The big question for this credit is how your team will demonstrate compliance. Though this credit is similar to the LEED 2009 credit that addresses landscape irrigation use, the v4 iteration stipulates different compliance paths depending on the conditions of your building’s systems.
The first and easiest path is when landscaping does not require irrigation. If not, the credit is yours via Option 1.
If your landscaping does require irrigation there are two separate paths to compliance, depending on whether or not you have irrigation metering installed. (Teams should also know that projects with no landscape areaThe landscape area is the total site area less the building footprint, paved surfaces, water bodies, and patios. automatically meet Option 1 and earn the credit.)
For Option 2, if your site doesn’t have an irrigation meter, you need to calculate the expected landscape irrigation reduction using the EPA WaterSense Water Budget Tool. Most landscapes that use basic water conservation strategies such as low water vegetation, drip irrigationDrip irrigation delivers water at low pressure through buried mains and submains. From the submains, water is distributed to the soil through a network of perforated tubes or emitters. Drip irrigation is a high-efficiency type of microirrigation., and WaterSense controllers are likely to meet the 40% reduction threshold. The catch is that the project must also install an irrigation meter before the performance period ends in order to earn the credit.
If your site already has an irrigation meter you must pursue Option 3, and it will likely be much harder to demonstrate compliance with the credit threshold. In this case your performance is calculated based on a straight reduction from your historic metered water usage. If your team has made efficiency improvements to the irrigation system recently, this credit may be good to pursue.
The required savings can be achieved via any of the available water reduction strategies listed in the LEED Reference Guide, including alternative water sources.
Teams can choose to use the EPA or USGBC tool to complete the calculations for Option 2. This is confirmed on the v02 form for this credit posted on USGBC’s website.
No, there is no minimum amount of vegetation identified in the Rating System or Reference Guide. In fact, the Reference Guide states that projects that have no landscape area automatically meet the requirements.
To reduce outdoor water consumption.
Reduce outdoor water use through one of the following options. Nonvegetated surfaces, such as permeable or impermeable pavement, should be excluded from landscape areaThe landscape area is the total site area less the building footprint, paved surfaces, water bodies, and patios. calculations. Athletic fields and playgrounds (if vegetated) and food gardens may be included or excluded at the project team’s discretion.
If landscape irrigation is not submetered, use Option 2.
Show that the landscape does not require a permanent irrigation system beyond a maximum two-year establishment period.
Use the existing landscape to calculate the landscape water requirement using the EPA WaterSense Water Budget Tool.
Install an irrigation meter.
The baseline is established using the annual average of at least 3 years of consecutive data out of the last 5 years.
Points are earned according to Table 1.
Demonstrate a reduction in outdoor water use over the most recent 12 months compared with the established baseline. Points are earned according to Table 1.
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