NC-2009 SSc5.2: Site Development—Maximize Open Space

  • Schools_SSc5-2_Type1_Open Space Diagram
  • Why open space?

    This credit is intended to promote sites with large areas of vegetated open space that promote biodiversity and recreation—which can also add an amenity to your project, help with natural stormwater management, and mitigate the urban heat islandA densely populated area in which pavement and buildings absorb, store, and release solar energy, making the vicinity warmer than it would be if the pavement and buildings were not present. effect.

    Difficulty varies by location

    It’s generally quite easy for rural and suburban projects to meet the requirements of this credit—this is especially true for schools, particularly those that have sports fields onsite. Urban projects have a harder time with this credit, but can achieve it through strategies like green roofs and pedestrian-oriented hardscapes, which are allowed if the project also achieves SSc2: Development Density and Community Connectivity.

    Documentation is a breeze

    It’s easy to document this credit for LEED Online—you only need to provide the site area and a site plan showing the dedicated open space. The civil engineer, landscape architect, or architect typically provide the documentation.

    New requirement may be a sticking point

    Despite the easy documentation, there is one frequent sticking point—the owner must sign the LEED Online credit form stating that the open space will remain open space for the life of the building. This is a new requirement for LEED 2009 and it gives pause to some building owners, because they may anticipate future development that would affect this space, or because they find they are simply unable to control what happens in the future.

    In urban areas earning SSc2, green roofs and pedestrian-oriented hardscape can count as open space. Photo – YRG SustainabilityParticularly in rural sites with open space that would be valuable for conservation, you might want to consider having a conservation plan or easement put in place to support ongoing protection, although this is not required for credit compliance. 

    Native species are optional, but come with benefits

    The credit calls for vegetated open space, but unlike SSc5.1: Site Development – Protect or Restore Habitat, it does not require that the vegetation be native or adapted. Turf grass, for example, would be allowed under this credit. But keep in mind that limiting the amount of turf grass in favor of native and adapted species can offer additional aesthetic and environmental benefits, while also contributing to SSc5.1 and WEc1: Water Efficient Landscaping

    Guidelines for wetlands and ponds

    For all compliance paths, wetland or pond areas can count toward the open space requirement—as long as the side slope is vegetated and the incline ratio of the slope is 1:4 (vertical: horizontal) or less. The rationale here is to avoid giving credit to projects that may have a fenced, concrete detention basin that does not enhance biodiversity or recreation activity. 

    Don’t confuse with SSc5.1

    It’s easy to confuse the requirements of this credit and those of SSc5.1: Site Development—Protect or Restore Habitat. They both are intended to promote open space and biodiversity, but their approaches diverge considerably. 

    Open space in developmentUnlike SSc5.1, open space for this credit does not have to use native and adpated species.This credit focuses on increasing the quantity of open space with respect to local zoning requirements and has no restrictions on the type of vegetation installed—lawns or playing fields with turf grass are fine, for example, or even pedestrian-oriented hardscapes—approaches that would not work for SSc5.1. Site disturbance from construction activity is also strictly limited under SSc5.1, but is not under SSc5.2.

    Consider these questions when approaching this credit

    • What are the project goals for providing occupants with vegetated open space, plazas, picnic areas, or outdoor recreational activities?
    • Consider how open space can contribute to access to pleasant views. Can your project provide views of this open space from indoors?

    FAQs for SSc5.2

    I'm confused about the difference between SSc5.1 and SSc5.2. Can I earn them both?

    Yes. Many projects earn both credits due to their inherent overlap. The key distinction is that SSc5.1 is looking at habitat for animals, while SSc5.2 is looking at all kinds of open space. See more in LEEDuser's guidance above.

    Can roof terraces contribute to SSc5.2?

    Roof terraces can count towards SSc5.2 as long as they are accessible and open to all occupants of the project. Private balconies do not count towards the credit requirements.

    How should I count planters and vegetation on balconies?

    If counting vegetation on balconies and roof areas, only consider green roof and open-bottom planters towards SSc5.2 vegetation requirements. Closed bottom planters do not count towards the credit.

    What if my local code has a landscaping requirement? Is this the same as an open space requirement?

    If a local code does not have an explicit ‘open space’ zoning requirement or the ‘open space’ requirement also includes a ‘landscaping requirement,’ use the landscaping requirement to determine the compliance path. The local code open space requirement may be more general and allow for more than vegetation, and may not be in line with the intent and focus on vegetation to meet credit requirements.

    How can artificial turf contribute to the credit requirements?

    Artificial turf can contribute to hardscape areas and help your project achieve SSc5.2 as long as you are already achieving SSc2. It is unlikely the turf can contribute to the vegetated area calculations.

    Can permeable paving count as hardscape or vegetation towards SSc5.2 calculations?

    There is not a clear and explicit approach for calculating how permeable paving contributes to SSc5.2. However, it is reasonable to count some of the permeable paving if it is an open grid system that is predominantly open-grid/vegetation. To calculate the permeable paving contribution, consider using a percentage of the total permeable paving area as vegetated—for example, if you have 1,000 ft2 of open grid, consider 500 ft2 as vegetation.

    Can interior courtyards contribute to vegetation requirements?

    Yes, interior courtyards, if vegetated, can contribute to the open space requirements as long as they are open and accessible to all occupants. Additionally, if your project is achieving SSc2, any pedestrian-oriented hardscape within the courtyard can likely contribute to the credit as well.

    Can a project designate open space off-site and not within the LEED project boundary to meet the credit requirements?

    To date, we are not aware of a project using LEED 2009 being able to achieve the credit requirements by allocating open space outside of the LEED project boundary. This is also not allowed as an exception under MPR3, although campus settings with no local zoning requirements do have an exception noted in the LEED Reference Guide. The credit requires the open space be adjacent to the building and within the project boundary. However, this approach has been used to meet SSc5.1 credit requirements. This approach has also been used successfully on LEED-NC v2.2 campus projects.

    Which approach should a project take if the LEED project boundary covers two areas with different zoning requirements?

    Although there is not an explicit approach for this situation, it is best to evaluate each area separately and meet the credit requirements using the appropriate compliance path for each area.

    The credit requirements state the open space area must be ‘adjacent’ to the project. Does the designated site area need to be right next to the project building?

    Although the credit requirements state the open space is to be adjacent to the project building, most projects simply make sure that the designated areas are near the building, and certainly within the LEED project boundary.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Pre-Design

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  • Research your site’s zoning requirements to see if you are required to provide open space; this will help you determine how much open space is required for credit compliance. The compliance path you follow is not open to choice—it depends strictly upon your local zoning regulations.

    • Case 1: If you have a local zoning requirement for open space, you will need to provide 25% more open space than what is required by that ordinance.
    • Case 2: If you have no local zoning requirements, you will need to provide open space that is equal to or greater than the building footprint. The most common situation for locations with no zoning are school campuses or military bases.
    • Case 3: If you have local zoning requirements, but no requirement for open space, you will need to provide open space equal to 20% of the total project site area.

     


  • The architect typically knows what the zoning requirements are. If not, check with local zoning office or city planning department. Some cities or counties provide this information online. 


  • Determine the rough development footprint and consider ways to increase the area of vegetated open space.  


  • If you have a small site, consider building up rather than out. This minimizes your building footprint and can help provide the open space needed for this credit and for SSc5.1: Site Development—Protect or Restore Habitat (if the vegetation is native or adapted). 


  • Avoid delays by determining your zoning option early in the design process. Typically, planned unit developments (PUDs) or contract zones (with negotiated amounts of open space) have some gray areas surrounding zoning requirements in cases where such zoning requirements were negotiated with the zoning department. If you’re unsure of the correct compliance path, check with GBCI. 


  • Documentation for this credit is relatively easy and straightforward, and will not take much time. As applicable for the different zoning options, you will need to determine the zoning option for the project site, provide the acreage required by zoning, building footprint, total site area, designed vegetated acreage, and a site drawing delineating the vegetated open space.


  • The owner will need to sign off on the LEED Online credit form as part of the documentation, stating that the open space is intended to remain open for the life of the building. 


  • Determine your project goals for vegetated open space and pedestrian-oriented hardscapes. 


  • Discuss the potential for future build-out and make sure the areas delineated as open space for credit compliance will not be compromised in the future. 


  • Designing a project with ample open space can increase the value of the property and may increase rents, especially in areas that do not generally provide these amenities to building occupants. From a purely economic standpoint, however, buildable square footage typically adds more value than open space. 


  • There will be minimal additional costs for this credit if open space was already planned. If the team was not planning on including open space, or was only planning a limited area, then adjusting the building footprint could result in a cost increase or less buildable square footage.  

Schematic Design

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  • Define your LEED project boundary to determine how much area you must designate as open space. The LEED project boundary encompasses a contiguous area that includes all areas affected by the project pursuing certification. Refer to the Rating System document (p. xvii) for specific guidelines on how this is determined. (See Resources.) 


  • Will your project achieve SSc2: Development Density and Community Connectivity? Find out as soon as possible. Pursuing SSc2 makes the open space credit easier, because you can count pedestrian-oriented hardscapes and green roofs towards your open space area.


  • Make sure that all vegetated and hardscape open spaces are included in the LEED site boundary, and that the boundary for this credit is consistent with the boundary for all LEED credits. 


  • If you are counting pedestrian-oriented hardscapes in your credit calculations (through SSc2), you need to make sure that at least 25% of the total open space area is vegetated. Be sure that you calculate the vegetated area based on ground coverage and not using tree drip lines.


  • Typically, pedestrian-oriented hardscapes include areas for passive and active recreational use. This includes plazas, usable roof decks, and courtyards. A roof deck only counts as a pedestrian-oriented hardscape if it is accessible and usable by all building occupants. Private balconies, for example, do not count. 


  • Many urban projects find this credit difficult to achieve without a green roof or pedestrian-oriented hardscape.  


  • Adding a green roof to meet this credit could be costly, but it will help with many other LEED credits and green building strategies. (See LEEDuser’s green roofs strategy page for more detail.)


  • Once you have outlined your LEED project boundary, determined your project’s open space zoning requirements, and know whether or not you are achieving SSc2, then you can begin incorporating the required amount of open space into the design.

    • Case 1: If your project has zoning requirements for open space, provide open space that exceeds this requirement by 25%.
    • Case 2: If your project does not have zoning requirements, provide open space equal to the area of the building footprint.
    • Case 3: If your project does have zoning requirements but there are no requirements for open space, provide open space equal to 20% of your project site’s area. 

  • If your project does not achieve SSc2, then all of the open space must be vegetated—consider providing pocket parks or sports fields.


  • You can use ponds or wetlands as part of the open-space calculation, but only if they have vegetated slopes with an incline ratio of 1:4 (vertical: horizontal) or less. The rationale here is to avoid giving credit to projects with a fenced, concrete detention basin that does not enhance biodiversity or offer a recreational amenity.


  • Open-bottom, pervious planters count as open space; however, closed-bottom planters do not. (Closed-bottom planters are not thought to provide the same biodiversity that open-bottom planters can.) 


  • Consider eliminating or reducing the area of onsite surface parking. You can do this by placing parking under your building, building a parking garage instead of a lot, or sharing parking facilities with nearby buildings. These strategies can also help you earn SSc4.4: Alternative Transportation—Parking Capacity and SSc7.1: Heat Island Effect—Non-Roof


  • Consider limiting the surface area of sidewalks and other hardscapes, replacing them with vegetated areas. 


  • Consider attempting the extra point for Exemplary Performance through IDc1 by doubling your vegetated open space over the credit requirements. 

Design Development

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  • Design your project with a small footprint, and provide open space for occupant use meeting or exceeding the credit requirements. 


  • To aid in restoring habitat (for SSc5.1) and providing a water-efficient landscape (for WEc1), consider using only native and adapted species that require little or no irrigation for some or all of the open space you provide. 


  • To help with stormwater management (for SSc6.1 and SSc6.2) and to reduce the heat island effect (for SSc7.1), consider installing porous pavement for all hardscapes, designing wetlands for stormwater mitigation, and incorporating a green roof. 


  • Run calculations to verify that the credit requirements are being met. The requirements are based on your project zoning ordinances, and are influenced by the LEED project boundary and the achievement of SSc2. 

     


  • If you are relying on pedestrian-oriented hardscapes or green roofs to meet the open space requirements, verify that the requirements for SSc2 are still being met. 


  • Clearly define any areas of open space on project drawings; these need to be included with your LEED documentation. 

Construction Documents

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  • Upload documentation to LEED Online. You need to provide a site plan that delineates the areas of open space, green roof, and pedestrian-oriented hardscape, as applicable. It is also a good idea to include the total project site area and the total open space area on the site plan.


  • The owner needs to sign off on the LEED Online credit form stating that the area delineated as open space will remain open space for the life of the building. 

Construction

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  • Verify that the area designated as open space is maintained during construction, or confirm that disturbed areas will be restored and reclaimed as open space. 

Operations & Maintenance

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  • Continue to protect the areas designated as open space for the remainder of the building’s life. 


  • Consider the use of a master site plan or legal mechanism to protect this open space. Organizations like the Trust for Public Land (see Resources) may be able to help with financing by purchasing a conservation easement on a portion of the land in order to maintain perpetual open space and offset the cost of the land that is not being built on.


  • Work with the management team to ensure that continued protection protocols are put in place, to help preserve the open space. 


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

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations

    SS Credit 5.2: Site development - maximize open space

    1 Point

    Intent

    To promote biodiversity by providing a high ratio of open space to 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..

    Requirements

    Case 1. Sites with local zoning open space requirements

    Reduce 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.1 and/or provide vegetated open space within the project boundary such that the amount of open space exceeds local zoning requirements by 25%.

    Case 2. Sites with no local zoning requirements (e.g. some university campuses, military bases)

    Provide vegetated open space areaOpen space area is usually defined by local zoning requirements. If local zoning requirements do not clearly define open space, it is defined for the purposes of LEED calculations as the property area minus the development footprint; it must be vegetated and pervious, with exceptions only as noted in the credit requirements section. Only ground areas are calculated as open space. For projects located in urban areas that earn a Development Density and Community Connectivity credit, open space also includes nonvehicular, pedestrian-oriented hardscape spaces. adjacent to the building that is equal in area to 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..

    Case 3. Sites with zoning ordinances but no open space requirements

    Provide vegetated open space equal to 20% of the project’s site area.

    All cases

    For projects in urban areas that earn SS Credit 2: Development Density and Community Connectivity, vegetated roof areas can contribute to credit compliance.

    For projects in urban areas that earn SS Credit 2: Development Density and Community Connectivity, 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. areas can contribute to credit compliance. For such projects, a minimum of 25% of the open space counted must be vegetated.

    Wetlands or naturally designed ponds may count as open space and the side slope gradients average 1:4 (vertical: horizontal) or less and are vegetated.

    Credit substitution available

    You may use the LEED v4 version of this credit on v2009 projects. For more information check out this article.

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    Perform a site survey to identify site elements and adopt a master plan for developing the project site. Select a suitable building location and design 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 minimize site disruption. Strategies include stacking the building program, tuck-under parking and sharing parking facilities with neighbors to maximize the amount of open space on the site.

Organizations

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

This nonprofit industry association consists of individuals and public and private organizations committed to developing a market for green roof infrastructure products and services across North America. 


Trust for Public Land

This organization can help with the purchase of conservation easements. 

Site Plan –

Case 1: Sites With Local Zoning Open Space Requirements

Use a site plan like this example to demonstrate that open space meets or exceeds the credit requirements.

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.

169 Comments

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Kevin Flynn President, AIA, LEED FELLOW (LEED AP BD&C) EcoDEEP
Oct 17 2014
LEEDuser Member
217 Thumbs Up

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Ilana Judah Director of Sustainability FXFOWLE
Oct 03 2014
LEEDuser Member
348 Thumbs Up

Open Space Accessibility

Project Location: United States

We have a Residential project in New York City (complies with credit SS 2), and the ground level is a small amount of retail and a community space. There are two outdoor terraces that have the right amount of square footage to comply with this credit, however the issue is in if it needs to be accessible to everyone. The FTEFull-time equivalent (FTE) represents a regular building occupant who spends 8 hours a day (40 hours a week) in the project building. Part-time or overtime occupants have FTE values based on their hours per day divided by 8 (or hours per week divided by 40). Transient Occupants can be reported as either daily totals or as part of the FTE. Residential occupancy should be estimated based on the number and size of units. Core and Shell projects should refer to the default occupancy table in the Reference Guide appendix. All occupant assumptions must be consistent across all credits in all categories. of the retail and community space are less than 7% of the rest of the building FTE. Our client would like the terraces to only be accessible to the residents and not to this other 7% FTE. Since the majority of the building is for the residents, is this acceptable? Has anyone had a similar issue and solution? Thank you.

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EBRU UNVER LEED AP BD+C
Sep 17 2014
LEEDuser Member
170 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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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Oct 06 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

I don't have experience with this particular issue, but I think you can count the vegetation towards SSc5.2 compliance. It is still providing biodiversity and usable open space regardless of what is below.

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Alexia Anastassiadis
Sep 10 2014
Guest
363 Thumbs Up

Planting over underground parking

Hello everyone,

We are working on a project that has vegetated open space on the natural grade and also large planting over the underground parking, all at ground level.
The project has earned SSC2 and it has a green roof that we are already declared as such.
The question is: how do I compute the planting over the underground parking? Is it part of the vegetated open space or should I put it together with the green roof ?
Plus, it is the same project as in my previous question, with open grid in part of the parking that is on the ground, and I´m not computing the turf area into the open space. Am I right?
Still, I´m counting all these areas towards WEC1.
The review came back with comments on how come figures for SSC5.1 and WEC1 are different and I´m trying to make it as clear as possible for the reviewer.
Thanks !

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Alexia Anastassiadis
Aug 13 2014
Guest
363 Thumbs Up

Open Grid Pavement

Dear all,

We are working on a project which has open grid paving, with turf on the open cells, for a vehicle access road and parking lot. Here are my questions:

a- I understand that I can not count this area as open space for SSC5.2, since it is for vehicular access, although it has turf on it. Is this correct?

b- The amount of 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. I need to enter in PI Form 2 equals the concrete on the open grid paving area minus the turf area. Is this correct? (Plus all other hardscape surfaces on the project)

c- I still need to account for this turf area in credit WEC1, although it does not have irrigation, other parts of the site do, so I need to include ALL vegetation in my irrigation calculations. Is this right?

You opinios and advice will be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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Kevin Gilleran
May 06 2014
LEEDuser Member
265 Thumbs Up

Vineyards?

Can vineyards within the LEED boundary for a winery project be counted in the vegetated open space areaOpen space area is usually defined by local zoning requirements. If local zoning requirements do not clearly define open space, it is defined for the purposes of LEED calculations as the property area minus the development footprint; it must be vegetated and pervious, with exceptions only as noted in the credit requirements section. Only ground areas are calculated as open space. For projects located in urban areas that earn a Development Density and Community Connectivity credit, open space also includes nonvehicular, pedestrian-oriented hardscape spaces. calculations?

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. May 28 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

I would say yes as long as there are no plans to develop that land for anything other than growing grapes. You might have a harder time considering them native/adaptive for the purposes of SSc5.1, but for SSc5.2 you should be fine.

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Tammy Dalton President Tamara Dalton Design Studios
Apr 28 2014
LEEDuser Member
101 Thumbs Up

Open space/ LEED boundary

I am working on a project that is part of a leasehold located within an executive airport property. The building is surrounded by asphalt (driveways & runways) on 2 sides, and large areas of existing turf grass on the other two that the owner intends to develop at a later date, therefore making it not possible to state that these areas would be preserved for the life of the building. There is, however, a large area of dry detention covered in turf grass that is across the runway/driveway on the north side of the new building that will remain open forever. Would it be acceptable to incorporate this area into our LEED boundary and claim it as open space as long as the intervening asphalt is included as well?

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Apr 28 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

Is any alteration of this dry detention area part of the overall project scope of work? If not, you may have a hard time convincing the reviewer that this strategy is in keeping with the intent of the credit.

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Tammy Dalton President, Tamara Dalton Design Studios Apr 30 2014 LEEDuser Member 101 Thumbs Up

Yes, I agree with you Ellen. I just needed to have some corroboration for what I already knew. Thank you!

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Gabriela Crespo Revitaliza Consultores
Apr 09 2014
Guest
116 Thumbs Up

Open Space Offset

Dear Forum,

We are working on a project where the open space is very limited. The company does however have, as part of their sustainability policies, an agricultural field (some acres of land) about 300 km from the site. Could we somehow use this information towards the credit?

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Heather Holdridge Sustainability Coordinator, Lake/Flato Architects Apr 09 2014 LEEDuser Member 1364 Thumbs Up

See the FAQ above: "Can a project designate open space off-site and not within the LEED project boundary to meet the credit requirements?"

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E H Sustainability Architect
Mar 06 2014
LEEDuser Member
3266 Thumbs Up

Parking garage?

If pursuing Option 2, does one include a detached parking garage as part of 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.? Thanks!

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 06 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

E H, if you roll your mouse over 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." text in your question you'll see the official LEED definition of the term. This should answer your question.

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E H Sustainability Architect Mar 06 2014 LEEDuser Member 3266 Thumbs Up

Ah. Thank you!

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Candice Rogers Paladin, Inc
Feb 28 2014
LEEDuser Member
276 Thumbs Up

Is the bottom of the basin allowed in Open Space Calculations?

Hello -

We have two landscaped detention basins on our site. Their slopes are vegetated, but exceed the 1:4 ratio. The bottom of the basins are landscaped and have a pedestrian bridge over them. They are in keeping with the ideals of open space. Can we count the bottom of the basins in the calculations or must they be excluded along with the slopes?

Thank you -
Candice

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 06 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Candice, I would say not, because the LEED credit language seems to address this situation directly, and excludes those spaces entirely, not just the slopes. I see your argument, so if you want to submit a CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide, you might get a favorable ruling, but I would say that just reading the credit language, this is not allowed.

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Farah A.
Feb 16 2014
Guest
530 Thumbs Up

LEED BD+C Question

A commercial office building with a footprint of 70,000 square feet has an overall site area of 200,000 square feet. The site is in an urban setting and the zoning requirement mandates a minimum of 20% of the net lot area must be public open space. The project design includes 15,000 square feet of 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. and 18,000 square feet of vegetated open space. Does this project satisfy requirements for SS Credit 5.2 Site Development?
A. yes
B. no
C. not enough information

-The answer is choice A. I do not understand how this is obtained. I understand that 25% of the site area can be open space if it is an urban project, for Credit 5.2 – Maximize Open Space. I calculated 50,000 square feet of open space that is needed. However 15000+18000 does not amount to the amount of open space needed… can someone explain how to calculate this?

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Feb 17 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

Your calculations look correct to me. I even entered your numbers into the SSc5.2 Option 1 form just to make sure and it tells me that this is not compliant. Do your answers give you any more information beyond the correct choice being A? If not, it may be a mistake on their part.

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Farah A. Feb 17 2014 Guest 530 Thumbs Up

Ellen, thanks so much for taking the time to do that! The answers give no further information. I assume the answer is 'no.' Am I correct in calculating that 50,000 sq. ft of open space would be needed?

Thank you! :)

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Feb 17 2014 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

That was my conclusion as well.

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Farah A. Feb 17 2014 Guest 530 Thumbs Up

In other words, the amount of hard scape and vegetated area would need to be 25% of open space, correct?

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Cindy Estrada LEED AP BD&C, SDS Architects, Inc. Jul 10 2014 LEEDuser Member 601 Thumbs Up

Hello Farah and Ellen,
I ran across this post and couldn't resist the question. I think the issue is with the "net" sf, so I took the total site area and subtracted 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 get the net) which is 130,000 x 25% gives you 32,500. With the 18,000 sf vegetated open space and the 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. of 15,000 sf equaling 33,000sf it works!

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JOHANNA SENOTT Architect / Environmental adviser EA Energia y Arquitectura
Feb 13 2014
LEEDuser Member
788 Thumbs Up

Pool

If SSc2 is achieved, would a swimming pool count towards credit achievement?

I´d think so, however I read other posts and there is a comment that says no...

Does anyone have a positive feedback about it?

And, what about a reflecting pool?

Thanks in advance!

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 13 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

I don't think so. The credit requirements (see above) focus on "vegetated open space." They specifically allow for "wetlands or naturally designed ponds," but only if vegetated.

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Denise Dauplaise Architect Berners Schober
Oct 11 2013
LEEDuser Member
176 Thumbs Up

check-offs on SSc5.2 form

The current version of the form for this credit has the statement "The LEED project does not include any buildings, hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios., roads or parking areas built as part of the
project on portions of the site that meet any of the following criteria:"
When clicking on some of these options, additional questions come up about being in/out of the US. Does clicking the boxes affirm that the project does not include them? Or does it mean that the project DOES include them, but they are giving an option for additional info if one has non-US circumstances?

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

Denise, if your project is in the U.S. then simply click "no." If outside the U.S. and using a local equivalent, click "yes" and provide the documentation requested.

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Lucy Williams Principal Lucy C. Williams, Architect
Oct 10 2013
LEEDuser Member
511 Thumbs Up

Open Space Requirements Required to be Native?

I am having a difficult time understanding if the requirements of this credit allow non-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. to count towards open space? Native and 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 referenced multiple times in the reference guide but does not appear to be specifically called for to meet the credit requirements. Can open space areas with turf grass contribute to the credit requirements?

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Oct 10 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

Hi Lucy - native and adaptive vegetation is not required for this credit. Any type of vegetation will contribute towards credit compliance as well as pedestrian 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. if you qualify for SSc2. However, maximizing the amount of native and adaptive vegetation would be a smart approach where possible so to count towards SSc5.1 as well as the irrigation points (WEc1) under water efficiency.

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Mike Stopka Director of Sustainability Solomon Cordwell Buenz
Sep 03 2013
LEEDuser Member
242 Thumbs Up

Counting existing trees on site towards open space

I am trying to meet the 30% open space target. The project has plenty of open 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. area. Where the project is falling short is meeting that 25% of the open space must be vegetated. There are 5 large heritage trees on site. Am I only allowed to count their trunk space towards the credit? Is this how trees are always calculated for this credit?

Thanks

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Sep 03 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

I typically use the square footage that the tree is planted in - like a 5x5 tree grate for instance would be 25sf. The only other option I could think of would be trying to argue that the tree canopy (as defined in SSc7.1) area might count, but that seems to be more in keeping with protecting and restoring habitat (SS5.1) than maximizing open space (SS5.2).

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Ken Scalf Architect, Optimized Design Solutions Sep 12 2013 Guest 239 Thumbs Up

Ellen,
This is a concern for me also, our owner has agreed to a permanent easement on the property adjacent to and contiguous to the building. However a portion of the property is wooded and we intend to leave intact. So I'm confessed on the USGBC's definition of open area "This credit is intended to promote sites with large areas of vegetated open space that promote biodiversity and recreation—which can also add an amenity to your project, help with natural stormwater management, and mitigate the urban heat islandA densely populated area in which pavement and buildings absorb, store, and release solar energy, making the vicinity warmer than it would be if the pavement and buildings were not present. effect" our area meets all the criteria except recreation, however this is an industrial park, not a park or school. I had discussed this in April last year w/ Tristan, "Complicated Open Space/Habitat Protection, LEED Boundary" My Civil engineer is concerned that a wooded area is not considered open space? Seems a wooded area would be more favorable for biodiversity and stormwater management than turf. What is your interpretation? Thanks

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Sep 13 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

Hi Ken - I can't think of any reason your wooded area can't count as long as you can justify including it in your LEED boundary and the owner can confirm that the area will stay as open space for the life of the building.

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Cindy Estrada LEED AP BD&C SDS Architects, Inc.
Aug 26 2013
LEEDuser Member
601 Thumbs Up

Geothermal well field and SSc5.2

Our project is a LEED NC-2009 addition to a college which will include geothermal. If the well field once placed is returned to near its original state via indiginous plantings, etc. can this area be counted as open space?
Secondly, does all open space need to be preserved for the life of the building or is that scenario only for campus/no zoning projects who use space separate from the project site?

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Aug 28 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

I see no reason why the open space above the geothermal wells can't be included as long as it is vegetated (or pedestrian 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. if you are meeting SSc2).

Regarding your second question, the requirement for the open space to be preserved for the life of the building is a requirement no matter which option you pursue.

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Cindy Estrada LEED AP BD&C, SDS Architects, Inc. Aug 28 2013 LEEDuser Member 601 Thumbs Up

Thanks for verifying my thoughts.

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Ilana Judah Director of Sustainability FXFOWLE
Aug 06 2013
LEEDuser Member
348 Thumbs Up

Covered Roof Terrace and Green Roof

Two questions:

1. We have an 11 storey building in an urban area with a covered outdoor terrace on the 10th floor (the 11th floor slab cantilvers over the terrace.) Could we count this as open space towards SS Cr 5.2?

2. If we have a green roof on the building that is visible but not accessible to occupants, can this area be counted as well?

Thanks

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Aug 08 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

1. I think you can likely count the 10th floor terrace towards your pedestrian 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. square footages as long as you qualify for SSc2, which it sounds like you do, and it is accessible to everyone.

2. Good question - the FAQ above states that roof terraces can only comply if they are accessible to all occupants (as opposed to private balconies). But it seems to me that a green roof can still qualify regardless of occupancy since it meets the intent of promoting biodiversity by providing open space. I would try it and see.

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Heather Holdridge Sustainability Coordinator Lake/Flato Architects
Jul 23 2013
LEEDuser Member
1364 Thumbs Up

Building Footprint Definition

I’m looking for a more thorough definition of “building footprint”. We’ve reviewed the LEED definition, but think there’s still some room for interpretation. For instance, on our project we have several small separate buildings that are connected by covered outdoor walkways. We also have deep overhangs on the building some of which cover these walkways and some of which extend beyond walkways. We’re not sure which should count and which shouldn’t. Any advice?

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Jul 24 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

My advice (though I couldn't cite where it is written) is to exclude things like covered walkways and overhangs. Only count the footprint of enclosed and/or conditioned building area.

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager Google
Jun 20 2013
LEEDuser Expert
16122 Thumbs Up

Pedestrian oriented hardscape on a vegetated roof

Hello,

My project is getting SSc2 and is also going for SSc5.2. We are working on our diagram of our open space right now and had a few questions about our vegetated roof areaRoof area is the area of the uppermost surface of the building which covers enclosed Gross Floor Area, as measured when projected onto a flat, horizontal surface (i.e. as seen in Roof Plan view). ‘Roofs’, or portions of roofs, covering unenclosed areas (e.g. roofs over porches and open covered parking structures) are not included in the areas used to evaluate compliance with SSc7.2, though they may be applicable to SSc7.1.. Our vegetated roof area includes some walkable space that is accessible to all occupants. It also includes vegetated area. Can I include the total roof area as my open space because it falls under vegetated area and 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.?

Also, this LEEDuser guidance confuses me a bit:

"How should I count planters and vegetation on balconies?

If counting vegetation on balconies and roof areas, only consider green roof and open-bottom planters towards SSc5.2 vegetation requirements. Closed bottom planters do not count towards the credit."

Our vegetated roof garden is a healing garden for hospital patients and doctors. Why does it matter if some planters are open or closed bottomed? Where does the Reference Guide state this as a requirement?

Thanks for your guidance in helping me determine how much of our roof area we can include in our Maximize Open Space calculation.

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Jun 20 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

Hi Lauren,

I have had good luck in the past counting both pedestrian 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. and vegetated areas towards this credit (assuming compliance with SSc2). Of course past success can't guarantee future success, but I think that is a reasonable approach.

Regarding the open/closed bottom planters, I agree that it is confusing and I don't know where this language originated either. I think ultimately what they want to see is some degree of permanence with the vegetation - they don't want individual portable planters that can easily be moved/ removed after certification is complete. It sounds like in your situation with the healing garden, that will not be the case.

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Jun 20 2013 LEEDuser Expert 16122 Thumbs Up

Thanks Ellen.

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Google Jul 09 2013 LEEDuser Expert 16122 Thumbs Up

Wanted to share a response I received from the GBCI:

"Since you have earned SSc2, you are correct that vegetated roof areaRoof area is the area of the uppermost surface of the building which covers enclosed Gross Floor Area, as measured when projected onto a flat, horizontal surface (i.e. as seen in Roof Plan view). ‘Roofs’, or portions of roofs, covering unenclosed areas (e.g. roofs over porches and open covered parking structures) are not included in the areas used to evaluate compliance with SSc7.2, though they may be applicable to SSc7.1. can contribute to this credit and 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. is allowed as long as it is pedestrian oriented and accessible to all building occupants. Pedestrian hardscape is not necessarily inherently accessible to all - often there are maintenance paths and such that are restricted to regular building occupants or even maintenance workers.

The rest of the roof wouldn't need to be accessible - only the hardscape claimed would need to be accessible to all.

You also asked about closed-bottom planters. The only explicit guidance regarding planters is in regard to WEc3 - there was a ref guide addendum. So planters would be looked at on a case-by-case basis to ensure that they truly promote biodiversity. For example, small planters wouldn't be acceptable as they fragment the habitat too much. Also, extrapolating from the WEc3 planter guidance, planters should be permanently affixed - if they can be moved, that pretty much defeats the purpose."

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Jul 09 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

Thanks for the update Lauren! The case by case evaluation statement always makes me nervous because I can't advise with confidence whether a strategy will work. But aside from that, their explanation makes sense.

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Lindsey Evans Architectural Designer PGAV, Inc.
Mar 12 2013
LEEDuser Member
369 Thumbs Up

open space not within LEED project boundary

In the LEEDuser FAQ's above it states, "Can a project designate open space off-site and not within the LEED project boundary to meet the credit requirements? Answer: To date, we are not aware of a project being able to achieve the credit requirements by allocating open space outside of the LEED project boundary. The credit requires the open space be adjacent to the building and within the project boundary. However, this approach has been used to meet SSc5.1 credit requirements."

However, in the 2009 BD+C Reference Guide on page 86 it states, "In a campus setting with no local zoning requirements, open space that is equal to 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. can be considered separate from the project site, as long as the open space is preserved for the life of the building."

I am wondering why the FAQ's state that the open space needs to be within the project boundary? Thanks!

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

Lindsey, we made that statement for the reasons it states, including , as stated, that we don't know of a project that has done this. Also,  MPR3 does not give an exception for this situation. Your point about campuses is a good one, though, and I'll modify our FAQ to reflect that exception as noted in the Reference Guide. Thanks!

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Sasaki Associates Mar 27 2013 LEEDuser Member 51 Thumbs Up

I believe, additional clause is added to this approach per the April 1, 2012 addenda; the LEED 2009 BDC reference guide pg 86 paragraph now reads as:
In a campus setting with no local zoning requirements, open space that is equal to 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. can be considered separate from the project site, as long as the open space is preserved for the life of the building "and is within the contiguous limits of the campus where the applicable project is located."

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BABAR MEHMOOD SAUD CONSULT
Mar 11 2013
Guest
403 Thumbs Up

Credit achievement requirement clarification

The building has 2 roof levels, upper roof with the mechanical eqipements and the lower roof which has direct to the medical clinical floor (2nd floor). For this credit, can we consider and include the lower roof portion as open space for the Option-1 requirement. Thanks,

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Mar 11 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

I have had success in including both pedestrian 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. and vegetation on terrace roofs as long as the project is considered urban (i.e. meets one of the compliance paths of SSc2).

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Lisa Milano
Feb 20 2013
Guest
137 Thumbs Up

Athletic Field included under SSc5.2, but excluded under WEc1?

There is an existing athletic field within our project's LEED boundary that we would like to include in our calculation for SSc5.2 in order to earn 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..
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. #10217, "All LEED projects can choose to include or exclude athletic fields at the project team's discretion from WEc1. However, if such areas are included, they must be included in all other applicable credit calculations."
We will be excluding the athletic field from the WEc1 calculation, so does that mean we have to exclude it from the SSc5.2 calculation as well? The interpretation only addresses the inclusion of the athletic field. Any feedback would be most appreciated!

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Feb 22 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

I don't have any experience with this but I am inclined to think that they may not let you count it for SSc5.2 and exclude it for WEc1. I don't know that for sure though. Since it is for an ID point, I would probably try it and see and have a backup ID point such as 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 Green Power "in my back pocket" to plug in if it doesn't work.

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Marcio Alberto Casado Pereira
Feb 14 2013
LEEDuser Member
3826 Thumbs Up

Open space have to be acessible?

We have a big area vegetated with adaptaded species within the LEED Campus Boundary (we have a multiple building situation) that does meet the 1:4 side slope criteria but it is unlikely that the building users will go there, since is a preserved area. However, the building owner did make an acess to it. Can I count this area toward SSc5.2?

The other question is: we intent to pursue this credit via master site. However, in the event that the LEED comitee denies it, do you folks know if we can go back and pursue the credit for each building individually?

Thanks

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Feb 20 2013 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

I believe for the campus approach, you will need to register each project individually (designating a master) and draw a LEED project boundary that parcels up the vegetated area with no overlapping boundaries. Once the multiple building certification becomes available, you would be able to certify all of the buildings and the large vegetated area as a single LEED project. It sounds like the vegetated area you describe can count towards credit compliance in either case.

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Gaston Viau GEBCO Green Solutions
Dec 06 2012
LEEDuser Member
468 Thumbs Up

Public Plaza nearby the project site - LEED ND

Our project is located on a LEED ND. When designing the neighborhood, local zoning requirements were committed by a Development Plan which included open spaces all around the neighborhood. In fact, just crossing the street from our building there's a 2,640 sqf Plaza.

Is it possible to achieve SSc5.2 by demonstrating the proximity to this Plaza, although it is not part of our project site?

Thanks in advance for your response.

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Dec 07 2012 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

I don't think that will work. The intent of SS5.2 is to minimize 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. and maximize the amount of open space within your project boundary. Unless this plaza was part of your scope and included in your LEED project boundary, I don't see how it would fulfill the intent of this credit.

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Jean-Baptiste Noel ESD Operations Manager Green & Global Consulting Pte. Ltd.
Nov 27 2012
Guest
310 Thumbs Up

Open space and void deck

We are working on a project that has a void deck, so that there is vegetation at the ground level 'under' the building, so at the same location as 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..
Would this type of vegetated 'open' space comply?

Also, this project is in a dense development, but is however developed on a non-previously contructed site (so it does not comply with SS c.2). Just to confirm, even in this case it is not possible to take in account green roofs for SSc5.2?

Thanks

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Nov 27 2012 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

I don't know if there is precedence to support this issue one way or another, but I would be inclined to think that the area under the deck could count if it is vegetated and open to the elements. It may be one of those instances where you need to just submit it and see what comes back.

Also, for SS2, your site can be considered previously developedPreviously developed sites are those altered by paving, construction, and/or land use that would typically have required regulatory permitting to have been initiated (alterations may exist now or in the past). Previously developed land includes a platted lot on which a building was constructed if the lot is no more than 1 acre; previous development on lots larger than 1 acre is defined as the development footprint and land alterations associated with the footprint. Land that is not previously developed and altered landscapes resulting from current or historical clearing or filling, agricultural or forestry use, or preserved natural area use are considered undeveloped land. The date of previous development permit issuance constitutes the date of previous development, but permit issuance in itself does not constitute previous development." if it has ever been graded or otherwise altered by human activity (maybe infastructure piping placed below). It seems plausable that your site would have had some sort of alteration if it is in a densely developed area. But if not, you are correct that you cannot include the green roof square footage in your calculations for SS5.2.

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Simon Chantal LEED Coordinator Martin Roy & Associés
Nov 08 2012
Guest
135 Thumbs Up

100% open space regulation

What happens when the local code states that 100% of undevelopped space must be covered with grass or plants? Does it mean that I cannot achieve this credit since I can't exceed local zoning requirements by 25%?

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Nov 08 2012 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

I have never had this particular problem, but I think there may be an important distinction here between the LEED requirement and your code, based on your description. The credit intent is to reduce 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. (building, hardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios., roads, parking) so to increase the amount of vegetated open space. It seems that your code requirement doesn't necessarily limit the amount of development, but simply requires all left over space to be vegetated. I think given that distinction, you could argue that you fall into Case 3: Sites with Zoning Ordinances by No Open Space Requirements in which case your vegetated open space must be equal to or greater than 20% of the total site area.

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Nov 09 2012 LEEDuser Expert 15730 Thumbs Up

I'm inclined to agree with Ellen. The zoning is saying that no matter how little open space is remaining, plant something on it. So you could literally pave paradise and put up a parking lot and be zoning compliant. Case 3 should guide you to making more sustainable choices. You may want to add a narrative to the credit submission.

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Scott Preston Sustainable Design Specialist LEED AP BD+C SLATERPAULL Architects
Oct 12 2012
Guest
103 Thumbs Up

LEED Site Boundary

We have a residential high-rise project in a dense urban environment. It shares a zero lot line with an adjacent parking structure. As part of a separate construction project, a green roof is being planned to be built on top of the parking structure with access from the residential tower to the green roof for residents to use as outdoor open space. Is it possible to create our LEED Site Boundary to include the green roof only? There will be no other work done to the parking structure itself other than the addition of a green roof. Ideally, we would not be required to include the entire existing parking structure as we don't want to include the energy of the existing parking structure as part of our building energy model. Can we include the green roof as open space as part of our boundary for SSc5.1 and SSc5.2?

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Oct 24 2012 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

My first question is whether the green roof is accessible exclusively to the residential tower occupants or accessible to everyone? If it is exclusive, then I think you may have an argument to include it in your boundary. I would write a very thorough narrative explaining the scope and function of the green roof project as well as the existing parking garage. You will also need plans, square footage takeoffs and planting schedules so hopefully the designers on the green roof project are willing to work with you. I would also add that if you need a definitive answer, a credit interpretation ruling may be the best way to know for sure.

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Josep Escarra Energy consultant ERF, Estudi Ramon Folch i Associats
Oct 05 2012
Guest
154 Thumbs Up

Required Signatory SSc5.2-1. Owner/Agent

Hello everyone!!

Could anyone explain what's required in point Upload SSc5.2-RS1? There are 2 documents asked for:

Point 1: Is it the form with blanks?
Point 2: Are they the surfaces expected to fill in the blanks?

Would it possible to upload just the form with all data information on it?

And also: What about a digital signature?? Is this way possible outsite USA?

Thanks!!,

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Ellen Mitchell Sustainable Design Manager, HKS, Inc. Nov 26 2012 LEEDuser Expert 3882 Thumbs Up

Hi Josep,

I can understand your confusion with this option. I think that the digital signature is the most straightforward way to approach the required signatories - anyone should be able to create an account with GBCI regardless of whether they are in the US or not. Once they have created an account, the Project Administrator can invite them to join the online project and designate them as 'owner'. Be careful to only have one owner's rep initialing consistently though as we have had to revise forms if more than one owner's rep has signed the forms.

If you are unable to have your owner provide digitial initials, then it looks like you will need to fill out the form with all of the square footage takeoffs, print it out and have the owner sign and date it - there doesn't appear to be a spot specifically for this, but I would just find space in the Required Signatory SSc5.2-1 box. You will also need to upload a separate (and arguably redundant) singed document on owner letterhead that states that "all open space that is counted toward this credit will be preserved for the life of the building."

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Ken Scalf Architect Optimized Design Solutions
Apr 29 2012
Guest
239 Thumbs Up

Complicated Open Space/Habitat Protection, LEED Boundary

We are attempting to achieve 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. in open space and protection of habitat. The project is located, and a portion of a secured (fenced) industrial park setting w/ the back property line backing up to an existing residential area. The LEED boundary is a "L "shaped tract that includes all site improvements associated w/ the LEED building and a perimeter strip around two sides of the property lines including the wooded back side adjacent to the residential area. My concern is the reoccurring comment "don't gerrymander the boundary" There are other buildings on the site that are not to be certified and our LEED boundary runs along (gerrymandering, but not including) the 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. parking areas for the other buildings, taking credit for all vegetated areas in a contiguous designated area. Additionally we are indicated 2 future buildings adjacent to our site and claiming/preserving the property behind them along the back property lines, again wooded, adjacent to residential property and contiguous at the elbow of the "L" shape. Sorry to be so long winded, however it's been fairly complicated to come up w/ a solution that the owner can accept. Also does anyone have a good example of the language needed for the owner's acceptance letter? Thanks

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jun 12 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Ken, it sounds to me like the LEED boundary is gerrymandered—you seem to say this yourself. What are your thoughts on this? Perhaps this credit is not suitable for the project, if you can't attain it without these acrobatics.

I should note that this is the first time I can think of where someone described a case like this and it clearly sounded to me like gerrymandering. I'm sure USGBC has seen more cases and is obviously the authority on what consitutes gerrymandering. That's my take on it, only.

Which owner's acceptance letter do you mean?

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Ken Scalf Architect, Optimized Design Solutions Jun 18 2012 Guest 239 Thumbs Up

Tristan, thank you for the response, I was speaking of; Upload SSc5.1-RS1. Provide a document with the
required signatory statement, copied directly from
the form, signed and dated on letterhead. So I understand correctly the only language require in the owner's letter is "All open space that is counted toward this credit will be preserved for the life of the building." no specific reference to the credit considered, the uploaded LEED Boundary dwg., etc? Thanks

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Ahmed Mosa Sustainability Consultant - Sustainable Design Researcher P&T Architects and Engineers
Mar 09 2012
LEEDuser Member
255 Thumbs Up

Can Atriums or shaded open spaces still qualify for the credit?

In hot humid climates we tend to shade open spaces or design it as an Atrium, and since it's a "pedestrian oriented accessible space" would this space still qualify for SS C5.2 ? or it has to be open to sky?

Note: if its not shaded,, no one will use it..
This case is always happening in shopping malls/hotels..etc..

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