Schools-2009 SSc9: Site Master Plan

  • Schools SSc9 Type3 Master Plan Diagram
  • Thinking ahead

    This credit is geared toward projects that may have further development planned on the same site. It is meant to ensure that future development on your project site maintains the environmental considerations of the initial design.

    First, you must develop a master plan for known or hypothetical future development. Then, you must choose at least four of the seven available credits that the current project is pursuing (see details below), and recalculate these for the future development outlined in the master plan. You need to show that the master-planned development would earn those credits.

    Master planning is not for everyone

    The master planning credit isn’t applicable to all projects—if your site is completely built out, there’s no reason to develop a site master plan, and you're not eligible for the credit. But master planning can be especially helpful for schools that plan on pursuing LEED certification for the future site development.

    If the school board in your district typically develops a master plan for individual sites, this credit can be a good one to pursue. But in districts where master planning isn’t standard practice, this credit can get very documentation-intensive, and you may decide that it isn’t worth your time.

    A lot of cooks in the kitchen

    The documentation for this credit requires that you demonstrate collaboration between the school board (or the appropriate decision-making body) and the design team. Coordination between so many parties and interests can be challenging—anticipate some roadblocks in establishing a master plan for development that may take place years into the future.

    Low-hanging fruit…

    Kids playing on lawnCompleting a site master plan can help plan for maximizing open space alongside future construction.Assuming that you know in the early planning stages that your project will attempt this credit, the four easiest credits to document are:

    … and the not-so-low-hanging fruit

    On the other hand, recalculating these credits can be much more labor-intensive:

    There is value to documenting any of these credits, though, and it makes sense to choose ones that are most in line with the project’s priorities.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Pre-Design

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  • This credit requires projects to first develop a theoretical site master plan for future development (either known or hypothetical), then pick four credits of an applicable seven (see below) and proceed with proving compliance with those four credits for the site master plan. Achievement of these four credits must be recalculated for the site master plan to prove that your site master plan is still in compliance with each of the credit requirements. 


  • Be sure to fully understand the requirements of each of the four credits you will be working with in your site master plan. The Documentation Toolkit provides a sample site master plan that both gives a sense of what is required to document the  credit, and lays out the credit requirements in a site-oriented way.


  • Talk with the school board to determine if this credit is in line with its sustainability goals and plans for future buildings. The conversation should include estimates for population growth or decline, the possibility of funding for green building, responsible parties for implementation, and parent and community input. Also consider the impact of these sustainable design requirements on future programming and use of space.


  • Record minutes at all meetings with the school board and community about this issue. For LEED documentation you will need to write a narrative on these collaboration efforts, and the meeting minutes will help write the narrative. 


  • LEED project boundary considerations: The master plan can encompass future development which is outside the current LEED boundary, but isn’t required to—the decision is up to the project team. If the project team chooses to use their LEED boundary the site must have future development plans. If the boundary is made larger it must be clearly defined and the project must be able to achieve credits within the larger zone that it is already meeting for the smaller LEED project boundary.

Schematic Design

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  • Determine which four of the seven applicable credits are best suited for your project. Your choices might change as credits are defined and the project progresses, but it is helpful to keep a certain set of credits in mind as you run calculations and develop the existing site plan and future master plan. You must earn these four credits in your current design and the future master plan. See each of these credit pages on LEEDuser for more details on the requirements and calculations.


  • The four easiest credits to document—assuming you know in the early planning stages that your project will attempt this credit—are: 


  • On the other hand, documenting recalculations for the following credits can be much more difficult:


  • If possible, develop the site master plan in conjunction with the current project design. This allows the design team to verify that both are being addressed and the proper credits are being incorporated. 


  • The site master plan should include new buildings on the existing site, additions to the current design, addition of parking lots or hardscapes, sports fields or swimming pools, and any other construction projects that may affect the site. 


  • This credit is documentation-intensive — the design team and the owner need to be prepared to incorporate the four credit requirements into the site master plan while the project is still in the early planning stage. 


  • Develop a flexible site master plan that accommodates a number of scenarios, unanticipated changes, and recalculations down the line. 


  • Generally, you don’t need to anticipate additional hard costs with this credit; however, the time required to develop the site master plan and recalculate the credits, including the paid time of engineers and consultants, can really add up. 


  • The need to accommodate future stormwater management needs may increase costs, especially if the project is pursuing one or both of the stormwater credits. Either you will need to include extra stormwater infrastructure in the current design to accommodate future development, or plan on adding infrastructure later, which could be less cost-effective in the long run than over-sizing it now. 

Design Development

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  • As soon as the calculations for the current design are solidified, recalculate the four credits you decide upon within the master site plan (in addition to the calculations for the design you are currently submitting). Doing so while the calculation methods and site master plan design are fresh in your mind will help minimize time spent on documentation. 


  • For example, if you are attempting the stormwater credits SSc6.1 or SSc6.2 in the current project and have chosen to recalculate them for compliance with SSc9, you will need to calculate the stormwater rate and quantity for pre-development conditions (same existing conditions as for credits SSc6.1 and SSc6.2), as well as the stormwater rate and quantity for post-development of the site master plan. Essentially, these calculations must be run twice, once for the current design, to earn SSc6.1 or SSc6.2 and again for the site master plan, to earn SSc9.  When calculating for the site master plan, the pre-development peak discharge rate and quantity are calculated as they would be prior to any development. 


  • The site master plan must include all previously existing infrastructure (unless it will be demolished during the current plan)—parking lots, walkways, utilities, and plans for future infrastructure. 


  • If your recalculations for the stormwater credits indicate that the project needs to build additional stormwater treatment facilities to continue meeting the credit requirements, consider doing so for the current design rather than redesigning an additional system for future buildings. Also, include future capacity requirements for infrastructure and site improvements in your current design.

Construction Documents

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  • Upload credit documentation to LEED Online. You must write a narrative describing the collaborative efforts that took place to develop the site master plan, upload the site master plan, and provide the appropriate documentation for each of the four credits that will be maintained in the site master plan. Below is a summary of the LEED Online requirements for all seven credits. Click through to the full LEEDuser credit guidance for more detail and sample documentation.

    • SSc1: Site Selection: Projects will need to check boxes stating that the master plan does not have any buildings, hardscape, roads, or parking areas on environmentally sensitive spaces.
    • SSc5.1: Site Development—Protect or Restore Habitat: Projects will need to determine if their future expansion will be on greenfield sites or on previously developed or graded sites, and then provide documentation for the relevant case. 
    • SSc5.2: Site Development—Maximize Open Space: Projects will need to determine the zoning requirements for the site master plan area and provide relevant documentation.
    • SSc6.1: Stormwater Design—Quantity Control: Projects will need to determine if their existing impervious is less than or greater than 50% and provide relevant documentation.
    • SSc6.2: Stormwater Design—Quality Control: Projects will need to provide a listing of the best management practices employed on the site master plan, a description of the contribution to stormwater filtration, the percent of TSS removal efficiency, the percent of annual rainfall treated by each best management practice, and the source of TSS removal efficiency data.
    • SSc7.1: Heat Island Effect—Non-Roof: Projects will need to determine if they will be achieving this credit through the use of shading, high reflectance hardscapes, and open grid paving or by placing parking under cover, and then provide relevant documentation.
    • SSc8: Light Pollution Reduction: Projects will need to determine how they will be shielding light pollution from interior spaces and determine their lighting classification zone, and then provide relevant documentation.

Construction

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  • Ensure that the site master plan and details associated with the relevant LEED credits are followed.

Operations & Maintenance

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  • When planning construction activities, refer to the site master plan to verify that the LEED site credits are still being achieved. If construction activities deviate from the proposed site master plan, alterations may be required to the site master plan to maintain compliance with the sustainability measures. 


  • Once the current project is complete and LEED-certified, there is no “LEED police” checking that you followed the master plan. However, after investing the time and energy in the master plan and the credit calculations, it only makes sense to follow through with the intent of the site master plan. 

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Schools New Construction and Major Renovations

    SS Credit 9: Site master plan

    1 Point

    Intent

    To ensure that the environmental site issues included in the initial development of the site and project are continued throughout future development caused by changes in programs or demography.

    Requirements

    The project must achieve at least 4 out of the following 7 credits using the associated calculation methods. This credit then requires that the achieved credits be recalculated using the data from the master plan. The 7 credits include:

    • SS Credit 1: Site Selection
    • SS Credit 5.1: Site Development—Protect or Restore Habitat
    • SS Credit 5.2: Site Development—Maximize Open Space
    • SS Credit 6.1: Stormwater Design—Quantity Control
    • SS Credit 6.2: Stormwater Design—Quality Control
    • SS Credit 7.1: Heat Island Effect—Nonroof
    • SS Credit 8: Light Pollution Reduction

    A site master plan for the school must be developed in collaboration with the school board or other decision-making body. Previous sustainable site design measures should be considered in all master-planning efforts, with intent to retain existing infrastructure whenever possible. The master plan, therefore, must include current construction activity plus future construction (within the building’s lifespan) that affects the site. The master plan 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. must also include parking, paving, and utilities.

    Projects where no future development is planned are not eligible for this credit.

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    Site development should include all potential expansion of the school to accommodate future needs while adhering to and maintaining the environmental site conditions referenced above and explicitly noted on the site plan as future expansion. Include in this master plan locations of temporary classroom facilities that will not impact the selected environmental conditions. Use geographic information systems (GIS) data and other similar technologies to establish the site capacity and characteristics. Design considerations should include future vertical or horizontal heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC), electrical, and structural loads based on the master plan.

Publications

National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Master Planning Resources

This site includes examples of actual school master plans. 

Master Site Plan

All projects attempting this credit will need to develop a site master plan. The sample shown here is a basic schematic that is not from an actual project, but will give teams a sense of what the credit requires.

Design Submittal

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

21 Comments

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager Mary Davidge Associates
Jan 21 2013
LEEDuser Expert
12803 Thumbs Up

Calculations in the Letter Template

Hello,

I understand that we have to meet the credits in the current submission and also show that we comply as a master site. However, I am confused about what goes into the actual Template. I checked the boxes for the credits we are pursuing and then the Template auto opens up several areas to populate for the credits we are pursuing.

My guess is that these calculations need to be for the whole site calculation?

I clicked on Maximize Open Space and then Case 3. For "Total Site Area within the LEED project boundary" it pulled up the value that was linked to my current submission and not the value for the whole site. My project's LEED Site Boundary is much smaller than the total area of the master site.

Can someone help to clarify for me which case is to be used?

Thank you,
Lauren

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Daniel LeBlanc Senior Sustainability Manager, YR&G Jan 21 2013 LEEDuser Expert 961 Thumbs Up

Hi Lauren

The way I've always thought of this credit is that the site master plan refers to the site within the LEED boundary, not a larger 'master' site, and the revised credit calculations for future additions or separate buildings on the site prove that the credit thresholds are still met within the same site area, despite the addition of more 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., 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., 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., exterior lighting, etc...This would mean that appropriate planning to achieve the credit thresholds had occurred when the master plan was created.

I'm not aware of an approach to the credit where the credit calculations are expanded to encompass a larger site than the LEED boundary (see previous posts), but would be happy to find out if this is a possibility.

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Mary Davidge Associates Jan 21 2013 LEEDuser Expert 12803 Thumbs Up

Hmm, yeah...this is a school project with a couple LEED certified schools that are separately certified on the site. They are each distinctive buildings and so would need to be certified on their own. Basically there are 5 phases of this master plan, with phase 5 still remaining. If you had a second, perhaps I could email you what I have? It seems like we are meeting the intent...my email: lauren.glasscock@dnvkema.com.

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Lauren Sparandara Sustainability Manager, Mary Davidge Associates Jan 23 2013 LEEDuser Expert 12803 Thumbs Up

Daniel,

Thanks for your help. I think I understand now. :)
So - just to clarify, the calculations within the Letter Template should be for within your project's LEED Site Boundary with the planned development included? This is what I think but I just wanted to confirm.

Thanks.

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Scott Preston Sustainable Design Specialist LEED AP BD+C, SLATERPAULL Architects Jan 31 2014 LEEDuser Member 35 Thumbs Up

To be clear...In regards to the LEED site boundary for the master plan, we need to extend the boundary to include current and future development? Then recalculate the credits based on the entire master site, correct?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 07 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Scott, that's correct.

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Anya Fiechtl LEED AP BD+C, AIT CTA
Aug 10 2011
LEEDuser Member
539 Thumbs Up

Site Master Plan - Light Pollution Reduction

Has anyone completed the light pollution portion reductin of this credit?

Our project is an elementary school on a remote site that may accommodate future structures (classroom addition, staff housing, and a fire station). However, those structures are not within our scope.

Per signed resolution, the owner has agreed to uphold the requirements of SSc8 for all future development. The resolution included the SSc8 LEED requirements for reference, so future project teams could abide by the same rules as our LEED school. However, the LEED online form appears to assume we have already designed the future facilities, as it requests photometric plans/calcs for this hypothetical development...

Do you think our approach of getting the owner's commitment to uphold SSc8 requirements might work in lieu of submitting speculative plans/calcs?

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Daniel LeBlanc Senior Sustainability Manager, YR&G Sep 06 2011 LEEDuser Expert 961 Thumbs Up

Although the future building is yet to be designed, I think the reviewers may want to see the calculations. This could be as little as a rectangle on a site plan/photometric showing the likely building location and how it will meet the requirements. It couldn't hurt to try the approach you've indicated, but I would plan on being asked to provide speculative calculations after the review.

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Dana Murdoch
Aug 09 2011
Guest
747 Thumbs Up

Master Plan vs. LEED Project Boundary

Does the master plan need to be the same as the LEED Project Boundary? We have a project where the public school district is adding a building to their existing 'junior high campus'. However, we are partitioning off just the area affected for our LEED Project Boundary becasue it is a completely separate use from the junior high. We're wondering if we are suposed to just use our LEED project boundary for the site master plan, OR the entire junior high site, OR all the school district's property for the master plan. Then, if we can just use our LEED Project Boundary, is it still considered a site master plan if the owner expects no changes to the site (they have planned into the proposed building future grouwth)?

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Daniel LeBlanc Senior Sustainability Manager, YR&G Sep 06 2011 LEEDuser Expert 961 Thumbs Up

My reading of this credit is that it is applicable only to projects where future expansion is likely within the LEED boundary. So then yes, the master plan should reference future development (and re-calcution of site credits) only within the LEED boundary. It sounds like this credit may not be applicable to your project, unless you can extend your LEED boundary to include areas where future development has been planned for, which may complicate your approach to other credits.

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Terry Squyres Principal GWWO Inc./Architects
Dec 21 2010
LEEDuser Member
834 Thumbs Up

Retract Design Credits if Needed?

Is it possible to retract design submission credits if needed at the end of construction?

On a large school project, the owner has recently brought up the possibility of changes to the master plan that would effect our ability to achieve this and other credits (Stormwater and Max. Open Space). We would like to submit our design credits soon, but the owner may not decide on the master plan issues until the end of construction, which is three years out. Can we submit our design phase credits assuming that the project will stick with the original plan and meet the requirements of the credits, and then retract them if the owner changes the master plan?

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Nadav Malin USGBC LEED Faculty, President, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 23 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

Hi Elizabeth,

Yes, not only can you do this, but the rules specifically support that approach. When you do your final (construction) submittal, you also reconfirm your Design submittal items, or modify anything in the Design submittal that might have changed since you submitted it.

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Greg Hackett Associate/LEED AP ATA/Beilharz Architects
Dec 13 2010
LEEDuser Member
474 Thumbs Up

Defer to Construction Submittal?

Do you need to defer this credit until the construction submittal if SSc7.1 is one of your 4 master plan credits? Thanks.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 10 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Greg, I would say so, yes. Seems logical.

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Peter Doo President Doo Consulting, LLC
Jan 04 2010
LEEDuser Member
3067 Thumbs Up

What constitutes a "Master Plan"?

Our project is essentially a build out of a school site. There is no capacity for new buildings however, we are showing the potential for small future classroom additions (4 classrooms). Will these small additions allow us to claim that we have a "master plan"?

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Shannon Gray Consultant, YRG sustainability Jan 04 2010 Guest 3631 Thumbs Up

The rating system does not set a limit as to how much "change" is necessary for a site to have a master plan. It seems as if the addition of four classrooms would be adequate to claim a master plan, as long as all of the other requirements of the credit are met. We are planning on pursuing this credit for a school in a similar situation where there will be a small addition and changes to the site 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..

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Erik Bergstrom Green Building Associate
Dec 09 2009
Guest
1373 Thumbs Up

Master Plan:Open Space

GIven that the requirement for Open Space is that it is to be "dedicated" over the life of the building, I'm having trouble deciding which plan (current, or master) to use for the SSc5.2 section. Under SSc9 we are required to show open space on a master plan basis, which includes additional building etc. on areas we would have originally counted as open space without master planning. Now that we have done master planning, those spaced are no longer "dedicated" open space. Shouldn't we use the master plan 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. for the calculation of SSc5,2 now that we know of this potential future development? This would result in open space quantites for SSc5.2 and SSc9 to be the same.

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Erik Bergstrom Green Building Associate
Dec 09 2009
Guest
1373 Thumbs Up

What you are saying is indeed

What you are saying is indeed in line with the comments we received. However, what is the value in completing two calculations when, for stormwater, the Master Plan is a worst case scenario, and that is basis you're using to size the system as you're building it now. For example, if your retention ponds are sized for the full development, what is the value of completely re-doing the calcs for the current phase when the runoff quantity and rate are necessarily going to be lower?

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Shannon Gray Consultant, YRG sustainability Dec 11 2009 Guest 3631 Thumbs Up

I don't see much value in run the calcs either but unfortunately, those are the requirements and there is not much you can do to get around them. You could consider writing 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 but it would probably be a month before you receive a response.

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Erik Bergstrom Green Building Associate
Dec 07 2009
Guest
1373 Thumbs Up

Site Master Plan - Recalculations

According to our review team for a Schools project, we are required to provide documentation for each selected Master Plan credit. For example, for stormwater, they are asking us complete two separate calculations and upload a copy of the revised templates and plans under SSc9. This seems rediculous since we completed the stormwater plan based on the Master Plan design which is a "worst-case scenario". Given the added 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., this clearly meets the requirements for the current phase of development as well as future development. The Reviewer is asking that we create an additional plan representing stormwater management for current plan only, which is essentially only extra work for the civil engineer. Has anyone else had this issue? We were under the impression that "recalculated" meant "revised" or "redone" for the Master Plan, not as in completing two separate submittals - esentially just a waste of everyone's time.

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Shannon Gray Consultant, YRG sustainability Dec 07 2009 Guest 3631 Thumbs Up

I may need a little bit more clarification on your question, however I will try to answer it. In our experience you will need to provide two calculations; one for SSc6.1 (or 6.2) and one again for SSc9. The calculations for SSc6.1 will include pre-development and post-development (what is actually being designed for - not the master plan) rate and quantity calcs. Then for SSc9, you will use the same pre-development calculations but different post-development calcs that deal with the site master plan. A few questions for you: What did you submit for the stormwater credit? This generally includes stormwater calcs for the current plan. Also, if you meet any of the other seven potential credits, you may want to consider providing that information too...we generally recommend that project try to avoid recalcs for the stormwater credits as they are the most complicated.

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