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Case Study

The grass on the golf course at the North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Illinois, not only looks green, but it uses "green" methods to keep it that way. Instead of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the club uses a 50-50 mix of nutrient-rich biosolids from the Chicago Metropolitan Sanitary Sewer District and compost made from yard waste to keep the greens healthy and aesthetically pleasing. For the full story, please see GreenScapes Success Story: A Greener Green (PDF) (2 pp, 115K, About PDF).

Natural landscaping techniques use native and climate-appropriate plants in the landscape. Natural landscaping minimizes the environmentally detrimental effects of pesticides and fertilizers, as well as noise pollution and the emission of air-polluting substances from lawn maintenance equipment. It virtually eliminates the need to use water for irrigation, as is required for turf grass lawns. While not maintenance-free, natural landscaping requires less time and money for ongoing maintenance than conventional landscapes. Landscapes can also be designed to be beneficial to the facility. Beneficial landscaping includes the use of shading and windbreaks, which can reduce heating and cooling needs for buildings. To learn more about these ideas, visit EPA’s Greenacres website.

EPA’s GreenScapes website promotes a set of landscaping practices that embrace the resource conservation principles of "reduce, reuse, recycle, and rebuy". Applying these principals can improve the health and appearance of your large-scale landscape while protecting and preserving natural resources. The web site provides information about the cost savings that can be achieved by reducing material use and waste; resource conservation; and the performance and durability of environmentally preferable products, such as recycled-content and bio-based products. See EPA’s Large-Scale Landscapes page.

Under natural conditions, stormwater is absorbed into the ground, where it is filtered and ultimately replenishes aquifers and/or slowly flows into streams and rivers. Impervious surfaces such as pavement and building roofs prevent precipitation from naturally soaking into the ground. Landscapes can be designed to function as rain water runoff retention areas which reduce stormwater runoff, replenish the aquifer, and filter nonpoint source pollution such as bacteria and other pollutants that contaminate streams, rivers, and coastal waters. For more information on stormwater management techniques, see EPA’s Stormwater Management website.

Inefficient irrigation systems waste costly and precious water. WaterSense is an EPA-sponsored partnership program that seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by promoting water efficiency. WaterSense irrigation partners can help you reduce your water consumption, save money, and maintain a healthy and beautiful landscape. These professionals are certified through WaterSense labeled programs for their expertise in water-efficient irrigation technology and techniques. At the WaterSense site you can review the list of landscape irrigation professionals partnering with WaterSense. WaterSense irrigation partners can help you design and install a new irrigation system or audit an existing one to minimize the amount of water you use. Visit EPA’s WaterSense website for more information.

The Sustainable Sites Initiative is an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction, and maintenance practices. The Sustainable Sites Initiative has created a library of case studies that illustrate sustainable landscape practices at various stages of development. See the Sustainable Sites case studies at The Sustainable Sites Initiative Exit EPA Disclaimer website.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. This information, in combination with available pest control methods, is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means, and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment. More information is available at EPA’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Principles web page.

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