NC-2009 SSc5.1: Site Development—Protect or Restore Habitat

  • NC_CS_Schools_SSc5-1_Type1_SiteDev Diagram
  • Site conditions are the deciding factor

    This credit promotes biodiversity by encouraging project teams to protect existing onsite native habitat or restore the site with native species.

    How you go about earning this credit will depend on the existing conditions of your project site. If you have a greenfield site—one that has not been built, graded, or otherwise altered by human activity—you are required to limit site disturbance during construction.

    If your site has been 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.", you must protect or restore a portion of the site—50% of the total area minus the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint., or 20% of the total site area, whichever is greater—and plant with native or adapted species. The protected or restored area can include vegetation, water bodies, soils, or other ecosystems. 

    Don’t confuse with SSc5.2

    It’s easy to confuse the requirements of this credit, SSc5.1, with those of SSc5.2: Site Development—Maximize Open Space. While they both have the stated intent of promoting biodiversity, they’re actually quite different.  

    This credit focuses on protecting and restoring native habitat or limiting construction disturbances—depending on existing project conditions. Use of native or adapted species in landscaping is a key aspect of this credit.

    SSc5.2, on the other hand, is aimed at increasing open space relative to local zoning requirements. It has no requirements for native vegetation—turf grass and even pedestrian-oriented 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. could apply—and does not put restrictions on construction site disturbance. 

    What’s a green roof got to do it?

    If your project is previously developed and earning SSc2: Development Density and Community Connectivity, you are allowed to include a vegetated roof with native or adapted species in your calculations. This clause allows dense urban sites to earn this credit even though they may not have enough exterior site area to qualify otherwise.

    In order to comply with SSc5.1, green roofs must provide a diversity of native or adapted species that provide animal habitat. This means that extensive roofs with sedum monocultures won't contribute to this credit, as USGBC spelled out Iin 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. #10231. Containerized plants are also unlikely to contribute. USGBC is looking for at least six inches of depth of growing medium—in line with an "intensive" green roof—and multiple species that are suited to provide native habitat. The Interpretation gives six species of sedum, on a six-inch growing medium, as an example of an acceptable green roof, as far as contributing to this credit.

    Other options for urban sites

    Projects with limited landscape opportunities can also use off-site land to earn this credit. They must donate offsite land in perpetuity, equal to 60% of the previously developed area (including the building footprint), to a land trust within the same EPA Level III Ecoregion identified for the project site. The land trust must adhere to the Land Trust Alliance ‘Land Trust Standards and Practices’ 2004 Revision.

    Potential conflicts on previously developed sites

    If you have a previously developed site, you might have a harder time with this credit if the nature of your project requires you to have a large surface parking area. Previously developed projects that can limit surface parking will have a much easier time.

    Native grassesProtecting native habitat like these plantings in the Rice Creek Open Space area in northern Shoreview, Minnesota, is a key focus of this credit. Photo Courtesy Shoreview, MNAlso on previously developed sites, using non-native landscaping over a significant portion of a site, such as lush greenery in an arid climate, may present difficulties—with this credit as well as with WEc1: Water Efficient Landscaping.

    Greenfield sites can also be a challenge

    Meeting the requirements for a greenfield site can be challenging due to the limited range of site disturbance permitted under the credit. The limited buffers allowed for site disturbance may make contractors nervous about this credit because of the large turning radius of construction equipment.

    Successful construction and development within these strict parameters is not standard practice—it will require careful mapping of the site to identify allowable areas for disturbance, and staking out construction boundaries to clearly communicate them to all teams working onsite. Caution tapeThe contractor has such an important role in executing the credit that making credit compliance a contractual obligation is important.

    Buffer requirements eased up

    Although still a challenge, the buffer requirements were eased up under a November 2010 LEED addendum. The addendum introduced a new calculation method that could be very useful for teams that are meeting three of the buffer parameters, but having some difficulty with the fourth. See Checklists for more detail.

    FAQs for SSc5.1

    Can I count green roofs toward this credit?

    In order to comply with SSc5.1, green roofs must provide a diversity of native or adapted species that provide animal habitat. This means that extensive roofs with sedum monocultures won't contribute to this credit, as USGBC spelled out Iin LEED Interpretation #10231, issued 10/1/2012.

    Can I count green walls toward this credit?

    No. LEED Interpretation #5310 issued 3/4/2008, states that "Although living walls or vertical landscaping may provide limited habitat for certain species adapted to urban areas, the credit language does not currently allow for use of this approach in calculating area compliance." This Interpetation also notes that green walls cannot contribute to SSc5.2.

    How should we document the off-site restoration option?

    As recently as version 04, the LEED Online form doesn't mention this option. We recommend that teams document it as an alternative compliance path, by providing a letter on letterhead that includes the EPA Level III Ecoregion, confirms the offsite conservation easement is in compliance with the Land Trust Standards, and notes the size of the designated area.

    Can turf grasses contribute to this credit?

    Common turf grass is not considered native. However, it is possible that a variety of grasses, rather than a monoculture, that are selected with the native habitat in mind and are adpated to the local habitat, can contribute to the credit.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Pre-Design

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  • All Projects


  • What kind of site do you have? 

    • Greenfield site—in a natural state, has not been altered by humans. Follow Case 1.
    • Previously developed site—has been developed, graded or altered by human activity. Follow Case 2.
    • Urban site—see below for special considerations.

  • Projects that are part greenfield and part previously developed need to work out a hybrid plan whereby you follow Case 1 requirements in the greenfield area and Case 2 requirements in the previously developed area. Case 2 requires you to protect a specific percentage of the site. In a hybrid situation, use the area of the previously developed portion of the site, not the total site area, to follow these requirements.


  • Case 1: Greenfield Sites


  • Determine the building footprint and the likely locations of other site features:

    • surface walkways, patios, surface parking, and utilities less than 12 inches in diameter;
    • primary roadway curbs and main utility branch trenches;
    • constructed areas with permeable surfaces such as pervious paving areas, stormwater detention facilities, and playing fields.

  • Create a site plan with the required buffer areas (see credit language). You may decide to alter the site plan to accommodate the designated boundary of site disturbance. For example, you may find that keeping sidewalks (which have a 10-foot buffer) within the 40-foot buffer of the building when possible will make sidewalk construction easier, because construction vehicles will have more room to maneuver. 


  • Consider the slope of your site. A steeply sloped site may mean that the required minimum buffer areas don’t leave enough room for construction vehicles. 


  • A new "landscape budget method" has been added for this credit through the November 2010 LEED addenda. This method could be very useful for teams that are close to meeting the buffer zone requirement, but having some difficulty. If a project is meeting 3 of 4 requirements but can't meet the fourth, it can do the following calculation to demonstrate compliance. As a baseline calculation, calculate the area of site disturbance that would take place if you met all four of the requirements exactly. Then, calculate the actual area of site disturbance. If the actual amount is less than the baseline, then you meet the requirement. In essence, you are allotted a "budget" of disturbance and you are allowed to overspend in one parameter if you make for it by under-spending in the other three parameters.


  • The general contractor is responsible for executing the plan for minimal site disturbance and verifying that the credit requirements and site parameters were attained. Incorporate adherence to these requirements in contractual language or in the project specifications and plan, as this credit requires more than standard practice, and you need to be sure contractors fully understand the requirements for credit compliance. 


  • The general contractor may charge an additional fee for meeting the credit requirements, as it requires the general contractor to monitor all site activities more closely than they would on a conventional project.  


  • Adhering to the strict site disturbance parameters is challenging, so the general contractor needs to educate the subcontractors about these requirements and watch for any activities that could potentially fall outside of the limited boundary.  


  • Case 2: Previously Developed Sites


  • Determine if a registered landscape architect will be involved in the project. If so, you can document this credit through the LPE streamlined path, in which the landscape architect signs off on the whole credit. Doing so requires much less documentation.


  • Calculate the rough site area that you’ll need to restore. Is 50% of your site (minus building footprint) or 20% of the total site (including building footprint) larger?  Whichever is larger, you will need to restore an area of that size. Will this be feasible under the rough design? If you have a small site with a large building footprint, you may not be able to achieve the requirement. 


  • Discuss with the landscape architect the possibility of including native or adapted species on the required area of the site. 


  • Minimize site hardscape and surface parking. This generally opens up more area for the restoration of green space, which can be used as an amenity or for natural stormwater management (helping with SSc6.1 and SSc6.2).


  • You can also protect or restore water bodies, soils, and other ecosystems to meet the credit requirements. Doing so may require the help of a biologist or ecologist, whereas protecting or restoring vegetation may only require a landscape architect. ”Other ecosystems” is a fairly open-ended term, and a project that tries to protect or restore something outside of the defined list will be approved or denied based on your ability to justify it to the LEED reviewer on a project-by-project basis. 


  • Walk the site with a biologist, ecologist, or landscape architect to determine whether you have invasive or non-native species (which would need to be removed), and to assess whether the land and water bodies need work to support native habitat. During this walk, note any native or adapted species that you can protect for credit compliance. 


  • Determine whether you will restore or protect portions of your site. You may find that it takes a combination of the two to meet the area requirements. 

    • Protecting a site involves determining natural site elements that are native or adapted and preserving them. Protecting a site may also involve a covenant or conservation easement.
    • Restoring a site involves removing non-native, non-adapted, invasive, and monoculture species and replacing them with native or adapted species that promote biodiversity and provide habitat for native animals and insects. 

  • Adapted plants are non-invasive species that, once established, can survive in the local climate and ecosystem without the assistance of irrigation and fertilizers. 


  • Turf grass is an example of a monoculture species that is not compliant with the requirements of this credit. Monoculture plantings are essentially the opposite of a biologically diverse landscape, where only one species is planted over an extensive area. 


  • Restoring or protecting portions of a site is a relatively low-cost option to pursue, and compliance with these requirements contributes to the achievement of other LEED credits such as:


  • Urban Sites


  • For urban sites with limited landscape opportunities, you have two options:

    • If also earning SSc2, you can include green roof area in your calculations, if the vegetation is native or adapted, provides habitat and promotes biodiversity. Note that many shallow, or extensive, green roofs use drought-tolerant sedums that probably do not meet these criteria.
    • In all cases, you can donate offsite land in perpetuity, equal to 60% of the previously developed area (including the building footprint), to a land trust within the same EPA Level III Ecoregion identified for the project site.

Schematic Design

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  • Your LEED site boundary needs to be consistent across all LEED credits. 


  • Case 1: Greenfield Sites


  • Unless following the "budget method" discussed above, check to make sure that the building footprint will allow the construction team to stay within the site disturbance parameters set forth in the credit language. You need to limit site disturbance to:

    • 40 feet beyond the building perimeter;
    • 10 feet beyond surface walkways, patios, surface parking, and utilities less than 12 inches in diameter;
    • 15 feet beyond primary roadway curbs and main utility branch trenches;
    • and 25 feet beyond constructed areas with permeable surfaces such as pervious paving areas, stormwater detention facilities, and playing fields. (This larger buffer zone recognizes that these surface features may require wider staging areas to prevent compaction while they’re being built.)

  • Case 2: Previously Developed Sites


  • Which is greater?

    • 50% of site excluding building footprint. Subtract the building footprint from the total site area, then divide by two.
    • 20% of total site. Find the total site area (including the building footprint) and divide by five.
    • Whichever is greater is the total area of the site that needs to be restored or protected. 

  • Will your project earn SSc2: Development Density and Community Connectivity? If so, you can include in your calculations the area of a green roof that contains native or adapted non-monoculture species. 


  • Depending on the landscape choice of your green roof, you might find it difficult to meet this credit without an intensive roof. Some sedum selections could be considered monoculture and not able to support biodiversity. Discuss this with your landscape architect or green roof designer. Also, see the LEEDuser strategy on green roofs for more details.


  • If you have a zero-lot-line or dense urban site, carefully consider whether attempting the credit is realistic. Many such sites don’t have enough site area. To create more area, consider stacking the building footprint, incorporating a green roof, or minimizing parking (which would also contribute to SSc4.4: Alternative Transportation—Parking Capacity). You can also donate off-site land to earn the credit (see below).


  • The preserved area can become a special space in the site design—an amenity for occupants and the neighborhood, and a connection to native habitat. 


  • The landscape architect should begin researching native and adapted species for your region. Most cities have local gardens, conservancies, universities or regional organizations that provide a list of native and adapted species. For example, FloridaYards.org is a collaborative effort to provide listings of Florida-friendly and native plant species. 


  • Purchasing native or adapted species is typically less expensive than buying non-native, imported, or tropical species that must be transported in. In some states, plants are available through state nurseries or university extensions at low prices.


  • Depending on the extent and types of invasive species, the removal of non-native and aggressive species could be costly. If your invasive species need eradication, monitoring, and constant control, you could be looking at an expensive investment. However, removing those plants will improve the local ecosystem and possibly avoid irreversible damage to your land and greater community. See the Resources section for more details.


  • Native and adapted species typically require less watering and maintenance, saving operational costs as well as the cost of installing irrigation equipment. 

Design Development

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  • Case 1: Greenfield Sites


  • Create a site plan that delineates the development boundaries. You have the option to provide the site map to document LEED credit compliance, or your contractor can sign the LEED Online credit form saying that the credit requirements were met. Either way, you will want to create a site map with clearly defined limits of site disturbance.


  • The site plan with a clearly defined boundary for minimized site disturbance should include the installation of fencing or other barriers to the non-disturbance area. 


  • Consider what needs the contractor may have for staging areas and site access. You may want to provide dedicated areas for delivery and storage of building materials. Consulting with a contractor at this early stage can make it easier to achieve the credit.


  • Case 2: Previously Developed Sites


  • Create a site plan that delineates the areas of native or adapted species and ecologically appropriate site features, and develop a list of all native and adapted species on the project site. 


  • Verify that your project meets the required percentages of restored or protected vegetation according to the calculations outlined above in the Schematic Design section. 


  • If you plan on counting a green roof in your calculations, verify that you will earn SSc2: Development Density and Community Connectivity


  • If your project does not have a landscape architect, the project architect (or other qualified person) should document credit compliance. However, projects with a registered landscape architect can pursue this credit through the Licensed Professional Exemption (LPE) route. In this case, you do not need to provide a list of all native and adapted species on the site.  


  • To support the survival of your native and adapted plants without the use of permanent irrigation, landscape with the natural contours of the land to make good use of rainwater and natural site hydrology. 

Construction Documents

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  • Case 1: Greenfield Sites


  • Before construction activities begin, the general contractor should educate contractors and subcontractors on the project goals for limited site disturbance and detail a plan for meeting these requirements. 


  • Incorporate carefully defined staging areas for construction activities and contained construction entrances to minimize damage to the protected greenfield area. 


  • Incorporate physical markers around the site areas that are not to be disturbed. Use signs as well as flags, silt fencing, and hay bales.


  • Consider instituting an incentive policy for contractors and subcontractors to encourage compliance. 


  • Regularly remind contractors and subcontractors of the limited site disturbance plan. Orient new contractors as they come to the project during later stages of construction.  

Construction

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  • Case 1: Greenfield Sites


  • Implement plans for construction staging areas, physical barriers, and regular meetings to ensure continued compliance with site disturbance requirements. 


  • Contain all construction activities away from site disturbance boundaries to minimize damage to natural areas. 


  • Monitor the site for compliance with the limited site disturbance requirements.


  • Upload documentation to LEED Online after construction activities have ended. You have two documentation options:

    1. The contractor can declare that the requirements have been met by signing credit form, confirming credit compliance. 
    2. You can upload construction documents that show your site’s limited disturbance boundaries for credit compliance.

  • Taking date-stamped pictures of the protected areas at designated times throughout the project helps ensure compliance and provides supporting documentation if there are any questions about your project’s compliance. 


  • Case 2: Previously Developed Sites


  • Upload documentation to LEED Online after construction activities have ended.


  • Provide the total site area restored or protected, total site area (including the building footprint), the building footprint, a site plan showing all natural areas contributing to credit compliance and, if you are providing full documentation (not attempting the streamlined LPE path), a list of the native and adapted vegetation that contributes to credit compliance. If you are providing documentation through the streamlined LPE path, a Registered Landscape Architect needs to sign off stating that the requirements for native or adapted plantings have been achieved. 

Operations & Maintenance

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  • Case 1: Greenfield Sites


  • Work with the management team to ensure that continued protection protocols are put in place for the buffered areas, to help preserve them and the natural areas beyond. 


  • Installing signage to educate users about the value of protected land helps ensure that natural areas remain respected and protected. 


  • Case 2: Previously Developed Sites


  • You may need to set up a temporary irrigation system for a vegetation establishment period of up to one year (going beyond one year would conflict with the intent of this credit, and WEc1: Water Efficient Landscaping). The system should be designed for easy removal.

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations

    SS Credit 5.1: Site development - protect or restore habitat

    1 Point

    Intent

    To conserve existing natural areas and restore damaged areas to provide habitat and promote biodiversity.

    Requirements

    Case 1. Greenfield sites1

    Limit all site disturbance to the following parameters:

    • 40 feet (12 meters) beyond the building perimeter and parking garages;
    • 10 feet (3 meters) beyond surface walkways, patios, surface parking and utilities less than 12 inches (30 centimeters) in diameter;
    • 15 feet (4.5 meters) beyond primary roadway curbs and main utility branch trenches;
    • 25 feet (8 meters) beyond constructed areas with permeable surfaces (such as pervious paving areas, stormwater detention facilities and playing fields) that require additional staging areas to limit compaction in the constructed area.
    Case 2. Previously developed2 areas or graded sites

    Restore or protect a minimum of 50% of the site (excluding the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint.) or 20% of the total site area (including building footprint), whichever is greater, with native or adapted vegetationAdapted (or introduced) plants reliably grow well in a given habitat with minimal winter protection, pest control, fertilization, or irrigation once their root systems are established. Adapted plants are considered low maintenance and not invasive..3 Projects earning SS Credit 2: Development Density and Community Connectivity may include vegetated roof surface in this calculation if the plants are native or adapted, provide habitat, and promote biodiversity.

    Projects with limited landscape opportunities may also donate offsiteland in perpetuity, equal to 60% of the previously developed area (including the building footprint), to a land trust within the same EPA Level III Ecoregion identified for the project site. The land trust mustadhere to the Land Trust Alliance 'Land Trust Standards andPractices' 2004 Revision.

    1 Greenfield sites are sites not previously developed or graded that could support open space, habitat, or agriculture..

    2 Native or adapted plants are plants indigenous to a locality or cultivars of native plants that are adapted to the local climate and are not considered invasive species or noxious weeds.

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    Survey greenfield sites to identify site elements and adopt a master plan for developing the project site. Carefully site the building to minimize disruption to existing ecosystems and design the building to minimize its footprint. Strategies include stacking the building program, tuck-under parking and sharing parking facilities with neighbors. Establish clearly-marked construction boundaries to minimize disturbance of the existing site and restore previously degraded areas to their natural state. For 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, use local and regional governmental agencies, consultants, educational facilities and native plant societies as resources for the selection of appropriate native or adapted plants. Prohibit plants listed as invasive or noxious weed species. Once established, native/adapted plants require minimal or no irrigation; do not require active maintenance such as mowing or chemical inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides; and provide habitat value and promote biodiversity through avoidance of monoculture plantings.

Publications

National Invasive Species Information Center

This website provides links to local information on invasive species, provides an overview of the problem and regulations associated with invasive species, and provides information on grants and funding opportunities. 


Ecological Restoration

This quarterly print and online publication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum provides a forum for people interested in all aspects 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.


Land Trust Alliance

This website can help locate land trusts that may help a project with the offsite restoration option within this credit.

Organizations

North American Native Plant Society

NANPS is a nonprofit association dedicated to the study, conservation, cultivation, and restoration of native plants. Its website contains links to state and local associations. 


Society for Ecological Restoration International

The mission of this nonprofit consortium of scientists, planners, administrators, ecological consultants, landscape architects, engineers, and others is to promote 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. as a means of sustaining the diversity of life and to reestablish an ecologically healthy relationship between nature and culture. 


Soil and Water Conservation Society

This organization focuses on fostering the science and art of sustainable soil, water, and related natural resource management.


Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy is a conservation organization that works to protect ecologically important lands and water. 


Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center

The center, located in Austin, Texas, has the mission of educating people about the environmental necessity, economic value, and natural beauty of native plants. The website offers a number of resources, including a nationwide native plant information network and a national suppliers directory.

Site Plan Documentation

Case 1: Greenfield Site

If your greenfield project documents this credit through the use of a site plan you will need to provide a document similar to this example.

Site Plan Documentation

Case 2: Previously Developed Site

If your 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 project documents this credit through the use of a site plan you will need to provide a document similar to 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."

Site Plan Documentation

Case 2: Previously Developed Site

If your 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 project documents this credit through the use of a site plan you will need to provide a document similar to this example.

Construction Submittal

HardhatDocumentation for this credit is part of the Construction Phase submittal.

215 Comments

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Razan Nejem Environmental Engineer, LEED AP BD+C
Sep 15 2014
Guest
314 Thumbs Up

Site Condition

If a site is not 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.", However its a desert site with no type of vegetation and located in an Urban area. so its also not considered a green field site because there is nothing to protect.
does this credit apply in this case? if yes to which option?

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Gustavo De las Heras Izquierdo Arch. Eng. LEED AP BD+C; O+M Revitaliza Consultores
Sep 10 2014
Guest
218 Thumbs Up

Striped grass

Is striped grass considered monoculture? Our client has planted a different specie in each stripe:

-1 meter width stripe: specie "grass specie A"
-1 meter width stripe: specie "grass specie B"

I know this is weird, but the grass is already planted like this.

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Melissa Wrolstad Senior Project Manager CodeGreen Solutions
Sep 10 2014
LEEDuser Member
1887 Thumbs Up

Atrium Plants

Hello,

Our client is planning a large interior atrium in their building located on a zero-lot-line site. There is no green roof planned given project constraints. The atrium will contain several large 20' trees, shrubs, bushes, etc.

Could this atrium count towards the credit?

Thanks,
Melissa

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EBRU UNVER LEED AP BD+C
Sep 10 2014
LEEDuser Member
123 Thumbs Up

what is the exact definition of footprint

hi everyone,
we re working on a project in Turkey İstanbul in which we will be applying for this credit. But we re having a hard time on deciding what the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint. is. we have placed concrete water tanks on the basement floor and covered the top with vegetation as a continious part of the vegetated open grid. so my concerns is that; do these water tanks count as a part of the building footprint or not? and if they do; does the vegetated space over them count as a roof top?
Thank you in advance

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Mónika Egyed
Sep 09 2014
Guest

agricultural site, previously graded?

Hi, the project of ours has a site with current agricultural use, there is only 1-2% of the site with native vegetationPlants indigenous to a locality (native) and adapted to the local climate; they require limited irrigation following planting, do not require active maintenance such as mowing, and provide habitat value.. In this case, can we use Option 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." or graded? I could not find a definition for graded sites. Does anyone have a recent experience, how USGBC evaluates sites where no previous construction has occured but because of agricultural use, there is no native vegetation or wildlife to be saved? Thanks!

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Michelle Rosenberger Partner, ArchEcology, LLC Sep 09 2014 LEEDuser Member 5231 Thumbs Up

Hi Monika,
I have had experience with this situation. The current definition presents a problem for this kind of site. You are technically not 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." per the definition. However, the lack of anything worth saving makes that distinction kind of spurious. If you are determined to get the point, you can pursue construction limits despite the lack of vegetation. The limits themselves are the compliance rather than any specific amount of native vegetationPlants indigenous to a locality (native) and adapted to the local climate; they require limited irrigation following planting, do not require active maintenance such as mowing, and provide habitat value. saved, but the effort isn't generally worth it.

If you are actually able to restore better than 50% of your LEED boundary area with native vegetation either on the site or somewhere dedicated, you might be able to make an argument. I was successful one time with a project that was previously a sod farm, had no native vegetation to speak of, but was providing a sizable buffer zone of restored vegetation between the site and a river. I am aware of one other individual who also had a similar project and I believe was also successful making this argument. BUT you must be restoring significant native vegetation to have any shot at this. Good luck.

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Mónika Egyed Sep 10 2014 Guest

Thank you, Michelle!

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Sara Greenwood Green Building Consultant Cadmus Group
Sep 04 2014
LEEDuser Member
84 Thumbs Up

Transplanting trees as a means to save them

Hello,
Unfortunately, the trees on this site will need to be removed for the building but the owner would like to donate the trees to a nursery rather than a woodchip mill. Can this be applied to this credit in some way or pursued as an ID point?

Thank you!

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Nadia Ayala Architect / LEED AP BD+C KILTIK Consultoría
Aug 31 2014
Guest
1180 Thumbs Up

Urban agriculture in high density, zero lot line project.

Hi everyone,
I have a project in Mexico where we are trying to create a rooftop food garden. I found this 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. #10155 regarding urban agriculture and WEc1, but I don't know if I could count the "food vegetated" area towards SSc5.1 compliance... It's a mixed used project where, appart from having regular ornamental vegetation in many areas of the building terraces; the residential component would have access to rooftop terraces with permanent planters where the appartment owners can grow vegetables of their choice, because planters will be their "private property". Since you can't really tell them what and what not to grow, I can't guarantee that all species would be native/adapted, but surely there would not be monoculture practices, and many plants are likely to attract biodiversity. Also, it is considered that gardening practices will be organic. We are in a zero lot line project, high density area, in a city where 99% of built areas are low density.
Do you think this could count towards SSc5.1?

Thank you in advance.

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Jennifer Rennick Principal In Balance Green Consulting
Aug 05 2014
LEEDuser Member
3 Thumbs Up

Disturbance Limits and LEED Boundary

I am documenting a Winery that is being built on a Greenfield. We have set the limits of construction of the project in accordance with the LEED requirements. What I am inquiring is if the limits of construction need to be within the LEED Boundary or if the limits of construction are able to go outside the LEED boundary. Since the certification is only within the LEED boundary should the limits of construction also fall within this area?

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Rustem Saitov Aug 06 2014 Guest 7 Thumbs Up

Dear Jennifer,
While the text of SSc5.1 does not clearly define whether these limits should be established within LEED or else, there is a SSp1 where the team is required to develop Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan in accordance with 2003 EPA Construction General PermitEPA's Construction General Permit. Outlines the provisions necessary to comply with Phase I and Phase II of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. (or local codes). Fortunately, Construction General Permit does not allow any construction activity beyond LEED boundary, hence it can be concluded that the right answer is that the limits of SSc5.1 are contained within LEED boundary.

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CT G
Aug 04 2014
LEEDuser Member
126 Thumbs Up

Required Vegetated Area

Hello,

We have a project with the following site constraints:
The LEED Project Boundary includes 2 new buildings: an office tower, and a small bank building. The office tower is part of the LEED Certification, but the bank building is not. However, because the underground parking takes up the entire site area, we have drawn the LEED Project Boundary at the underground perimeter, which means that, above grade, the small bank building is within the Project Boundary.
The PIf4 LEED Boundary plan clearly shows that the small bank building is excluded from the LEED Certification. However, on the template, we have included the entire site area as the LEED Project Boundary, since that is true underground.
For this particular credit (SSc5.1), the template automatically calculates the amount of open vegetated space as the LEED Project Boundary - the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint. (in this case we have only accounted for the office tower) x 50%. However, this calculation does not account for the footprint of the small bank building.
Therefore, the question is: how do we account for the footprint of the small bank building which we need to subtract from the LEED Project Boundary in order to arrive at the correct calculation for vegetated space? Should we include that footprint as part of the Building Footprint value (adding it to the office tower)? Or, since the roof of the bank is vegetated with native species, should we include that area as part of the vegetated area (we are achieving SSc2), even though the building itself is excluded from certification?

Thanks for any advice!

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Donald Green Project Manager Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC
Jul 24 2014
LEEDuser Member
871 Thumbs Up

Coastal Coral Reef

We have an international client with a large campus along a coast line that is forming a landbank to protect existing mangrove areas. Per previous strings it would seem that water plantings (mangrove areas) would qualify for SSc5.1 as mangroves are both on land and in water. However as an extension of these mangrove areas the coast line is highly irregular and there are coastal coral reefs that will be included within this landbank. The question is can these coral reef areas be counted toward SSc5.1 as the Owner wishes to protect these natural habitats as well?

The LEED Reference Guide notes that ecologically appropriate features that maintain or restore the ecological integrity of the site including water bodies are acceptable. A coral reef connected directly to large mangrove areas would then seem to be inclusive within acceptable areas for SSc5.1.

Thank you,

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 25 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Donald, it seems to me that this should be able to help you earn the credit. However, to comment on it in a meaningful way I would ask how you are setting your LEED boundaries and how you would calculate credit compliance?

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Donald Green Project Manager, Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC Jul 25 2014 LEEDuser Member 871 Thumbs Up

Tristan,

The landbank is outside of the Project's LEED Boundary however still within the overall contiguous campus boundary. Using Case 2 and per a couple LI's - this still allows us to use the 50% or 20% rule which ever is larger. In this case the 20% of site including building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint. is larger so that area is what we would be using. We will show that much area from the landbank and dedicate it for this project.

Thank you,

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Julien Lafond Altanova, LLC
Jul 08 2014
LEEDuser Member
4 Thumbs Up

Sun Control Window Films

This project with large window areas is installing sun control window films which rejects 72% total solar energy and gives 66% of solar heat reduction. We are doing an energy model for the HVAC performance, but there is no credit awarded for energy reduction from the window film, is there anywhere else we could incorporate this energy saving? Does anyone have experience with a similar ID credit for this situation?

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Sylvain laporte GASD-Co Jul 08 2014 LEEDuser Member 105 Thumbs Up

Vous pouvez re-poster votre commentaire dans la section EAC1. Je ne pense pas que en dehors de EAC1 d'autres points soient possibles. Cordialement.

Excuse my French !

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Stella Stella Jul 08 2014 Guest 51 Thumbs Up

Hi Julien,
I agree with Sylvain’s suggestion to post this query on EAc1. Anyways to answer your query,i believe that the solar control film manufacture would be able to provide you with the reduction in U value & Shading coefficient value of the glazing (thermal properties) through the use of the solar control film and these values could be inputted into the energy model to reap the savings from the film.

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Marni Punt Associate Aurecon
Jul 01 2014
LEEDuser Member

Offsite restoration for greenfield developments

Could anyone confirm if the case 2 addenda (11/3/2010) could be relevant to Greenfield developments as well? What would the documentation that must be submitted be?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 25 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Marni, not the way the credit language is written. You would have 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 get this allowed.

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Magda Aghababyan CEO Co-Energi (Pvt) Ltd.
Jun 25 2014
LEEDuser Member
510 Thumbs Up

A site with large building footprint

Hello, Mine is a greenfield site that has a building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint. that takes almost the entire land. So once I add the allowed clearances for site disturbance the entire site becomes eligible for disturbance.

Is there any specific guidance on how we can attempt this credit for this particular project? Thank you.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 25 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Magda, I don't think credit compliance is affected by this situation. If you meet the disturbance limits, you're all set.

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Stella Stella
May 29 2014
Guest
51 Thumbs Up

Native Plant Species

We are doing a project in Singapore and we are considering providing native or adaptive species in the project. I would like to know if the native species includes only species found in Singapore or species found in Southeast Asia could be included.

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April Brown Projects Manager, Institute for the Built Environment Jun 13 2014 LEEDuser Expert 502 Thumbs Up

Native species are typically defined locally, based on your microclimate and/or ecosystem. I would suggest that you consult with a local garden or nursery, conservancy, or university to determine was is deemed "native" or adapted the specific region that the building is located.

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Stella Stella Jun 15 2014 Guest 51 Thumbs Up

Thanks April !
Would you say species from Brazil ,which are cultivated under the same climatic conditions(tropical climate) as Singapore to be considered as Native/adaptive if they are known to thrive in Singapore climatic conditions too.

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April Brown Projects Manager, Institute for the Built Environment Jun 16 2014 LEEDuser Expert 502 Thumbs Up

Your line of thinking seems right to me, but unfortunately I cannot say for sure. I would suggest consulting with a horticulturalist.

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E H Sustainability Architect
May 13 2014
LEEDuser Member
3030 Thumbs Up

Documentation requirements

Hello, I have a project where a large area of existing forest, about 120 acres will be preserved. What kind of documentation is required for this credit? There is no landscape plan (other than the civil plan) for this project, and the owner will not likely pay for an extensive survey of the plants in the forested area. Would an aerial photo documenting the extent of the forest and some site photos be sufficient to document the area as habitat space? Or does one have to provide a detailed survey of plant species for the entire site? Thanks for your input!

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April Brown Projects Manager, Institute for the Built Environment Jun 13 2014 LEEDuser Expert 502 Thumbs Up

Is your project site a greenfield or 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."? The documentation greatly differs for both.

If your site is previously developed then you will need to list the native/adapted plants - unless you have a licensed landscape architect on your team, in which case their signature effectively eliminates the need for the plant list.

If your site is a greenfield then you will need to follow the limits of disturbance requirements and you do not need to list the plants.

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E H Sustainability Architect
Apr 08 2014
LEEDuser Member
3030 Thumbs Up

wetlands?

Would protected wetlands count towards this credit?

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April Brown Projects Manager, Institute for the Built Environment Apr 25 2014 LEEDuser Expert 502 Thumbs Up

I do not have project experience with this but my inclination is that this would comply under specific circumstances. I would borrow from language in LEED ND (http://www.usgbc.org/credits/neighborhood-development-plan-neighborhood-...) that deals specifically with sites with wetlands to ensure compliant protection of the wetland from your development. For example,

Option 2. sites with wetlands and water bodies (1 point)

Design the project to conserve 100% of all water bodies, wetlands, land within 100 feet (30 meters) of water bodies, and land within 50 feet (15 meters) of wetlands on the site. Using a qualified biologist, conduct an assessment, or compile existing assessments, showing the extent to which those water bodies or wetlands provide (1) water quality maintenance; (2) wildlife habitat; and (3) hydrologic function maintenance, including flood protection. Assign appropriate buffers, measuring not less than 100 feet (30 meters) for water bodies and 50 feet (15 meters) for wetlands, based on the functions provided, contiguous soils and slopes, and contiguous land uses. Do not disturb wetlands, water bodies, or their buffers, and protect them from development by donating or selling the land, or a conservation easement on the land, to an accredited land trust, conservation organization, or relevant government agency (a deed covenant is not sufficient to meet this requirement) for the purpose of long-term conservation.

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Raina Tilden Architect Liljewall Arkitekter
Apr 08 2014
Guest
70 Thumbs Up

Hedges and Trees - Habitat?

I am working on a project on an urban 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, so we will be restoring habitat. We have designed a large, biologically diverse meadow on the site, but we are short on our required square footage because our green roof was VE'd out. I am trying to find potential additional square footage that might count toward our habitat and have a couple of questions:

1) Would the square footage of a native/adapted hedge count toward this credit? Yes, a hedge is a monoculture, but they also provide lots of habitat for various critters including birds and small mammals. Does it make a difference if the hedge is wildgrown or clipped?

2) We are planting a large number of native/adapted trees on a lawn. I know that the turf lawn does not count, but what about the trees? Is it possible to count the square footage of the trees' crowns as habitat?

Thanks!

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April Brown Projects Manager, Institute for the Built Environment Apr 25 2014 LEEDuser Expert 502 Thumbs Up

This is getting tricky for you! In my experience, any vegetation that is native/adapted would count - including hedges and trees - the main point being that it does not have to be a contiguous swath of land. Clipping or wildgrown is a non-issue to the reviewers.

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Magda Aghababyan CEO Co-Energi (Pvt) Ltd.
Mar 24 2014
LEEDuser Member
510 Thumbs Up

Hello, We have a previously

Hello,

We have 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." project that does not meet the site area for protect and restore habitat. But the owner has another piece of land just opposite to the project site (that is not included in the LEED project boundary). This piece of land will have parking for the LEED project and other than that there is no other constructions planned.

Therefore we are thinking of using the available open space for protect and restore habitat credit. But since it is not included inside the project boundary, will it be possible for us to pursue the credit using that land?

Regds.

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April Brown Projects Manager, Institute for the Built Environment Apr 25 2014 LEEDuser Expert 502 Thumbs Up

Magda, from what I can tell, the only option for credit compliance related to off site land is to "donate offsite land in perpetuity, equal to 60% of the 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." area (including the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint.), to a land trust within the same EPA Level III Ecoregion identified for the project site. The land trust must adhere to the Land Trust Alliance 'Land Trust Standards and Practices' 2004 Revision." However, you could potentially use that land for the open space credit, SSc5.2.

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Farah A.
Feb 23 2014
Guest
391 Thumbs Up

Rooftop Space

For urban spaces in Credit 5.1, does vegetated space need to take up 20% of site area or 20% of building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint.?

I assumed it was of site area, but recently discovered a question which implied that 20% of building footprint is applicable..

I also need help with the question I posted right below, also regarding Urban Spaces for this credit.

Thank you.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 24 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Farah, I think this is addressed quite explicitly in the credit language (see above), and there is a bit of nuance to it, so best to get it from the horse's mouth, so to speak. Based on some of the exam questions you have posted elsewhere on this forum, I think it's most likely the question is faulty, not your judgement.

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April Brown Projects Manager, Institute for the Built Environment Feb 24 2014 LEEDuser Expert 502 Thumbs Up

Farah, there are two ways to comply with the requirement - 50% of the total area minus the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint., or 20% of the total site area, whichever is greater.

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Hal Marvin HJM-PE
Feb 21 2014
Guest
3 Thumbs Up

SSc5.1 Disturbance Parameter Clarifications

I assume that stormwater drainage pipes and appurtenances count as utilities and will be allowed the 10 or 15 foot disturbance buffer depending on diameter?

When open channels (grass lined or riprap) are needed to convey water across a site are they considered to be constructed areas with permeable surfaces and allowed the 25' buffer?

Thanks.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 24 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Hal, I would say yes, and yes.

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Farah A.
Feb 21 2014
Guest
391 Thumbs Up

Urban Spaces

If urban projects earn Credit 2, Density Development/Community Connectivity in conjunction with 5.1 OR 5.2, will they earn the points of Credit 2 PLUS the points of Credit 5, or is there a certain maximum?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 24 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Farah, SSc2 and SSc5 are separate credits with separate points. You can earn SSc2 or SSc5, or one, or neither. One of the compliance paths for SSc5 basically requires SSc2 as a first step but this does not affect point totals.

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Heather DeGrella Sustainability Coordinator Opsis Architecture
Feb 03 2014
LEEDuser Member
606 Thumbs Up

Restoration planned for future phase

If the restoration of habitat is planned for a future phase, is waiting until the restoration is complete the only option a project has for submitting for this credit? (Other than not attempting the credit.)

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 24 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Yes, I don't think you could get credit here for something planned for the future.

You can also get your certification now and look ahead to EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems. certification for recognition of ongoing sustainable management.

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Marian Keeler Senior Associate Thornton Tomasetti / Sustainability
Jan 31 2014
LEEDuser Member
3438 Thumbs Up

Land Trust Approach - Donation of $ vs Donation of Land

Hell all - I've been trying to understand the requirements of the SS 5.1 ACP which allows donation of offsite land in trust. I understand there is also an option in v4 for donating funds to an accredited land trust in the same watershed, but there are also references I've located which refer to donations to NWF (Pilot 83?). Could someone help me parse out the details? Do these options differ with rating systems and versions? How current are the requirements? Thanks.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 24 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Marian, maybe you could be more specific in terms of what you're trying to figure out? Basically between the Pilot Credit (which is here on LEEDuser), the v4 requirements, and the regular v2009 requirements that were amended a while back, you have a lot of options that extend through various rating systems.

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Marian Keeler Senior Associate, Thornton Tomasetti / Sustainability Feb 26 2014 LEEDuser Member 3438 Thumbs Up

Thanks Tristan. I applied version 4's content as that approach allows more flexibility--donating to NWF is not a requirement, nor is the donation of actual land. We were assisting a BayA bay is a component of a standard, rectilinear building design. It is the open area defined by a building element such as columns or a window. Typically, there are multiple identical bays in succession. Area land trust in determining how they could get involved in the LEED process. A win- win.

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Peter Lindabury Project Manager GHD
Oct 30 2013
LEEDuser Member
16 Thumbs Up

SS5.1: Obtaining credit for area that was wooded/grass

Our project is an addition on a 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. site. The client owns land across the driveway from the building site that is partially wooded with some grass. This area was not touched in the project. The owner will keep the area natural for life of project. The only care this area gets is to mow the existing grass. To get this point do we have to confirm that the existing plants are native adaptive species? Do we have to analyze the existing plants and if they are not native, remove them from the area to get the credit? Remember, we did not plant anything in the area and it has been in its current condition for many years. The owner is thinking he has to hire a plant specialist to identify all the plants and remove that which is not considered native.

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Joseph Ford, AIA Architect, RSP Architects Ltd. Oct 30 2013 Guest 328 Thumbs Up

Peter,
Native plants and adapted plants are two different things. Native means indigenous to the site. Adapted includes basically anything that doesn't require active cultivation, e.g.: irrigation, pesticide application, to survive. Ergo, if a plant is there and it lives/grows on its own it's by definition adapted, so no elaborate plant identification is needed.

The important caveat to 'Adapted' is that it excludes anything considered an invasive species or noxious weed. To meet the intent of the credit the area in question should be surveyed for these plants and they should be removed if present. Typically an agency in your state, e.g.: Agriculture, or Natural Resources, will maintain a list of what is considered an invasive or weed. An experienced landscape contractor should be able to identify weeds, so I think calling in a botanist would be overkill.

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Muhammad Faisal Azizullah Jaffar Sustainability Consultant Ramboll
Oct 27 2013
Guest
123 Thumbs Up

Area calculation for trees

I have a project where trees, shrubs and groundcovers will be used. While the area coverage of shrubs and groundcovers is relatively easy to calculate, trees are a bit more tricky. Quite a bit of the trees in the landscape plan are native/adapted and several units of each will be used. How can I calculate the area coverage of trees? Is it by canopy spread? Pot size in liters (then convert to sq. meters?
Also, can non-native but adapted species of vegetation be used as long as they are non-invasive?

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

Muhammed, adapted vegetationAdapted (or introduced) plants reliably grow well in a given habitat with minimal winter protection, pest control, fertilization, or irrigation once their root systems are established. Adapted plants are considered low maintenance and not invasive. is fine for this credit. I would suggest double-checking the LEED definition of adaptive.

Regarding the site area, I would look at the landscaped area. If there is a tree with a canopy over pavement, then counting the pavement would not fit with the credit intent. However, counting the canopy if it is over other vegetated or landscaped space would be valid.

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Oliver Lange
Oct 09 2013
LEEDuser Member
35 Thumbs Up

Underground Parking

Our project consists of four individual residential buildings in an inner city area; the site was 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.". Between the four buildings a green space is planned which consists of approximately 50% of the site. However, an underground parking is planned beneath the entire project site, meaning that beneath our green space there is concrete.
My question is: can this green space be considered as "restoring habitat"? If not, can as an alternative this space be regarded as an intensive green roof just for this credit? It basically is, and since it is an inner city area, intensive green roofs can be counted for this credit.

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

Oliver, see the first FAQ above. I think it covers your question pretty well.

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Sahar Abi-Ziki
Aug 23 2013
Guest
57 Thumbs Up

grasscrete

We are trying to acheive SSc5.1, we are missing few m2.
Is it possible to use grasscrete in a drive way with adaptive grass? do you have suggestions to use other then grass, to respect LEED Requirements?
The total area covered with grasscrete can be included in the green area calculations? do we have to subtract the pavers area and calculate only the grass around it??
Thank you

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

Sahar, I think the last FAQ above, about turf grasses, addressing your question. I would say it's definitely a borderline case at best, but it depends on how you implement it.

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Charlotte Page Sage and Coombe Architects
Aug 07 2013
LEEDuser Member
33 Thumbs Up

Native and Adapted Plants

Hello everyone,

New to LEED, and I have been trying to figure out who determines what is native and what is adaptive? Need to put a list together for the project that I am working on. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Mark

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Karin Miller Sustainability Manager, YR&G Aug 07 2013 LEEDuser Member 123 Thumbs Up

Hi Mark,

If the project is in the United States, you can use the USDA Plants Database to verify whether the plants are native or adaptive.

http://plants.usda.gov/

Karin

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JOSE RAMON TAGLE COMMISSIONING & LEED AKF MEXICO SRL DE CV
Aug 02 2013
LEEDuser Member
164 Thumbs Up

Hydroseeding

I have a Project that is considering “Hydroseeding” as a permanent landscape design. The method is described as:

“ Hydroseeding in its simplest form is the application of seed by hydraulic process, in other words to apply seed with water as the means of spreading it. However, most hydroseeding applications use a mulch carrier which provides uniform mixing of the seed with the water, and provides other benefits once on the ground.

The mulch carrier can be composed of wood, paper, straw, coconut, synthetic, peatmoss, compost fibres or many different combinations of these.
These fibres are often dyed a green color to offer the hydroseeding applicator the advantage of a color contrast to the ground when spraying, this insures a uniform and even application of the product and seed. Often natural glues or tackifiers are added to the mix to provide better bonding between the soil particles and the mulch fibres, allowing the mulch layer to remain in place during wind and rain events.
The main advantage of hydroseeding over conventional seeding applications if the addition of a mulch layer to the soil. This mulch layer will act to provide protection from birds eating the newly applied seeds, wind from blowing the seed and soil away, retain moisture, and reduce the impact of splash erosion from rain drops and watering which can cause soil crusting, which inhibits plant growth.”

I understand that Hydroseeding can contribute to avoid erosion, but my question is – If we can use it as a permanent landscape design, even if it considers color and glue. Many information sources, describes the method as a lower water consumption.

Can we use this method without any troubles with the credit?

Thank you!

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E H Sustainability Architect Aug 02 2013 LEEDuser Member 3030 Thumbs Up

Hi, Jose. This credit is more about the plants themselves, rather than the planting process. It sounds like hydroseeding is a method of applying turf grass. What are you planting? Note that turf grass and monoculture planting areas cannot contribute to this credit. See the FAQs above.

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Joseph Ford, AIA Architect, RSP Architects Ltd. Aug 02 2013 Guest 328 Thumbs Up

Yes, you can hydroseed and have no issues with the credit. As E H points out, it's more a question of what you plant rather than how you plant it. The credit requires use of native and adapted plants, i.e.: plants that are native to or cultivars that are adapted to the project location.

Hydroseeding can be used to apply any type of seed mix. The highway department in the state where I live commonly uses it to plant a native drought and erosion resistant seed mix on road embankments and medians.

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John Covello LEED AP BD+C, EBOM, LEED and Sustainability Manager Development Management Group
Aug 01 2013
LEEDuser Member
371 Thumbs Up

Future Development

Hello,

Is there a signature form required like that of SS Credit 5.2 that requires the owner to not develop portions of the land that is declared as open for this credit? Does any open area have to be declared as open for the life of the building?

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Joseph Ford, AIA Architect, RSP Architects Ltd. Aug 01 2013 Guest 328 Thumbs Up

No, there isn't. If you think that seems inconsistent with SSc5.2, I would agree.

A 'spirit of the law' approach would say that the protected/restored habitat be preserved for the life of the project. Otherwise, there is no stipulation I know of that says the land has to be preserved for any particular length of time.

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Amit Ahiel
Jul 01 2013
Guest
172 Thumbs Up

Defining "Footprint" when the Building is on a slope

Our project is on a sloped site so the main entry (we call it "ground floor") in above another entry point where part of the building is embedded in the earth. As a result the exposed lower level might count towards the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint.?

If so, then does the rest of that level count as the "footprint" of the building? The lower level is almost in the same plane as the floor above but the majority of the slope facing side is exposed and houses some of the building's hidden functions.

This lower floor forms a podium/terrace at the ground floor level, hence my reason for asking for clarification.

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

Amit, I don't totally follow your question, but I think the LEED definition of building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint. should be fairly unambiguous in this situation. Look for the perimeter of the building plan.

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Heather Holdridge Sustainability Coordinator Lake/Flato Architects
Jun 04 2013
LEEDuser Member
1307 Thumbs Up

Exemplary Performance for Greenfields

I just wanted to confirm that greenfield sites are eligible for exemplary performanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements. for this credit. The LEED Online template seems to suggest that you can't (doesn't give you the option within the template to demonstrate compliance if you have selected greenfield).

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Ahmed Younis Instrumentation and Control Engineer / LEED AP BD+C, Dar Al Handasah Jun 05 2013 Guest 174 Thumbs Up

You are right, no exemplary performanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements. for this case as there is no calculations. :)

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Heather Holdridge Sustainability Coordinator, Lake/Flato Architects Jun 05 2013 LEEDuser Member 1307 Thumbs Up

That is the opposite of what I was thinking. Even though you aren't asked to calculate the percentage for the base credit, I thought you could still do it for exemplary performanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements.

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Ahmed Younis Instrumentation and Control Engineer / LEED AP BD+C, Dar Al Handasah Jun 05 2013 Guest 174 Thumbs Up

Sorry, I got it wrong, but the exemplary performanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements. paragraph in this credit mentioned only 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." Areas or Graded Sites)

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Adi Negara, LEED AP BD+C Green Building Facilitator PT. Indonesia Environment Consultant
May 31 2013
LEEDuser Member
671 Thumbs Up

greenfield or previously developed land?

Can anybody tell me in what category does the paddy (rice) field would fall under?

And how about if the case is like this: A company owner bought 20 ha paddy field from some of paddy field owners in 2009. Then they alter the 20 ha paddy field into graded land (covered by soil) because they have planned to develop a factory on the land in 2012. So, in LEED project terms, is it consider 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." or greenfield?

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Michelle Rosenberger Partner, ArchEcology, LLC May 31 2013 LEEDuser Member 5231 Thumbs Up

Hi Yasir,
There is actually some ambiguity in this definition. Here is what I received from the USGBC when I brought it to their attention.

"It appears that there is a discrepancy between the latest definition of 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 in the Glossary of the Reference Guide Addenda (see page 53 of this document: https://new.usgbc.org/sites/default/files/DocumentAddendaRG%20BD+C%2010....) and the definition in the footnote to SSc5.1 of the LEED-NC v2009 Rating System, even in the latest version of the Rating System document (https://new.usgbc.org/sites/default/files/LEED%202009%20Rating_NC-GLOBAL...).

You are free to utilize either definition, as they are both published as applicable. Please note that we recommend using the revised definition from the Reference Guide Addenda below:

"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 footprintThe development footprint is the total area of the building footprint and area affected by development or by project site activity. Hardscape, access roads, parking lots, nonbuilding facilities, and the building itself are all included in 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."

I would consider it previously developed by virtue of the grading.

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MM K
May 21 2013
Guest
1333 Thumbs Up

Planters and window boxes

Hi,

I was wondering if window boxes or planters can count towards the credit. Are there any special requirements (e.g., depth of planter, size etc) for them to be counted?

Also, can a green roof with adaptive species of sedum comply with this?

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