The Greening of Virginia’s Capitol project has been selected to participate in the Sustainable Sites Initiative™ Pilot Program. The Sustainable Sites Initiative, or SITES™ as it is referred to, is a new rating system under development by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the US Botanical Garden for site and landscape projects, and is similar to the LEED green building rating system. SITES projects focus on sustainable practices in site selection, water use, soils and vegetation management, materials selection, human health and well-being, construction, and operations and maintenance. The Greening of Virginia’s Capitol project was one of only 160 chosen world-wide and in 34 US states to participate in the program. There are four SITES pilot projects in Virginia. The Pilot Program officially concludes in June of 2012 and is anticipated to then be officially rolled into the USGBC LEED rating system. For more information on all pilot projects and general information on the rating system, please click here: http://www.sustainablesites.org/pilot/
On Virginia’s Capitol Square and the surrounding Richmond City streets, the innovative practices using vegetation and permeable paving systems to reduce stormwater runoff, harvest rainwater, and improve the urban environment, allowed the project to become a prime candidate for the SITES Pilot Project Program. Along with improving the health of natural systems in the James River watershed, the project also addresses issues of social, cultural, and regional economic sustainability. Throughout the design and construction of the project, documentation will be submitted to SITES in order to achieve certification.
Current work on the site as of November 2010 includes the construction of permeable paver walkways using permeable clay pavers (brick) that work within the historic guidelines of this site.
Construction on the Capitol Steps, the Bell Tower Rain Gardens, and the curbside bioretention planters at the Bus Loop are to begin later this year. Design for the stormwater planters and street trees to be located along 9th and 10th Streets has been completed and construction is expected to begin in early 2011.