who we are, and a focusing lens for our potential. To better reflect this environmental ethic she and others shared, the university’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is collaborating with national partners to develop the first voluntary standards for sustainable landscapes.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative aims to take green building standards outside, helping homeowners, landscape designers and others learn practical ways to create and maintain landscapes with environmental benefits.

The hope is that harnessing the beneficial aspects of the natural world will become integral to any building project. The goal is to get the sustainable landscape guidelines and standards incorporated into the United States Green Building Council’s LEED® standards.

Why is this important? Among other concerns, putting the wrong plants in the wrong place can require extra fertilizer and water. Improper plantings can also lead to increased water run-off. Water slips away before it sinks into the soil, a natural filter for pollutants.

Landscapes designed with the environment in mind often incorporate trees or other elements from the original site or from nearby, which can save money. These landscapes can reduce heating costs by maximizing building shade, increase the amount of carbon dioxide captured by vegetation to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and preserve wildlife habitats with diverse native plants.

To foster enviro-friendly landscapes, the Wildflower Center has partnered on the initiative with the American Society of Landscape Architects and the United States Botanic Garden. Experts in design, public health, soil research and other areas have also provided input about preliminary standards and will help guide research about what works and what doesn’t.

Along with the voluntary standards will come best practice guidelines and an independent rating system that allows anyone to find out if their backyard, local park, or other property are a healthy shade of green.

Written by Susan Rieff.
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Saturday, 23 September 2017

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