NC-2009 SSc3: Brownfield Redevelopment

  • NC_CS_SSc3_Type3_Brownfield Diagram
  • Redevelop land or facilities

    The intent of this credit is to reduce the development pressure on undeveloped land by encouraging development of land that has access to existing infrastructure and services. 

    This credit is straightforward. You can earn it if your site has been designated a brownfieldAbandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites who expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination (may include hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants). They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. EPA's Brownfields initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic vitality of such areas or properties. (EPA) by a state, local or federal agency and if the site is remediated to meet appropriate standards for development. 

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines “brownfields” as “abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.” 

    Your documentation needs to include brownfield designation, records of testing conducted on the site, and records of the remediation performed.

    Asbestos can qualify, lead may not

    Asbestos and other non-soil contamination in an existing structure may also qualify for brownfield redevelopment, per 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. 5/9/2011 ID#10001. An asbestos plan should be developed by a qualified environmental professional and documented according to EPA and state regulations.

    Having lead paint on walls in the building is not a sufficient threshold to earn this credit. The physical site must have been contaminated and need remediation in some way in order to earn the credit.

    A degraded brownfield site and erosion-prone streambed were restored into an ecologically productive wetland at the Real Goods Solar Living Center. Photo – Alex Wilson

    Benefits to the environment

    Brownfield projects remediate damaged land, creating clean, highly developable properties, often with good access to utility and public infrastructure. Focusing development on brownfields restores vacant lands, reconnecting communities ravaged by industrial waste and abandonment.

    In addition, techniques for remediating brownfields may restore water quality and wildlife habitat on marginal sites—many brownfields are located along urban waterways in need of ecological restorationEcological restoration is the process of assisting in the recovery and management of ecological integrity and includes biodiversity, ecological processes and structures, regional and historical context, and sustainable cultural practices.. Brownfield development can often take advantage of creative financing packages offered by state and local governments that aim to focus economic activity in depressed or abandoned areas. 

    Actual remediation not always necessary

    You can occasionally earn this credit even if no actual remediation is performed, because brownfields are often designated as such simply because of the perception that contamination is present due to a site’s history of use, abandoned or derelict condition, adjacent industrial sites. If investigation finds that contamination is not present despite the brownfield determination, you can still earn the credit.

    What’s the catch?

    If a site’s owner uncovers information that leads to the site being classified as a brownfield in need of remediation, then the owner will need to perform the remediation in order to qualify for the credit. This will require detailed site investigation to understand the nature of contamination and the steps needed for remediation. 

    • Remediation can be expensive, both in terms of cost and time. Begin the Environmental Assessment process early to avoid design and permitting problems in later phases.
    • Weigh the value of the remediated property against cleanup costs to determine whether the site is economically viable for redevelopment.
    • Work with your community as early as possible in the project to communicate the goals of site remediation and eventual use of the property. Good communication will help to prevent misunderstandings and the potential for legal issues. Professional facilitators can be helpful in developing your relationship with the community and building a strong local partnership.
    • Brownfield owners become part of the chain of title, and as such, are partly responsible for environmental liability for the property. However, there are established legal ways to reduce the risk that you will be sued for costs of environmental cleanup or personal injury. Consult an attorney experienced in brownfield real estate law before entering into your purchase.
    • Buyer and seller can work out financial responsibility for liabilities during the sale transaction. 
    • Environmental liability insurance can insure against unknown cleanup costs or cap the policyholder’s liability for cleanup cost overruns.
    • Federal and state governments have devised special programs to encourage brownfield reuse, including special protection from liability.

    Steps to evaluate your site for contamination

    • If you suspect that your project site is contaminated, but it has not been designated a brownfield by a local, state, or federal agency, you will need to conduct a preliminary assessment to establish the likelihood of contamination.Petco Park in San Diego is the centerpiece of a 26-block brownfield redevelopment project in which the City acquired properties through eminent domain. Photo – SCS Engineers
    • This study is a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA), ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services E1903-11. Phase I looks at prior land use records, including use of adjacent and nearby sites. It does not require special soil tests and must be performed by an environmental professional. 
    • A Phase I ESA is not necessary if the site has a clear indication of contamination from previous development, such as underground storage tanks for hazardous substances, or if the site was historically used for heavy industry. 
    • If the contamination is obvious, or the Phase I study indicates the likelihood of contamination, then further development will require a Phase II ESA (ASTM E1903-11). Phase II requires soil testing to measure the degree of contamination, determine whether remediation is required, and outline proposed steps for remediation.

    Questions to consider before approaching this credit

    • Has the site already been remediated to an appropriate standard for redevelopment?  This may be the case if a previous owner sought to develop the property and performed remediation as a condition of sale. 
    • Are there known or obvious contaminants (eliminates need for Phase I Environmental Site Assessment)?
    • Has a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment been conducted on the site?

    FAQs for SSc3

    Is earning one point for this credit an appropriate reward, given the work involved?

    Given the effort, expense, and risk involved in many brownfield projects, one LEED point is probably not a worthy reward. It would probably be more useful to think of this credit as a token, and to acknowledge that developers aren't likely to choose a brownfield site to earn this point. There is a silver lining, however, in that urban infill sites, which are often brownfields, are typically well-rewarded in LEED's density-related credits.

    Do we have to get testing done even if contamination is obviously present?

    Yes, an environmental professional will need to verify that contamination is located on the site using the specified standards for testing and verification. This helps identify the scope of contamination and thus the scope of remediation that will be required.

    If the remediation work is not part of the LEED project scope, can I still achieve this credit?

    No. If the remediation occurred prior to when the property was purchased, you are no longer developing a contaminated site. SSc3 addresses sites that are subject to corrective action; it doesn't address the past history of the site.

    Are there minimum contamination thresholds that need to be met in order for a site to be classified as a brownfield?

    Brownfield requirements are determined at the federal, state, or local level and vary from one jurisdiction to another. For LEED, there are no minimum thresholds (volume or area) required to meet this credit as long as the site—or a portion of it—is classified as a brownfield.

    Am I eligible to earn the credit if there is ongoing remediation on my project site and remediation is not yet complete?

    Yes, a project team may earn the credit even when remediation is not complete provided there is an approved ongoing remediation plan in place and the applicable regulatory authority has approved the site for its intended use.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Pre-Design

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  • Brownfield Sites


  • Determine whether your project site has been designated a brownfield by local, state, or federal standards, or has been documented as contaminated through an ASTM-E-1903-97, Phase II, Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) or local voluntary cleanup program. 


  • If you have reason to believe that your project site is contaminated, but it has not yet been designated Petco Park in San Diego is the centerpiece of a 26-block brownfield redevelopment project in which the City acquired properties through eminent domain. Photo – SCS Engineersas such by a local, state, or federal agency, hire a qualified environmental consultant, engineer, or hazardous materials remediation professional to conduct an ASTM-E-1903-97, Phase II, ESA to determine the degree of contamination and whether remediation is required. 


  • A Phase II ESA involves a detailed look at the site. The environmental professional takes samples and tests for contaminants on the grounds and within existing structures. High concentrations of heavy metals, toxic chemicals, or asbestos may require remediation. Petroleum byproducts, pesticides, solvents, and mold may also lead to remediation, depending on the specific chemicals and concentrations. 


  • Research liability issues, financial obligations and incentives, community interest, remediation options, and regulatory requirements. You’ll need to consult with local, state, and federal regulatory agencies to determine much of the information. 


  • It’s important to have the support of the community when remediating a brownfield. Consider holding an open meeting to educate members of the community about the actual and perceived risks of remediating a brownfield, especially in terms of impacts on groundwater and the potential risks associated with the disruption of contaminated soils. 


  • If remediation is required, seek out qualified environmental firms to provide bids to perform the work. 


  • Once hired, this firm will document the process and demonstrate the removal of identified contaminants to meet the appropriate thresholds and credit requirements. 


  • Determine the best strategy for your site, contamination type, and degree of concentrations in collaboration with your environmental professional. Set a timeline within which to determine any impact on your construction schedule. (See Schematic Design, below, for more detail on common remediation options.)


  • Invite several companies to bid on the creation and implementation of a master plan for site remediation. This strategy enables comparison of remediation techniques and costs. Try to contract with an environmental firm early in the project.


  • Cleaning up contaminated sites to appropriate standards for development can be costly due to the time required to determine the level of contamination, analyze various cleanup options, and carry out the remediation. 


  • Work with local, state, and federal regulatory agencies to research available funding for the remediation of your contaminated project site. 


  • International projects can still achieve this credit even if the local government agency has not designated it as a brownfield by pursuing the Option 1 compliance path by conducting your own ASTM E1903-97 Phase II Environmental Site Assessment.


  • Asbestos 


  • If your project building was built prior to the late 1970s, there may be some form of asbestos present in piping insulation, siding, or other materials. If you are undergoing major renovations, it’s likely that some asbestos will need to be removed from the building or remediated. However, not all types need to be remediated. To determine whether you will need to remediate asbestos on your project site, hire a qualified environmental professional to inventory asbestos and document it according to EPA Reg. 40-CFR-763 or similar state or local standard, whichever is most stringent.  


  • Make sure your environmental professional provides a summary of the asbestos inventory and a plan for its remediation. The plan must document the type, amount, and location of the contamination, and create a remediation plan following EPA Reg. 40-CFR-763 and the National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) program. This will serve as your documentation for this credit.  

Schematic Design

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  • Brownfield


  • Hire a qualified environmental engineer or professional to manage the remediation effort according to the master remediation plan. 


  • Each contaminated site requires different remediation efforts. The remediation technique you use should be based on the type, extent, and concentration of contamination, as well as the risk level. Some examples of remediation techniques are: 

    • Pump-and-treat, a process in which contaminated groundwater is brought up from the subsurface for treatment.
    • In situ remediation, which involves placing injection wells in the natural path of groundwater for treatment of contaminants.
    • Phytoremediation, which involves planting the site with plants that uptake and store contamination within the plant tissue.      
    • Haul-away, where the contaminated soil is removed from the site and used as daily cover at the landfill.

  • Depending on the extent and type of remediation required, it is possible that some site features may be affected. For example, it may be less expensive to cap contaminated soils with concrete, leaving no room for landscaping or stormwater infiltration. This can have an effect on other site credits your project is attempting, such as SSc5.1: Protect or Restore Habitat and SSc6.1 and SSc6.2: Stormwater Management.


  • After remediation is completed, your environmental professional should write a letter stating that the site cleanup has been conducted to local, state, or federal standards. This letter should describe the actual remediation steps in detail.


  • Asbestos 


  • Remediate asbestos according to accepted standards, such as NESHAP or comparable state regulations. 

Design Development

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  • Brownfield


  • Prepare the documentation for submission to LEED Online. Documents should include:

    • The brownfield designation by a local, state, or federal agency or a summary of the Phase II ESA, signed by a qualified environmental consultant, that outlines the type and amount of contamination and the remediation required to reduce the contamination to acceptable levels. 
    • A summary of the remediation plan and its implementation, signed by a qualified environmental consultant, that includes final measurements of contamination levels as compared to the initial maximum contaminant thresholds. 

  • Asbestos 


  • Prepare documentation for submission to LEED Online. These documents should include:

    • A summary of the asbestos inventory, signed by an environmental consultant qualified in asbestos investigation.
    • A summary of the remediation plan and its implementation, including reference to compliance with NESHAP or similar standard, signed by a qualified asbestos removal contractor. 

Construction

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  • Prior to issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy, ensure that all remediation efforts have been completed, properly documented, and submitted to the proper authorities.    


  • Verify any ongoing requirements with your regulating agency, as some state and local agencies require a contaminated and remediated site to be retested or monitored on an ongoing basis.

Operations & Maintenance

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  • If required by the remediation plan, monitor the levels of identified chemicals onsite after the remediation is complete to ensure that contamination remains below the maximum thresholds. 

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations

    SS Credit 3: Brownfield redevelopment

    1 Point

    Intent

    To rehabilitate damaged sites where development is complicated by environmental contamination and to reduce pressure on undeveloped land.

    Requirements

    OPTION 1

    Develop on a site documented as contaminated by means of an ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services E1903-97 Phase II Environmental Site Assessment or a local voluntary cleanup program. Projects outside the U.S. may use a local equivalent to ASTM E1903-97 Phase II Environmental Site Assessment.

    OR

    OPTION 2

    Develop on a site defined as a brownfieldAbandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites who expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination (may include hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants). They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. EPA's Brownfields initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic vitality of such areas or properties. (EPA) by a local, state, tribal or national government agency, whichever is most stringent.

    For projects where asbestos is found and remediated also earn this credit. Testing should be done in accordance with EPA Reg 40CFR part 763, when applicable.

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    During the site selection process, give preference to brownfieldAbandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites who expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination (may include hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants). They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. EPA's Brownfields initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic vitality of such areas or properties. (EPA) sites. Identify tax incentives and property cost savings. Coordinate site development plans with remediation activity, as appropriate. 

    For projects where asbestos is found, prepare executive summary- level content from the investigation’’s report explaining the extent of the contamination and required action as well as documentation indicating an acceptable level of remediation was achieved based on an acceptable standard, such as RCRAThe Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) addresses active and future facilities and was enacted in 1976 to give EPA authority to control hazardous wastes from cradle to grave, including generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal. Some nonhazardous wastes are also covered under RCRA. or NESHAPs.

     

Web Tools

U.S. EPA, Sustainable Redevelopment of Brownfields Program

This is a comprehensive website on brownfields that includes projects, initiatives, tools, tax incentives and other resources to address brownfield remediation and redevelopment. For information by phone, contact your regional EPA office.


EPA Reg. 40 CFR 763

This EPA website provides laws and federal regulations relevant to asbestos.


U.S. EPA, Asbestos

This website provides information on the health effects of asbestos, where it is commonly found, and the laws and regulations governing testing of sites containing asbestos.

Publications

NESHAP – demolition practices update

This link outlines the Asbestos Remediation guidelines.

Organizations

Council of Development Finance Agencies

This organization offers options for brownfieldAbandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites who expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination (may include hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants). They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. EPA's Brownfields initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic vitality of such areas or properties. (EPA) refinancing.


Environmental Law Institute, Brownfields Center

The Environmental Law Institute’s Brownfields Center provides information on brownfields cleanup and redevelopment with a focus on the concerns and needs of community groups across the country.

Technical Guides

ASTM E1527-05

This document defines good commercial and customary practice in the United States of America for conducting an environmental site assessment of a parcel of commercial real estate with respect to the range of contaminants within the scope of Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act.


ASTM E1903-11

This document is intended for use on a voluntary basis by parties who wish to evaluate known releases or likely release areas identified by the user or Phase II assessor.


U.S. EPA, Asbestos

This website provides information on the health effets of asbestos, where it is commonly found, and the laws and regulations governing testing of sites containing asbestos.

Other

LEED Interpretation Ruling for Asbestos

This is a 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. Ruling that spells out the requirements to use asbestos remediation as an alternative compliance path for this credit.

Asbestos Abatement

This is a sample narrative for a project in NYC that is showing that the local regulation for asbestos removal is an acceptable standard.

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.

103 Comments

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Larry Sims Principal, Studio4, LLC Aug 26 2011 LEEDuser Expert 2334 Thumbs Up

Ryan, you are correct.

LEED 2009 for Healthcare

SSp2 Environmental Site Assessment

"Sites that are contaminated due to the past existence of a landfill on the site are prohibited..."

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Keith Robertson President Solterre Inc.
Aug 02 2011
LEEDuser Member
547 Thumbs Up

Encapsulation of impacted soils

In our jurisdiction, encapsulation of contaminated soils (with a "cap" that contains and prevents leaching) is considered acceptable for remediating a site. Is there precedence in LEED 2009 or 2.2 for this?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 21 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Keith, I can't speak to whether this practice has worked for other projects, but LEED seems clear that the remediation standards are up to the relevant jurisdiction.

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Heather Holdridge Sustainability Coordinator Lake/Flato Architects
Jul 13 2011
LEEDuser Member
1498 Thumbs Up

Asbestos Abatement Documentation

We are developing on an existing site that requires asbestos abatement, so we're pursuing this credit under the third option. The demo contractors are saying that there is typically no LEED documentation during the abatement process. I assume they're referring to documentation they would be responsible for though. The only documentation would be the third-party remediation plan, correct?

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Heather Holdridge Sustainability Coordinator, Lake/Flato Architects Jul 13 2011 LEEDuser Member 1498 Thumbs Up

Also, how do I document this on LEED Online since it's neither options 1 nor 2? Is this alternative compliance approach?

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Ellen Mitchell Director of Sustainability, HKS, Inc. Jul 13 2011 LEEDuser Expert 4281 Thumbs Up

I have had success with submitting only remediation verification plans/reports in a couple of past projects. Unfortunately they were both v2.2, but I would think that the alternative compliance path is the best way to go for v.3.

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Denise Dauplaise Architect, Berners Schober Apr 17 2012 LEEDuser Member 215 Thumbs Up

I am in a similar situation, and trying to determine how best to fill out the LEED form. Is Option 1 the way to go, since the abatement could be called a "local voluntary cleanup program" ?

I see Larry references Option 2 below, unless it was designated as a brownfieldAbandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites who expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination (may include hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants). They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. EPA's Brownfields initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic vitality of such areas or properties. (EPA) ahead of time. Does that sound right?

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Tim Casper Apr 25 2012 Guest 181 Thumbs Up

I too am attempting this credit through asbestos remediation. The most recent LEED NC 2009 text states, "For projects where asbestos is found and remediated also earn this credit. Testing should be done in accordance with EPA Reg 40CFR part 763, when applicable."

Does anyone know when part 763 is applicable? Also, did anyone determine whether option 1 or an alternative compliance path is the correct way to submit?

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E H Sustainability Architect Jan 22 2013 Guest 3583 Thumbs Up

I have a project using the same credit approach. Has anybody submitted this credit for review using the ACP in the credit form and gotten it approved?

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Michelle Rosenberger Partner, ArchEcology, LLC Jan 25 2013 LEEDuser Member 6574 Thumbs Up

Morning all,
We have documented asbesos contamination for SScr3 many times in both v2.2 and v3. We use the local jurisdiction option and then supply both the asbestos investigation report and the subsequent asbestos remediation documentation. It is important to have both. The remediation info should clearly indicate what Federal regulatory standards were used for cleanup. The paperwork that is normally generated for the GC during demolition for this kind of hazmat cleanup process is generally sufficient to document this credit because everyone involved must be certified and accredited.

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Kevin Flynn President, AIA, LEED FELLOW (LEED AP BD&C), EcoDEEP Jan 25 2013 LEEDuser Member 234 Thumbs Up

I can second Michelle Rosenberger's comments above.
I have used this approach on three separate certifications with great success. What I have included is documention of the initial inspection report, the abatement contractors work plan/report, and a post abatement inspection and verification report. I also always reference the CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide from 6/8/2005 in the narrative section of the template.
See below:
6/8/2005 -
Ruling EPA Reg. 40CFR Part 763 (http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/2003pt763.txt) is acceptable for proving contamination of the site for purposes of this credit. Your LEED application must include executive summary-level content from the investigation's report, explaining the extent of contamination and required action. Follow an accepted standard for remediation, such as RCRAThe Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) addresses active and future facilities and was enacted in 1976 to give EPA authority to control hazardous wastes from cradle to grave, including generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal. Some nonhazardous wastes are also covered under RCRA. and NESHAPS, and summarize in a narrative, as requested in the LEED-NC Letter Template.

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Jul 17 2014 LEEDuser Expert 8240 Thumbs Up

Thanks for all this information. I just wanted to note that we should reference LI ID #10001 - http://www.usgbc.org/leed-interpretations?keys=10001 for LEED 2009 (v3) projects and follow the steps there for documentation, which have be outlined above.

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Xavi B
May 03 2011
Guest
2498 Thumbs Up

Find buried fuel oil 2 tanks!!!

This is a 5000sq ft office building to be built in an existing building. When they dig the columns foundations they discovered two fuel oil 2 tanks. Both where removed but when the soil was tested it was contaminated. This is a LEED NC 2009 project outside the US where no environmental laws regarding this issue exist. Question is, are we required to remediate the contaminated soil as per the minimum program requirements suggests, even though there are no local requirements? Can we take full credit of a brownfieldAbandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites who expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination (may include hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants). They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. EPA's Brownfields initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic vitality of such areas or properties. (EPA) redevelopment if remediate the soil and continue with the project?

Thanks

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Larry Sims Principal, Studio4, LLC May 04 2011 LEEDuser Expert 2334 Thumbs Up

Xavi B,

The SSc3 BrownfieldAbandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites who expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination (may include hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants). They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. EPA's Brownfields initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic vitality of such areas or properties. (EPA) Redevelopment credit would be available via Option 1 - a brownfield is documented as contaminated by means of an ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services E1903-97 Phase II Environmental Site Assessment. LEED has also accepted site assessments and remediation plans performed by geotechnical engineering consultants, providing they are comparable to ASTM E1903-97. Additionally, if only part of the project site is a brownfield, it can qualify for this credit.

Although SSc3 is an optional credit, once site contamination is discovered, it is likely someone could be held liable for remediation. And this can become complicated, regardless of the fact that there are no existing governing regulations. I can’t see any wording in either of the two MPR documents that specifically requires a project to remediate environmental issues beyond local regulations. This is more likely a question of “should you” as opposed to “must you”. IMO, the fact the project is seeking LEED certification indicates interest in protecting the environment and human health.

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Josh Mauldin ASA Architects
Apr 11 2011
Guest
221 Thumbs Up

SSc3 Brownfield Documentation

Our project is the renovation of an existing building from 1955. No Phase II ESA was done, but we hired an environmental consultant to do an asbestos and lead paint survey. The report we got back states that there's asbestos in the flooring throughout, in textured ceilings, window seals, and lead paint on fire doors, etc. Is the report from the consultant stating this enough documentation for Option 2, Upload SSc3-2?

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Larry Sims Principal, Studio4, LLC Apr 12 2011 LEEDuser Expert 2334 Thumbs Up

Josh,

LEED considers the identification, remediation and reuse of contaminated sites as environmentally and socially beneficial and permits any generally accepted standard for remediation, such as RCRAThe Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) addresses active and future facilities and was enacted in 1976 to give EPA authority to control hazardous wastes from cradle to grave, including generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal. Some nonhazardous wastes are also covered under RCRA. and NESHAPS.

An addenda was issued on 11/03/2010 that relates to Option 2:

Requirements: Projects where asbestos is found and remediated may also earn this credit. Testing should be done in accordance with EPA Reg 40CFR part 763, when applicable.

Documentation Guidance: For projects where asbestos is found, prepare executive summary level content from the investigation’s report explaining the extent of the contamination and required action as well as documentation indicating an acceptable level of remediation was achieved based on an acceptable standard, such as RCRA or NESHAPs.

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Shannon Terrell Sustainable Design Director Walter Robbs Callahan & Pierce Architects
Mar 25 2011
Guest
256 Thumbs Up

Partial Brownfield

LEED does not establish a minimum % of the site that has to be considered a BrownfieldAbandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites who expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination (may include hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants). They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. EPA's Brownfields initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic vitality of such areas or properties. (EPA) for a project to be able to achieve this credit.

If a portion of our site (within our LEED Boundary but not where the building sits) has been deemed a brownfield, can we (given compliance with credit requirements) acheive this credit point?

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Larry Sims Principal, Studio4, LLC Mar 25 2011 LEEDuser Expert 2334 Thumbs Up

Shannon,

As long as the project site has been deemed a BrownfieldAbandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites who expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination (may include hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants). They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. EPA's Brownfields initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic vitality of such areas or properties. (EPA) , your project is eligible to earn the credit.

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Shannon Terrell Sustainable Design Director, Walter Robbs Callahan & Pierce Architects Mar 25 2011 Guest 256 Thumbs Up

And my follow-up question is that if we claim this portion of our site as brownfieldAbandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites who expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination (may include hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants). They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. EPA's Brownfields initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic vitality of such areas or properties. (EPA) , can we tackle SS c5.1 by applying Case 1:greenfield to the portion of the site that is undeveloped and apply Case 2: 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 the portion of the site that was deemed a brownfield and remediated?

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Larry Sims Principal, Studio4, LLC Mar 25 2011 LEEDuser Expert 2334 Thumbs Up

Yes to Case 1 and Case 2 - if the project can comply with those site conditions specific criteria. (2009 reference guide, pg. 79)

case study:
http://www.northtexasgreencouncil.org/education/case-studies/171-case-st...

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Waylon Lo
Jun 11 2010
Guest
83 Thumbs Up

Achieving Brownfield Redevelopment credit without Phase II ESA

We are working on a major renovation of an existing office building built in 1951. A Phase I ESA study and sampling of suspectg asbestos-containing materials, lead-contatining paint, mold and ambient air were done for the building. Asbestos remediation will be performed throughout the building according to EPA 40-CFR-763 and NESHAP program standards. Does the remediation work alone merit the credit through Option 1, or is Phase II ESA still required to achive this credit?

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Yancy Wright Director, Sellen Sustainability / Sellen Construction Jun 16 2010 Guest 303 Thumbs Up

Is there a specific chemical threshold that has to be met in order for a site to be defined as a brownfieldAbandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites who expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination (may include hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants). They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. EPA's Brownfields initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic vitality of such areas or properties. (EPA) for SSc3? Can a site qualify as a brownfield for say a pint of pollutants in the ground, or say one wall that has asbestos, or does there need to be a certain amount of pollutant on the site? Thanks

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Larry Sims Principal, Studio4, LLC Jun 22 2010 LEEDuser Expert 2334 Thumbs Up

Waylon,
The short answer to your question is no. Remediation alone does not comply with the requirements of SSc3, as the contamination needs to be properly defined and documented. Regardless of what the credit says and, more importantly, how it says it, you are required to VERIFY the facility includes asbestos-containing material (ACM) that poses a risk to occupants, as asbestos is highly regulated by OSHA and the EPA (aka a federal government agency). It is the verification/documentation process that comes into debate.

The following is 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 ruling issued in 2004:
Ruling
The project has inquired whether the presence and remediation of asbestos during construction qualifies the project for the BrownfieldAbandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites who expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination (may include hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants). They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. EPA's Brownfields initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic vitality of such areas or properties. (EPA) credit. The finding and subsequent removal of asbestos on site does not in itself comply. According to the credit requirements and to past CIRs, projects must either be documented as contaminated by means of an ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services E1903-97 Phase II Environmental Site Assessment, or must be classified as a brownfield by a local, state or federal government agency. Supply that documentation with the rest and the credit will be awarded.

However, in 2005 this CIR request and ruling:
"...we respectfully ask the USGBC to consider an asbestos assessment performed in accordance with the EPA Reg. 40CFR Part 763 to be considered equivalent to a Phase II ESA (ASTM E1903-9)."
Ruling
EPA Reg. 40CFR Part 763 (http://www.epa.gov/asbestos/2003pt763.txt) is acceptable for proving contamination of the site for purposes of this credit. Your LEED application must include executive summary-level content from the investigation's report, explaining the extent of contamination and required action. Follow an accepted standard for remediation, such as RCRAThe Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) addresses active and future facilities and was enacted in 1976 to give EPA authority to control hazardous wastes from cradle to grave, including generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal. Some nonhazardous wastes are also covered under RCRA. and NESHAPS, and summarize in a narrative, as requested in the LEED-NC Letter Template.

USGBC appears to be more lenient with projects that demonstrate a concerted effort to "comply with the INTENT of the credit". With SSc3, the intent is quite simple and straightforward: Verify the existance of contaminants, prepare a plan for remediation and submit supporting documentation.

But as Shannon stated above...these days you never know how the GBCI is going review things.

A word of caution however. If there exists a small amount of contaminants, such as "asbestos" or "spilled oil", do you really want this site to be declared or viewed as a brownfield? Sometimes, it much more prudent do the required remediation and just walk gently.

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Larry Sims Principal, Studio4, LLC Jun 22 2010 LEEDuser Expert 2334 Thumbs Up

Yancy,

Yes, criteria is established on a federal, state or local level for determining brownfieldAbandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites who expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination (may include hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants). They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. EPA's Brownfields initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic vitality of such areas or properties. (EPA) eligibility with regards to the levels of contamination that are deemed sufficient to be harmful.
.
States can and do overwrite federal guidelines and cities can and do overwrite state guidelines to address issues specific to their region. A few years ago the City of New York overwrote the state's eligibility requirements to include this:

"...and real property rejected from state programs on the grounds that the environmental contamination is not sufficient to warrant state involvement..."

It is a very sensitive issue and government agencies are well aware of the impact to owners when their property is designated a brownfield. This carries over to prospective buyers who then become concerned about the potential for liabilty issues and cleanup costs. This is why I added the comment at the end of my post above.

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Yancy Wright Director, Sellen Sustainability / Sellen Construction Jun 23 2010 Guest 303 Thumbs Up

Thank you for the comments. I understand the obvious protocol required to document what a BrownfieldAbandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites who expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination (may include hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants). They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. EPA's Brownfields initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic vitality of such areas or properties. (EPA) site is. I am aware of the CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide from 2004. What I am unable to find is a "known" threshold for how much material needs to be present to be deemed a "Brownfield" site under a Pase II environemental site assessment and/or state or local jurisdiction. I am not concerend about the perception of a "brownfoeld" just interested in whether or not there is a measurable threshold (quart, gallon, 10% of the site, etc.)

In addition, what if the site can't be fully remediated due to the depth of contamination or underground water flow? Despite surface level remediation efforts does that mean SSc3 is not achievable?

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Larry Sims Principal, Studio4, LLC Jun 24 2010 LEEDuser Expert 2334 Thumbs Up

Yancy,

There are no measurable thresholds, as you have defined them (area or volume), for brownfieldAbandoned, idled, or under used industrial and commercial facilities/sites who expansion, redevelopment, or reuse is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination (may include hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants). They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. EPA's Brownfields initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic vitality of such areas or properties. (EPA) determination.

I'll assume that "fully remediated" does not mean all contaminates be removed from the site, because few site cleanup programs require this. Most commonly sites are cleaned to reduced contaminate levels to the standards established by the community and as approved by local, state or federal agencies as being protective of human health and the environment.

The fact that a site cannot be fully remediated does not necessarily preclude it from achieving SSc3. Here is a 17 year, $4.4 billion environmental cleanup in my back yard that achieved LEED Platinum in 2008 and is still undergoing remediation. One of the largest environmental cleanup programs in U.S. history.

http://www.waterefficiency.net/may-june-2009/biotreatment-wetlands-ferna...

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Yancy Wright Director, Sellen Sustainability / Sellen Construction Jun 28 2010 Guest 303 Thumbs Up

Thanks Larry, I appreciate it! From a credit intent standpoint doesn't it seem this credit is a bit flawed to not have any measurable threshold?

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Larry Sims Principal, Studio4, LLC Jun 28 2010 LEEDuser Expert 2334 Thumbs Up

Absolutely, Yancy.

Personally, I feel the credit is flawed before it exits the "credit intent" language.

Though SSc3 is simply written and brief in content, it is one of the most complex credits to analyze.

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Richard Reed
Apr 14 2010
Guest
371 Thumbs Up

SSc3 Brownfield Lead Paint

What is the threshold for current lead paint contamination in an existing building to qualify under this credit. There was also previous asbestos remediation approx same sq ft as bldg footprint, but it was 20 years ago and the paper trail is not great. There are approx 100sq ft remaining to document. Any suggestions.

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Shannon Gray Consultant, YRG sustainability Apr 21 2010 LEEDuser Member 3798 Thumbs Up

I don't think the threshold for lead paint matters as much as the building being documented as contaminated by a Phase II ESA, voluntary cleanup program, or defined as a browfield. So, as long as it falls into one of those categories the actual amount may not matter.

Shannon

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Richard Reed Apr 25 2010 Guest 371 Thumbs Up

Thank You Shannon,
As of this morning the paper trail got much better. There is an OSHA Chief Officer's letter describing the extent of the ACBM's in the building, which were extensive, as well as graphs depecting quantities and locations, lab tech reports detailing the % and types of contamination, removal specs, and the job reports of the abatement contractor, who completed the work. Does this sound like enough to you?

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Shannon Gray Consultant, YRG sustainability Apr 26 2010 LEEDuser Member 3798 Thumbs Up

Hi Richard,

Yes, that sounds like it should be good enough. We are going through a similar path with another project and suspect that the paperwork will be good enough but, these days you never know how the GBCI is going review things. Also, you will want to verify that the remediation was in accordance with accepted federal or local standards.

Another thought on your project: did the current owner do the remediation? This can generally be a sticking point and the GBCI won’t give you credit unless the remediation was either done by the current owner or if remediation was per the terms of the sale.

Shannon

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Richard Reed Apr 26 2010 Guest 371 Thumbs Up

Same owner, though I didnt point that out, I will now. Thank You for the clarification.

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