Homes-v2008 SSc2: Landscaping

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    Post your questions on this credit in the forum, and see the credit language to review to the LEED requirements.

  • SS Credit 2: Landscaping


    Design landscape features to avoid invasive species and minimize demand for water and synthetic chemicals.



    2.1 No invasive plants. Introduce no invasive plant species into the landscape.
    Note: Invasive plant species vary by region. Consult the local Cooperative Extension Service or state agencies. A list of regional resources is available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at Not all nonnative species are considered invasive. Note: Invasive plant species vary by region. Consult the local Cooperative Extension Service or state agencies. A list of regional resources is available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, at Not all nonnative species are considered invasive.


    Note: Points shown below are for homes that are fully landscaped. A project that has not completed the designed landscaping may earn up to 50% of the points for each credit as long as 50% or more of the designed landscaping is completed upon certification. In this case, 100% completion of the landscaping must be required by homeowner association or other rules within a specific time period not to exceed one year after occupancy. Erosion controls and soil stabilization measures must be robust enough to be effective for one year. The builder or project team must also develop a landscaping plan that meets the requirements in SS 2 and provide it to the homeowner.

    2.2 Basic landscape design (2 points). Meet all of the following requirements for all designed landscape softscapes:

    1. Any turf must be drought-tolerant.
    2. Do not use turf in densely shaded areas.
    3. Do not use turf in areas with a slope of 25% (i.e., 4:1 slope).
    4. Add mulch or soil amendments as appropriate. Mulch is defined as a covering placed around plants to reduce erosion and water loss and to help regulate soil temperature. In addition, upon decomposition, organic mulches serve as soil amendments. The type of mulch selected can affect soil pH.
    5. All compacted soil (e.g., from construction vehicles) must be tilled to at least 6 inches.


    2.3 Limit conventional turf (maximum 3 points, as specified in Table 1). Limit the use of conventional turf in the designed landscape softscapes.

    Table 1. Limited Conventional Turf

    Percentage of designed landscape softscape area that is

    conventional turf
    41–60% 1
    21–40% 2
    20% or less 3


    2.4 Drought-tolerant plants (maximum 2 points, as specified in Table 2). Install drought-tolerant plants.

    Table 2. Drought-Tolerant Plants

    Percentage of installed plants that are drought-tolerant Points
    45–89% 1
    90% or more 2


    2.5 Reduce overall irrigation demand by at least 20% (maximum 6 points, as specified in Table 3). Design the landscape and irrigation system to reduce overall irrigation water usage. The estimates must be calculated and prepared by a landscape professional, biologist, or other qualified professional using the method outlined below.

    Table 3. Reduction in Water Demand

    Reduction in estimated irrigation water usage SS 2.5 points WE 2.3 points Total

    20–24% 2 0 2
    25–29% 3 0 3
    30–34% 4 0 4
    35–39% 5 0 5
    40–44% 6 0 6
    45–59% 6 1 7
    50–54% 6 2 8
    55–59% 6 3 9
    60% or more 6 4 10

    Method for calculating reduction in irrigation demand

    Step 1. Calculate the baseline irrigation water usage:

    Baseline Usage = Landscaped Area * ET0 * 0.62

    where ET0 = Baseline Evapotranspiration Rate (available from local and state Departments

    of Agriculture)

    Step 2. Calculate the design case irrigation water usage:

    Design Case Usage = (Landscaped Area * ETL ÷ IE) * CF * 0.62

    where ETL = ET0 * KL and KL = KS * KMC . Refer to Tables 4 and 5 for values for KS and KMC, and to Table 6 for values for IE. For CF, use estimated value

    based on manufacturer’s specifications for percentage water savings.

    Step 3.Calculate the percentage reduction in irrigation water usage:

    Percentage Reduction = (1 – Design Case Usage ÷ Baseline Usage) * 100

    Step 4. Refer to Table 3, above, to determine points earned.

    Table 4. Species Factor

    Vegetation type Species factor (KS)
    Low Average High
    Trees 0.2 0.5 0.9
    Shrubs 0.2 0.5 0.7
    Groundcover 0.2 0.5 0.7
    Turf 0.6 0.7 0.8

    Table 5. Microclimate Factor

    Example microclimate impacts Microclimate factor (KMC)
    Low Average High
    Shading 0.5 0.8 1.0
    High sun exposure 1.0 1.2 1.5
    Protection from wind 0.8 0.9 1.0
    Windy area 1.0 1.2 1.5

    Table 6. Irrigation Efficiency

    Irrigation type Irrigation efficiency (IE)
    Low High
    Fixed spray 0.4 0.6
    Impact and microspray 0.5 0.7
    Rotors 0.6 0.8
    Multistream rotators 0.6 0.8
    Low volume and point source (e.g., drip) 0.7 0.9


Bill Kehres
Nov 04 2013
67 Thumbs Up

Irrigation Credit

How do you get credit in LEED for Homes for no irrigation?

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

Bill, there is no simple "no irrigation" option in LEED for Homes. Credit attainment is based on reducing irrigation demand. I am guessing the logic is that any homeowner can and will hook up a sprinkler to irrigate if their landscaping appears to demand it. The key is landscaping so that it doesn't demand it.

The credit requirements as shown above indicate how to earn points with this approach. 

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Aug 22 2017
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