HELIX Pursues Internationally-Recognized Certification for Landscape Sustainability Best Practices
HELIX has applied for certification through the Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) for the landscape conversion of their headquarters location in La Mesa, California. Sustainable landscapes aim to be ecologically resilient, conserve water, reduce pollution, and restore habitats, while providing significant economic and social benefits to land owners, and local and regional communities.
The HELIX Landscape Conversion project was designed by HELIX’s own landscape architecture team and constructed by HELIX Environmental Construction Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of HELIX that specializes in native habitat restoration. This ¾-acre site was designed to reflect the company’s commitment to the environment and employee well-being using a sustainable, aesthetically-pleasing, meditative, and functional outdoor space.
Through the landscape conversion, HELIX removed the existing over-watered lawn and installed native and drought-tolerant landscaping, an underground rain water collection system, a community food garden planted for and by employees, and an on-site compost program for garden clippings and food waste. Complete with open areas, walking paths, and seating, the space has accommodated a variety of uses, from employee wellness activities to larger gatherings such as client appreciation and San Diego Green Drinks events.
Originally modeled after the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® Rating System, SITES recognizes best practices in landscape architecture and ecological restoration. The rating system was developed by experts in soils, water, vegetation, materials, and human health, and well-being following seven years of research and development. In 2010, HELIX served as one of the first landscapes to participate in the international pilot project program to evaluate the new SITES rating system for green landscape design, construction and maintenance. SITES, a partnership of the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, and the United States Botanic Garden, had selected HELIX’s Landscape Conversion for the pilot based on its extensive environmentally friendly elements.
HELIX is expecting to learn the status of its SITES certification by the summer of 2015. In the meantime, HELIX welcomes tours of its gardens for community and business groups who are interested in discovering more about sustainability in landscape design. To arrange a tour, contact Brad Lewis, HELIX’s Landscape Architecture Group Manager, at email@example.com or 619.462.1515.
About the Sustainable Sites Initiative
The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) is an interdisciplinary partnership led by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden. The SITES program provides tools for those who influence land development and management practices and can address increasingly urgent global concerns such as climate change, loss of biodiversity, and resource depletion. They can be used by those who design, construct, operate, and maintain landscapes, including but not limited to planners, landscape architects, engineers, developers, builders, maintenance crews, horticulturists, governments, land stewards, and organizations offering building standards. For more information, visit www.sustainablesites.org.