PUBLIC ART and LEED – Sustainable Sites & Water Efficiency

This post comes to you from Green Public Art

continued from the conversation… Green Building: Where Does The Art Fit In?

Within a standard new construction LEED checklist there are several entry points where I believe public art could have a contributing role to the final tally of certification points and the following should be viewed as place to START. I am sure there are many more possibilities.


Gitta Gschwendtner's Animal Wall. Photo: Safle

Site Development – Points are available for restoring or protecting native habitats & maximizing or creating better open space

Example: Gitta Gschwendtner‘s Animal Wall is part of a 50 meter long wall, running along the edge of a new residential development. The approach taken for this artwork is to assist wildlife in the area and encourage further habitation. The Artist’s design for the ’Animal Wall’ matches the number of new homes with about 1,000 nest boxes made from custom woodcrete cladding for different bird and bat species, integrated into the fabric of the wall that separates the development from the adjacent public riverside walk.

Jackie Brookner's Urban Rain

Stormwater Design – Points are available if the project converts impervious surfaces to pervious surfaces to mitigate contribution of stormwater runoff

Example: Jackie Brookner’s, Urban Rain project aerates the stormwater runoff as it drops into the rock basin below, where it is detained and filtered before flowing into a bioswale.  The second component is a translucent rock filter that allows the infiltration processes that usually happen underground to be visible.

Heat Island effect – Points are achieved if the project reduces urban heat island effect on the roof or non-roof surfaces

Example: Molly Dillworth’s, Cool Water, Hot Island installation served as an artistic relief to the heat island effect, acting somewhat like a white roof, reflecting heat instead of absorbing it.

Light Pollution Reduction – Simple – The project must not contribute to light pollution


Water Efficient Landscaping – If you are going to build a project out of natural materials use Indigenous plants and Xeriscaping to mitigate water in landscaping to earn Water Efficient Landscaping points.

Innovative Wastewater Technologies –points are available for projects that Use non-toilet wastewater or run-off water in an innovative way.

The conversation continues here: PUBLIC ART and LEED – Energy & Atmosphere

Rebecca Ansert, founder of Green Public Art, is an art consultant who specializes in artist solicitation, artist selection, and public art project management for both private and public agencies. She is a graduate of the master’s degree program in Public Art Studies at the University of Southern California and has a unique interest in how art can demonstrate green processes or utilize green design theories and techniques in LEED certified buildings.

Green Public Art is a Los Angeles-based consultancy that was founded in 2009 in an effort to advance the conversation of public art’s role in green building. The consultancy specializes in public art project development and management, artist solicitation and selection, creative community involvement and knowledge of LEED building requirements. Green Public Art also works with emerging and mid-career studio artists to demystify the public art process. The consultancy acts as a resource for artists to receive one-on-one consultation before, during, and after applying for a public art project.
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