Landscape Architecture Magazine, July 2010 Issue
A Greener Green Industry: Two Chicago companies—a grower and an installer—are maing their practices more sustainable with the help of landscape architects.
“The green industry thinks it’s green because it plants trees,” says Christy Webber, ASLA. But she begs to differ. Sure, plantings can help manage stormwater, sequester carbon, and reudce the heat island effect. But what about that big delivery truck that brings the plants to the site? How much fuel does it use, and where does it come from anyway? What about the skid steer loaders (as in Bobcats) used to prepare the site for planting? Are they gas guzzlers? And when the truck trundles away with all those plastic plant containers, where do they go?
Of course, that’s just the job site. Let’s go back to the nursery where there are more questions. How much water and fertilizer is the nursery using? And where do all those cuttings, prunings, and dead plants, the so-called “green waste,” end up?
Webber gets into a bit of a lather about this issue because her company, 20-year old Christy Webber Landscapes (CWL), is, at her corporate headquarters on Chicago’s West Side, trying to provide an alternative to the landscape business as usual. CWL is the developer and main tenant of Rancho Verde, a nursery-industry incubator on a former brownfield site. It’s right next to the Chicago Center for Green Technology and has bioswales, permeable paving, and a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum building.
—Excerpted from an article written by Adam Regn Arvidson, ASLA, Landscape Architecture Magazine, July 2010