A mixed-use development in northern California has been certified as part of the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) for its eco-friendly landscaping.

The 38 Dolores greyfield project in San Francisco's diverse Upper Market community encompasses 81 units and a Whole Foods Market on the ground floor. To achieve SITES recognition, the LEED-Gold project includes rainwater harvesting, alternative energy technologies, and green roofs that provide habitat for the endangered mission blue butterfly.

The site also has edible and rain gardens, as well as educational components to promote eco-awareness. The project team included Prado Group, BAR Architects, April Phillips Design Works, and William McDonough and Partners.

The three other projects newly certified to the SITES program are a pocket park in Seattle, a historic Civil-War era preserve in New York, and the headquarters of the Perkins + Will architecture firm in Georgia. The four projects join 30 others certified by the SITES program, which is the nation’s most comprehensive rating system for sustainable land design and development.

The SITES program is a collaboration of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center of The University of Texas at Austin, the United States Botanic Garden and the American Society of Landscape Architects. The program fills a need for design and construction guidelines and a rating system for recognizing exemplary sustainable landscapes. SITES certification can be applied to projects of all sizes and on locations with or without buildings.

Based on the experiences of the 100-plus pilot projects that field-tested the 2009 rating system, and input from hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals, a refined set of guidelines and rating system was released in June 2014. Known as SITES v2, it was developed over seven years and is now available at www.sustainablesites.org.

Learn more about markets featured in this article: San Francisco, CA, Austin, TX.