The green building movement has motivated research in materials, sensing and control, and occupant behavior, but it has not yet matured to encompass system-level interactions between buildings, surrounding landscapes, and the urban environment. ecoSmart Landscapes is a suite of web-based software tools for the quantitative evaluation of environmental impacts of existing and planned landscape configurations that may include buildings, trees, and different types of pervious and impervious areas. ecoSmart Landscapes is built on the EcoLayers software platform. Organizations now have a unified, comprehensive solution for planning, management, and reporting of both their urban forestry and landscapes programs.
Potential uses of ecoSmart Landscapes include stormwater management, water conservation, local water resource optimization, sustainable landscape design, urban forestry, land use planning, energy conservation programs, carbon offset programs, and public education and involvement.
ecoSmart Landscapes is a true integrative platform that can let individual users or a group of organizations bring together the many inter-related aspects of managing “green infrastructure” in urban environments. Examples:
- Scale individual landscape-level impacts to subdivision, jurisdiction or service area based on each landscape’s unique configuration for local and regional assessments of different water and and use strategies.
- Assess marginal cost/benefit trade-offs between water conservation, use, reuse, harvesting, runoff, and infiltration, including savings on capital investments and operating expenses of the supporting infrastructure.
- Include water, carbon, and energy impacts of trees in assessment of sustainable landscape initiatives.
- Achieve alignment of local or regional objectives through collaborating stakeholders, with each stakeholder focused on its own urban forestry or landscape program.
The ecoSmart Landscapes suite of tools are:
- Suitable for use by professionals (e.g., cities, water districts, landscape architects, NGOs) and public users
- Easy to use, allowing users to explore trade-offs between different landscape configurations and BMPs
- Accessible to anyone over the internet with only a browser and a standard computer
- Adaptive to meet the diverse needs of different types of landscapes and users
- Allows adoption of new models and analytics to keep pace with improvements in science and technologies
- Capable of tracking change and monitoring and reporting performance of implemented strategies
ecoSmart Landscapes incorporates the science based on 20 years of research on tree growth dynamics and performance of landscapes by scientists at the USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station and University of California Davis.