The US Mission to the UN in Geneva will be greening their grounds in August with the help from nine carefully selected landscape architecture students. The collaborative project is sponsored by the US mission and the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), who received more than 130 applications for the project. The selected students, all from the US, will develop a sustainable landscape design that will be implemented over a five year period. They will be assisted by three Swiss students and three American landscape architecture professors.
The efforts by the US Mission to green their building in Geneva are particularly welcome as the building regularly hosts a variety of crucial meetings and conferences on global issues. Attracting a variety of diplomats and political figures, the building is described as the ‘Flagship Post for Energy and Sustainability’ by the US State Department. The building is of special significance for other reasons: it has the largest solar energy installation ever undertaken by the Department of State abroad and houses a unique magnetic levitation (MaglevTM) chiller air conditioning system that runs a virtually friction-free compressor. Finally, the US Mission in Geneva was the first State Department facility to earn a certificate from the US National Wildlife Federation for Wildlife Habitat as a result of their conservation efforts in 2009. Overall, the US Mission's facility is already a great example of sustainable building. It’s efforts to maintain and improve it's green practices should be applauded.
Ambassador Betty E. King, U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva said, “I am very excited about this project, which will help reinforce the Mission’s reputation as the greenest US diplomatic building in Europe...The efforts of this talented team of young landscape architects will not only help us make our environment more sustainable, but also provide our staff with an inspiring and healthy environment which we will enjoy for years to come.”
It is hoped that this initiative will inspire UN agencies and other Missions to follow suit and help create a more sustainable UN, as well as spark discussions for similar collaborations between UN agencies and members of the global community.
For more details, click here: http://geneva.usmission.gov/2010/07/20/landscape-geneva/