ASLA Survey: Landscape Architects Call for Greater Collaboration with Product Manufacturers to Reduce Climate and Biodiversity Impacts

Landscape architects see need for new product data and tools to better measure and reduce impacts from their projects

ExpoASLA 2021 Professional General Design Honor Award. Ferrous Foundry Park, Lawrence, Massachusetts. STIMSON / Ngoc Doan

ASLA has released its first national survey on the role of landscape architecture products in achieving decarbonization and biodiversity goals. A cross-section of ASLA members, including landscape architects, designers, and landscape architecture educators in the U.S., responded to the survey in June 2023.

According to the survey results, landscape architects seek:

  • Increased collaboration with product manufacturers, universities, and allied organizations to research, analyze, and reduce climate and biodiversity impacts of products.
  • New product data to better measure carbon in projects, including:
    • Embodied carbon factors for materials
    • Projected carbon sequestration of tree species
    • Greenhouse gas emissions of products' entire lifecycle
  • New local options for 14 product categories to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transporting products.
  • A new open-source landscape architecture product data library and carbon factor dataset.
  • And to address potential biodiversity impacts, they seek new research and knowledge sharing.

“Our ambitious Climate Action Plan, released last year, called for all landscape architecture projects to achieve zero embodied and operational emissions and increase carbon sequestration by 2040. It also called for all projects to restore ecosystems and increase and protect biodiversity. The products used in projects are absolutely central to landscape architects achieving these goals,” said ASLA CEO Torey Carter-Conneen.

"The survey clearly shows that landscape architects and product manufacturers must deepen their collaboration to reduce the climate and biodiversity impacts of materials in built landscapes. We can only achieve our goals by working together, being more transparent about materials, and increasing our collective performance," said ASLA National Climate Action Committee Chair April Phillips, FASLA.  

Key findings:

24% of landscape architects surveyed state that clients are setting greenhouse gas emission budgets for one or more of their projects. 2% stated an emissions budget is in place for all their projects.

56% of landscape architects surveyed ask for third party-verified environmental product data, including Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), at some stage in the design process.

There is significant demand for specifying local products to reduce transportation emissions. A majority of landscape architects would specify local products from 14 product categories if they were available.

To reduce embodied carbon from products and also increase the use of products that sequester carbon, landscape architects see the need for additional industry-wide product data.

The product data most in demand: 

  • Embodied carbon factors of materials, which measures the embodied greenhouse gas emissions per mass of a given material
  • Projected carbon sequestration by species of trees
  • Greenhouse gas emissions of products' entire lifecycle
  • Greenhouse gas emissions for transporting products to project sites
  • Greenhouse gas emissions savings from the use of innovative materials

Read the complete analysis and see the full results of the member survey and a poll of product manufacturers.


Media inquiries

Landscape Architecture Magazine

Jennifer Reut 

The Dirt
Jared Green

The Field
Ali Hay