HGA Landscape Architects Among First Group to Earn SITES AP Credential from Green Building Certification Inc.

Theodore Lee, ASLA, PLA, SITES AP, LEED AP, BD+C, and Trygve Hansen, ASLA, PLA, SITES AP, LEED AP, BD+C— landscape architects with HGA—are part of the first group in the nation to earn the SITES Accredited Professional (SITES AP) credential through Green Building Certification Inc. (GBCI). This certification positions Lee and Hansen within an elite group of leaders and professionals dedicated to elevating the value of landscapes in the built environment.

The new SITES Accredited Professional program establishes a common framework to define the profession of sustainable landscape design and development. It provides landscape professionals with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge, expertise and commitment to the profession. Landscape architects who earn the SITES AP possess the knowledge and skills necessary to support the SITES certification process, including participating in the design and development process, support and encouraging integrated design, managing the application and certification process and providing advocacy and education for the adoption of SITES.

“Since joining HGA in 1997, the goal of all our work has been to create design solutions that capitalize on each site’s potential, while enhancing the architecture in a sustainable, pleasing environment,” says Lee, Landscape Architecture Department Leader. Lee’s wide range of corporate, government, healthcare, arts and community projects demonstrate his leadership and expertise in collaborating with clients, and HGA’s architects and engineers, in order to realize a site’s full aesthetic, sustainability, design, lighting and planting potential.

In his work since joining HGA in 2005, Hansen, a senior associate, has focused on the integration of stormwater management practices into beautiful site design. He has worked on numerous projects in urban locations that present design and engineering challenges, working closely with the client and engineers to pursue creative and sustainable design solutions that enhance the character of the site and maximize the potential of local ecologies and communities.

“The SITES AP accreditation,” Lee says, “involves a rigorous testing process constructed on the expertise of other leading practitioners in the field of sustainable land design and development. I’m honored to have earned the accreditation that demonstrates that level of knowledge, expertise and commitment to the profession.” Adds Hansen, whose work has enhanced healthcare facilities, universities, museums and government sites around the country, “Earning the SITES AP accreditation confirms the excellence of the work we do at HGA and, personally, my dedication to collaborating with clients and HGA’s architects and engineers to create the most beautiful, sustainable and rewarding sites possible.”

The Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES) is the first program of its kind to offer a systematic, comprehensive rating system designed to define sustainable land development and management. SITES aligns land development and management with innovative sustainable design—defining what a sustainable site is and, ultimately, elevating the value of landscapes in the built environment.

SITES can be applied to development projects located on land with or without buildings—ranging from national parks to corporate campuses, from streetscapes to homes. The SITES rating system is currently being used by landscape architects, designers, engineers, architects, developers, policymakers and more.

Land is a crucial component of the built environment and can be planned, designed, developed and maintained to protect and enhance the benefits we derive from healthy functioning landscapes. The four overarching goals of the SITES rating system are to create regenerative systems and foster resiliency; ensure future source supply and mitigate climate change; transform the market through design, development and maintenance practices; and enhance human wellbeing and strengthen the community.

By supporting the SITES certification system, SITES APs help create landscapes and places that provide important ecosystem services, conserve resources, create regenerative systems and foster resiliency, mitigate climate change and enhance human wellbeing while strengthening the community. SITES APs are also responsible for elevating landscape architecture and educating the public about the critical role that SITES plays in protecting and healing the environment.

The SITES AP program is one of several professional credentials administered through GBCI, which uses rigorous test development best practices to assess whether professionals have the minimum competencies to perform their jobs. In addition to SITES, GBCI also administers the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Associate credential, the LEED AP with specialty credentials, and the WELL AP credential, which focuses on human health and wellbeing in the built environment. GBCI has received and maintained Personnel Certification accreditation from the American National Standards Institute since 2011. GBCI credentials require ongoing maintenance every two years.

About Green Business Certification Inc.

Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) is the premier organization independently recognizing excellence in green business industry performance and practice globally. Established in 2008, GBCI exclusively administers project certifications and professional credentials and certificates within the framework of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building rating systems, as well as the PEER standard for power systems, the WELL building standard, the Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES), Parksmart, EDGE and the GRESB benchmark, which is used by institutional investors to improve the sustainability performance of the global property sector. Through rigorous certification and credentialing standards, GBCI drives adoption of green business practices, which fosters global competitiveness and enhances environmental performance and human health benefits.