The credit was originally included in the Integrated Process credit category. It is intended to incentivize project teams to thoroughly analyze the project site conditions prior to beginning design. This allows project teams to understand the site conditions, realize potential sustainability opportunities and cost savings, and make informed design decisions.
A site assessment evaluates resources and opportunities that can be incorporated into site and building design. For instance, social gathering spaces can be sited near existing large trees to take advantage of their shade, or existing materials can be reused, saving money and resources. Also, buildings can take advantage of the prevailing winds in the design of natural ventilation systems, saving the cost of mechanical systems as well as energy and materials.
Submit the completed Site Assessment Worksheet with relevant project information (both narrative descriptions and maps, as applicable). Include additional topics not listed, if any, and provide reasons for not addressing certain topics. The Site Assessment submittals should clearly demonstrate how the site features informed the choice of site as well as the ongoing design and construction of the project.
Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Core and Shell Development
To assess site conditions prior to design in order to evaluate sustainable options and inform related decisions about site design.
Complete and document a site survey/assessment that includes the following information:
The survey/assessment should demonstrate the relationships between the site features/ topics listed above and how these features influenced the project design OR reasons for not addressing topics.
1 TR-55 (Technical Release 55) is an approach to hydrology that includes many techniques used to model watersheds including procedures to calculate storm runoff volume, peak rate of discharge, hydrographs, and storage volumes (USDA Soil Conservation Service).
2 A NRCS soils delineation is a soil survey developed by the Natural Resources Conservation Service that shows the boundaries of different soil types and special soil features on the site.
3 USDA prime farmland is defined by the NRCS as land that has the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber, and oilseed crops and that is available for these uses.
Register for the pilot credit
The overall intent of the pilot credit is a good one - it requires a thorough analysis of several site considerations, including some that are not included in traditional site design. The intent is that the site is studied in detail prior to design.
While this Pilot provides a good guide to help the project team evaluate the site, much of the site analysis required is already done for traditional projects.
In the LEED for Retail project I'm working on, the site is fairly limited in size and scope, and there are a few criteria that simply do not apply to the project. It seems that larger project sites or campus-type projects will benefit more from site analysis of this nature.
I believe that there is great potential for teams to try to get this credit after the site is already designed. I think that the credit would be more worthy of a LEED point if the team had to show that the design actually reflects findings from the study.
The latest revisions to Pilot Credit #45 are very good. It provides a more in depth look into all of the site parameters including the effects of the project on adjacent property uses that not may have not been considered by the project team unless directed by the local municipality.
I wonder if there would also be value in evaluating some environmental site considerations as part of this credit, potentially including:
-previous site remediations
-presence of above/below ground storage tanks
-presence of metals in soil, radon, etc.
These are other evaluations that we routinely conduct based on the nature of the properties that we typically deal with.
I think this is a good credit. I just wish there was a way to ensure that the information gathered through this process is at the very beginning of the project to positively affect the design, and not at the end of the project to get the credit.
Our project site has a development history going back to the mid-1800's which included a rather lengthy and involved brownfieldAbandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites who expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination (may include hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants). They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. EPA's Brownfields initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic vitality of such areas or properties. (EPA) remediation. Although the documentation for this credit required a great deal of research, seeing all of the historical and envirnomental data in on place really gives a full picture of all of the parameters involved in the project site. This is definately a credit that needs to be implemented very early in a project's development phase.
The only line item that we were not able address directly was for the "Onsite soil types and location, as mapped by the NRCS" The project location was listed as an "Unmapped Area" on the NRCS website. Fortunately, we had done extensive soil borings and testing to indentify the local soil types and issues.
Manager, LEED Technical Development
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