The Sustainable Sites category strives to balance the needs of people and the needs of the environment in a way that benefits both. Protecting/restoring the natural landscape, encouraging the use of alternative transportation and management of stormwater are a few of the actions that can be taken to make a sustainable site.
1. A transportation management plan encourages staff to use alternative transportation into work, reducing the negative impact of automobile use. The plan includes:
a. Indoor bicycle storage room and change rooms with showers.
b. Designated prime parking spots for high-efficiency vehicles (use 6 L or less per 100 km) and carpooling, and three electric car plug-in parking spots.
c. UTRCA has three hybrid vehicles in its fleet, and plans to add more hybrids in the future.
2. The site has been developed with a focus on restoring a minimum of 50% of the site area as natural habitat to promote biodiversity and provide open space for building occupants. The landscaping is comprised of native and adaptive species that do not require irrigation, saving water and minimizing maintenance.
3. The garden area along the WCC entrance is the roof of the underground storage room (bunker). This green roof is planted with sedums and other low-maintenance plants that tolerate dry conditions. The green roof, along with trees planted in and around the parking lot, help to cool the local microclimate in the summer, creating a more comfortable outdoor environment for employees and wildlife. The WCC has a white, reflective roof to minimize the urban heat island effect.
4. The stormwater management system includes a gravel parking lot (near the main road), swale and pond. This system is one of the best designs in low impact development (LID) for green infrastructure. By eliminating the need for a storm sewer on site, we’ve reduced the overall cost and are improving the quality of runoff water. Grass swales and wetland vegetation help to stop erosion, and remove suspended sediments and pollution from stormwater that flows overland into the pond. The pond retains and cleans stormwater on site. Reducing the speed and volume of stormwater and improving stormwater quality helps to protect downstream waterways.
5. The exterior lighting on the building and in the parking lot is designed to protect the nocturnal environment ensuring that the light fixtures are full cut-off( lighting is not emitted above 90 degrees) as well as reducing the exterior lighting power density by 25% compared to the ASHRAE baseline.