In recent years, a green building program called LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) has offered building owners a new framework of sustainable solutions that address the entire lifecycle of a building. The implementation of these practical and measurable practices gives buildings LEED certification, and the benefits are abundant.
LEED addresses the inefficiencies of building design and operation so that the completed project not only conserves energy and water and reduces the waste sent to landfills but improves indoor environmental quality, costs less to operate and has a longer life.
What role does Benchmark Landscape play in all of this you might ask?
Benchmark has been partnering with LEED-certified clients over the last several years to help them install, improve and maintain their landscapes within LEED guidelines.
Benchmark brings innovative ideas and processes into our partnerships that greatly assist our clients with their LEED certifications. Knowledge of drought tolerant and native plant species is imperative to reducing a site’s overall water needs. We have worked with several clients and encourage all of our clients to convert water hungry turf areas to attractive drought tolerant plantings, reducing both water and maintenance costs. Utilization of non-gas powered equipment, mowers set up for grass recycling as well as organic fertilizer products are a few options offered to Benchmark’s clients that help protect the environment and fit directly into LEED requirements. We have also created a water tracking program that we employ to help track irrigation water use, compare actual use to the amount of water a site should be using, propose upgrades or changes where savings can be achieved and in the end reduce water use on every site we maintain.
La Jolla Commons and SONY Electronics are two notable projects that Benchmark has worked on for several years that are LEED certified. Campus Point, the new downtown Library and the new San Diego State University Student Union Center, to name a few, are also LEED-certified clients that we are currently working with. Benchmark also is currently maintaining Stone Brewing Company in the Escondido area, which is rated by SITES (Sustainable Sites Initiative): it is one of only 11 sites worldwide to achieve this rating that promotes sustainable land development and management practice.