Healthcare-v4 SSp2: Environmental site assessment

  • Check for contamination and remediate if necessary

    This prerequisite is typically very easy for projects to achieve. Teams are required to conduct a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment An evaluation of an area's aboveground and subsurface characteristics, including its structures, geology, and hydrology. Site assessments typically help determine whether contamination has occurred and the extent and concentration of any release of pollutants. Remediation decisions rely on information generated during site assessments.(ESA) to determine if the site is contaminated. This assessment involves a site visit by a trained professional who will conduct interviews and examine the historical uses of the property. While this kind of assessment is not standard practice everywhere, it’s becoming more common. Some commercial real estate lenders may even require it.

    If there is reason to believe that contamination is present based on the Phase I ESA, teams must dive deeper and conduct a Phase II ESA to determine what the contamination is and whether it needs to be remedied. If the site is contaminated and remediation is required, your project must complete the remediation in order to earn this prerequisite.

    What’s New in LEED v4

    • The credit no longer automatically excludes former landfill sites.
    • USGBC allows local equivalent assessments to serve as an alternative to Phase I and II ESAs.
    • USGBC no longer accepts an asbestos sampling plan and remediation report to satisfy this prerequisite.


    Can we skip the Phase I ESA and move straight onto a Phase II ESA?

    No. For this prerequisite a Phase I ESA must be performed. The Phase I ESA will help inform the Phase II ESA with information such as where to test, and what contaminants to test for. Because the assessments evaluate different things, a Phase I ESA cannot be replaced with a Phase II ESA.

    My site has an existing Phase I ESA from several years ago. Can I use this to demonstrate compliance with this prerequisite?

    Unfortunately, no. A Phase I ESA will need to be performed for the site as it is today. Many factors may have changed between assessments; therefore in order to properly document this credit, you will need to conduct a new Phase I ESA. The good news is that if the site has passed the Phase I ESA before, it will likely pass again.

    My city has a requirement to perform an assessment that is very similar to the Phase I ESA. Can I use this assessment to document this prerequisite?

    That will depend on the local regulation and how stringent it is compared to the Phase I ESA. If the local equivalent to the Phase I ESA is the same or more stringent than the Phase I ESA it can be used in lieu of the Phase I ESA. 

  • SS Prerequisite 2: Environmental site assessment


    To protect the health of vulnerable populations by ensuring that the site is assessed for environmental contamination and that any environmental contamination has been remediated.


    Conduct a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment as described in ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services E1527–05 (or a local equivalent) to determine whether environmental contamination exists at the site. If contamination is suspected, conduct a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment as described in ASTM E1903–11 (or a local equivalent).

    If a site is contaminated, remediate the site to meet local, state, or national environmental protection agency region residential (unrestricted) standards, whichever are most stringent.


Jeff Frederick
Jan 17 2017
LEEDuser Member

SS Environmental Site Assessment (Prerequisite) - Phase I ESA

The LEED V4 Reference Guide states that "If a Phase I ESA is more than one year old, a new assessment is required".

At what moment is the duration since the previous ESA measured? Is it the time from the previous ESA to the time at which credits are submitted for review?

Does it matter if the site is a greenfield which is under the same ownership since the prior ESA, and has not been occupied since the prior ESA?

Larry Sims Principal, Studio4, LLC Feb 09 2017 LEEDuser Expert 3673 Thumbs Up

The Phase I ESA information from a prior Environmental Site Assessment may be for used for guidance, but a new Phase I ESA must be must be conducted. First, with regard to timing, lending institutions will typically require a current Phase I ESA, and if they don’t, it’s prudent for the new owner to have one conducted. Imagine the horrors of purchasing an environmentally contaminated site or building without prior knowledge. The costs to mitigate BrownfieldAbandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites who expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or possible presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. 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. sites can be prohibitive.

Second, consider what can occur over the period of one year, even if it’s your own property. There may have been an environmental accident on an adjacent or nearby property. If it’s a vacant site (i.e. Greenfield), it could have been used as a dumping ground for hazardous waste, or there could be standing pools of liquids. Strong, pungent, obnoxious odors are observed and the source of the odors identified to the extent that the odors can be visually or physically observed. Look at the Phase I ESA as an inexpensive insurance policy.

Jeff Frederick Feb 09 2017 LEEDuser Member

Thanks for sharing your insight Larry!

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Aug 18 2017
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