Now available: New SITES Pilot Credit to assess and improve carbon performance of sites

Published on
25 Aug 2021
Danielle Pieranunzi
Article Headers 2021 (63)

Assess, quantify and improve the carbon performance of your next SITES project with the new SITES Carbon Pilot Credit.

The carbon footprint of the built environment is often understood in terms of construction, building energy use and transportation. However, there is a gap in fully understanding the carbon impact of sites (landscapes and other outdoor spaces) and their potential in sequestering carbon to help mitigate climate change. Studies show that with concerted global action on land use over the next decade (what the United Nations is calling the “decade for ecosystem restoration”), nature can be a significant and necessary part of the climate solution (offering up to 37% of the mitigation needed), in addition to fossil fuel mitigation. 

To enhance the awareness and understanding of the impact site and landscape design have on carbon (both emissions and sequestration), GBCI has released a new SITES pilot credit, ‘Assess and Improve Site Carbon Performance’ to encourage and reward land development projects that assess and quantify carbon emissions and carbon sequestration capacity, and then make improvements to their impact on carbon based on this new understanding. The credit provides multiple entry points for participation from conducting a carbon assessment to achieving performance improvements from a baseline.

SITES pilot credits are a group of credits not in the current version of the rating system which are designed to test new innovative strategies and/or facilitate introduction of new credits to SITES. Pilot credits can be used in the SITES innovation credit category and the existing suite can be found in the SITES Resources tab.

Access the carbon pilot credit

The vision behind SITES is to elevate the value of nature and outdoor spaces in our projects, communities and cities by bringing essential ecosystem services to the forefront of decision-making and implementation. The SITES Rating System addresses soil, vegetation, water and materials, as well as the people and community who will be impacted by the project.  It helps projects reduce carbon emissions, limit fossil fuel consumption and protect and create carbon sinks through multiple strategies. The recently released IPCC report highlights just how critical carbon reduction is to avoid climate catastrophe. Through collective action and leadership, we can make a difference if we act aggressively now.

Get started on your journey to climate positive outcomes. If you have questions or need assistance applying this pilot credit, please contact us at