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LEED v2009
New Construction
Sustainable Sites
Site Development—Maximize Open Space

LEED CREDIT

NC-2009 SSc5.2: Site development - maximize open space 1 point

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Credit achievement rate

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LEEDuser expert

Ellen Mitchell

HKS
Director of Sustainability

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Credit language

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

Intent

To promote biodiversity by providing a high ratio of open space to development footprint.

Requirements

Case 1. Sites with local zoning open space requirements

Reduce the development footprint1 and/or provide vegetated open space within the project boundary such that the amount of open space exceeds local zoning requirements by 25%.

Case 2. Sites with no local zoning requirements (e.g. some university campuses, military bases)

Provide vegetated open space area adjacent to the building that is equal in area to the building footprint.

Case 3. Sites with zoning ordinances but no open space requirements

Provide vegetated open space equal to 20% of the project’s site area.

All cases

For projects in urban areas that earn SS Credit 2: Development Density and Community Connectivity, vegetated roof areas can contribute to credit compliance.

For projects in urban areas that earn SS Credit 2: Development Density and Community Connectivity, pedestrian-oriented hardscape areas can contribute to credit compliance. For such projects, a minimum of 25% of the open space counted must be vegetated.

Wetlands or naturally designed ponds may count as open space and the side slope gradients average 1:4 (vertical: horizontal) or less and are vegetated.

Credit substitution available

You may use the LEED v4 version of this credit on v2009 projects. For more information check out this article.

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Frequently asked questions

I'm confused about the difference between SSc5.1 and SSc5.2. Can I earn them both?

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Can roof terraces contribute to SSc5.2?

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How should I count planters and vegetation on balconies?

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What if my local code has a landscaping requirement? Is this the same as an open space requirement?

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Can permeable paving count as hardscape or vegetation towards SSc5.2 calculations?

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Can interior courtyards contribute to vegetation requirements?

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Can a project designate open space off-site and not within the LEED project boundary to meet the credit requirements?

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Which approach should a project take if the LEED project boundary covers two areas with different zoning requirements?

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The credit requirements state the open space area must be ‘adjacent’ to the project. Does the designated site area need to be right next to the project building?

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See all forum discussions about this credit »

Checklists

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Documentation toolkit

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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.

Credit achievement rate

XX%

Upgrade to LEEDuser Premium to see how many projects achieved this credit. Try it free »

LEEDuser expert

Ellen Mitchell

HKS
Director of Sustainability

Get the inside scoop

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USGBC logo

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

Intent

To promote biodiversity by providing a high ratio of open space to development footprint.

Requirements

Case 1. Sites with local zoning open space requirements

Reduce the development footprint1 and/or provide vegetated open space within the project boundary such that the amount of open space exceeds local zoning requirements by 25%.

Case 2. Sites with no local zoning requirements (e.g. some university campuses, military bases)

Provide vegetated open space area adjacent to the building that is equal in area to the building footprint.

Case 3. Sites with zoning ordinances but no open space requirements

Provide vegetated open space equal to 20% of the project’s site area.

All cases

For projects in urban areas that earn SS Credit 2: Development Density and Community Connectivity, vegetated roof areas can contribute to credit compliance.

For projects in urban areas that earn SS Credit 2: Development Density and Community Connectivity, pedestrian-oriented hardscape areas can contribute to credit compliance. For such projects, a minimum of 25% of the open space counted must be vegetated.

Wetlands or naturally designed ponds may count as open space and the side slope gradients average 1:4 (vertical: horizontal) or less and are vegetated.

Credit substitution available

You may use the LEED v4 version of this credit on v2009 projects. For more information check out this article.

XX%

Upgrade to LEEDuser Premium to see how many projects achieved this credit. Try it free »

Got the gist of SSc5.2 but not sure how to actually achieve it? LEEDuser gives step-by-step help. Premium members get:

  • Checklists covering all the key action steps you'll need to earn the credit.
  • Hot tips to give you shortcuts and avoid pitfalls.
  • Cost tips to assess what a credit will actually cost, and how to make it affordable.
  • Ideas for going beyond LEED with best practices.
  • All checklists organized by project phase.
  • On-the-fly suggestions of useful items from the Documentation Toolkit and Credit Language.

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'm confused about the difference between SSc5.1 and SSc5.2. Can I earn them both?

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.)

Can roof terraces contribute to SSc5.2?

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.)

How should I count planters and vegetation on balconies?

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 if my local code has a landscaping requirement? Is this the same as an open space requirement?

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.)

Can permeable paving count as hardscape or vegetation towards SSc5.2 calculations?

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.)

Can interior courtyards contribute to vegetation requirements?

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.)

Can a project designate open space off-site and not within the LEED project boundary to meet the credit requirements?

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.)

Which approach should a project take if the LEED project boundary covers two areas with different zoning requirements?

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.)

The credit requirements state the open space area must be ‘adjacent’ to the project. Does the designated site area need to be right next to the project building?

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

Ellen Mitchell

HKS
Director of Sustainability

See all LEEDuser forum discussions about this credit » Subscribe to new discussions about NC-2009 SSc5.2