Page 16 — Office & Industrial Quarterly — September 2021 www.crej.com OFFICE — SUSTAINABILITY W hen considering creating a high-performance landscape surrounding or within an office building environment, you might consider sustain- ability as the only goal.True, this type of environmentally friendly landscape architecture often is energy-efficient, improves air quality and rejuvenates natural resources, but the benefits to office buildings and end users go a large step further. High-performance landscapes also increase in value over time – whereas a building can depre- ciate with age, landscapes fall under the asset management umbrella, ulti- mately increasing real estate value. Additionally, incorporating this type of sustainable architecture into office environments supports employees’ and visitors’ overall well-being by pro- viding positive health and wellness benefits. What exactly is a high-performance landscape? These specialized, strategi- cally planned sites are designed with and for a local climate. During the design process, the landscape archi- tecture team thoughtfully approaches the design of the site understanding the program needs and its natural ecosystem.The program needs include considerations such as creating safe pedestrian and vehicular access and circulation, connecting to the main entry points of the building, consider- ation of program and service needs for maintenance and deliveries and fire access. Examples of natural ecosystem include the site’s existing topography, the drainage patterns and stormwater approach that needs to be analyzed, existing vegetation, etc. It is a balance of understanding and designing for the hardscape (pavements and pervi- ous materials) and softscape (plantings, lawn areas) to meet the program and context of the site. This approach to sustainable and high-performance landscapes also provides numerous benefits, including the ability to reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation and less required time and mainte- nance of the site. Native plants are more resilient to the environment and local ecosystem as well as require less fertilizers to thrive and pesticides to fight off pests and diseases. A design team that includes certified profes- sionals who can aid in integrated pest management further reduces the need to rely on solely pesticides, instead using knowledge of the pest and its life cycle to determine the most appro- priate management and timing to address the threat. This type of installation can dramati- cally impact an office environment, even years into a building’s future. At the end of a new construction project or in the case of an existing property seeking to reinvigorate its site, high- performance landscape isn’t just cost- effective and better for the environ- ment, but also demonstrably appreci- ates in value over time. n Environmental benefits. High-per- formance design, by its very nature, is better for the environment. For instance, it lowers consumption of fos- sil fuels, sequesters carbon and cleans the air, and supports local ecosystems with increased biodiversity of insects and pol- linators resulting from a mixed palette of native plant materials. Native plants also are more resilient and do not require addi- tional pesticides and herbicides. Addition- ally, high-per- formance land- scapes reduce the amount of long-term time and maintenance dedicated to caring for them. All landscapes need initial care with installations, watering to ensure they root well early on and initial weeding while plants start to grow, but the level of care needed levels off and eventu- ally lessens once established. Sustain- able landscapes consume less water, which saves money and is very impor- tant for water conservation in our area of the nation. Further, allowing for stormwater recharge on site by install- ing rain gardens, swales and retention systems, instead of piping into the stormwater system, is preferred to nat- urally allow for water recharge within our soils and aquifers. n Human/well-being benefits. A con- nection to nature, whether visual, physical or both, is proven to improve our overall well-being. Studies show that employees and staff are happier and more productive working in well cared for office environments and properties (satisfaction is based on both softscape and hardscape). A var- ied landscape incorporated into and throughout an office building – per- haps with a seasonal display where one can witness pollinators like birds or butterflies – is calming and allows for reflective and restorative time, hall- marks of well-being. High-performance architecture also promotes comfort in a variety of ways, including shaded areas for meetings, quiet working spaces and break spaces that seam- lessly integrate with and embrace the natural environment. n Cost savings and appreciation. High- performance landscapes have a big impact on both the bottom line and on an office environment’s resources. For example, sustainable landscapes are less demanding on stormwater systems since they retain and allow for water recharge on site. Addition- ally, tree canopies that create shade on a building or on a parking lot can aid in keeping it cool in the summer The value of an asset’s high-performance landscape Jessica Petro, PLA, ASLA Lead designer, landscape architect, EYP The green roof at Birch Bayh Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse Please see Petro, Page 18 Call Us Today 303.219.5888 wheelhousecommercial.com Owning mid-market properties has its own set of challenges, especially in the current market. You need a partner with the experience and expertise to achieve the results you expect. Our clients from all over trust Wheelhouse Commercial with their mid-market commercial real estate. Mutual Respect, Integrity, Accountability Denver’s Mid-Market CRE Experts