In the new proposed rating system for landscaped sites, Porphyry rates high as a wise material to select for increased ranking. The Sustainable Sites Initiative aims for landscape-specific standards and designs, practices that help to preserve and restore ecosystems.

What is a sustainable site?
A “site” is a built landscape that encompasses all land in a designated space. Like green buildings, sustainable sites use less energy, water and natural resources; generate less waste; and minimize the impact on the land compared to traditional design, construction and maintenance techniques. Unlike buildings, sustainable sites can even give back by cleaning the air and water, reversing climate change, restoring habitat and biodiversity – all while providing significant social and economic benefits as well to the immediate site and surrounding region.

Porphyry Box Gallery Avant Gardens

                                  Box Gallery Site by Avant Gardens


“The Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) is an interdisciplinary partnership led by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), 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 through the nation’s first voluntary guidelines and rating system for sustainable landscapes, with or without buildings. The guidelines and rating system represent four years of work by dozens of the country’s leading sustainability experts, scientists, and design professionals and incorporate public input from hundreds of individuals and dozens of organizations to create this essential missing link in green design.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System – guidelines and standards for sustainable building – gives builders bragging rights. But no comparable standards exist for sustainable landscapes: city parks, transportation rights of way, industrial and office parks, residential and commercial landscapes, business, medical and academic campuses. These guidelines—The Sustainable Sites Initiative:Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009—acknowledge that different regions of the country will have different requirements and therefore include performance levels appropriate to each region as needed.

It’s relatively easy to quantify the sustainability of commercial buildings thanks to the U.S Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, which has been giving its seal of approval since 1998. Up until now, landscapes have lacked a similar rating system. The Sustainable Sites Initiative, a so-called ‘LEED for Landscapes’ designed by the American Society of Landscape Architects, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and the U.S. Botanic Garden, aims to change that.”


Sustainable practices in materials:

Porphyry Museum Hill Santa FeIn the important selection of materials, Porphyry natural stone pavers score high in these catagories:

  • Products that do not contain known or probable carcinogens, reproductive or developmental toxicants.
  • Design for deconstruction, also called Design for Disassembly, is the design of buildings or products to facilitate future change and the eventual dismantlement (in part or whole) for recovery of systems, components, and materials.
  • Reuse is a process of utilizing a used product or material in a manner that generally retains its original form and identity with minor refurbishments. Materials reusable in whole form might include sand-set pavers, segmental retaining walls, (e.g., avoidance of adhesives and mortar).


Additional Key Material Selection Criteria:

Consider the full life cycle of materials
Consider the environmental and health effects of a product, from the raw material extraction phase all the way through the end of the product life.  Select products that are less damaging throughout their life cycle, especially those that can be recycled or deconstructed and reused rather than disposed of in a landfill.

Work towards zero net waste
During the construction and demolition, look for materials that can be reused or recycled, both on-site and at other nearby sites.  Continue looking for options to reduce waste throughout the life of the site, by mulching and composting landscape trimmings and offering collection spots for recyclable materials and compostable food waste.

Reduce air pollution
To reduce harmful health effects associated with air pollution, select paints, sealants, adhesives, coatings, and other products used in site development that contain reduced amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs contribute to forming ground-level ozone, which is the primary component of smog.

Sustainable Sites Initiative

Go to the link below to find PDF Downloads of all reports, Guidelines and benchmarks  

Porphyry require less energy and water in its produciton process than concrete, asphalt, granite, brick, and many other paving materials.  The production process maximizes the use of the raw material.  Its durability, and history of recycling and reuse make it an excellent choice in sustainable projects. 

Porphyry’s composition determines its high compression strength, resistance to stains, slip resistance, and high freeze/thaw ratings.  The stone is the most popular paver in Europe, and is favored for its flexibility in design, beauty, durability and low maintenance requirements. ADA Compliant Porphyry pavers are also adaptable to a permeable paving set. The stone is by far one of the most durable pavers in the world.  These materials are available from Milestone Imports.   –