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LEED v4
Core and Shell
Sustainable Sites
Site assessment

LEED CREDIT

CS-v4 SSc1: Site assessment 1 point

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SPECIAL REPORT

LEEDuser expert

Melissa Kelly

WSP - Built Ecology
Sustainability Manager

SPECIAL REPORT

LEEDuser’s viewpoint

Frank advice from LEED experts

LEED is changing all the time, and every project is unique. Even seasoned professionals can miss a critical detail and lose a credit or even a prerequisite at the last minute. Our expert advice guides our LEEDuser Premium members and saves you valuable time.

Credit language

USGBC logo

© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

Intent

To assess site conditions before design to evaluate sustainable options and inform related decisions about site design.

Requirements

Complete and document a site survey or assessment1 that includes the following information:

  • Topography. Contour mapping, unique topographic features, slope stability risks.
  • Hydrology. Flood hazard areas, delineated wetlands, lakes, streams, shorelines, rainwater collection and reuse opportunities, TR-55 initial water storage capacity of the site (or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.).
  • Climate. Solar exposure, heat island effect potential, seasonal sun angles, prevailing winds, monthly precipitation and temperature ranges.
  • Vegetation. Primary vegetation types, greenfield area, significant tree mapping, threatened or endangered species, unique habitat, invasive plant species.
  • Soils. Natural Resources Conservation Service soils delineation, U.S. Department of Agriculture prime farmland, healthy soils, previous development, disturbed soils (local equivalent standards may be used for projects outside the U.S.).
  • Human use. Views, adjacent transportation infrastructure, adjacent properties, construction materials with existing recycle or reuse potential.
  • Human health effects. Proximity of vulnerable populations, adjacent physical activity opportunities, proximity to major sources of air pollution.

The survey or assessment should demonstrate the relationships between the site features and topics listed above and how these features influenced the project design; give the reasons for not addressing any of those topics.

1 Components adapted from the Sustainable Sites Initiative: Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009, Prerequisite 2.1: Site Assessment.
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What does it cost?

Cost estimates for this credit

On each BD+C v4 credit, LEEDuser offers the wisdom of a team of architects, engineers, cost estimators, and LEED experts with hundreds of LEED projects between then. They analyzed the sustainable design strategies associated with each LEED credit, but also to assign actual costs to those strategies.

Our tab contains overall cost guidance, notes on what “soft costs” to expect, and a strategy-by-strategy breakdown of what to consider and what it might cost, in percentage premiums, actual costs, or both.

This information is also available in a full PDF download in The Cost of LEED v4 report.

Learn more about The Cost of LEED v4 »

Frequently asked questions

I have a zero-lot line project in a dense urban area. How should I approach documenting our team’s site assessment?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

What is required to document this credit?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

Some aspects of our site analysis didn't end up impacting design. How should I explain that in my documentation?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

My project doesn’t qualify for LT Sensitive Land Protection. Is it still eligible for this credit?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

See all forum discussions about this credit »

Documentation toolkit

The motherlode of cheat sheets

LEEDuser’s Documentation Toolkit is loaded with calculators to help assess credit compliance, tracking spreadsheets for materials, sample templates to help guide your narratives and LEED Online submissions, and examples of actual submissions from certified LEED projects for you to check your work against. To get your plaque, start with the right toolkit.

LEEDuser expert

Melissa Kelly

WSP - Built Ecology
Sustainability Manager

Get the inside scoop

Our editors have written a detailed analysis of nearly every LEED credit, and LEEDuser premium members get full access. We’ll tell you whether the credit is easy to accomplish or better left alone, and we provide insider tips on how to document it successfully.

USGBC logo

© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

Intent

To assess site conditions before design to evaluate sustainable options and inform related decisions about site design.

Requirements

Complete and document a site survey or assessment1 that includes the following information:

  • Topography. Contour mapping, unique topographic features, slope stability risks.
  • Hydrology. Flood hazard areas, delineated wetlands, lakes, streams, shorelines, rainwater collection and reuse opportunities, TR-55 initial water storage capacity of the site (or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.).
  • Climate. Solar exposure, heat island effect potential, seasonal sun angles, prevailing winds, monthly precipitation and temperature ranges.
  • Vegetation. Primary vegetation types, greenfield area, significant tree mapping, threatened or endangered species, unique habitat, invasive plant species.
  • Soils. Natural Resources Conservation Service soils delineation, U.S. Department of Agriculture prime farmland, healthy soils, previous development, disturbed soils (local equivalent standards may be used for projects outside the U.S.).
  • Human use. Views, adjacent transportation infrastructure, adjacent properties, construction materials with existing recycle or reuse potential.
  • Human health effects. Proximity of vulnerable populations, adjacent physical activity opportunities, proximity to major sources of air pollution.

The survey or assessment should demonstrate the relationships between the site features and topics listed above and how these features influenced the project design; give the reasons for not addressing any of those topics.

1 Components adapted from the Sustainable Sites Initiative: Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009, Prerequisite 2.1: Site Assessment.

Cost estimates for this credit

On each BD+C v4 credit, LEEDuser offers the wisdom of a team of architects, engineers, cost estimators, and LEED experts with hundreds of LEED projects between then. They analyzed the sustainable design strategies associated with each LEED credit, but also to assign actual costs to those strategies.

Our tab contains overall cost guidance, notes on what “soft costs” to expect, and a strategy-by-strategy breakdown of what to consider and what it might cost, in percentage premiums, actual costs, or both.

This information is also available in a full PDF download in The Cost of LEED v4 report.

Learn more about The Cost of LEED v4 »

In the end, LEED is all about documentation. LEEDuser’s Documentation Toolkit, for premium members only, saves you time and helps you avoid mistakes with:

  • Calculators to help assess credit compliance.
  • Tracking spreadsheets for materials purchases.
  • Spreadsheets and forms to give to subs and other team members.
  • Guidance documents on arcane LEED issues.
  • Sample templates to help guide your narratives and LEED Online submissions.
  • Examples of actual submissions from certified LEED projects.

I have a zero-lot line project in a dense urban area. How should I approach documenting our team’s site assessment?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

What is required to document this credit?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

Some aspects of our site analysis didn't end up impacting design. How should I explain that in my documentation?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

My project doesn’t qualify for LT Sensitive Land Protection. Is it still eligible for this credit?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

LEEDuser expert

Melissa Kelly

WSP - Built Ecology
Sustainability Manager

See all LEEDuser forum discussions about this credit » Subscribe to new discussions about CS-v4 SSc1