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Building a foundation for site management

Your team must develop and adopt a compliant Site Management Policy to achieve LEED certification, since this is a prerequisite policy. However, you only have to demonstrate actual compliance with the policy if you pursue SSc5: Site Management.

Project teams should definitely use the template created by USGBC as the foundation for the policy. Customizing the template is encouraged so that the policy reflects your building’s site and operational practices. But remember that all prerequisite requirements must be addressed, so take care when removing content. If a particular element is not applicable to your project, be sure to provide a clear explanation (either in the policy itself or as a separate narrative) for the specific reasons it is not applicable.

What’s New in LEED v4

  • This is a new prerequisite, but the intent and requirements should be familiar to LEED 2009 teams.
  • USGBC derived the prerequisite from LEED 2009’s SSc2: Building Exterior and Hardscape Management Plan, and SSc3: Integrated Pest Management, Erosion Control, and Landscape Management Plan.
  • Integrated pest management is no longer included in the SS credit category, and is now covered in the EQ credit category.

Readiness Review Questions

  • What maintenance equipment is currently used onsite? How and when is maintenance equipment purchased? Are there opportunities for procuring low-impact equipment? Do opportunities exist for substituting manual practices for power equipment, or electric for gas-powered equipment? 

  • How is snow and ice removal handled on drives and walkways? Is there an opportunity to implement an “anti-icing” program?
  • How is cleaning handled for the project building’s exterior and hardscape? Are there opportunities for using less environmentally harmful products? 

  • What erosion and sedimentation issues occur, or could occur, on the project site, and how should these issues be managed? Remember that the potential for erosion and sedimentation issues exist on all properties.
  • How is landscape debris and waste handled? Are there opportunities for landfill diversion through practices such as composting the debris onsite, using it for onsite mulching needs or bringing it to a municipal composting facility? 

  • How are plantings maintained? Are there opportunities to introduce more native and adapted plantings in order to reduce fertilizer and pesticide use? 

  • Which fertilizers are used onsite, and how are they applied? 

  • Do your current vendors offer sustainable site management services? If not, are they willing to learn and adopt new practices?
  • Does your building have a staff person directly responsible for site management? If yes, involve that person in this credit from the start of the project to ensure that all environmental best management practices are thoroughly developed, included in any related vendor contracts, and implemented on an ongoing basis. If no, designate at least one point person to develop and implement the comprehensive Site Management Policy.