Humber Arboretum Centre for Urban Ecology to test Sustainable Landscape
Rating System

TORONTO, May 25 /CNW/ - The Sustainable Sites Initiative(TM) (SITES(TM)) announced the selection of the Humber Arboretum Centre for Urban Ecology as one of the first landscapes to participate in a new program testing the nation's first rating system for green landscape design, construction and maintenance.

The Humber Arboretum Centre for Urban Ecology will join more than 150 other projects from 34 states as well as from Canada, Iceland and Spain as part of an international pilot project program to evaluate the new SITES rating system for sustainable landscapes, with and without buildings. The Humber Arboretum Centre for Urban Ecology is one of only three Canadian sites who will be taking part in the pilot project. Sustainable landscapes can clean water, reduce pollution and restore habitats, while providing significant economic and social benefits to land owners and municipalities.

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, selected Humber Arboretum Centre for Urban Ecology based on both its existing extensive environmentally friendly elements as well as its potential to implement and model new sustainable technologies. Sustainable landscape elements already in place at the Centre include: a vegetated ('green') roof for storm water management, passive cooling using trees and green walls, a rainwater collection cistern for irrigation, and a biofilter system for sewage and grey water treatment.

Humber's Centre for Urban Ecology joins the Smithsonian Institution's African American History & Culture museum, a New Orleans' project to absorb storm water on the streets of the Lower Ninth Ward flooded during Hurricane Katrina, and other pilot projects that include academic and corporate campuses, public parks with hundreds of acres, transportation corridors and private residences of less than one acre.

The Humber Arboretum Centre for Urban Ecology was designed by Taylor Hazel Architects and architectsAlliance. The site was developed to provide a first-rate venue for education and research on urban ecology and an up-to-date example of environmental sustainability. Like the other pilot projects, the site will test the point system for achieving different levels of site sustainability on a 250-point scale, and the performance benchmarks associated with specific credits within the Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009. The Centre's architectural sustainability features include passive solar heat sources, incorporating high performance windows and super-insulation, a high efficiency gas boiler, and environmentally-friendly, and locally sourced building materials.

SITES will use feedback from this and the other selected projects during the pilot phase, which runs through June 2012, to revise the final rating system and reference guide by early 2013. The U.S. Green Building Council, a stakeholder in the Sustainable Sites Initiative, anticipates incorporating the guidelines and performance benchmarks into future iterations of its LEED(R) Green Building Rating System(TM). More information is available at: sustainablesites.org.

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 to transform land development and management practices with the nation's first voluntary rating system for sustainable landscapes, with or without buildings. As these guidelines become the accepted practices by professionals and nonprofessionals alike, they will transform the ways we design and build on the land, creating landscapes that nourish life for generations to come. For more information, visit sustainablesites.org.

About the Humber Arboretum

Established in 1977, the Humber Arboretum is a joint venture of Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning, the City of Toronto, and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. A unique community resource, the arboretum features 250 acres of land and more than 10 kilometers of paths and trails through public gardens, meadows, forests, wetlands, wildlife corridors and waterways. It offers environmental and horticultural education programs for groups of all ages including schools, services groups and families. The arboretum is also a training and research centre for Humber College and University of Guelph-Humber students. For more information, visit humberarboretum.on.ca.

About Humber College Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning

Established in 1967, Humber is one of Canada's leading postsecondary institutions. Committed to student success through excellence in teaching and learning, Humber serves more than 21,000 full-time students and 55,000 continuing education registrants. With an internationally recognized reputation for quality learning, Humber offers a wide-range of career-focused opportunities for students to personalize their educational path. Our 150 full-time programs include four-year bachelor's degrees, two and three-year diplomas, one and two-year certificates, and apprenticeship training. As a founding member of Polytechnics Canada, Humber offers students the opportunity to participate in applied research projects that find solutions for issues confronting small and medium-sized enterprises. Humber is one of 12 Vanguard Learning Colleges as identified by the League for Innovation, and the League's only Canadian board member. Humber finished first in its class in the highly regarded Community College Survey of Student Engagement in 2009 in each of four categories, including Active and Collaborative Learning, Student Effort, Academic Challenge and Student-Faculty Interaction. More than 85 per cent of Humber graduates are employed within six months of completing their studies. For more information, visit humber.ca.

SOURCE Humber Institute of Technology & Advanced Learning

For further information: For further information: and to arrange interviews, please contact: Ilena Aldini-Messina/Andrew Leopold, Humber Marketing and Communications, (o) (416) 675-6622 ext. 5479/4296, ilena.aldinimessina@humber.ca, andrew.leopold@humber.ca

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