UC Merced is already well known for its commendable practices in sustainable building design and construction. Now the university's landscaping will be evaluated for environmental responsibility.
The campus will be one of the first landscapes to participate in the Sustainable Sites Initiative, taking part in a pilot program to test the nation’s first rating system for green landscape design, construction and maintenance.
UC Merced will join more than 150 other projects from 34 states as well as Canada, Iceland and Spain as part of the international pilot project program, which will evaluate the new rating system for sustainable landscapes both with and without buildings.
UC Merced will use its planned Science and Engineering 2 building as the template for the pilot project. Like the other pilot projects, the site will help officials evaluate how practical and effective a tool the point system is for determining different levels of site sustainability. The 250-point scale evaluates landscaping in terms of site selection, water use, soil and vegetation, choice of materials and other factors in accordance with the group’s Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009.