Posts Tagged ‘American Society of Landscape Architects’

Energy Efficient Home Landscapes

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Trees are being cut down to make way for new single-family homes, which then often sit on bare lots. These treeless lots not only have negative impacts on the climate, environment, and community health, but they also exacerbate the energy inefficient practices found within homes. This is a major problem given the average American home consumes 70 million BTUs annually. In fact, taken together, American homes account for 22 percent of total energy use as well as nearly 22 percent of carbon dioxide emissions (1.19 billion metric tons).

While homeowners can take low-cost steps to make the inside of their homes better insulated and therefore more energy efficient, the landscape isn’t often seen as a part of the problem… or the solution. Basic green technologies like smart tree placement and green roofs and walls can be used to dramatically reduce energy usage inside homes.

Weather, roof, and building size and location also have an impact on the amount of energy savings.

How to use the landscape to reduce the energy consumed by a typical suburban home. See how smart tree placement and green roofs and walls dramatically improve energy efficiency, visit this American Society of Landscape Architects website.




Leveraging the Landscape to Manage Water

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According to a report from the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, one inch of rainwater hitting one acre of asphalt over an hour yields 27,000 gallons of water. In many communities, this water flows into combined stormwater / sewer systems, which channel both sewage and rainwater together through underground pipes to central treatment facilities. Storms can quickly overrun these combined systems, leading to flooding with pollutant-laden water and even backed up sewage.

Adding in green infrastructure systems is not only good for managing water, but also good for communities. Green infrastructure can lower air temperatures, which is crucial in cities facing the Urban Heat Island effect. Green roofs can double-up as roof-top parks, farms, and natural habitats for wildlife, providing a range of benefits.

The term “Green infrastructure” is used to describe how networks of natural ecosystems also function as crucial community infrastructure, providing ecosystem services and improving environmental sustainability. In the context of managing stormwater, green infrastructure can be defined as man-made systems that mimic natural approaches. Green roofs, bioswales, bioretention ponds, and permeable pavements are a few key examples of local green infrastructure, and all work by turning hard asphalt surfaces into green, absorbent ones.

Source (with video): American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Designing Our Future: Sustainable Landscapes




Designing Our Future: Sustainable Landscapes

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The American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) presents Designing Our Future: Sustainable Landscapes , 20 case studies that illustrate the transformative effects of sustainable landscape design. Included in this series are 5 animations that are designed to be a basic introduction to sustainable design concepts, created for the general public and students of all ages.

Sustainable landscapes are responsive to the environment, re-generative, and can actively contribute to the development of healthy communities. Sustainable landscapes sequester carbon, clean the air and water, increase energy efficiency, restore habitats, and create value through significant economic, social and, environmental benefits. Through this site, you will learn how landscape architects improve your world through projects ranging from the large-scale sustainable master plans and housing communities to small-scale green streets, parking lots, and private yards. You will also learn how landscape architects, planners, architects, engineers, horticulturalists, and others work in interdisciplinary teams to create innovative models that outline a path to sustainable future practice. Once you’ve explored the projects, learn more about the technical details that landscape architects bring to designing and creating sustainable landscapes.




Sustainable Reconstruction – Building a Park Out of Waste

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In a sustainable reconstruction, building materials are reused or recycled, dramatically reducing waste. For example, a new park can be created out of old building materials. Once the materials have been separated, some are kept at the construction site and reprocessed. Reclaimed soils, concrete rubble, glass, wood, and steel can be reused or recycled to serve new functions, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the process. With climate change, any new construction methods that help landscape architects avoid producing additional emissions are a major benefit both to the project and society as a whole. In a sustainable landscape, everything old is made new again.

To read the entire article and commentary about sustainable landscapes implementing reconstruction strategies, visit the American Society of Landscape Architects website.