GSA’s Southwest Region is helping to build a more sustainable government by supporting projects that reduce existing resource waste, increase energy efficiency, and promote more equitable public use of downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico. The region’s Public Building Service recently completed a landscape renovation at the Pete V. Domenici U.S. Courthouse that will address water and energy consumption by reducing the water usage for irrigation by 92%. In the midst of the New Mexico drought, this project highlights innovative water-saving improvements.
The project consisted of replacing the lawn with stone and plants that need very little or no water, removing the central fountain, and harvesting rain from the roof and storing it in underground cisterns for irrigation. The landscape is powered by photovoltaic panels that act as a renewable energy source, creating a $200 monthly credit to the government from excess power being generated by the panels.
An American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project, the courthouse was one of two government-owned sites in the country to partake in the Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) Pilot Program. SITES is an effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center and the U.S. Botanical Garden to develop a rating and certification system suited to sustainable landscapes.