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 total land area of a project site covered by buildings, streets, parking areas, and other typically impermeable surfaces constructed as part of the project..

    Requirements

    Case 1. Sites with local zoning open space requirements

    Reduce the development footprintThe total land area of a project site covered by buildings, streets, parking areas, and other typically impermeable surfaces constructed as part of the project.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 hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, 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

Sample LEED Online forms for all rating systems and versions are available on the USGBC website.

Design Submittal

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

202 Comments

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Albert Sagrera Architect Societat Organica
Apr 03 2017
Guest
784 Thumbs Up

Lots and open space question

Project Location: Spain

Hello,

We are wondering if a future building occupying two different plots can be
considered as a single LEED project or not.

In the case that it is considered as a single project, as it affects the
credit SSc 5.2 Open space, what is the regulation to take into account?
For example in this possible project that we are evaluating to certify, there
are two plots: in one of them, there is a minimum requirement for open space but not in the other plot. Which one of the two regulations would be
considered?

Thank you very much for your help.

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Allison Smith Sustainable Design Coordinator, HKS Architects Apr 03 2017 LEEDuser Member 93 Thumbs Up

Albert -

If the two plots of land are contiguous, then they can be a single project. Please see the Minimum Program Requirements document for specifics on establishing the LEED project boundary. http://www.usgbc.org/Docs/Archive/General/Docs6715.pdf

I have not documented this credit where there are two separate zoning requirements, but I would think that you could meet the respective Case for each plot of land individually. Does anyone have experience doing this?

Another option is to look at the LEED v4 version of the credit. You can use v4 credits on a v2009 project (http://www.usgbc.org/articles/use-v4-credits-your-v2009-project). The v4 version of the credit requires for open space to equal to 30% of the total site area. See the credit language for additional requirements.

Please let us know how you choose to document and what the results are.

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Anthea Ng
Feb 05 2017
Guest
248 Thumbs Up

Landscape Under Covered

Project Location: China

Hello,

My project has a open landscaped G/F partially covered by 2/F structure.
Shade tolerant plant species shall be adopted at the covered areas. Would the covered landscaped be accountable as vegetated open space in SSc5.2?
Thanks!

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Douglas Snyder Principal DS Greenbuild LLC
Sep 20 2016
LEEDuser Member
19 Thumbs Up

Water Fountains in an Urban Setting

Project Location: Vietnam

We have a tower project in SE Asia that will have several decorative water fountains. The slopes will not be vegetated or of a gradual nature, but it seems these should still count as open space with at least the same visual and recreational benefit as the walkable hardscapes.. Does anyone have experience with using fountains for open space? Or an opinion?

Thanks,

Doug Snyder
Saigon, Vietnam

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James Wilson Sustainable Design Research, BKSK Architects Jan 08 2017 Guest 68 Thumbs Up

Doug,

I agree that the decorative fountains as you describe them would provide visual and recreational benefit. However, based on the fact that the promotion of biodiversity is stated as the intent of the credit, I'm not sure you'd be able to argue that the fountains alone, without any vegetation, satisfy the requirements.

Beyond the credit's intent, the requirements seem to me to be explicitly stating that any area, whether open space or pedestrian-oriented hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios., must be vegetated to contribute to credit compliance.

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Marco Abdallah
Aug 17 2016
Guest
971 Thumbs Up

Definition of vegetated open space area

Do we have a clear definition what is counted as 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.? Is grass paving, e.g. for outdoor parking counted as vegetated open space?

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Cindy Estrada LEED AP BD&C, SDS Architects, Inc. Aug 17 2016 LEEDuser Member 1114 Thumbs Up

Hi Marco,
There is credit language here in LeedUser that you can reference, but what occurs to me with your question is satisfying the intent of the credit which is four-fold. To promote biodiversity, reduce heat island effectThe thermal absorption by hardscape, such as dark, nonreflective pavement and buildings, and its subsequent radiation to surrounding areas. Other contributing factors may include vehicle exhaust, air-conditioners, and street equipment. Tall buildings and narrow streets reduce airflow and exacerbate the effect., increase stormwater infiltration and provide building occupants with a connection to the outdoors. I don't know if this is an urban setting or not but I am sure that if the idea is to park cars on "grass paving" it would not support the spirit of the credit.

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Stefano Ascari Apr 14 2017 Guest

Where is this definition located? And out of curiosity, how do you post a new topic? There is no Post new topic button...

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Allison Smith Sustainable Design Coordinator, HKS Architects Apr 17 2017 LEEDuser Member 93 Thumbs Up

Stefano:

Vegetated open space must be vegetated and pervious. If a project earns SSc2, then they may be able to count pedestrian oriented hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. and/or vegetated roof areas. Look at the credit langauage for more details on when you can include hardscape and/or vegetated roofs.

Re grass paving - use the search comments feature for "permeable paving" to find a post on how to calculate this surface type.

Re new topic button -- I view this page through leeduser.com and on the upper right hand side of the webpage, there is a "new comment" button. If you're viewing it through the LEED Credit library then the interface is different.

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Febin Mohamed Graduate Engineer
Aug 09 2016
Guest
39 Thumbs Up

Building footprint

Project Location: Kuwait

We are doing a campus approach for our project. For pursuing SSc 5.2, Case 2 "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. The open space must be contained within the LEED campus boundary." Does these include utility buildings also?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 17 2017 LEEDuser Moderator

Fevbin, I don't understand the question. Is the LEED project buidling a utility building?

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Jorge López de Obeso Architect / Environmental adviser EA Energia y Arquitectura
Jun 09 2016
LEEDuser Member
1104 Thumbs Up

Leed Footprint exceeds leed Boundary

Project Location: Mexico

Hi, I'm having some problems with a project.
Turns out that local requirements allow me to expand mi building in my superior floors (By this I mean that above my ground floor I can build over my pedestrian sidewalk) wich directly affects my 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..
So, as I cannot expand my building leed boundary to take the sidewalk into account (as it is not owners property), my footprint exceeds it.
My first question here is, is this escenario even possible? And;
What criteria should I take, as for this credit Im only allowed to take into consideration vegetated areas within my leed boundary, but my vegetated space is located in my roof, a public terrace with vegetated area outside my leed boundary but within my footprint.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 17 2017 LEEDuser Moderator

Jorge, 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. I believe is defined by the plan drawing. This can be the ground-level drawing.

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Agata Mozer GO4IT SP Z OO SP K
Jun 09 2016
LEEDuser Member
1190 Thumbs Up

All open space that is counted toward this credit will be preser

Project Location: Poland

As part of this credit the Investor has to confirm that "All open space that is counted toward this credit will be preserved for the life of the building". My client wants to apply for this credit, there is enough open space and there are no future plans to change it. However you never know what can happen in the future and if in some years someone will need to change the open space. What will happen if the area of open space will change after some years of building certification? Can the certification be revoked or the project would just loose one point and would keep the certification level if there is a sufficient number of points for it (after substracting the point for this credit)?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 17 2017 LEEDuser Moderator

Agata, the certification is unlikely to be revoked years in the future.

Go into the credit with good intent and due diligence. If the owner doesn't feel good about making this commitment, then it's not a good fit, plain and simple.

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Christopher Widdowson Job Captain Cupkovic Architecture LLC
May 03 2016
Guest
28 Thumbs Up

SSc5.2 Project Boundary

Project Location: United States

If we are using a portion of adjacent Conservation Area to maximize the Open Space via a permanent easement, do we include the easement area within the Project Boundary on all documentation?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 17 2017 LEEDuser Moderator

Christopher, it would make your documentation more straightforward if you can justify including it in the LEED boundary as part of the project.

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Sheryl Swartzle Sustainability Specialist TLC Engineering for Architecture
Apr 06 2016
LEEDuser Member
1225 Thumbs Up

SSc5.1 or SSc5.2

Project Location: United States

My project is a Hotel in urban area with almost a zero lot line. The owner purchased fifteen 25 ft. live oak trees and gave them to the County to be planted in the local Park that was undergoing renovations. These trees will shade approx. 3 acres or 130,000 sf. Do you think we can use this to capture SSc5.1 or SSc5.2?

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Cindy Estrada LEED AP BD&C, SDS Architects, Inc. Apr 06 2016 LEEDuser Member 1114 Thumbs Up

Hi Sheryl,
While it was a wonderful gesture, in my experience with this credit, SSc5.1 needs to be applied to the actual building site. For SSc5.2 while campus situations (with no zoning requirements) can take advantage of open space separate from the project site, it needs to be preserved for the life of the building and it sounds like you can't guarntee that. You might look into this applying to an Innovation credit on community support or enhancements.

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Martin Meehan Principal Meehan Associates
Mar 31 2016
LEEDuser Member
448 Thumbs Up

Suburban achieving SSc2

Project Location: Ireland

The credit language states that projects in Urban areas achieving SSc2 can contribute with green roof/pedestrian oriented hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios..

Are projects in Suburban areas achieving SSc2 allowed to do so?

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Saurabh Shrestha HKS Inc. Apr 06 2016 LEEDuser Member 291 Thumbs Up

I think achieving SSc2 is sufficient, unless anyone else has had a different experience.

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Cynthia Quinn Principal Ecological Environments, LLC
Mar 24 2016
LEEDuser Member
59 Thumbs Up

Power Line Overhead?

Project Location: United States

Our LEED boundary has a power line easement running through it. The city's zoning doesn't allow development in this area. It also has a requirement for open space that cannot overlap the power line easement. Would there be a problem counting this natively vegetated easement as our 25% additional LEED open space if there is a power line overhead?

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Saurabh Shrestha HKS Inc. Apr 05 2016 LEEDuser Member 291 Thumbs Up

I do not have experience documenting under any similar circumstance, but since the credit requires you to exceed local zoning requirements by 25% and the local zoning requirement itself does not let you count the easement area under open space, I do not think it can be included. I am thinking of the exclusion of the easement area as a part of the local zoning requirements, and if you include it, you are no more meeting the local zoning requirement. That's my point of view, but its still worth a try rather than not attempting at all.
I understand why development is prohibited in the easement area, but it seems odd to me why that area cannot be counted under open space though, since it still contributes to biodiversity.

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O Moltay
Mar 22 2016
Guest
30 Thumbs Up

Building Footprint

We have a residential project. My question about with 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.. First floor have corbelled balcony. So, ground floor footprint excluded, balcony. Area below corbelled balcony is landscape and pedestrian areas and the area have light fittings. But first floor included the balcony and balcony is continiued well into roof. Will we included this area in building footprint or hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. area?
Thanks.

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Cindy Estrada LEED AP BD&C, SDS Architects, Inc. Mar 22 2016 LEEDuser Member 1114 Thumbs Up

Hello,
Jon Clifford has a great answer here that you might find helpful.
http://www.leeduser.com/credit/NC-2009/PIf2
Look for the November 29, 2015 post

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Joy Collins Intern Architect Lord Aeck Sargent
Sep 28 2015
Guest
14 Thumbs Up

SSc5.2 Life of the Building Definition

Project Location: United States

Does anyone know the definition of "life of the building"? Does it mean that the open space should be preserved as long as the building is standing or and long as the building has its current use?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 26 2015 LEEDuser Moderator

Joy, I would interpret more in terms of the building standing. "Current use" seems pretty vague. 

I am not aware of a precise definition of this term, though. Care to discuss any more specifics of your situation?

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Alicja Bieszyńska Skanska
Jul 24 2015
LEEDuser Member
1514 Thumbs Up

Green roof

If my green roof is covered half with vegetation and half with wood, can it contribute to the 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.?
If yes, can all the 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. contribute to the credit compliance, or only the amount of sq ft covered with vegetation?

The roof is accessible for tenants and we apply for SSc2 Development Density.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 26 2015 LEEDuser Moderator

Alicja, see the FAQ above about roof terraces. It sounds like this applies here.

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sompoche sirichote
Apr 20 2015
LEEDuser Member
374 Thumbs Up

Open space definition

Project Location: Pakistan

My project is in the industrial area which allows 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. not exceeding 66% of total site area. So, it means at least 34% of total site area belongs to opening space including roads, parking spaces, hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. that may not satisfy the credit intent.

Should I include all "regulated" opening space, or include only landscape areaThe landscape area is the total site area less the building footprint, paved surfaces, water bodies, and patios. (vegetated area), or use option 2 or 3 to document this credit?

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Ellen Mitchell Director of Sustainability, HKS, Inc. Apr 22 2015 LEEDuser Expert 5468 Thumbs Up

It sounds like if you have a requirement to have at least 34% open space, you will need to follow Case 1 and exceed that by 25%. The qualifying open space needs to be vegetated unless you also qualify for SSc2, in which case you can also count pedestrian hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios..

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Joann Lee Heitman Architects Inc.
Mar 31 2015
LEEDuser Member
773 Thumbs Up

Future Expansion

Project Location: United States

Our project, an industrial manufacturing facility, is expecting future expansion, and it has been noted on our permit/construction drawings. What's the best way to handle to this when it comes to SSc5.2 Open space and SSc7.1 Heat Island-non-Roof? The client won't sign SSc5.2 consent box unless future expansion is accounted for on this LEED application. The project will comply with both credits even with future expansion. However, how should I treat future expansion area? As part 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. or as hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios.?

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Joann Lee Heitman Architects Inc. Apr 16 2015 LEEDuser Member 773 Thumbs Up

Anyone has any input on this question? I wonder how this future expansion issue impacts parking capacity credit too. Any feedback would be appreciated!

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Ellen Mitchell Director of Sustainability, HKS, Inc. Apr 16 2015 LEEDuser Expert 5468 Thumbs Up

For SSc7.1 heat island, non, roof, I would calculate only the hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. that is in your current design for credit compliance. However, for SSc5.2, you are only allowed to count the open space that will be preserved as such for the life of the project. So for this credit, I would subtract any future development from your calculations. I don't think you really need to substantiate whether that square footage is building or hardscape, just confirm that you are not counting it towards credit compliance.

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Ilana Judah Director of Sustainability FXFOWLE
Oct 03 2014
LEEDuser Member
552 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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Justin Southwick Tri-Star Homes, Inc. Jul 31 2015 LEEDuser Member 14 Thumbs Up

Any reply to Ilana's question above? I have a substantially similar scenario about accessibility of open space to the general public or primarily the project's residents. A portion of our open space that meets the 20% requirement is well to the interior of the building & project boundary (interior courtyard, pool deck, patio space). Our non-residential 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.
's are <3% of total project FTE's.
Thank you.

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Pamela Mendez WSP Feb 09 2016 LEEDuser Member 161 Thumbs Up

Can someone please advise on Ilana's question above!

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Cindy Estrada LEED AP BD&C, SDS Architects, Inc. Feb 10 2016 LEEDuser Member 1114 Thumbs Up

It seems to me that the intent of the credit provides the information. I don't see anywhere where it says these open spaces need to be accessible to any or all occupants. While it would be nice to provide that connection to the outdoors to all my interpretation is to promote biodiversity.

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EBRU UNVER LEED AP BD+C
Sep 17 2014
LEEDuser Member
292 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 Director of Sustainability, HKS, Inc. Oct 06 2014 LEEDuser Expert 5468 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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Kevin Gilleran
May 06 2014
LEEDuser Member
354 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 Director of Sustainability, HKS, Inc. May 28 2014 LEEDuser Expert 5468 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
168 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 Director of Sustainability, HKS, Inc. Apr 28 2014 LEEDuser Expert 5468 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 168 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 CxA, LEED AP BD+C, O+M Revitaliza Consultores
Apr 09 2014
Guest
385 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 2142 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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Candice Rogers Paladin, Inc
Feb 28 2014
LEEDuser Member
409 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, Executive Editor – 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
973 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 hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, 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 Director of Sustainability, HKS, Inc. Feb 17 2014 LEEDuser Expert 5468 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 973 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 Director of Sustainability, HKS, Inc. Feb 17 2014 LEEDuser Expert 5468 Thumbs Up

That was my conclusion as well.

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Farah A. Feb 17 2014 Guest 973 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 1114 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 hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. of 15,000 sf equaling 33,000sf it works!

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Jorge López de Obeso Architect / Environmental adviser EA Energia y Arquitectura
Feb 13 2014
LEEDuser Member
1104 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, Executive Editor – 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
280 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, hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, 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, Executive Editor – 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
719 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 vegetationAn indigenous species that occurs in a particular region, ecosystem, and habitat without direct or indirect human actions. Native species have evolved to the geography, hydrology, and climate of that region. They also occur in communities; that is, they have evolved together with other species. As a result, these communities provide habitat for a variety of other native wildlife species. Species native to North America are generally recognized as those occurring on the continent prior to European settlement. Also known as native plants. 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 Director of Sustainability, HKS, Inc. Oct 10 2013 LEEDuser Expert 5468 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 hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, 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
Guest
750 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 hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, 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 Director of Sustainability, HKS, Inc. Sep 03 2013 LEEDuser Expert 5468 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 268 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 Director of Sustainability, HKS, Inc. Sep 13 2013 LEEDuser Expert 5468 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
1114 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 Director of Sustainability, HKS, Inc. Aug 28 2013 LEEDuser Expert 5468 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 hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, 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 1114 Thumbs Up

Thanks for verifying my thoughts.

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Ilana Judah Director of Sustainability FXFOWLE
Aug 06 2013
LEEDuser Member
552 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 Director of Sustainability, HKS, Inc. Aug 08 2013 LEEDuser Expert 5468 Thumbs Up

1. I think you can likely count the 10th floor terrace towards your pedestrian hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, 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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