LEED 2012 – 2nd Public Comment – Sustainable Sites (SS) Section
Do you have comments or questions on this draft? Discuss them below with your fellow LEED professionals. Substantive comments posted here during USGBC's second public comment period will be submitted to USGBC and considered "official" public comments.
Some Sustainable Sites (SS) credits have been moved to the new Location and Transportation (LT) category, but much still remains, and there are some big changes.
There is a brand-new credit in this second draft: Site Assessment (1 point). The credit requires a “site survey/assessment” taking into consideration topography, hydrology, climate, vegetation, soils, and human uses. The credit appears to be a nudge toward integrated design, requiring a narrative on how each topic influenced the project design. This same assessment is required for the IP “Discovery” credit (see above), so this type of assessment essentially gets extra weight in this draft.
Brownfield Redevelopment is now Brownfield Remediation (2 points—an increase from LEED 2009), and projects would still not only develop a contaminated site, they would also have to clean it up. Perhaps with the aim of making this credit more achievable, the requirements have been simplified: remediation has to happen to the satisfaction of a relevant authority, but specific ASTM and EPA standards are no longer referenced.
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Heat Island Reduction (1–2 points) remains one credit, not two as in LEED 2009. In this draft, the requirements have broadened. The building façade is now considered part of the relevant surface area, and you would earn credit for these surfaces by using architectural devices or vegetation to shade east and west façades, or low-emissivity (low-e) glazing.
As with the first draft, the overall intent behind the Light Pollution Reduction credit (1 point) doesn’t appear to have been changed, but the requirements have again been overhauled. This draft remains similar in outline to the first draft, but many specific changes to glare and backlight ratings have been made. An option to exceed model lighting ordinance requirements has been eliminated.
The Construction Activity Pollution Prevention prerequisite remains the same after seeing minor changes for the first draft. The only revision is that the 2008 EPA Construction General Permit is now referenced—not 2003.
For Schools projects, the Environmental Site Assessment prerequisite has a minor but noteworthy change: the blanket exclusion of sites on former landfills has been removed.
Site Development—Protect or Restore Habitat (1–2 points) keeps similar requirements from the first public comment, with a focus on protecting portions of the site from development. The wording of a new soil protection requirement has been clarified. Off-site conservation remains an option, and requirements for that have been made more specific, but not in a very restrictive way.
Since being simplified for the first public comment, Site Development—Open Space (1 point) had only minor wording changes. Projects must provide outdoor space equal to 30% of the total site area, including building footprint—stricter than LEED 2009’s comparable Case 3. A minimum of 25% of the outdoor space must have ground or overhead vegetation.
After rolling the two stormwater credits from LEED 2009 have been rolled into one credit, Rainwater Management (1–2 points) for the first draft, this draft continues by overhauling the wording of the credit. Although they don’t appear to change the requirements drastically, the wording now puts a premium on strategies that “replicate natural site hydrology.”
What do you think of these proposed revisions? Please discuss below. Your comments will considered official public comments by USGBC if received by the public comment deadline.