LEED 2012 – 3rd Public Comment – LT (Location and Transportation) Section
Key changes in the the LT section of LEED-NC (part of LEED BD&C) in the third public comment draft of LEED 2012 are discussed below. Do you have comments or questions on this draft? Discuss them below with your fellow LEED professionals. Substantive comments submitted here during USGBC's third public comment period here will be submitted to USGBC and considered "official" public comments.
The new LT category still consists mostly of credits from the old Sustainable Sites category that aren’t so much about the site itself as they are about where it’s located.
A new LEED for Neighborhood Development Location credit remains in this draft as an alternate compliance path for the whole LT section. Some specifics on certification levels and other details have been changed since the last draft.
As with the second draft, what had been the Site Selection credit has morphed into a prerequisite and a credit. The prerequisite, Sensitive Land Protection, is structured very much like the current SSc1, but as a prerequisite, those requirements would have bumped a lot of projects out of LEED consideration in v2009. In Case 1, projects must develop only previously developed portions of a site. In Case 2, projects developing previously undeveloped sites have the opportunity to mitigate their impacts, depending on the type.
If you must build some or all of your project on prime soils, you can purchase or donate conservation easements for similar land elsewhere. Building an infill site on prime soils is also considered acceptable. If you don’t meet the requirement to stay 15 feet away from wetlands, you can earn the prerequisite by not building on the wetland and by performing stormwater mitigation.
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The corresponding credit has become High Priority Site, changed from Enhanced Site Protection, but is not otherwise much altered. There remain three options: locate on an infill location within a historic district; locate on a brownfield (that, in a change from the last draft, you must actually remediate); or locate on a site listed for preferential development by one of seven federal programs, such as the EPA National Priorities List. This new approach appears to raise the bar on brownfield remediation (see the SS section), and a new credit for historic buildings that appeared in the first public comment period has been rolled in here.
The old Development Density credit (SSc2) gets another new title, now Surrounding Density and Diverse Uses. The basic intent has not changed, but USGBC continues to look for workable documentation requirements. In this draft, projects may calculate density using either separate residential and non-residential densities or combined density values. There are only detail-level changes to the “diverse uses” option, but a section highlighting pedestrian-friendly measures as a third option has been scrapped in this draft.
The Quality Transit and Reduced VMT credit (with “VMT” meaning vehicle miles traveled) from the last draft is now simply Quality Transit. This credit remains consistent with the first LEED 2012 draft, with a focus not just on locating near mass transit options, as in LEED 2009, but also on mass transit options that have routes meeting certain designated requirements and a minimum number of trips. VMT has been struck from the credit name because a second option offering compliance by locating within a metropolitan planning organization location with low VMT has been removed.
There are numerous small changes to the Bicycle Network, Storage, and Shower Rooms credit (no, they’re not “changing” rooms anymore), with mixed results in terms of stringency. Minimum requirements for a bike rack have been dropped since the previous draft, but there are new requirements for short-term bike storage (2.5% of users) added to requirements for long-term bike storage (5% of users for commercial and 30% for residential projects). Short-term bike storage basically amounts to “preferred parking”—it’s within 100 feet of a main entrance— while long-term storage is within 100 feet of any functional entrance. It’s easy to see that we’re going to need a new glossary in the LEED 2012 Reference Guide.
Walkable Streets in the first LEED 2012 draft became Walkable Project Site in the second draft, and now it’s gone. It had focused on designing the building frontage to be friendly to pedestrians, with features like continuous sidewalks that connect to public sidewalks.
The new Reduced Parking Footprint credit has minor revisions since the last draft. The key requirement remains from the first draft: reduce capacity over a “base ratio” given in the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ Parking Planning Handbook. The requirements are tougher for transit-served projects. Now new and existing spaces are explicitly counted (a change from LEED 2009, in which existing parking spaces are grandfathered in). The biggest change in this draft is the addition of requirements for pooled parking, such as in a mall. Projects may use their designated parking spaces for credit calculations, but if they do not have designated spaces, the entire parking area must meet the requirements.
As with the second draft, the Low-Emitting and Fuel-Efficient Vehicles credit is only offered to schools and warehouses, and the requirement is to provide a low-emitting vehicle fleet for the facility.
What do you think of the proposed changes? Post your public comment below.