Speakers: Stephen Cook, ASLA, LEED AP O+M and Joshua Sloan, RLA, ASLA, LEED AP ND, SITES AP
LEED ND establishes the contextual essentials to create communities with improved quality of life for residents, employees, and visitors. Likewise, SITES provides the foundational elements for sustainable landscapes in which we live, work, & play. With credits ranging from regional considerations to site details, LEED ND and SITES provide a mutually reinforcing set of tools creating a powerful framework for a design approach focused on sustainability. Using the LEED ND and SITES rating systems and the integrative design approach as a guide to the site planning and design process can provide numerous opportunities to address issues early on. Such a framework can also help the design team focus on critical elements at the proper design phase and establish performance metrics that guide decisions. It is important, for example, that elements of LEED ND v4 “Smart Location and Linkage” are reviewed concurrently with SITES v2 “Site Context”: several credits overlap and, if integrated into the design process, can lead to both the achievement of the credits and a more economically viable solution. Likewise, LEED ND v4 “Neighborhood Pattern and Design” credits have several parallel credits in SITES v2 – especially with “Human Health and Well-Being” – that can be capitalized on, but must be integrated into the design from the concept and schematic phases. We have developed a design framework based on the LEED ND v4 and SITES v2 rating systems into a working tool for our site planning and design approach for entitlement, design, and construction to lead our teams toward better planning design and project performance. And all planning projects, whether they become certified or not, can benefit from such an approach.