CS-2009 SSc5.1: Site Development—Protect or Restore Habitat

  • NC_CS_Schools_SSc5-1_Type1_SiteDev Diagram
  • Site conditions are the deciding factor

    This credit promotes biodiversity by encouraging project teams to protect existing onsite native habitat or restore the site with native species.

    How you go about earning this credit will depend on the existing conditions of your project site. If you have a greenfield site—one that has not been built, graded, or otherwise altered by human activity—you are required to limit site disturbance during construction.

    If your site has been previously developedPreviously developed sites are those altered by paving, construction, and/or land use that would typically have required regulatory permitting to have been initiated (alterations may exist now or in the past). Previously developed land includes a platted lot on which a building was constructed if the lot is no more than 1 acre; previous development on lots larger than 1 acre is defined as the development footprint and land alterations associated with the footprint. Land that is not previously developed and altered landscapes resulting from current or historical clearing or filling, agricultural or forestry use, or preserved natural area use are considered undeveloped land. The date of previous development permit issuance constitutes the date of previous development, but permit issuance in itself does not constitute previous development.", you must protect or restore a portion of the site—50% of the total area minus the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint., or 20% of the total site area, whichever is greater—and plant with native or adapted species. The protected or restored area can include vegetation, water bodies, soils, or other ecosystems. 

    Don’t confuse with SSc5.2

    It’s easy to confuse the requirements of this credit, SSc5.1, with those of SSc5.2: Site Development—Maximize Open Space. While they both have the stated intent of promoting biodiversity, they’re actually quite different.  

    This credit focuses on protecting and restoring native habitat or limiting construction disturbances—depending on existing project conditions. Use of native or adapted species in landscaping is a key aspect of this credit.

    SSc5.2, on the other hand, is aimed at increasing open space relative to local zoning requirements. It has no requirements for native vegetation—turf grass and even pedestrian-oriented hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. could apply—and does not put restrictions on construction site disturbance. 

    What’s a green roof got to do it?

    If your project is previously developed and earning SSc2: Development Density and Community Connectivity, you are allowed to include a vegetated roof with native or adapted species in your calculations. This clause allows dense urban sites to earn this credit even though they may not have enough exterior site area to qualify otherwise.

    In order to comply with SSc5.1, green roofs must provide a diversity of native or adapted species that provide animal habitat. This means that extensive roofs with sedum monocultures won't contribute to this credit, as USGBC spelled out Iin LEED InterpretationLEED Interpretations are official answers to technical inquiries about implementing LEED on a project. They help people understand how their projects can meet LEED requirements and provide clarity on existing options. LEED Interpretations are to be used by any project certifying under an applicable rating system. All project teams are required to adhere to all LEED Interpretations posted before their registration date. This also applies to other addenda. Adherence to rulings posted after a project registers is optional, but strongly encouraged. LEED Interpretations are published in a searchable database at usgbc.org. #10231. Containerized plants are also unlikely to contribute. USGBC is looking for at least six inches of depth of growing medium—in line with an "intensive" green roof—and multiple species that are suited to provide native habitat. The Interpretation gives six species of sedum, on a six-inch growing medium, as an example of an acceptable green roof, as far as contributing to this credit.

    Other options for urban sites

    Projects with limited landscape opportunities can also use off-site land to earn this credit. They must donate offsite land in perpetuity, equal to 60% of the previously developed area (including the building footprint), to a land trust within the same EPA Level III Ecoregion identified for the project site. The land trust must adhere to the Land Trust Alliance ‘Land Trust Standards and Practices’ 2004 Revision.

    Potential conflicts on previously developed sites

    If you have a previously developed site, you might have a harder time with this credit if the nature of your project requires you to have a large surface parking area. Previously developed projects that can limit surface parking will have a much easier time.

    Native grassesProtecting native habitat like these plantings in the Rice Creek Open Space area in northern Shoreview, Minnesota, is a key focus of this credit. Photo Courtesy Shoreview, MNAlso on previously developed sites, using non-native landscaping over a significant portion of a site, such as lush greenery in an arid climate, may present difficulties—with this credit as well as with WEc1: Water Efficient Landscaping.

    Greenfield sites can also be a challenge

    Meeting the requirements for a greenfield site can be challenging due to the limited range of site disturbance permitted under the credit. The limited buffers allowed for site disturbance may make contractors nervous about this credit because of the large turning radius of construction equipment.

    Successful construction and development within these strict parameters is not standard practice—it will require careful mapping of the site to identify allowable areas for disturbance, and staking out construction boundaries to clearly communicate them to all teams working onsite. Caution tapeThe contractor has such an important role in executing the credit that making credit compliance a contractual obligation is important.

    Buffer requirements eased up

    Although still a challenge, the buffer requirements were eased up under a November 2010 LEED addendum. The addendum introduced a new calculation method that could be very useful for teams that are meeting three of the buffer parameters, but having some difficulty with the fourth. See Checklists for more detail.

    FAQs for SSc5.1

    Can I count green roofs toward this credit?

    In order to comply with SSc5.1, green roofs must provide a diversity of native or adapted species that provide animal habitat. This means that extensive roofs with sedum monocultures won't contribute to this credit, as USGBC spelled out Iin LEED Interpretation #10231, issued 10/1/2012.

    Can I count green walls toward this credit?

    No. LEED Interpretation #5310 issued 3/4/2008, states that "Although living walls or vertical landscaping may provide limited habitat for certain species adapted to urban areas, the credit language does not currently allow for use of this approach in calculating area compliance." This Interpetation also notes that green walls cannot contribute to SSc5.2.

    How should we document the off-site restoration option?

    As recently as version 04, the LEED Online form doesn't mention this option. We recommend that teams document it as an alternative compliance path, by providing a letter on letterhead that includes the EPA Level III Ecoregion, confirms the offsite conservation easement is in compliance with the Land Trust Standards, and notes the size of the designated area.

    Can turf grasses contribute to this credit?

    Common turf grass is not considered native. However, it is possible that a variety of grasses, rather than a monoculture, that are selected with the native habitat in mind and are adpated to the local habitat, can contribute to the credit.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Pre-Design

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  • All Projects


  • What kind of site do you have? 

    • Greenfield site—in a natural state, has not been altered by humans. Follow Case 1.
    • Previously developed site—has been developed, graded or altered by human activity. Follow Case 2.
    • Urban site—see below for special considerations.

  • Projects that are part greenfield and part previously developed need to work out a hybrid plan whereby you follow Case 1 requirements in the greenfield area and Case 2 requirements in the previously developed area. Case 2 requires you to protect a specific percentage of the site. In a hybrid situation, use the area of the previously developed portion of the site, not the total site area, to follow these requirements.


  • Case 1: Greenfield Sites


  • Determine the building footprint and the likely locations of other site features:

    • surface walkways, patios, surface parking, and utilities less than 12 inches in diameter;
    • primary roadway curbs and main utility branch trenches;
    • constructed areas with permeable surfaces such as pervious paving areas, stormwater detention facilities, and playing fields.

  • Create a site plan with the required buffer areas (see credit language). You may decide to alter the site plan to accommodate the designated boundary of site disturbance. For example, you may find that keeping sidewalks (which have a 10-foot buffer) within the 40-foot buffer of the building when possible will make sidewalk construction easier, because construction vehicles will have more room to maneuver. 


  • Consider the slope of your site. A steeply sloped site may mean that the required minimum buffer areas don’t leave enough room for construction vehicles. 


  • The general contractor is responsible for executing the plan for minimal site disturbance and verifying that the credit requirements and site parameters were attained. Incorporate adherence to these requirements in contractual language or in the project specifications and plan, as this credit requires more than standard practice, and you need to be sure contractors fully understand the requirements for credit compliance. 


  • The general contractor may charge an additional fee for meeting the credit requirements, as it requires the general contractor to monitor all site activities more closely than they would on a conventional project.  


  • Adhering to the strict site disturbance parameters is challenging, so the general contractor needs to educate the subcontractors about these requirements and watch for any activities that could potentially fall outside of the limited boundary.  


  • Case 2: Previously Developed Sites


  • Calculate the rough site area that you’ll need to restore. Is 50% of your site (minus building footprint) or 20% of the total site (including building footprint) larger?  Whichever is larger, you will need to restore an area of that size. Will this be feasible under the rough design? If you have a small site with a large building footprint, you may not be able to achieve the requirement. 


  • Discuss with the landscape architect the possibility of including native or adapted species on the required area of the site. 


  • Minimize site hardscape and surface parking. This generally opens up more area for the restoration of green space, which can be used as an amenity or for natural stormwater management (helping with SSc6.1 and SSc6.2).


  • You can also protect or restore water bodies, soils, and other ecosystems to meet the credit requirements. Doing so may require the help of a biologist or ecologist, whereas protecting or restoring vegetation may only require a landscape architect. ”Other ecosystems” is a fairly open-ended term, and a project that tries to protect or restore something outside of the defined list will be approved or denied based on your ability to justify it to the LEED reviewer on a project-by-project basis. 


  • Walk the site with a biologist, ecologist, or landscape architect to determine whether you have invasive or non-native species (which would need to be removed), and to assess whether the land and water bodies need work to support native habitat. During this walk, note any native or adapted species that you can protect for credit compliance. 


  • Determine whether you will restore or protect portions of your site. You may find that it takes a combination of the two to meet the area requirements. 

    • Protecting a site involves determining natural site elements that are native or adapted and preserving them. Protecting a site may also involve a covenant or conservation easement.
    • Restoring a site involves removing non-native, non-adapted, invasive, and monoculture species and replacing them with native or adapted species that promote biodiversity and provide habitat for native animals and insects. 

  • Adapted plants are non-invasive species that, once established, can survive in the local climate and ecosystem without the assistance of irrigation and fertilizers. 


  • Turf grass is an example of a monoculture species that is not compliant with the requirements of this credit. Monoculture plantings are essentially the opposite of a biologically diverse landscape, where only one species is planted over an extensive area. 


  • Restoring or protecting portions of a site is a relatively low-cost option to pursue, and compliance with these requirements contributes to the achievement of other LEED credits such as:


  • Determine if a registered landscape architect will be involved in the project. If so, you can document this credit through the LPE streamlined path, in which the landscape architect signs off on the whole credit. Doing so requires much less documentation.


  • Urban Sites


  • For urban sites with limited landscape opportunities, you have two options:

    • If also earning SSc2, you can include green roof area in your calculations, if the vegetation is native or adapted, provides habitat and promotes biodiversity. Note that many shallow, or extensive, green roofs use drought-tolerant sedums that probably do not meet these criteria.
    • In all cases, you can donate offsite land in perpetuity, equal to 60% of the previously developed area (including the building footprint), to a land trust within the same EPA Level III Ecoregion identified for the project site.

  • A new "landscape budget method" has been added for this credit through the November 2010 LEED addenda. This method could be very useful for teams that are close to meeting the buffer zone requirement, but having some difficulty. If a project is meeting 3 of 4 requirements but can't meet the fourth, it can do the following calculation to demonstrate compliance. As a baseline calculation, calculate the area of site disturbance that would take place if you met all four of the requirements exactly. Then, calculate the actual area of site disturbance. If the actual amount is less than the baseline, then you meet the requirement. In essence, you are allotted a "budget" of disturbance and you are allowed to overspend in one parameter if you make for it by under-spending in the other three parameters.

Schematic Design

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  • Your LEED site boundary needs to be consistent across all LEED credits. 


  • Case 1: Greenfield Sites


  • Unless following the "budget method" discussed above, check to make sure that the building footprint will allow the construction team to stay within the site disturbance parameters set forth in the credit language. You need to limit site disturbance to:

    • 40 feet beyond the building perimeter;
    • 10 feet beyond surface walkways, patios, surface parking, and utilities less than 12 inches in diameter;
    • 15 feet beyond primary roadway curbs and main utility branch trenches;
    • and 25 feet beyond constructed areas with permeable surfaces such as pervious paving areas, stormwater detention facilities, and playing fields. (This larger buffer zone recognizes that these surface features may require wider staging areas to prevent compaction while they’re being built.)

  • Case 2: Previously Developed Sites


  • Which is greater?

    • 50% of site excluding building footprint. Subtract the building footprint from the total site area, then divide by two.
    • 20% of total site. Find the total site area (including the building footprint) and divide by five.
    • Whichever is greater is the total area of the site that needs to be restored or protected. 

  • Will your project earn SSc2: Development Density and Community Connectivity? If so, you can include in your calculations the area of a green roof that contains native or adapted non-monoculture species. 


  • Depending on the landscape choice of your green roof, you might find it difficult to meet this credit without an intensive roof. Some sedum selections could be considered monoculture and not able to support biodiversity. Discuss this with your landscape architect or green roof designer. Also, see the LEEDuser strategy on green roofs for more details.


  • If you have a zero-lot-line or dense urban site, carefully consider whether attempting the credit is realistic. Many such sites don’t have enough site area. To create more area, consider stacking the building footprint, incorporating a green roof, or minimizing parking (which would also contribute to SSc4.4: Alternative Transportation—Parking Capacity). You can also donate off-site land to earn the credit (see below).


  • The preserved area can become a special space in the site design—an amenity for occupants and the neighborhood, and a connection to native habitat. 


  • The landscape architect should begin researching native and adapted species for your region. Most cities have local gardens, conservancies, universities or regional organizations that provide a list of native and adapted species. For example, FloridaYards.org is a collaborative effort to provide listings of Florida-friendly and native plant species. 


  • Purchasing native or adapted species is typically less expensive than buying non-native, imported, or tropical species that must be transported in. In some states, plants are available through state nurseries or university extensions at low prices.


  • Depending on the extent and types of invasive species, the removal of non-native and aggressive species could be costly. If your invasive species need eradication, monitoring, and constant control, you could be looking at an expensive investment. However, removing those plants will improve the local ecosystem and possibly avoid irreversible damage to your land and greater community. See the Resources section for more details.


  • Native and adapted species typically require less watering and maintenance, saving operational costs as well as the cost of installing irrigation equipment. 

Design Development

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  • Case 1: Greenfield Sites


  • Create a site plan that delineates the development boundaries. You have the option to provide the site map to document LEED credit compliance, or your contractor can sign the LEED Online credit form saying that the credit requirements were met. Either way, you will want to create a site map with clearly defined limits of site disturbance.


  • The site plan with a clearly defined boundary for minimized site disturbance should include the installation of fencing or other barriers to the non-disturbance area. 


  • Consider what needs the contractor may have for staging areas and site access. You may want to provide dedicated areas for delivery and storage of building materials. Consulting with a contractor at this early stage can make it easier to achieve the credit.


  • Case 2: Previously Developed Sites


  • Create a site plan that delineates the areas of native or adapted species and ecologically appropriate site features, and develop a list of all native and adapted species on the project site. 


  • Verify that your project meets the required percentages of restored or protected vegetation according to the calculations outlined above in the Schematic Design section. 


  • If you plan on counting a green roof in your calculations, verify that you will earn SSc2: Development Density and Community Connectivity


  • If your project does not have a landscape architect, the project architect (or other qualified person) should document credit compliance. However, projects with a registered landscape architect can pursue this credit through the Licensed Professional Exemption (LPE) route. In this case, you do not need to provide a list of all native and adapted species on the site.  


  • To support the survival of your native and adapted plants without the use of permanent irrigation, landscape with the natural contours of the land to make good use of rainwater and natural site hydrology. 

Construction Documents

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  • Case 1: Greenfield Sites


  • Before construction activities begin, the general contractor should educate contractors and subcontractors on the project goals for limited site disturbance and detail a plan for meeting these requirements. 


  • Incorporate carefully defined staging areas for construction activities and contained construction entrances to minimize damage to the protected greenfield area. 


  • Incorporate physical markers around the site areas that are not to be disturbed. Use signs as well as flags, silt fencing, and hay bales.


  • Consider instituting an incentive policy for contractors and subcontractors to encourage compliance. 


  • Regularly remind contractors and subcontractors of the limited site disturbance plan. Orient new contractors as they come to the project during later stages of construction.  

Construction

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  • Case 1: Greenfield Sites


  • Implement plans for construction staging areas, physical barriers, and regular meetings to ensure continued compliance with site disturbance requirements. 


  • Contain all construction activities away from site disturbance boundaries to minimize damage to natural areas. 


  • Monitor the site for compliance with the limited site disturbance requirements.


  • Upload documentation to LEED Online after construction activities have ended. You have two documentation options:

    1. The contractor can declare that the requirements have been met by signing credit form, confirming credit compliance. 
    2. You can upload construction documents that show your site’s limited disturbance boundaries for credit compliance.

  • Taking date-stamped pictures of the protected areas at designated times throughout the project helps ensure compliance and provides supporting documentation if there are any questions about your project’s compliance. 


  • Case 2: Previously Developed Sites


  • Upload documentation to LEED Online after construction activities have ended.


  • Provide the total site area restored or protected, total site area (including the building footprint), the building footprint, a site plan showing all natural areas contributing to credit compliance and, if you are providing full documentation (not attempting the streamlined LPE path), a list of the native and adapted vegetation that contributes to credit compliance. If you are providing documentation through the streamlined LPE path, a Registered Landscape Architect needs to sign off stating that the requirements for native or adapted plantings have been achieved. 

Operations & Maintenance

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  • Case 1: Greenfield Sites


  • Work with the management team to ensure that continued protection protocols are put in place for the buffered areas, to help preserve them and the natural areas beyond. 


  • Installing signage to educate users about the value of protected land helps ensure that natural areas remain respected and protected. 


  • Case 2: Previously Developed Sites


  • You may need to set up a temporary irrigation system for a vegetation establishment period of up to one year (going beyond one year would conflict with the intent of this credit, and WEc1: Water Efficient Landscaping). The system should be designed for easy removal.

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Core and Shell Development

    SS Credit 5.1: Site development - protect or restore habitat

    1 Point

    Intent

    To conserve existing natural areas and restore damaged areas to provide habitat and promote biodiversity.

    Requirements

    Case 1. Greenfield sites1

    Limit all site disturbance to the following parameters:

    • 40 feet (12 meters) beyond the building perimeter and parking garages;
    • 10 feet (3 meters) beyond surface walkways, patios, surface parking and utilities less than 12 inches (30 centimeters) in diameter;
    • 15 feet (4.5 meters) beyond primary roadway curbs and main utility branch trenches;
    • 25 feet (8 meters) beyond constructed areas with permeable surfaces (such as pervious paving areas, stormwater detention facilities and playing fields) that require additional staging areas to limit compaction in the constructed area.
    Case 2. Previously developed2 areas or graded sites

    Restore or protect a minimum of 50% of the site (excluding the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint.) or 20% of the total site area (including building footprint), whichever is greater, with native or adapted vegetationAdapted (or introduced) plants reliably grow well in a given habitat with minimal winter protection, pest control, fertilization, or irrigation once their root systems are established. Adapted plants are considered low maintenance and not invasive..3 Projects earning SS Credit 2: Development Density and Community Connectivity may include vegetated roof surface in this calculation if the plants are native or adapted, provide habitat, and promote biodiversity.

    Projects with limited landscape opportunities may also donate offsiteland in perpetuity, equal to 60% of the previously developed area (including the building footprint), to a land trust within the same EPA Level III Ecoregion identified for the project site. The land trust mustadhere to the Land Trust Alliance 'Land Trust Standards andPractices' 2004 Revision.

    1 Greenfield sites are sites not previously developed or graded that could support open space, habitat, or agriculture..

    2 Native or adapted plants are plants indigenous to a locality or cultivars of native plants that are adapted to the local climate and are not considered invasive species or noxious weeds.

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    Survey greenfield sites to identify site elements and adopt a master plan for developing the project site. Carefully site the building to minimize disruption to existing ecosystems, and design the building to minimize its footprint. Strategies include stacking the building program, tuck-under parking and sharing parking facilities with neighbors. Establish clearly marked construction boundaries to minimize disturbance of the existing site, and restore previously degraded areas to their natural state. For previously developedPreviously developed sites are those altered by paving, construction, and/or land use that would typically have required regulatory permitting to have been initiated (alterations may exist now or in the past). Previously developed land includes a platted lot on which a building was constructed if the lot is no more than 1 acre; previous development on lots larger than 1 acre is defined as the development footprint and land alterations associated with the footprint. Land that is not previously developed and altered landscapes resulting from current or historical clearing or filling, agricultural or forestry use, or preserved natural area use are considered undeveloped land. The date of previous development permit issuance constitutes the date of previous development, but permit issuance in itself does not constitute previous development." sites, use local and regional governmental agencies, consultants, educational facilities, and native plant societies as resources for the selection of appropriate native or adapted plants. Prohibit plants listed as invasive or noxious weed species. Once established, native/adapted plants require minimal or no irrigation, do not require active maintenance such as mowing or chemical inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides, and provide habitat value and promote biodiversity through avoidance of monoculture plantings.

    FOOTNOTES

    1. Greenfield sites are those that are not previously developed or graded and remain in a natural state.

    2. Previously developed areas are those that previously contained buildings, roadways, parking lots or were graded or altered by direct human
    activities.

    3. Native/adapted plants are plants indigenous to a locality or cultivars of native plants that are adapted to the local climate and are not considered
    invasive species or noxious weeds.

Publications

National Invasive Species Information Center

This website provides links to local information on invasive species, provides an overview of the problem and regulations associated with invasive species, and provides information on grants and funding opportunities. 


Ecological Restoration

This quarterly print and online publication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum provides a forum for people interested in all aspects of ecological restorationEcological restoration is the process of assisting in the recovery and management of ecological integrity and includes biodiversity, ecological processes and structures, regional and historical context, and sustainable cultural practices.


Land Trust Alliance

This website can help locate land trusts that may help a project with the offsite restoration option within this credit.

Organizations

North American Native Plant Society

NANPS is a nonprofit association dedicated to the study, conservation, cultivation, and restoration of native plants. Its website contains links to state and local associations. 


Society for Ecological Restoration International

The mission of this nonprofit consortium of scientists, planners, administrators, ecological consultants, landscape architects, engineers, and others is to promote ecological restorationEcological restoration is the process of assisting in the recovery and management of ecological integrity and includes biodiversity, ecological processes and structures, regional and historical context, and sustainable cultural practices. as a means of sustaining the diversity of life and to reestablish an ecologically healthy relationship between nature and culture. 


Soil and Water Conservation Society

This organization focuses on fostering the science and art of sustainable soil, water, and related natural resource management.


Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a conservation organization that works to protect ecologically important lands and water. 


Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center

The center, located in Austin, Texas, has the mission of educating people about the environmental necessity, economic value, and natural beauty of native plants. The website offers a number of resources, including a nationwide native plant information network and a national suppliers directory.

Site Plan Documentation

Case 1: Greenfield Site

If your greenfield project documents this credit through the use of a site plan you will need to provide a document similar to this example.

Site Plan Documentation

Case 2: Previously Developed Site

If your previously developedPreviously developed sites are those altered by paving, construction, and/or land use that would typically have required regulatory permitting to have been initiated (alterations may exist now or in the past). Previously developed land includes a platted lot on which a building was constructed if the lot is no more than 1 acre; previous development on lots larger than 1 acre is defined as the development footprint and land alterations associated with the footprint. Land that is not previously developed and altered landscapes resulting from current or historical clearing or filling, agricultural or forestry use, or preserved natural area use are considered undeveloped land. The date of previous development permit issuance constitutes the date of previous development, but permit issuance in itself does not constitute previous development." site project documents this credit through the use of a site plan you will need to provide a document similar to this example.

LEED Online Forms: CS-2009 SS

The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each CS-2009 SS credit. You'll need to fill out the live versions of these forms on LEED Online for each credit you hope to earn.

Version 4 forms (newest):

Version 3 forms:

These links are posted by LEEDuser with USGBC's permission. USGBC has certain usage restrictions on these forms; for more information, visit LEED Online and click "Sample Forms Download."

Construction Submittal

HardhatDocumentation for this credit is part of the Construction Phase submittal.

101 Comments

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Dina Ammar
Nov 23 2014
Guest
128 Thumbs Up

How do you restore habitat on a reclaimed land?

Would a reclaimed land qualify as a Greenfield Site and can a project on such site earn SSc5.1 under case 1? Given that the land reclamation occurred twenty years ago would that land have a 'natural habitat' to restore?

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April Brown Projects Manager, Institute for the Built Environment Dec 08 2014 LEEDuser Expert 579 Thumbs Up

You will have to submit a CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide for this as I don't think a precedence has been set for land that has been created.

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CT G
Aug 06 2014
LEEDuser Member
194 Thumbs Up

Required Vegetated Area

Hello,

We have a project with the following site constraints:

The LEED Project Boundary includes 2 new buildings: an office tower, and a small bank building. The office tower is part of the LEED Certification, but the bank building is not. However, because the underground parking takes up the entire site area, we have drawn the LEED Project Boundary at the underground perimeter, which means that, above grade, the small bank building is within the Project Boundary.

The PIf4 LEED Boundary plan clearly shows that the small bank building is excluded from the LEED Certification. However, on the template, we have included the entire site area as the LEED Project Boundary, since that is true underground.

For this particular credit (SSc5.1), the template automatically calculates the amount of open vegetated space as the LEED Project Boundary - the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint. (in this case we have only accounted for the office tower) x 50%. However, this calculation does not account for the footprint of the small bank building.

Therefore, the question is: how do we account for the footprint of the small bank building which we need to subtract from the LEED Project Boundary in order to arrive at the correct calculation for vegetated space? Should we include that footprint as part of the Building Footprint value (adding it to the office tower)? Or, since the roof of the bank is vegetated with native species, should we include that area as part of the vegetated area (we are achieving SSc2), even though the building itself is excluded from certification?

Thanks for any advice!

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April Brown Projects Manager, Institute for the Built Environment Dec 08 2014 LEEDuser Expert 579 Thumbs Up

Hi there,

Since the small bank building is not part of your LEED certification, you would exclude the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint. of the bank in your open space calculations. Simply put, you will exclude any part of the bank building as part of your LEED certification calculations. The tricky part of your approach is that if the bank building ever wanted to pursue certification, technically they're LEED boundaries should not overlap. If the underground parking is shared, another way to approach this is to not include all of the underground parking area, as that's not technically required per the MPR supplemental guidance.

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John Burnett FAC-LEEDership
Mar 13 2014
LEEDuser Member
411 Thumbs Up

Vegetated area requirement

Hello, I am working on a project in China. According to local standards, only area with 600mm (approx. 24 inch) soil depth can be counted as "vegetated area", do LEED has the same requirement regarding the soil depth? Much appreciate

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 26 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

No, LEED does not have such a specific definition in relation to soil depth.

Post a Reply
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Michelle Rosenberger Partner ArchEcology, LLC
Jan 08 2014
LEEDuser Member
5862 Thumbs Up

Undeveloped vs. Greenfield

One of our warehouse projects is the fifth phase of an existing development. Our project is basically infill on a site already served by infrastructure and is bordered on two sides by industrial buildings, on the third side by public roadway, with a river on the fourth side. The site was formerly farmland, so we don’t qualify for SScr1, but the area has long been zoned industrial and is jam packed with warehouses.

Our issue has to do with the difference between greenfield, undeveloped and previously developedPreviously developed sites are those altered by paving, construction, and/or land use that would typically have required regulatory permitting to have been initiated (alterations may exist now or in the past). Previously developed land includes a platted lot on which a building was constructed if the lot is no more than 1 acre; previous development on lots larger than 1 acre is defined as the development footprint and land alterations associated with the footprint. Land that is not previously developed and altered landscapes resulting from current or historical clearing or filling, agricultural or forestry use, or preserved natural area use are considered undeveloped land. The date of previous development permit issuance constitutes the date of previous development, but permit issuance in itself does not constitute previous development.". As part of our project scope, we are restoring a large buffer zone between our development and the river with native and adaptive vegetation and deeding it over to the City. It seems as if the project should be able to get credit for that restoration with respect to the intent of SScr5.1.

However, because we are former farmland, the site is technically undeveloped per Addendum. The implication is that undeveloped is the same as greenfield, in which case we would need to protect our greenfield from disturbance to comply with SScr5.1.

This makes no sense to us because the reality is that we have no actual greenfield to protect. The entire area is not in a natural state and is currently vegetated with monoculture. To restore it, we literally will have to rip out what is there and replace it with native/ adaptive vegetation.

The USGBC response to our question on this was, "site disturbance must be limited in the greenfield area, and native and adapted vegetationAdapted (or introduced) plants reliably grow well in a given habitat with minimal winter protection, pest control, fertilization, or irrigation once their root systems are established. Adapted plants are considered low maintenance and not invasive. must be protected or restored for at least 50% (excluding the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint.) of the previously developed site area."

Though the buffer area we are restoring would constitute at least 50% of the site, we can't comply because we can't limit site disturbance in the "greenfield" area that we are going to restore to actual greenfield. Does this make sense to anyone? Any suggestions?

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Michelle Rosenberger Partner, ArchEcology, LLC Jan 28 2014 LEEDuser Member 5862 Thumbs Up

FYI, after another run at GBCI, they have agreed that our site meets the intent of the credit, and we will proceed under Option 2 previously developedPreviously developed sites are those altered by paving, construction, and/or land use that would typically have required regulatory permitting to have been initiated (alterations may exist now or in the past). Previously developed land includes a platted lot on which a building was constructed if the lot is no more than 1 acre; previous development on lots larger than 1 acre is defined as the development footprint and land alterations associated with the footprint. Land that is not previously developed and altered landscapes resulting from current or historical clearing or filling, agricultural or forestry use, or preserved natural area use are considered undeveloped land. The date of previous development permit issuance constitutes the date of previous development, but permit issuance in itself does not constitute previous development." compliance for this credit only.

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Ghaith Moufarege
Nov 04 2013
LEEDuser Member
8329 Thumbs Up

Greenfield Site

Hello,
Our project is a greenfield site (agricultural land) in a sub-urban area, we have a building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint. taking ~all the site, so we didn’t protect any land on site but we didn’t disturb the undeveloped areas around the site. Can we obtain the credit in this case? Is there a requirement of protecting a minimum of the project site area under the Greenfield site case?
Thank you

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 04 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Omar, if it is a greenfield site, then you need to follow Case 1 requirements. See the details of those requirements in the credit language above.

I am not sure of your specific questions, so I would suggest reviewing that language and then posting back here with follow up.

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Ghaith Moufarege Nov 04 2013 LEEDuser Member 8329 Thumbs Up

Thank you Tristan and Apologies for the confusion.
As per SSc5.1 (OPTION 1), projects on Greenfield sites must limit disturbances to 40 feet beyond building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint..

The building footprint I'm assessing occupies more than 95% of the plot area, meaning that the public street is a couple of feet away from the proposed building (~10 feet only).

I'm assuming, for the sake of this credit, that we can disturb the whole plot, since any point inside the LEED project boundary would still be within 40 feet from the building perimeter. Can you please confirm?
Thanks

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 04 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

If the street is on all 4 sides, then yes, it sounds like that's the case.

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Ghaith Moufarege Nov 04 2013 LEEDuser Member 8329 Thumbs Up

Thank you Tristan,
The street is on 3 sides. On the 4th side, it is an undeveloped land (outside the LEED project boundary) which will remain untouched by the site activities.

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Colin Twohig Project Coordinator Environmental Building Strategies
Aug 28 2013
LEEDuser Member
5 Thumbs Up

Land Trusts and Land Use Restriction Agreements

We have a project that is going for LEED Core and Sheel v2009 certification in a densely populated urban area and needs to pursue some form of contractual interaction with a land trust in order to achieve SSc5.1.

Per addenda # 100000737, we can "donate offsite land in perpetuity, equal to 60% of the previously developedPreviously developed sites are those altered by paving, construction, and/or land use that would typically have required regulatory permitting to have been initiated (alterations may exist now or in the past). Previously developed land includes a platted lot on which a building was constructed if the lot is no more than 1 acre; previous development on lots larger than 1 acre is defined as the development footprint and land alterations associated with the footprint. Land that is not previously developed and altered landscapes resulting from current or historical clearing or filling, agricultural or forestry use, or preserved natural area use are considered undeveloped land. The date of previous development permit issuance constitutes the date of previous development, but permit issuance in itself does not constitute previous development." area (including the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint.), to a land trust within the same EPA Level III Ecoregion". However, the project owner does not own any such land that could qualify under the language of this addenda.

A colleague of mine has achieved SSc5 through LEED EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. v2009 by working with GFEX (http://land.gfex.org/) and engaging in a Land Use Restriction Agreement. This involves signing a land offset contract with a third party where they agree to certain land conservation and preservation practices on a distinct piece of land for a certain length of time.

Is this option available to a project pursuing SSc5.1 under LEED Core and Shell v2009? Because it appears that in the language of the addenda quoted above that a project owner must physically donate land NOT engage in a contractual agreement.

Acquiring and donating 1 acre of land is not feasible for the project owner. However, engaging in a Land Use Restriction Agreement with a Land Trust or another entity is feasible.

Any clarification, insight, or success stories would be greatly appreciated.

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Brian Fabella Jul 23 2014 LEEDuser Member 2 Thumbs Up

Are there any updates / new insight with the Land Trust option for those projects with limited landscape opportunities? I tried to contact Sam Glass at USGBC, but the email bounced back to me.

I wanted to know if the Land Use Restriction agreement [described by Colin above] was a valid option. Or if there were other types of agreements with a Land Trust that could be used, aside from purchasing and donating land to a qualified land trust. Thanks.

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Brian Fabella Jul 24 2014 LEEDuser Member 2 Thumbs Up

Thank you for your email, Colin. It was very helpful and interesting. For others who are interested in this option, you can read this article: http://www.usgbc.org/articles/protecting-america-beautiful-how-leed-help...

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Theresa Backhus Sites Technical Specialist, LEED, USGBC Jul 28 2014 LEEDuser Member 466 Thumbs Up

Hello Brian,
Pilot alternative compliance path (ACP) 83 is available for 2009 and v4 projects. The ACP involves working with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to provide financial support rather than offsite land. The ACP language can be found here: http://www.usgbc.org/node/2756276?return=/pilotcredits

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Brian Fabella Jul 28 2014 LEEDuser Member 2 Thumbs Up

Thanks Theresa. Will this ACP ever be opened up to allow financial support to land trusts that adhere to the Land Trust Alliance ‘Land Trust Standards and Practices’ 2004 Revision, per the original credit description ("Other Options for Urban Sites") in SSc5.1? I have spoken to some local qualified land trusts that are potentially interested.

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Theresa Backhus Sites Technical Specialist, LEED, USGBC Jul 28 2014 LEEDuser Member 466 Thumbs Up

The v4 version of this credit currently includes that option (http://www.usgbc.org/node/2758192?return=/credits/core-and-shell/v4). We are always looking for ways to improve LEED, so I will explore this approach (for the 2009 credit) with the Sustainable Sites Technical Advisory Group. Thanks!

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Marcela Larrain Architect LEED AP BD+C ChileGBC
May 29 2013
Guest
8 Thumbs Up

Building Footprint

In our Project we have an underground floor with retail program that has a larger projection that the ground floor which is also retail.
The underground floor area is the same as the LEED boundary area.
How should I consider the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint.? Do I consider the footprint of the ground floor or the footprint of the underground floor?
In case of considering the footprint of the underground floor, how can I calculate the open space and hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. areas outside the building footprint located in the ground level?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 04 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Marcela, LEED defines the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint. as the area of the site used by the building structure. In this case it seems that you should exclude the underground area from the footprint.

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Michael E. Edmonds-Bauer Edmonds International
Apr 13 2013
LEEDuser Member
1895 Thumbs Up

Open bottom planters

Reading the missing manuals I saw that planters can contribute to credit compliance as long as they are open bottom.

By language barriers we do not fully understand the difference betweet an open bottom and a closed bottom.

Could somebody please explain the differrence between these two?

Thank you very much.

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MM K Jul 10 2013 Guest 1509 Thumbs Up

Michael,

We have the same issue. Can anyone give a bit more details regarding this?

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Phil Meyer
Jan 31 2013
Guest
89 Thumbs Up

Off-site Native Vegetation

Can anyone clarify how we can achieve SSc5.1 through the use of off-site native vegetationPlants indigenous to a locality (native) and adapted to the local climate; they require limited irrigation following planting, do not require active maintenance such as mowing, and provide habitat value.? Do we use an alternative compliance approach and submit forms from LEED EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. for this same credit? I am confused as to why the credit language discusses (almost as an afterthought) the use of an off-site land trust donation as an option but then does not include it in the forms. Has anyone earned this credit through this approach?

The credit language for Case 2 of LEED CS SSc5.1:

"Case 2. Previously developedPreviously developed sites are those altered by paving, construction, and/or land use that would typically have required regulatory permitting to have been initiated (alterations may exist now or in the past). Previously developed land includes a platted lot on which a building was constructed if the lot is no more than 1 acre; previous development on lots larger than 1 acre is defined as the development footprint and land alterations associated with the footprint. Land that is not previously developed and altered landscapes resulting from current or historical clearing or filling, agricultural or forestry use, or preserved natural area use are considered undeveloped land. The date of previous development permit issuance constitutes the date of previous development, but permit issuance in itself does not constitute previous development." areas or graded sites

Restore or protect a minimum of 50% of the site (excluding the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint.) or 20% of the total site area (including building footprint), whichever is greater, with native or adapted vegetationAdapted (or introduced) plants reliably grow well in a given habitat with minimal winter protection, pest control, fertilization, or irrigation once their root systems are established. Adapted plants are considered low maintenance and not invasive.. Projects earning SS Credit 2: Development Density and Community Connectivity may include vegetated roof surface in this calculation if the plants are native or adapted, provide habitat, and promote biodiversity.

Projects with limited landscape opportunities may also donate offsiteland in perpetuity, equal to 60% of the previously developed area (including the building footprint), to a land trust within the same EPA Level III Ecoregion identified for the project site. The land trust mustadhere to the Land Trust Alliance 'Land Trust Standards andPractices' 2004 Revision."

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 31 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Phil, I would fill out the regular CS SSc5.1 form, but explain your approach in a narrative under special circumstances. Looking at the EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. SSc5 form is a good idea in terms of what is expected for documentation, and you should provide that documentation as well. If it seems expedient to use the EBOM form in addition to your CS form,  I would do so and upload it.

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Phil Meyer
Jan 29 2013
Guest
89 Thumbs Up

Incorporating LEED interpretation to SSc5.1

Hi all,

I have a question regarding a recent LEED interpretationLEED Interpretations are official answers to technical inquiries about implementing LEED on a project. They help people understand how their projects can meet LEED requirements and provide clarity on existing options. LEED Interpretations are to be used by any project certifying under an applicable rating system. All project teams are required to adhere to all LEED Interpretations posted before their registration date. This also applies to other addenda. Adherence to rulings posted after a project registers is optional, but strongly encouraged. LEED Interpretations are published in a searchable database at usgbc.org. citing SSc5.1. The interpretation basically states that in order for green roofs to count towards this credit, they must be INtensive (6" min. depth) rather than extensive and must incorporate at least 6 different species of sedum. My question is this: Since our project was registered on 2/15/12 and this LEED interpretation was published 10/1/12, is it required that we adhere to its ruling? We were on track to achieve this credit but had specified an extensive system (4" depth). Thanks.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 29 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Phil, typically you would not be held to an Interpretation posted after your registration date. However, the requirement that a green roof contribute to habitat value to contribute to this credit is not new—it's built into the credit language, and this Interpretation only clarifies specific criteria that USGBC is looking for. So I think you can make a  case for earning the credit, and note in your documentation that the Interpretation was posted after your registration date, but I wouldn't feel confident about earning the credit.

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Phil Meyer Jan 29 2013 Guest 89 Thumbs Up

Thanks Tristan. I just saw in the credit language that there is an option for an offsite land trust donation. I don't recall seeing this option in the LEED online form (v2009, form version 4.0). If we decided to pursue this option, would we document it under "Alternative Compliance Path"? Has anyone had success using this option?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 22 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Yes, document it as an ACP.

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Marcio Alberto Casado Pereira
Jan 11 2013
LEEDuser Member
3817 Thumbs Up

Green Walls

Hi all!

Can I get any benefit from having green walls in my project, for the purpose of this credit?

P.S: It is a Previously DevelopedPreviously developed sites are those altered by paving, construction, and/or land use that would typically have required regulatory permitting to have been initiated (alterations may exist now or in the past). Previously developed land includes a platted lot on which a building was constructed if the lot is no more than 1 acre; previous development on lots larger than 1 acre is defined as the development footprint and land alterations associated with the footprint. Land that is not previously developed and altered landscapes resulting from current or historical clearing or filling, agricultural or forestry use, or preserved natural area use are considered undeveloped land. The date of previous development permit issuance constitutes the date of previous development, but permit issuance in itself does not constitute previous development." Area.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 11 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Probably not—you're not likely to be able to show that it is adequate to the standards of the credit, and it would be tricky to show equivalence in terms of area. You're welcome to make a case for it, though!

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 29 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Marcio, LEED Interpretation #5385 states that green walls cannot be applied to the vegetation calculations for this credit. So that  is a more definitive answer for you.

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Kevin Gilleran
Dec 06 2012
LEEDuser Member
260 Thumbs Up

Building Footprint- Underground Wine Caves

We are working on a winery project with an above ground winery building and connected underground wine storage caves. Should we included the underground caves in our building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint. calculations for the amount of restored area required?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 14 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Kevin, if the area above those caves is essentially open green space and not hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios., then I would probably not count it. But it's kind of a gray area.

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Pedro Ribeiro Director of Sustainability Edifícios Saudáveis Consultores
Dec 04 2012
LEEDuser Member
812 Thumbs Up

Building footprint definition

According to the LEEDuser glossary, «building footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan».

Taking this in consideration, a building’s footprint is the horizontal projected area of the built structure from the roof down to ground level? Or is it only the area covered by the structure at ground level or at grade?

In other words, do we have to consider the projections from the upper floors and/or roof?

Regards.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 14 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Pedro, you have two options, either of which is defensible in my opinion—use the perimenter of the plan view at grade, or use the perimeter of the plan view when viewed from above the whole building. The grade-level option is usually simpler, but with large overhangs or terraces the other option might make more sense.

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Pedro Ribeiro Director of Sustainability, Edifícios Saudáveis Consultores Dec 14 2012 LEEDuser Member 812 Thumbs Up

Thank you Tristan.

In the case I'm currently working the building is comprised of two volumes crossed by a road at grade level, and this volumes are connected at first floor level. Taking into account that the area of the building is larger at 1st floor level and that the ground area covered by the building's first floor is impermeable I thought that it would make more sense to consider the area of the first floor as the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint..

By the way, do you have any idea if LEED reviewers are usually picky with area definitions such as LEED site boundary and building footprint?
The project that I refered above is located inside an industrial campus, and the building that is being intervened has some vegetated areas associated that will also suffer alterations. The question is that these vegetated areas go beyond the parcel that will be altered. Do you think that I can include the altered part of these vegetated areas in the site boundary or will I be accused of gerrymandering?

Regards.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 14 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Pedro, given your situation I would consider the first floor area as the footprint.

If a reviewer sees something in these figures that seems off, and that may impact credit achievement, then they might question it. It may be a good idea to include a brief narrative explaining the situation and how you are interpreting it.

If the vegetated areas are adjacent to the building then I don't see why you can't include them, but it's possible that I'm not understanding your question.

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Adam Targowski Owner ATsec
Nov 27 2012
Guest
1859 Thumbs Up

farmland and disturbance limits

1. Does farmland fall under case 1 or 2?

2. Case 1 requires to limit site disturbance. Does it mean that materials storage and all construction facilities have to be within these limits?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 27 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Adam, farmland is generally defined as not previously developedPreviously developed sites are those altered by paving, construction, and/or land use that would typically have required regulatory permitting to have been initiated (alterations may exist now or in the past). Previously developed land includes a platted lot on which a building was constructed if the lot is no more than 1 acre; previous development on lots larger than 1 acre is defined as the development footprint and land alterations associated with the footprint. Land that is not previously developed and altered landscapes resulting from current or historical clearing or filling, agricultural or forestry use, or preserved natural area use are considered undeveloped land. The date of previous development permit issuance constitutes the date of previous development, but permit issuance in itself does not constitute previous development.".

If materials storage and construction facilities will disturb the site, then yes, they need to be within those limits.

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Adam Targowski Owner, ATsec Nov 28 2012 Guest 1859 Thumbs Up

Yes but I'm not sure if I should consider it a greenfield site or a graded site.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 28 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Adam, what aren't you sure about? I'd need more information on the project site to help you determine that. I would strongly recommend carefully reviewing the definition of previously developedPreviously developed sites are those altered by paving, construction, and/or land use that would typically have required regulatory permitting to have been initiated (alterations may exist now or in the past). Previously developed land includes a platted lot on which a building was constructed if the lot is no more than 1 acre; previous development on lots larger than 1 acre is defined as the development footprint and land alterations associated with the footprint. Land that is not previously developed and altered landscapes resulting from current or historical clearing or filling, agricultural or forestry use, or preserved natural area use are considered undeveloped land. The date of previous development permit issuance constitutes the date of previous development, but permit issuance in itself does not constitute previous development.", as well as the credit language for this credit and other relevant credits such as SSc1.

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Heather Holdridge Sustainability Coordinator Lake/Flato Architects
Nov 21 2012
LEEDuser Member
1363 Thumbs Up

Exemplary performance for offsite land

We are planning to donate offsite land to a land trust to gain earn this credit. This land will be equal to more than 75% of the previously developedPreviously developed sites are those altered by paving, construction, and/or land use that would typically have required regulatory permitting to have been initiated (alterations may exist now or in the past). Previously developed land includes a platted lot on which a building was constructed if the lot is no more than 1 acre; previous development on lots larger than 1 acre is defined as the development footprint and land alterations associated with the footprint. Land that is not previously developed and altered landscapes resulting from current or historical clearing or filling, agricultural or forestry use, or preserved natural area use are considered undeveloped land. The date of previous development permit issuance constitutes the date of previous development, but permit issuance in itself does not constitute previous development." area (including the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint.). Are we eligible for exemplary performanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements. using this compliance path?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 21 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

When the offsite option was added with an 11/3/10 addenda, the EP paths for this credit were not revised to include an offsite path. You could request a CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide to clarify if this is possible, but on its surface, LEED does not allow this. Also, given that the offsite threshold is higher than the onsite threshold to earn the basic credit, I would think that an EP threshold for offsite, it if existed, might be higher than 75%.

 

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Adam Targowski Owner ATsec
Nov 02 2012
Guest
1859 Thumbs Up

vegetated roof accessible for everyone

Can a project that doesn't get points under SS Cre 2 include green roof surface that is accessible for everyone in calculations for SS Cre 5.1? Does the statement from the reference guide that says "projects earning SS Credit 2: Development Density and Community Connectivity may include vegetated roof surface in this calculation" include both roofs accessible and not accessible for people?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 02 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Adam, reading the logic of that statement from the credit language, it follows that green roof areaRoof area is the area of the uppermost surface of the building which covers enclosed Gross Floor Area, as measured when projected onto a flat, horizontal surface (i.e. as seen in Roof Plan view). ‘Roofs’, or portions of roofs, covering unenclosed areas (e.g. roofs over porches and open covered parking structures) are not included in the areas used to evaluate compliance with SSc7.2, though they may be applicable to SSc7.1. may not be included in credit compliance here if you are not earning SSc2.

Accessibility to people is not a factor under SSc5.1—see SSc5.2 for that.

Make sense?

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Adam Targowski Owner, ATsec Nov 06 2012 Guest 1859 Thumbs Up

Yes, thanks. I just wanted to make sure it's like that. We are fighting for every poit.
But I think that then I cannot include green roof (even if it's accessible for people) under SSc5.2 either because the project doesn't get SSc2.

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Marcio Alberto Casado Pereira
Sep 24 2012
LEEDuser Member
3817 Thumbs Up

Private terrace

My C&S project has a terrace on the 1st floor (below there is only the parking garage). That terrace is only accessible by the Meeting Room, which is used by the building users. The meeting room is only accessible by the people that rent the meeting room (by hour).
The terrace of that meeting room has native and adapted vegetationAdapted (or introduced) plants reliably grow well in a given habitat with minimal winter protection, pest control, fertilization, or irrigation once their root systems are established. Adapted plants are considered low maintenance and not invasive..
Question: Can I count that area for SSc5.1, or is there any restriction to that area, as it is not completely acessible by everyone and is not considered roof above a densely occupied space? Thank you in advance!

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 02 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Marcio, I think your question is more applicable to SSc5.2. See the LEEDuser guidance above titled "Don’t confuse with SSc5.2."

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Mary Ann Santos
Sep 06 2012
LEEDuser Member
2357 Thumbs Up

Appurtenances

I'm reviewing a project that will install skylight for basement parking. The skylight and the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint. is inside the project boundary. My question is, should the skylight be excluded from the calculations for this credit? Thanks.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Sep 08 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Mary Ann, I would count the skylight as part of the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint..

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tanner white
Aug 01 2012
Guest
74 Thumbs Up

project footprint definiton

I have a building with 3 foot overhangs around it. When calculating the "footprint of project building" under "project summery details", do i include these overhangs as a part of the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint.?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Aug 30 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Tanner, I would not include those in the footprint.

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Irina Serrano
Jul 05 2012
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31 Thumbs Up

Offsite Landscape

I'm working on a project in Sao Paulo, Brazil and our project will implement a green area (1506.95 sf) outside our leed project boundary. This area is owned by the city government but will be maintained by the owner or the LEED building's administration. It can be counted for compliance with this credit requirement?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 14 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Irina, it might be able to -- check the Minimum Program Requirements supplemental guidance document from USGBC for guidance.

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Gabriela Hernández Castillo Architect, LEED AP BD+C SYASA - México
Jun 28 2012
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2594 Thumbs Up

Planters

We need to apply for the option 2 in our project since the 20% of the total site area is greater than the 50% of the site excluding the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint..

According to the 20% requirement, we need to provide 8,313 sqft of green area (total site area is 41,570 sqft).

We are providing a total of 9,151 sqft of vegetated surface by the following:

7,184 sqft of green areas (greenroof and at ground level)
1,967 sqft of planters (on green roof and ground level too)

Can we use the planters' area in order to achieve credit compliance?

If we only count the green areas we will be out of compliance. If we use the planters we will achieve it.

We area applying for SSc2 Development Density.

Any comments will be appreciated. Thank you.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Aug 30 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Samuel, I would count the planters, although it's up to GBCI to decide if they truly pass muster. Let us know how it works out.

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Sonia M. Miranda Palacios RA / LEED AP BD+C / QCxP cota.CERO
Jun 19 2012
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268 Thumbs Up

Can Interior vegetated areas in the ground floor be counted?

I´m working in a Project in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that is trying to achieve SSc5.1. As per LEED Calculations, we need 2,012.05 square meters (21,657.53 sf) of vegetated area, with native plants that guarantee a good native habitat while restoring the site with native species. The project is a tall tower in an open site, which has both hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. surfaces for pedestrians and vegetated areas for native plants. The site is in a dense downtown area, with tall buildings and few green spaces.
Currently the Project has 2,089.60 sm (22,492.27 sf) in three major areas:
1. Green Vegetated Roof: 199.86 sm (2,151.28 sf)
2. Green Aras in the Ground Plaza – Open Plaza (also has Pedestrian Areas): 1,653.86 sm (17,802.00 sf)
3. Interior Vegetated Areas in the Ground Floor: 235.88 sm (2,539.00sf)

The architects have decided that in order to reinforce the green and sustainable concept of the building, the green areas from the Plaza will become part of the interior Ground Floor space. The ground level has a glass curtain wall that will permit the views from the interior to the exterior, unifying both spaces. The intention is that the green areas flow both inside and outside of the building.

The main question then is: can I count this interior surface as part of the vegetated areas? The plants that will be used will be native plants that can live in interior conditions. If I do not count this interior vegetated area; I will be off by 158.33 sm (1,650.43 sf), almost 7 % less than what is required, and will not make use of one of the most important green and sustainable elements of the building, its connection to the outdoors.

Any Advice? Is it ok to count these interior areas?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Aug 30 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Sonia, based on the credit intent, to provide habitat and promote biodiversity, I don't think it would be logical to include these interior planters.

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Brittany Eldredge
Mar 09 2012
LEEDuser Member
209 Thumbs Up

Sedums as Habitat

I've heard recently that Sedum roofs are no longer being accepted as providing enough habitat to achieve 5.1. Is there any truth to this?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Apr 05 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Brittany, it's my understanding that this is true,  but that it's not a new thing. We discuss this in a couple places under the Checklists tab above.

Anyone else have experience trying to get sedums recognized as habitat?

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Gabriela Hernández Castillo Architect, LEED AP BD+C SYASA - México
Feb 20 2012
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2594 Thumbs Up

Land trust

Our project has very limited landscape options and I just found out about the offsite land donation.

We are by no means familiar with the Land trust nor the EPA level III ecoregion. Would somebody please explain a little bit more about these?

Thank you so much.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 21 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

David, what are your specific questions about this option? There is more information above, and you can review the standard that is referenced for information.

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Wagner Oliveira CTE
Jan 30 2012
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611 Thumbs Up

Building Footprint - Parking Garages

Dears,

In our recent projects we are having some doubts about the “Building Footprint” definition. These doubts have appeared in relation with the exclusion of some types of spaces of the Building footprint . Below the “Building Footprint” definition, presented in LEED On line.

“Building footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint."

Considering the text above, we have some questions about the exclusion of the parking garages and parking lots of the Building footprint, we are concerned if this exclusion is applied for all situations. So we have two scenarios in which we would like to know if we should exclude or not the parking garages area from the building footprint:

1. Case: When the garage is connected to the building and placed by its side.
2. Case: when the garage is under the building and it has a larger projection.
3. Case: When the garage is not connected to the building but placed inside the leed boundary.

Best regards,

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 21 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Wagner, I think in all cases it is clear that the parking garage should not add to the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint. numbers. The footprint is of the building on its own.

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Ana Paula Liptak Constancio
Dec 20 2011
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35 Thumbs Up

Building Footprint

Hi all,

I have doubts about the definition of nonbuilding facilities (when it said ‘Parking lots, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint’).
My project has an overhang area with ~ 5500 ft², the problem is that in some parts exists vegetation under this structure. May I count this structure as part of the building footprint? And that vegetation, can I count it to SSc5.1 and SSc5.2?

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David Posada Sustainability Manager, SS TAG member, GBD Architects Dec 20 2011 LEEDuser Expert 18072 Thumbs Up

When defining the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint. it can be difficult to distinguish between "inside" and "outside" in some climate regions when there are transitional spaces that are open to the outside but partially enclosed.
The project team will need to decide on where to draw that boundary and be able to explain it if questioned by a reviewer. Without knowing more about the space under your overhang it is difficult to say for sure, but it sounds like it would be considered "hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios." area that would be outside the building footprint. If so, that hardscape could count toward SSc5.2. If you are earning SSc2, pedestrian oriented hardscape can be counted toward SSc5.2, but if not then only the landscaped area would be counted.
Since the SSc5.1 credit is earned by creating habitat, and not just ornamental plantings, turf grass and plants in containers don't qualify to be included. It might be possible for plantings under a canopy to be considered "habitat" if they are native and adaptive plants, and are large enough area - you may have to make a good case that they should be included.

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Marcio Orofino ENE Consultores
Dec 09 2011
LEEDuser Member
244 Thumbs Up

Permeable pedestrian sidewalk

Would anyone inform if permeable pedestrian sidewalk on the ground, recharging groundwater, may be counted towards the achievement of the restored área and ecollogic site feature?
Tks

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 19 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Marcio, sidewalk space, even if it's permeable, doesn't contribute to habitat onsite and so doesn't help with this credit. If you are also earning SSc2, it might help you with SSc5.2 however.

See the bird's eye view tab above for an explanation on how these two credits fundamentally differ.

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Marcio Orofino ENE Consultores Dec 19 2011 LEEDuser Member 244 Thumbs Up

OK, Thank you Tristan!

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