NC-2009 SSc1: Site Selection

  • NC_Schools_CS_SSc1_Type1_Site Selection Diagram
  • If you already have a site plan, this credit is cut-and-dried

    Typically, projects have already determined their site plan by the time the team begins considering LEED certification; if this is the case, you either have the credit or you don’t.

    If your project location has not yet been determined, you can use the credit requirements as an environmental screening process when choosing your site. If the site is determined but the site plan isn’t set, consider whether the placement of buildings, roads, and other hardscapes on the site will tip you to compliance or non-compliance.

    Previously developed or not?

    This credit is intended to protect sensitive land as defined in the credit language. It also encourages projects to use previously developed land, by allowing specific exemptions for the criteria on water bodies and floodplains.

    Up until November 2011, portions of sites that had been "developed, graded, or altered by direct human activities" were considered “previously developed” for purposes of this credit—leaving open questions about whether agriculture or other human actions that left a mark on the landscape fell under the definition. A November 2011 addendum from USGBC made this definition more specific, however, defining previously developed as involving "paving, construction, and/or land use that would typically have required regulatory permitting to have been initiated." Furthermore, "current or historical clearing or filling, agricultural or forestry use, or preserved natural area use are considered undeveloped land."

    Documentation is easy—determining compliance can be hard

    Documenting this credit is relatively easy—in LEED Online, you simply check off several boxes signifying compliance.

    Whooping craneHabitat for endangered species such as the whooping crane is excluded from development in this credit. Photo – Sammy King, USGS Louisiana Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research UnitActually verifying whether your project site meets the criteria can be a longer process, however. Check with the civil engineer on as many items as possible, then research any items that remain uncertain. The hardest items are generally determining if your land is prime farmland or considered habitat for threatened or endangered species. 

    International projects may find it even more difficult

    International projects must follow the definitions provided in U.S. standards, but determining compliance may be much more difficult because the mapping programs used to determine compliance are not available.

    For example, to determine whether a U.S. project is in the 100-year flood zone, you will need to use the mapping program provided on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website. International projects may not have the same definition of flood plain and may not have access to a similar mapping program, making it more difficult to determine compliance.

    Differences between NCv2.2 and v2009

    The credit requirements for SSc1 are the same in NC v2.2 and v2009. However, in NC v2.2, there is more flexibility in defining your LEED boundary, as USGBC does not explicitly require the LEED boundary to represent your entire scope of work (as it does in v2009). However, it is best practice to have the LEED boundary match your scope of work. NC v2.2 also has the older, vague definition of "previously developed' still in place (see above).

    FAQs for SSc1

    The project site is classified as "prime farmland," but is in a developed area with buildings all around. Can I still comply with this credit?

    LEED does not have published exceptions to the prime farmland requirement. You would need 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 to get an official ruling.

    However, some projects have had success contacting the local USDA representative and requesting an evaluation to get an exemption due to the low probability that the land could be usable for agricultural purposes.

    Our project site is in what FEMA refers to as "Zone D"—an area that has possible but undetermined flood hazards, as no analysis of flood hazards have been conducted. How can we tell if we comply with this credit?

    Seek the opinion of an equivalent local regulatory agency, or a professional hydrologist.

    Is it possible to be exempted from the wetlands requirements under this credit if we protect or restore equivalent wetlands elsewhere?

    No, this is not an accepted compliance path. LEEDuser's experts agree that you are unlikely to get traction with this due to the immediate and unsustainable impacts on local ecosystems and hydrology.

    Is my site previously developed?

    Many projects have had questions about the definition of previously developed. Note that LEED 2009 projects have had the relevant definition updated by USGBC through a November 2011 addendum. Be sure to reference that definition.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Pre-Design

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  • If your project site has not yet been selected, use the credit criteria to select an environmentally appropriate site that will comply with the credit. Research site options as part of your normal due diligence. Do not develop sensitive areas of the site, or areas bordering on sensitive areas. 


  • Look for urban infill sites, which are most likely to meet the credit requirements and which can help you earn a number of other LEED Sustainable Sites credits (especially SSc2, SSc4.1, SSc4.2, and SSc4.4). 


  • If the project site is already selected, start researching each of the credit criteria to see if any part of the development—buildings, hardscape, roads or parking areas—impacts sensitive areas as defined by the credit language. Refer to the sections below for each of the main credit criteria. 


  • If your project does not meet all the criteria, check to see if the project footprint can be adjusted to avoid development in sensitive areas. For example, if a portion of your site is located within 100 feet of wetlands, do not develop on that portion of the site. Instead of having a larger building footprint, build up, with a smaller footprint.


  • It’s usually best to include this credit in the civil engineer’s scope of work, and include its requirements in the contract language. If the civil engineer does the permitting for stormwater, some of the same criteria will be researched, and the few additional items should not be difficult for them to assess. 


  • According to the credit criteria, you must avoid sensitive areas such as: 

    • prime farmland;
    • previously undeveloped land less than five feet above the 100-year flood plain;
    • land that is habitat for federal or state threatened or endangered species;
    • land within 100 feet of wetlands;
    • previously undeveloped land within 50 feet of a body of water, including seas, lakes, rivers, streams, and tributaries; 
    • or land that prior to purchase for this project was public parkland, excluding park authority projects. (Land of equal or greater value to the public parkland can be accepted in trade by the public land steward, however.)

  • Previously developed sites typically comply with the requirements of this credit and are exempt from meeting the requirements of flood-plain and water-body setback requirements. 


  • For purposes of this credit, “previously developed” indicates a site on which at least a portion has been altered by human activity. 


  • Typically, this is a no-cost credit, except for the research time needed to verify compliance, which will vary depending on the project. 


  • Locating your project site outside of a flood plain can lower your property insurance rates. 


  • If you develop in an urban or infill area on previously developed land, you will already have access to public utilities and may be near public transit. This can help your budget and offer a valuable amenity to building occupants. 

Schematic Design

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  • Determine whether any part of the project development (buildings, hardscape, roads or parking areas) may impact sensitive portions of the site.


  • Check with the civil engineer, who may already know if your project meets the requirements. If the civil engineer can provide only a few of the answers, also consult the landscape architect and architect, who may have already done some of this research. 


  • Finding existing information (rather than undertaking new studies) makes for the easiest documentation. The challenge is finding the information easily.


  • If the design team does not know all of the answers, someone involved in planning or environmental work in the local municipality may be the most helpful person to talk to. Seek out specialized municipal agencies for help on specific issues. 


  • When an aspect of your project site is in question, check the intent of the credit and the referenced standards that apply to your situation, and realize that rarely are there exemptions for this credit. As always, check the LEED Interpretations page for past CIRs and other scenarios in which the GBCI has made a ruling.


  • GBCI Tip: For international projects, be sure to include a narrative describing any special circumstances and/or how the project meets the intent of the credit if there are conflicts or lack of alignment with the credit requirements.


  • If you find your project does meet all the criteria after reviewing each one, you are ready to document the credit. To do so, you’ll simply need to provide information on your project location and check off appropriate boxes verifying credit compliance.


  • Retain files and printouts documenting each of the credit areas for future reference.


  • Prime Farmland


  • Determine whether your project is located on prime farmland. 


  • “Prime farmland” is defined by USDA in the United States Code of Federal Regulations, Title 7, Volume 6, Parts 400–699, Section 657.5 (citation 7CFR657.5): “Prime farmland is land that has the best combination of physical and chemical characteristics for producing food, feed, forage, fiber and oilseed crops, and is also available for these uses (the land could be cropland, pastureland, rangeland, forest land or other land, but not urban built-up land or water). It has the soil quality, growing season, and moisture supply needed to economically produce sustained high yields of crops when treated and managed, including water management, according to acceptable farming methods.” For the full definition and description of prime farmlands, see the National Archives and Records Administration for the Code of Federal Regulations; search by citation. See the Resources section for a link to the appropriate regulation.


  • Not all farmland is considered “prime”—dry, western ranges, for example, are typically excluded. Even if a site is being farmed, check whether it is prime according to USDA definitions.


  • As an initial step, search for prime farmland on the USDA website for your state or county. Some states and counties have more information than others, but you should be able to find a map of your county that delineates prime farmland from other types of uses.


  • If you are still unsure whether your project is located on prime farmland, look at the USDA Web Soils Survey map program through the Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS). See the Resources section for a link. Follow these steps:

    • Search by the state and county, or by the project address.
    • Define your area of interest (AOI) or project boundary.
    • Click on the tab for Soil Data Explorer and then on the tab for Suitabilities and Limitations for Use. 
    • Click on Land Classifications and then View Rating. This will provide you with a map delineating any areas of prime farmland. See the example of prime farmland research in the Documentation Toolkit; this example is for a compliant site that is not located on prime farmland. 

  • If you are unable to determine whether or not your site contains or is prime farmland, contact your local NRCS department for help. See the Resources tab for a link. 


  • Document the status of your site, using information from whatever source you find most useful. You will not need to submit this documentation for LEED, but it’s worth having on file.


  • 100-Year Flood Plain


  • If your site has been previously developed, you can skip the floodplain requirement. However, it’s still good practice to consider site development and design strategies to mitigate your project’s risk from flooding.


  • If your site has not been previously developed, determine whether it is lower than five feet above the 100-year floodplain elevation.


  • The 100-year floodplain, defined by FEMA, is the elevation to which a flood has a 1% chance of reaching or exceeding in a given year. (It is not the level of the most significant flood within a 100-year period.) So-called 100-year floods can occur many times within a 100-year period. 


  • As an initial step, search for the 100-year floodplain on the FEMA website for your project address. Some states and counties have more information than others, and a number of locations are not accessible through FEMA’s digital mapping program. See the Resources section for a link to the FEMA Map Viewer website.  


  • Go to the FEMA website and use their mapping tool (Map Viewer) to help you determine whether your project is in Zone A (the 100-year floodplain). See the example of FEMA 100-year floodplain research in the Documentation Toolkit. Use the following steps:

    • Search by your project address, or state and zip code.
    • Use the legend to determine whether your project is in Zone A. 
    • If your project is in Zone A, determine the elevation of the 100-year floodplain and see if your project is at least five feet above this elevation.
    • If your project is not located in Zone A, your site is in compliance.
    • If you zoom in to the state or county level first, you will be able to see data that may not be obvious at the address level; projects in areas corresponding to “DFIRM Data Availability” will have the most luck in easily determining their floodplain. 

  • If the FEMA website does not provide digital data for your project location, check with your local municipality or county to see if they have a mapping program or if they can provide you with guidance on where to look. For example, the city of Boulder, Colorado provides an eMap service for the 100- and 500-year floodplain. See the example of the City of Boulder’s 100-year floodplain research in the Documentation Toolkit.


  • Species on Federal or State Threatened or Endangered List


  • Determine whether your site is considered habitat for threatened or endangered species. Many people assume that their project is not located on threatened or endangered species habitat; however, you must do the research, as this is more common than you may think. 


  • According to the Endangered Species Act, “Endangered species means any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range other than a species of the Class Insecta determined by the Secretary (of the Interior) to constitute a pest whose protection under the provisions of this Act would present an overwhelming and overriding risk to man…Threatened species means any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.”


  • As an initial step, search the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website. It provides a Species Report that lists all endangered (E) and threatened (T) species by state, including both plants and animals. See the Resources section for a link to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website, and see an example of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Species Report for Colorado in the Documentation Toolkit


  • The list of endangered and threatened species will not provide you with any data specific to your site. The next likely place to start more detailed research is your city or county website, or a local conservancy or environmental group.


  • Each state also has a Natural Heritage Inventory program that records occurrences of important species and current habitat extents; these offices can usually create a site-specific report (typically for a fee) identifying species known to be present or historically spotted on your site. See the Resources section for a link to the NatureServe list of U.S., Canadian, and Latin American Natural Heritage Programs. In the Documentation Toolkit you can see an example of Colorado’s Natural Heritage Program site-specific report.


  • Wetlands


  • Determine whether your site has or is located within 100 feet of a wetland. 


  • Do not develop buildings, hardscape, roads or parking areas within 100 feet of wetlands.


  • As defined in EPA Regulation 40CFR230: “Wetlands consist of areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions.” 


  • As an initial step, search the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website for the National Wetlands Inventory mapping program. Through this program, you can download digital data, use the wetlands mapping program, or view wetlands on Google Earth. See an example of the National Wetlands Inventory mapping program in the Documentation Toolkit. See the Resources section for a link to the National Wetlands Inventory mapping program. 


  • Some small and site-specific wetlands may not be mapped. Look at the site with the civil engineer or ecologist to determine whether there are any wetlands located on your site. 


  • Water Bodies


  • If your site has been previously developed, you can skip the water bodies requirement.


  • If your site has not been previously developed, determine whether your site is located within 50 feet of any water bodies. Ensure that you do not develop in areas within 50 feet of a water body.


  • “Waters of the United States,” as defined by the Clean Water Act, are “all waters which are currently used, were used in the past, or may be susceptible to use in interstate or foreign commerce, including all waters which are subject to the ebb and flow of the tide; all interstate waters, including interstate ‘wetlands’; all other waters, such as intrastate lakes, rivers, streams (including intermittent streams), mudflats, sandflats, ‘wetlands,’ sloughs, prairie potholes, wet meadows, playa lakes, or natural ponds, the use, degradation, or destruction of which would affect or could affect interstate or foreign commerce including any such waters which are or could be used by interstate or foreign travelers for recreational or other purposes; from which fish or shellfish are or could be taken and sold in interstate or foreign commerce; or which are used or could be used for industrial purposes by industries in interstate commerce; all impoundments of waters otherwise defined as waters of the United States under this definition; tributaries of waters identified [in] this definition; the territorial sea; and ‘wetlands’ adjacent to waters (other than waters that are themselves wetlands) identified in… this definition.”


  • To determine whether your project site is located within 50 feet of a water body (sea, lake, river, stream, or tributary), use the FEMA website mapping tool, USDA Web Soils Survey map program, or Google Earth. See a Google Earth example in the Documentation Toolkit. See the Resources section for a link to the FEMA and USDA websites. 


  • Manmade ponds for stormwater and recreation do not count as “water bodies” for the purposes of this credit and are exempt from this requirement. However, manmade wetlands or water bodies developed for ecological restoration are not exempt from these requirements, and all development must be at least 50 feet away from these sensitive areas. 


  • Parkland


  • Determine whether your site, prior to acquisition for this project, was public parkland. Avoid developing land that prior to acquisition for the project was public parkland.


  • It should be easy to determine whether the land purchased for the project was previously parkland. If you’re not sure, check with the owner, developer, the relevant park authority, or the title history.


  • If the land was parkland in the past but was owned by an entity other than a park authority before it was purchased for your project, the site remains eligible for this credit. 


  • Development by a park authority for park purposes is acceptable and does not preclude your project from earning this credit (subject to other criteria). For example, an educational center built on the park grounds by the park authority is still eligible for the credit. 


  • If the purchased land was previously parkland, you may make a trade agreement for other parkland that is of equal or greater value. 

Design Development

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  • If your project site as a whole does not meet all the credit criteria but you still intend to attempt the credit, begin by verifying that no portion of the site that will be developed is located in sensitive areas or is within the given parameters for limited development. For example, if you have wetlands located on your site, be sure that your development is at least 100 feet away from them. 

Construction Documents

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  • If your project site as a whole does not meet all the credit criteria but you intend to attempt the credit based on special circumstances, be sure to include detailed project drawings delineating the sensitive areas and the development footprint. 


  • Include detailed site drawings and terms in contracts to ensure that any sensitive areas will be adequately protected during construction.

Construction

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  • Be sure the contractor understands the importance of any sensitive areas being protected, and your expectations for ensuring that protection. 


  • Verify that sensitive areas are being protected throughout construction.

Operations & Maintenance

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  • If your site does contain sensitive areas, be sure to provide a site map that delineates these areas. Ensure that any maintenance and grounds keeping does not infringe on these areas, and be sure to exclude them from any future building or development, even if not part of a LEED project. 

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations

    SS Credit 1: Site selection

    1 Point

    Intent

    To avoid the development of environmentally sensitive lands and reduce the environmental impact from the location of a building on a site.

    Requirements

    Do not develop buildings, 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., roads or parking areas on portions of sites that meet any of the following criteria:

    • Prime farmland as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the United States Code of Federal Regulations, Title 7, Volume 6, Parts 400 to 699, Section 657.5 (citation 7CFR657.5). Projects outside the U.S. may use a local equivalent.
    • Previously undeveloped land whose elevation is lower than 5 feet (1.5 meters) above the elevation of the 100-year flood as defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), an equivalent local regulatory agency, or a professional hydrologist.
    • Land specifically identified as habitat for any species on federal or state threatened or endangered lists.Projects outside the U.S. may use a local equivalent.
    • Land within 100 feet (30 meters) of any wetlands as defined by the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations 40 CFR, Parts 230-233 and Part 22, or a local equivalent definition outside the U.S., and isolated wetlands or areas of special concern identified by state or local rule, OR within setback distances from wetlands prescribed in state or local regulations, as defined by local or state rule or law, whichever is more stringent.
    • Previously undeveloped land that is within 50 feet (15 meters) of a water body, defined as seas, lakes, rivers, streams and tributaries that support or could support aquatic life, recreation or industrial use, consistent with the terminology of the Clean Water Act.
    • Land that prior to acquisition for the project was public parkland, unless land of equal or greater value as parkland is accepted in trade by the public landowner (park authority projects and projects which are operated by and support the function of the park are exempt).

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    During the site selection process, give preference to sites that do not include sensitive elements or restrictive land types. Select a suitable building location and design the building with a minimal footprint to minimize disruption of the environmentally sensitive areas identified above. 

     

Web Tools

United States Department of Agriculture

You can search for prime farmland in your state and county. 


USDA Services – Center Locator

This site provides links to Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Centers for all states. If you cannot determine whether your property is located on prime farmland, contact your local center. 


USDA Web Soil Survey

This site can provide you with information on prime farmland, soil types, and location of water bodies. 


FEMA – Mapping Information Platform

The Map Viewer allows you to type in the project address and create a map that shows if your project is in the floodplain. You can also use this map to determine if your project is near a water body.


ESRI

This software company creates tools for geographic information systems (GIS) mapping. Its website includes an option to make a map of all flood areas within a user-defined location.


National Wetlands Inventory Mapper

Provides maps of regional wetlands.


Regional Wetlands Contacts

This website allows users to find the immediate wetlands contact for their region.


FEMA Regional Contacts

This website gives specific contact information by state and division of FEMA.

Publications

Title 7, Volume 6, Part 657, Section 657.5 of the US Code of Federal Regulations

This document provides the definition and explanation of prime farmlands. An abbreviated version is provided under Checklists, Schematic Design, Prime Farmland.


U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service – Species Reports

This website lists endangered and threatened species by state. 


NatureServe

This publication provides contact information for U.S., Canadian, and Latin American Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.


Glossary - HCFCD

Flood terminology glossary from the Harris County Flood Control District.

Organizations

Natural Resources Defense Council

NRDC uses law, science, and advocacy to protect wildlife and wild places and to ensure a safe and healthy environment.

100-Year Flood Level

Verify that your site is five feet or more above the 100-year flood level using FEMA data sources, or county data sources, as shown in these examples.

Proximity to Wetlands

Verify that the site is not within 100 feet of wetlands, as shown in this example, using verification based on National Wetlands Inventory data.

Proximity to a Water Body

Depending on whether the site is 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." or not, meet the credit critera for distance from a water body, as shown in this example.

Prime Farmland

Check whether the site is located on prime farmland, as shown in this example using the National Cooperative Soil Survey website.

Endangered or Threatened Species

Verify that the site is not habitat for endangered or threatened species, using data and analysis such as in this example.

LEED Online Forms: NC-2009 SS

The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each NC-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."

Design Submittal

PencilDocumentation for this credit can be part of a Design Phase submittal.

94 Comments

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Pedro Ribeiro Director of Sustainability Edifícios Saudáveis Consultores
Jun 11 2014
LEEDuser Member
676 Thumbs Up

Previously developed land must comply with 100-year flood?

The latest version of the LEED template for this credit (v5.0) has a change regarding how the compliance is demonstrated when the projects are outside U.S. Now we have to demonstrate compliance via a local equivalent to the U.S. codes. Regarding the 100-year flood requirement, when we tick the requirement we have to demonstrate compliance using an "equivalent local regulatory agency" or a "professional hydrologist". However, once this requirement only applies to previously undeveloped land I don't know how we can demonstrate compliance if our site is 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.". In these cases it should be enough that the site is previously developed, don't you agree?

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April Brown Projects Manager, Institute for the Built Environment Jun 13 2014 LEEDuser Expert 495 Thumbs Up

Yes, there are two criteria in the flood plain requirement - previously undeveloped and lower than 5-feet above the 100-year flood plain. Though I see how this form is confusing. I would submit a question to GBCI through the contact us avenue to get specific guidance on this. Hopefully, that will also ping the appropriate parties to make a universal correction.

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Farah A.
Mar 02 2014
Guest
358 Thumbs Up

50 foot setback

Do ponds need to meet the 50 ft setback?

I understand small man made ponds for recreational, fire supression or stormwater retention purposes are exempt from this setback.

Anyone know if these are the only exceptions?

Also, what qualifies as a man-made wetland? My assumption is a constructed wetland or bioswale?

Thank you.

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John Beeson Chief Mystic in Resident, Catalyst Partners Mar 05 2014 Guest 1284 Thumbs Up

Hey Farah,
I would say that because the Clean Water Act covers the bodies of water described in the credit requirements, ponds would not fall under waters with a "significant nexus" to "navigable waters".

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Cindy Estrada LEED AP BD&C SDS Architects, Inc.
Feb 05 2014
LEEDuser Member
483 Thumbs Up

Farmland Development?

We have a site that has a strip of prime farmland, which we are not building on per se. We have a retention pond with a water feature in mind for that area. The credit language uses the term "development" in a broad sense but further goes on to say "buildings, 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., roads or parking areas".... Has anyone had experience with an issue like this?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 05 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

I hope someone else will correct me if I'm wrong, but since landscaping and stormwater infrastructure is not mentioned in the credit requirement, I think you're fine.

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LEED Consultant Green Building and Alternative Energy
Dec 20 2013
LEEDuser Member
1324 Thumbs Up

Previously developed major renovation

Hello, my question is regarding an existing industrial plant that went under major renovation of the building, process, etc.
The site is obviously 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.", since it has a building, roads, a parking lot, etc.
Is it necessary to document that it is not in a prime farmland, etc., considering that there has been a building there for some years?

Thanks!

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 23 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

You cannot skip any documentation steps. However, the documentation for this credit is actually pretty simple—take a look at the LEED Online form.

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Elisa Sequeros
Dec 03 2013
Guest
6 Thumbs Up

site selection C1

I would like to do the exam LEED AP and I have a very specific question :

FOR A PREVIOUSLY UNDEVELOPED SITE, WHAT WATER BODIES DO NOT HAVE TO MEET THE 50-FOOT SETBACK CRITERIA TO COMPLY SUSTAINABLE SITES CREDIT.CREDIT SITE SELECTION?.

Thank you

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April Brown Projects Manager, Institute for the Built Environment Dec 05 2013 LEEDuser Expert 495 Thumbs Up

Hi Elisa,

There is no qualification of the type of water body, the requirement is no development within 50 feet of any water body.

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S S Jan 27 2014 Guest 115 Thumbs Up

As defined in the Clean Water Act, small man – made water ponds such as those used in storm water retention, recreation & fire suppression are exempt from this requirement.

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Julie Hendricks Director of EcoServices Kirksey
Nov 04 2013
LEEDuser Member
937 Thumbs Up

"Specifically Identified as Habitat"

Can anyone clarify the meaning of "specifically identified as habitat"? You will all think I'm crazy for asking this, but here goes... if a species on the threatened list has been spotted right next to your subject property (which is a greenfield), would that count as "specfically identified as habitat"?

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

Julie, this is just an educated gues, but.... I think the "specifically identified as..." component sets a more exacting standard than if the credit language simply referred to "habitat."

In your case this could mean the difference between a species being spotted in the area that was just passing through, or was lost, or otherwise outside its usual turf for some reason (desperate for new habitat?), vs. a species being there because the land is "specifically identified" as its habitat.

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Julie Hendricks Director of EcoServices, Kirksey Nov 04 2013 LEEDuser Member 937 Thumbs Up

Thanks, Tristan. This spotting is actually a bald eagle's nest. It's well-known enough that the original site plans I was provided included the nest's location on the patch of greenfield immediately adjacent. There's also a "Save the Woodlands Eagles" Facebook page that mentions the nest. My guess is that all of this would have to count as "specifically identified."

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

Yeah.... I agree. Your original question somehow brought to my imagination a butterfly being blown through the area, with someone wirh sharp eyes seeing it. A well-esablished eagle nesting site is a different story.

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JoAnn Jolin Project Architect VITETTA
Nov 01 2013
Guest
14 Thumbs Up

Still Confused?!?

While I've been a LEED AP for several years, this is my first time being the person inputting data into the online forms. For SSc1, do you "check" the boxes if you do comply with the requirement or if you don't comply (i.e. if site is not prime farmland, should the box have an "X" or be empty)?

I've read above that compliance must be documented; however, there is no information on the form or in the user guide on what this documentation should be.

Does LEED Online seem to work hard to reduce everyone to feeling like a kindergartner not paying attention in class, or is it just me having a bad week?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 02 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

JoAnn, if you find LEED documentation confusing, join the club!

However, in this case, I think it's quite straightforward. The LEED Online form states, "The LEED project does not include any buildings, 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., roads or parking areas built as part of the project on portions of the site that meet any of the following criteria:" (and it goes on to list checkboxes for each criterion).

Looks to me like you check the box to confirm that your building does NOT fall within 100 feet of wetlands, etc. 

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Lyle Axelarris Civil/Structural Engineer, LEED AP BD+C, O+M, Design Alaska May 07 2014 LEEDuser Member 588 Thumbs Up

I do not see a way to upload documentation on the LEED Online form, unless I check one of the additional detail boxes (special circumstances or ACP). Since neither of those apply, I do not want to check those boxes. And when I click "Check Compliance", a "1" appears in the box, indicating that I've documented SSc1 (even though I haven't uploaded anything).
I'm afraid that this will get sent back from the reviewer, though. How do I upload my supporting documentation? Does anyone else have the same problem? Thank you

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. May 07 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Lyle, my recollection of SSc1 is that while the requirements are very detailed the documentation consists of checking the boxes. What do you feel you need to upload? If the LEED form isn't asking for it, you don't need to supply it.

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Lyle Axelarris Civil/Structural Engineer, LEED AP BD+C, O+M, Design Alaska May 08 2014 LEEDuser Member 588 Thumbs Up

Thank you, Tristan. That makes sense to me, but then why is there so much discussion here about documentation?
There are excellent examples in the Documentation Toolkit tab (NRCS soil map, FEMA maps, etc.) relating to documentation, and this led me to believe that this documentation should somehow get submitted.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. May 08 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Lyle, the examples in the Doc Toolkit are meant to show you the kind of resources you should be using to verify site characteristics, and what you would need to reference in case of an ambiguous situation where you'd be in communication with USGBC. They're not things you need to upload.

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Lyle Axelarris Civil/Structural Engineer, LEED AP BD+C, O+M, Design Alaska May 09 2014 LEEDuser Member 588 Thumbs Up

Thank you very much, Tristan.

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Noriko Yasuhara CSR Design & Landscape Co., Ltd.
Oct 11 2013
LEEDuser Member
1686 Thumbs Up

Is the project located outside the U.S. and using a local equ...

Hi.

The LEED Online form for this credit was updated recently and now international projects have to "Provide documents identifying how the local equivalent used is equivalent to the referenced".

We're working with a redevelopment on a urban site and therefore it is not a habitat for threatened or endangered species.

We cannot easily show an equivalent standard, since the environment ministry, and environmental divisions of local governments does not release specifically where the habitat of endangered species are. The reason for that is because they fear people might try to collect those species if the information is available.

Any ideas on how international problems can cope with this credit in general instead of finding local equivalents?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 02 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Noriko, I would provide a narrative describing the specfics of how the local environmental ministry operates, and further note that you are in an urban area that is of low likelihood for impacting habitat. 

If you can get someone in an environmental regulatory office to provide such a letter on their letterhead, all the better.

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Amber Richane Associate Principal Callison
Sep 16 2013
LEEDuser Member
202 Thumbs Up

How much to document if we are a previously developed site

What do I need to do to document that a site is 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." to achieve this credit? Do I need to provide documentation that we are not any of these things or just click all of the boxes in the form? How much do I need to prove? Just an aerial photo?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 02 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Amber, just provide what is asked for. In some cases major documentation issues are verified through no more than checking a box.

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Jennifer Martin Project Manager DRLT
Aug 27 2013
LEEDuser Member
52 Thumbs Up

Elevation of the 100-year flood - FEMA/FIRM maps not available

There are no 100-year floodplain maps for Scotland County (project location) on file with the Scotland County Assessor, the USDA, the US Farm Service Agency or the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA).

Additionally, Scotland County does not participate in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Hazard Mapping Program. Therefore, FEMA does not maintain Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) for the county. The Ecovillage in which the project is located is not incorporated as a municipality. Subsequently, it is ineligible to join the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The Land Trust on which the project is located participates in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), which is administered by the US Farm Service Agency and the NRCS. The only floodplain information the project has to submit to LEED was provided by the NRCS. This document elaborates on the soil classifications found on the project site. (From Web Soil Survey) All soils are in the Flooding Frequency Class Rating: "none" which means that flooding is not probable. The chance of flooding is nearly 0 percent in any year. Flooding occurs less than once in 500 years.

FEMA defines a 100-year flood as the flood elevation that has a 1% chance of being reached or exceeded each year.

Is there precedence for this type of documentation? Or, do you recommend 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?

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adi ashkenazi Oct 28 2013 Guest 54 Thumbs Up

Hi Jennifer,
Did you get an answer for your question? I'm dealing with a similar situation and would love to learn from your experience.
Thanks

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 02 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

See the FAQ above, which mostly addresses this question.

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Olga Kozub
Aug 27 2013
Guest
55 Thumbs Up

Documentation for upload

I have a project in Russia. In Russia we use the local equivalent of the United States Code of Federal Regulations named State Immovable Property Cadastre.
I can get an the extract from the State Immovable Property Cadastre: the land parcel cadastral certificate, which proclaims that our project site is not a Prime farmland. Is it acceptable if I'll upload in the SSc1 LEED Online form this cadastral certificate?
Thanks.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 02 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Olga, as noted in the credit language projects outside the U.S. can use a local equivalent to show compliance.

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Emre Yöntem Ekodenge Ltd
May 29 2013
LEEDuser Member
30 Thumbs Up

Industrial zones

Hi all,
Is there any exception for the areas divided for particular activity like industrial zones? Are these areas also undeveloped?
Thanks in advance.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 02 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Emre, I'm afraid I don't understand your question—can you clarify. A particular zoning designation, in itself, would not typically be enough to meet thes credit requirements.

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Paula Jarrett Nasta CPZ Architects
Apr 17 2013
LEEDuser Member
42 Thumbs Up

Community Center on Park Land

If you are putting a Community Center and Fire Station Building on a site that is currently a portion of a park is that project exempt from the 'do not build on previous park land" criteria and therefore still eligbile for SSc1? The community center will be used/staffed by the park's department.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 02 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Paula, as stated in the credit language, "park authority projects and projects which are operated by and support the function of the park are exempt" from the park land requirement. It sounds like this is the case in your situation.

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sujata shakya
Apr 01 2013
Guest
22 Thumbs Up

why the distance between the

why the distance between the previously undeveloped land and a water body is taken 50 feet???? can u more elaborate the reason why the distance is being taken 50 feet......

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Apr 01 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Sujata, I don't know where specifically this figure came from, although I assume it relates to precedents set by some U.S. zoning regulations.

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BABAR MEHMOOD SAUD CONSULT
Mar 03 2013
Guest
367 Thumbs Up

Online documentation clarification

As i checked online submittal template, it seems that we only have to mark the check box, do we have to need to submitt any documentation for the requirements mentioned in this credit. Moreover, the site is in KSA so how can i confrim the requirements since most of the codes are related to US for the prime farmland and FEMA for the flood checking. Thanks

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 20 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Babar, you do need to confirm that you meet the requirements. There is advice on doing this above. The documentation, as you note, is very simple. Just include the documentation LEED asks for, and nothing more.

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Olga Kozub Aug 27 2013 Guest 55 Thumbs Up

Tristan,
I have a project in Russia. In Russia we use the local equivalent of the United States Code of Federal Regulations named State Immovable Property Cadastre.
I can get an the extract from the State Immovable Property Cadastre: the land parcel cadastral certificate, which proclaims that our project site is not a Prime farmland. Is it acceptable if I'll upload in the SSc1 LEED Online form this cadastral certificate?

Thanks.

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Kris Phillips Architect Arcadis
Feb 26 2013
LEEDuser Member
557 Thumbs Up

100' Wetland - previously developed

The credit requirements excuse "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 for 1) the 100-year floodplain and 2) within 50' of a water body. This is not specifically mentioned 3) within 100' of wetlands. Does anyone know? I have a project that is within 100' of a wetland, but the area on which we will be building/paving was entirely previously developed long ago. For that matter, we are likely digging up some of the paving and restoring it to natural habitat/wetland. Anyway, would appreciate any opinions on whether or not we can earn the point building within 100' of a wetland on land that was entirely previously developed?

Thank you - Kris

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 26 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Kris, I think the credit language is intentional on this point—and you wouldn't be able to earn the credit. As a consolation, your work should help with SSc5, SSc6, and SSc7.

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Kris Phillips Architect, Arcadis Feb 26 2013 LEEDuser Member 557 Thumbs Up

Thanks Tristan. I think I agree with you, but it seems counterintuitive to LEED's push to develop on 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." land because we could theoretically get this point by developing on a greenfield instead of on land that was developed decades ago when preserving wetlands was not on many people's radar. Since this project is likely going to the effort of restoring wetland that was previously developed, I may still attempt this credit under a "special circumstance" or "alternative compliance path." Can't hurt to try anyway, I suppose. Thanks again.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 26 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

I see your point, but a counterargument would be that we should generally pull back from wetlands rather than maintaining development that encroaches on them. And this is a credit, not a prereq—and your restoration work will be recognized under the credits I mentioned.

It's a complex issue and tough to make a single rule that makes sense in all cases. I like where LEED v4 is going with this, with a site assessment credit, where you get credit just for doing an integrated analysis of siting and other issues.

You might need 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 or 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. to get an exception to such a black-and-white credit requirement.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 08 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Kris, I'd like to amend my earlier advice and recommend contacing GBCI through their website to seek advice on whether you can proceed with documenting the credit in this way, or if you'd need an official ruling in the form of 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 or 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. to continue. GBCI is now encouraging this kind of direct communication.

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Kris Phillips Architect, Arcadis Mar 19 2013 LEEDuser Member 557 Thumbs Up

Tristan,
Thanks for the follow up. In the interim, I also discovered that this particular "wetland" was a human creation and not one that was there naturally on the site prior to the development. This adds yet another level of complication to the documentation of SSc1 for this specific site. I will try to contact GBCI directly and see how they respond. I will provide an update in here if/when they do.

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Kris Phillips Architect, Arcadis Apr 01 2013 LEEDuser Member 557 Thumbs Up

Tristan,

Update: I sent an email directly to GBCI, but have not yet heard back. When the time comes, I intend to submit the credit with an explanation of our "special circumstance" and see what happens. Personally, I feel that we are meeting the intent and requirements within reason as well as going to the extra measure of restoring and building wetlands. But, I realize my opinion isn't what counts.

Thanks,
Kris

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Elizabeth Thompson LEED Specialist, USGBC Apr 10 2013 LEEDuser Member 508 Thumbs Up

Thank you for your question, asking whether keeping an existing road that is approximately 80' from the a constructed/developed wetland on 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." site will prevent the project from achieving SSc1.

As long as there is no grading, utility installation, or other alteration of the existing road, the location of the existing road should not affect the ability of the project to earn SSc1. The scope of this credit addresses new development or alterations, rather than existing work, per the guidance on page 17 of the LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction, 2009 Edition (Updated June 2010): "Do not DEVELOP buildings, 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., roads or parking areas on portions of sites that meet any of the following criteria..." An existing road, if not altered in any way, is not considered new development, and thus, would not be included in the scope of this credit.

You also asked how a constructed wetland would be viewed by the reviewer. For LEED- BD+C 2009 projects, constructed wetlands are included in the scope of a wetland. Please see the reference standards for this credit (the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations 40 CFR, Parts 230-233 and Part 22, or a local equivalent definition outside the U.S., and isolated wetlands or areas of special concern identified by state or local rule, etc.) for more information.

Also, it was pointed out that the exception provided for previously developed flood plains and proximity to water bodies isn't provided for wetlands. This is correct. These exceptions allow NEW development in those areas if they were previously developed. This exception is not extended to wetland areas.

We hope that this helps, but please let us know if you have additional questions and we will be glad to help.

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VICTOR MORENO TECHNICAL DIRECTOR ISOLANA AHORRO ENERGÉTICO SL
Feb 11 2013
Guest
239 Thumbs Up

Major Renovations Project

Hi, I am performing a Major Renovation Project that footprint building is equal to Project area site. The site archive all requirements of ssc1.

You can achieve this credit if the project is a rehabilitation and no site selection?

Thankss

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 18 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Yes, a renovation can earn SSc1 if you meet the credit requirements.

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VICTOR MORENO TECHNICAL DIRECTOR , ISOLANA AHORRO ENERGÉTICO SL Feb 21 2013 Guest 239 Thumbs Up

If the project is outside the United States, but I use the definition of Prime Farmland as defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in the United States Code of Federal Regulations, Title 7, Volume 6, Parts 400 to 699, Section 657.5 (citation 7CFR657.5).

Do I have to check the box "Is the project located outside the U.S. and using a local equivalent"?

Regards

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 26 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

VIctor, I don't think you need to check the box in that case.

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Magda Aghababyan CEO, Co-Energi (Pvt) Ltd. Aug 23 2013 LEEDuser Member 488 Thumbs Up

Thank you for the discussion. I was thinking that if a project is a major renovation there shouldn't be any need of having to prove that it is not a prime farmland, elevation is ower than 5 feet above the elevation of the 100- year flood, identified habitat for any species, within 50 feet of a water body, defined as seas, lakes, rivers, streams and tributaries which support or could support aquatic life, recreation or industrial use and not a public parkland. Just mentioning that 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." land is good enough. Am I correct?

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Jennifer Carlson Intern Architect FWAI
Dec 18 2012
Guest
33 Thumbs Up

Previously Developed Site vs. Prime Farmland

I have a site that is currently on 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. Utilities, sidewalks, etc are already in place. However the Soil Survey says the land the is prime farmland if drained. How is this possibly if the is already developed? Can I still achieve this credit?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 16 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Jennifer, the by-the-book answer would be no. However, there is a clear case to be made to waive this requirement here. I think you would need to get 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 or 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. to know one way or the other.

If you proceed with this and get any guidance from GBCI, let us know!

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Lisa Sawin
Nov 09 2012
LEEDuser Member
513 Thumbs Up

Prime farmland vs farmland of statewide importance

We have a site that 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." urban site. According to the web soil survey from the USDA it is adjacent to Prime farmland and on Farmland of statewide importance. Therefore I have two questions:

1. Are previously developed sites exempt from this requirement? This site has multiple buildings, parking, etc. and is in an urban context. The buildings will be taken down and a new building erected on the site.

2. Is Farmland of statewide importance considered Prime farmland?

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Lisa

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 22 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Lisa, the prime farmland definition in the credit language is pretty specific, so I'd say that you fall outside of that. 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 are not exempt from the requirement.

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Susann Geithner Global Sustainability Manager, Predictive Service Dec 07 2012 LEEDuser Member 11350 Thumbs Up

Lisa, you can find the definition here: http://1.usa.gov/UKzf0t

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Albert Sagrera Architect Societat Organica
May 11 2012
LEEDuser Member
610 Thumbs Up

Previously developed?

We are working in project within a universitary campus. The particular site has been a deposit of soil from other building construccion, is surronded by road access and is used as a informal paking lot. Although nothing was ever built in this site, i understand that i can consider this site as 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.", since the human intervencion has already damaged the natural caracteristics of the original site. Do you consider my considerations correct?

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Albert Sagrera Architect, Societat Organica May 15 2012 LEEDuser Member 610 Thumbs Up

The definition says that "land use that would typically have required regulatory permitting to have been initiated" this would be the case of a parquing lot, at least here in Spain. There is a real damage related to the parking like, for example, the lost of engine oil in the soil... Would LEED consider this correct reasoning?

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Susann Geithner Global Sustainability Manager, Predictive Service May 31 2012 LEEDuser Member 11350 Thumbs Up

I would agree with you. Your site is consider 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 a parking lot was located on it before. But be careful with the new definition per addendum 11/1/2011 "altered landscapes resulting from current or historical clearing or filling .. are considered undeveloped land."

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Albert Sagrera Architect, Societat Organica Jun 11 2012 LEEDuser Member 610 Thumbs Up

Thanks Susann! We've recently discovered that previously there was an archery field instaled on the site, also that there is an underground electric line instaled. Would these activities/instalations also count to justify "non 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.""?

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Susann Geithner Global Sustainability Manager, Predictive Service Jun 11 2012 LEEDuser Member 11350 Thumbs Up

The utility line (electric line) makes it 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.". So you are good.

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Studio 804 Studio 804 Oct 02 2012 Guest 73 Thumbs Up

Hi Sussan, I have a similar situation to the one above. We are working on a project with a site at the edge of a university campus. There is a parking lot and we are just on the other side of it. Our site seems to have been a dumping ground for fill dirt over the years, which I know does not allow us to call it 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.", and there was never a building located there. But there is a 5'x5' storm drain located approx. 50' into our site with a buried 36" concrete pipe running from it. From what I can tell, our site should be considered previously developed because of this. Is this correct?

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Susann Geithner Global Sustainability Manager, Predictive Service Oct 05 2012 LEEDuser Member 11350 Thumbs Up

If the storm drain was a permitted alteration, so it's in the cities maps and drawings, for sure I would consider it 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.". Just be careful to not stretch it to far. if the pipe is only going through a small part of a large site, than I would consider it a stretch and the reviewer may see it the same way.

I hope that helps.

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David Cloutier Director Balfour Beatty Communites
May 09 2012
Guest
56 Thumbs Up

Site Selection - Historic Landmark

Question: If you performing a Major Renovations with no addition to an existing Historic Building in a Historic Landmark and the project requires minimal new parking spaces and new walkways and the land is classified as Prime Farmland per the Websoil Survey. Would SSC1 be applicable? Thank You

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Susann Geithner Global Sustainability Manager, Predictive Service May 31 2012 LEEDuser Member 11350 Thumbs Up

It depends and you will probably submit an 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 get final clarification. One can argue that the area immediately surrounding the building can't be used for agriculture, but if you are building a big parking lot on top of the prime farmland than you will be at a loss. I hope that helps.
Good luck.

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Natalie Tan
Mar 17 2012
Guest
186 Thumbs Up

ACP SSc1-6 "Previous, non-park use of the project site"

Hi, I would like to clarify if our non-US project can qualify for this credit. The project is a building on a greater campus setting, will be on previously landscaped grounds, which is not used as a recreational park. Will our project qualify?

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Susann Geithner Global Sustainability Manager, Predictive Service Mar 20 2012 LEEDuser Member 11350 Thumbs Up

If this is just campus grounds and not a park you should be fine. I have had a project in Europe with a similar setting as you have described above. The difficulty for non-US projects is to show equivalence to all the US definitions. Use local laws and regulations, which may prevent you form using such areas anyway, or zoning maps to show that you are meeting the intent of the credit.

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BOHYUN CHUNG Mr. ERM Korea
Mar 06 2012
Guest
94 Thumbs Up

Reclaimed land from Sea

Dear all,

I'm doing LEED NC project and the building site is the reclaimed land from the sea. Of course, the owner just bought that site from another developer. Does anyone know whether it could be treated as 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." land'?

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