College Planning & Management

APR 2013

College Planning & Management is the information resource for professionals serving the college and university market. Covering facilities, security, technology and business.

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CREATING SUSTAINABLE CAMPUS LANDSCAPES Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks, which is scheduled to be released this fall. More than 150 projects were submitted as pilots, with about 20 percent of them self-identified in the institutional/education category. Of the 15 projects that have been certified to date (dozens more are still going through the certification process), four have been on university campuses: The University of Texas at Arlington, Cornell University, Michigan's Grand Valley State University, and Duke University. Each of these projects is basically a standalone landscape; something LEED would not be able to effectively handle. Each is a good example of how colleges and universities are designing THE GREEN AT COLLEGE PARK AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT ARLINGTON / and managing their campuses in increasingly PHOTO © SHRICKEL, ROLLINS AND ASSOCIATES INC. innovative and comprehensive ways in regards to stormwater management, water use, transit, Looking Ahead landscape maintenance, and site ecology. Having a way to showSITES does face some major obstacles in becoming common case this work through SITES certification will, in theory, not only practice on campus projects, however. For one, the certification provide positive buzz for the institutions, but also elevate the improcess — at least through the pilot process — is cumbersome, portant role the landscape plays in creating sustainable campuses. time-consuming, and expensive. Funding landscape projects not attached to buildings is never an easy thing on most campuses, and adding cost to what may already be minimal budgets could prove to be a challenge. The bigger problem that I see, however, is an apparently fading interest in LEED and other ratings programs. Green design and construction is no longer something that separates institutions, but, rather, is a common baseline from which most everyone starts; achieving LEED certification, which was heralded a decade ago, means far less today. Colleges and universities, which typically construct buildings to last 50 or 100 years, seem to be realizing that the idea of chasing points to meet a standardized, targeted goal may actually be holding them back from creating projects that are sustainable in a more holistic manner. If the trend moves away from demanding validation through third-party organizations, then SITES will face an uphill battle gaining traction in the higher education sector. What is far more important than these cautions, however, is that regardless of whether SITES lives up to any preconceived idea of what its success looks like, it will provide a wealth of research, methodology, and best practices related to site development that landscape architects, civil engineers, contractors, and clients will be able to use in the design and creation of more ecologically sound and healthier places on campuses, in cities, and the world around us. In that sense, SITES cannot get here fast enough. CPM Mark H. Hough, PLA, ASLA, is campus landscape architect for Duke University. 46 COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT / APRIL 2013 WWW.PLANNING 4EDUCATION.COM

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