CS-v4 SSc3: Open space

  • Create space for quality time outdoors

    If your project has an ample amount of surrounding site area, this may be a straightforward credit for you. This credit encourages projects to not only set aside open space, but to ensure that it’s accessible and promotes outdoor recreation for building users.

    An asphalt playground, however, won’t cut it. Teams must dedicate a percentage of the open space to vegetation. There are plenty of great options for outdoor recreation that can help you achieve this credit, so get creative with your site.

    What’s New in LEED v4

    • LEED now includes a consistent open space requirement for all projects that is no longer correlated with an existing local zoning code.
    • The credit now emphasizes both the quality as well as the quantity of open space.
    • This credit has been modified to emphasize site biodiversity less and to encourage a physical connection to open space more (in SS Credit Site Development—Protect or Restore Habitat).

    FAQs

    What’s the difference between open space and vegetation? Are they not the same thing?

    No. Open space, as defined by this credit, is an outdoor space that must be physically accessible and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation (see the LEED Reference Guide for specifics). Vegetation is the portion of this open space that is not paved or made up of turf grass.

    How can artificial turf contribute to the credit requirements?

    Artificial turf can contribute to the open space areaOpen space area is usually defined by local zoning requirements. If local zoning requirements do not clearly define open space, it is defined for the purposes of LEED calculations as the property area minus the development footprint; it must be vegetated and pervious, with exceptions only as noted in the credit requirements section. Only ground areas are calculated as open space. For projects located in urban areas that earn a Development Density and Community Connectivity credit, open space also includes nonvehicular, pedestrian-oriented hardscape spaces., but you must ensure that your project also includes the required percentage of actual vegetation in order to earn the credit. 

  • SS Credit 3: Open space

    Intent

    To create exterior open space that encourages interaction with the environment, social interaction, passive recreation, and physical activities.

    Requirements

    Provide outdoor space greater than or equal to 30% of the total site area (including 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.). A minimum of 25% of that outdoor space must be vegetated (turf grass does not count as vegetation) or have overhead vegetated canopy.

    The outdoor space must be physically accessible and be one or more of the following:

    • a pedestrian-oriented paving or turf area with physical site elements that accommodate outdoor social activities;
    • a recreation-oriented paving or turf area with physical site elements that encourage physical activity;
    • a garden space with a diversity of vegetation types and species that provide opportunities for year-round visual interest;
    • a garden space dedicated to community gardens or urban food production;
    • preserved or created habitat that meets the criteria of SS Credit Site Development—Protect or Restore Habitat and also includes elements of human interaction.

    For projects that achieve a density of 1.5 floor-area ratioThe density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters). (FARFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters).), and are physically accessible, extensive or intensive vegetated roofs can be used toward the minimum 25% vegetation requirement, and qualifying roof-based physically accessible paving areas can be used toward credit compliance.

    Wetlands or naturally designed ponds may count as open space if the side slope gradients average 1:4 (vertical: horizontal) or less and are vegetated.

    For projects that are part of a multitenant complex only

    Open space can be either adjacent to the building or at another location in the site master plan. The open space may be at another master plan development site as long as it is protected from development. If the open space is not adjacent to the building, provide documentation showing that the requirements have been met and the land is in a natural state or has been returned to a natural state and conserved for the life of the building.

8 Comments

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MKK LEED
May 04 2017
LEEDuser Member
248 Thumbs Up

Sidewalk space

Can sidewalks count towards open space? If you build out a whole (small) block, the sidewalk goes around your buildings, all retail on the ground floor, this could arguably count as "pedestrian-oriented hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios.", but can you use it since it is public? Obviously still need sufficient landscaping on the site in other spaces

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Summer Minchew LEED AP ID+C, O+M , Ecoimpact Consulting May 04 2017 LEEDuser Expert 348 Thumbs Up

Reference guide states "urban open space that includes hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. surfaces should be accessible to pedestrians and provide recreation opportunities." Examples of this are pocket parks, accessible roof decks, plazas and courtyards. I would suggest that sidewalks do not provide recreation opportunities and should not be included within the hardscape areas considered.

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Ward Miller Chief Environmental Officer Alpenglow Advisory
Feb 17 2017
LEEDuser Member
891 Thumbs Up

Living/Green Walls

Project Location: Bulgaria

Has anyone tried using the area of a green wall to achieve the 25% vegetated space portion of this open space requirement?

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Sara Zoumbaris Sustainable Design Consulting Apr 19 2017 LEEDuser Member 1190 Thumbs Up

I would also be interested in knowing if anyone has considered this?

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Summer Minchew LEED AP ID+C, O+M , Ecoimpact Consulting Apr 19 2017 LEEDuser Expert 348 Thumbs Up

Check 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. ID# 5385, although the 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 was specific to SSc5.1, it goes on to say "Under this credit open space is calculated as horizontally defined area."

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MM K
Aug 07 2014
Guest
2665 Thumbs Up

Balconies

Can balconies count as part of open space?

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AX C Jan 19 2017 Guest

Hi, have you tried submit the balconies as part of open space?

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Summer Minchew LEED AP ID+C, O+M , Ecoimpact Consulting Jan 20 2017 LEEDuser Expert 348 Thumbs Up

Balconies can reasonably be included in open space calculations IF they meet the following:

1) Your project is in an urban area and is going to earn SSc2. From the reference guide "pedestrian-oriented hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. can contribute to credit compliance. For such projects, a minimum of 25% of the open space counted must be vegetated."

2) Balconies or pedestrian-oriented hardscape areas must be accessible by all FTEFull-time equivalent (FTE) represents a regular building occupant who spends 8 hours a day (40 hours a week) in the project building. Part-time or overtime occupants have FTE values based on their hours per day divided by 8 (or hours per week divided by 40). Transient Occupants can be reported as either daily totals or as part of the FTE.

Residential occupancy should be estimated based on the number and size of units. Core and Shell projects should refer to the default occupancy table in the Reference Guide appendix.

All occupant assumptions must be consistent across all credits in all categories.
and provide "passive or active recreation opportunities."

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May 26 2017
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