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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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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

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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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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Addenda

4/1/2012Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Add this clause after "..the life of the building": "and is within the contiguous limits of the campus where the applicable project is located."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
2/12/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Lot Area: 4,997,925 SF Lot Coverage: 72,560 SF In this particular situation, the local zoning requires that we maintain 95% open space. 95% increased by 25% (.95*1.25) = Open space requirement of 118.75%. This is impossible. If we were to perform the converse calculation and educe the maximum lot coverage amount by 25%, (75% of 5% = 3.75%.) On a lot of 4,997,925 sf, the maximum coverage allowed by zoning regulations would be 249,896 SF. 75% of 249,896 SF (allowable footprint) = 187,422 SF (or 3.75% of 4,997,925 SF (lot area) = 187,422 SF) 72,560 = 1.45% lot coverage of an area of 4,997,925 SF (or the open space is equal to 98.55% of the total lot area.) The very fact that the zoning requirements are so stringent, allowing only 5% development of the natural habitat, and by reducing the footprint further, by an excess of 25%, we maintain that this project accomplishes the intent of this credit (to conserve existing natural areas and restore damaged areas to provide habitat and promote biodiversity). The Fort Ticonderoga Association is dedicated to the preservation and protection of the native vegetation and wildlife in the Lake Champlain Valley. Furthermore, we maintain that at the other end of the spectrum, a lot with a smaller open space requirement, 1% for example, when increased by 25% results in a mere 1.25% requirement,. On a 1000 SF lot, this translates to a requirement shift from 10 SF to 12.5 SF, a nearly negligible difference. As the zoning requirements for open space increase, the credit becomes less possible to achieve. A 50% open space requirement increased by 25% results in 62.5% On a 1000 SF lot, the requirement increases from 500 SF by 125 SF to 625. At a requirement of 80% open space, the 25% increase results in a new requirement of 100%. (No building whatsoever.) Those sites with smaller requirements for open space to begin with are rewarded and those sites with the largest requirement for open space are penalized. Can our project achieve this credit by reducing the maximum allowable footprint by 25% as opposed to increasing the minimum required open space by 25%?

Ruling:

The project team is presenting a unique situation in which the local zoning requirements specify maintaining 95% open space on the site. Current credit language excludes sites with greater than 80% zoning requirements, since exceeding the requirement by 25% would mean persevering greater than 100% of the site as open space. The project team believes they meet the intent of the credit requirements by restricting their development footprint to less than 25% of the allowable development space. For a project with 95% open space requirement, this would equate to developing 1.45% of the property. This is an acceptable compliance path for achieving this credit when open space zoning requirements are 80% or greater. The credit submittal documentation should include a copy of the zoning requirements.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
5/25/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The subject project is a 475,000SF mixed use tower that includes retail, office, condominium and underground parking. The building replaces older, run-down low-rise structures and adds desirable density, retail services, Class A office space and underground parking to serve the building. A nexus of transportation options is located within a couple of blocks of the project to include two light rail lines, multiple bus stops, bike lanes connecting to a citywide network and two streetcar lines. The site is one of a series of half-sized blocks that extend North to South through the City. The Northernmost and Southernmost tails of this gridline of blocks are designated as the North and South Park Blocks. The South Park Blocks date back to the late 1800\'s and is used for farmer\'s markets, active/passive recreation, public demonstrations and homeless feeding events among other socially valuable activities. The project owner owns multiple developed blocks at the terminus of the South Park Blocks. Two of these blocks are along the same North-South gridline as the South Park Blocks and are located one block past the last South Park Block. These blocks are located adjacent to each other- one was a surface parking lot ("Park Block 5") and the other is the project site. The block between the last South Park Block and the project owner\'s two adjacent blocks is owned by a separate entity and hosts a new hotel. In 2006, the owner donated the surface of Park Block 5 to the City for the express purpose of replacing the surface parking lot with a public park, the first new South Park Block in over 100 years. The owner had full right to develop another structure on what will now become the City\'s Park Block 5. However, the owner recognized the public value of adding another South Park Block to serve the growing number of downtown residents, visitors and professionals and forewent personal financial gain in the interest of the public good. The benefits realized by the addition of Park Block 5 realize many of the objectives sought by the LEED program. In recognition of the effort, the team would like to know if it is permissible to encompass Park Block 5 in the project\'s LEED boundary. This would influence SSc5.2 and possibly SSc5.1 as the design of the park is fleshed out. We are able to provide an aerial map to help show the park, project and developed block locations as well as the agreement showing the dedication to the City.

Ruling:

The owner of the project donated a parcel of land adjacent to the subject property to the City for the express purpose of creating a public park and would like to include this area in the LEED Project Boundary. The donated parcel may be included within the LEED Project Boundary provided that the submission includes documentation of the deed transfer, as well as evidence that the donated parcel will be developed into a public park that meets the performance requirements under SSc5.2. As a reminder, the project area must be consistently defined across all credits. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
2/18/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Our project is a multi-story residential project, located in Dubai, UAE. The site was virgin desert, but has been mass graded by the master developer and then sold to our client, a 3rd party developer. And per the ruling 8/25/2008 on SS Credit 2, this project should not be considered previously developed and is therefore ineligible to earn SS Credit 2. As there is no municipal government with authority over this area, a free zone authority, Ports Customs and Free Zone Authority (PCFC - CED) has been established as the local regulatory authority. PCFC - CED is a fully state owned holding company by the government of Dubai. The master developer has created Development Control Regulations (DCRs) and these are applied and enforced as local zoning requirements. As stated in the DCRs, "PCFC - CED will act as the development control authority of Madinat Al Arab" (the name of the master development). Also stated in the DCRs, "PCFC - CED shall be responsible for issuing building permits." The building footprint occupies approximately 40% of the plot, but the underground basement, or development footprint, covers the entire plot. A mixture of planted landscape elements (palm trees, desert shrubs and grass), access roads, hardscape, make up the other 60% of the plot, with a ventilated but unconditioned underground parking garage located 3 to 5 feet below grade. We are attempting to clarify if Option 1 or Option 2 applies, since the local zoning requirement is defined by the master developer, and not the municipality. If Option 1 applies we are then attempting to clarify the following: "Reduce the development footprint (defined as the total area of the building footprint, hardscape, access roads and parking) and/or provide vegetated open space within the project boundary to exceed the local zoning\'s open space requirement for the site by 25%." The development footprint cannot change due to commercial and client requirements, so our approach would be to consider the second half of this option, beginning with, "and/OR provide vegetated open space within the project boundary to exceed the local zoning\'s open space requirement for the site by 25%." Since the local zoning requirement allows both hardscape and softscape areas to contribute to open space, we have calculated the open space requirement as follows: The local code (DCRs) requires that 20% of the plot area be allocated as open space but allows both hardscape and planted landscape, as well as areas above grade, to count as open space. The definition for open space from the DCRs is as follows: Open Space, Private: "Any area located within a privately owned unenclosed part of a building, or land appurtenant to the building, and which is set aside for the exclusive use of the owners and occupants of the building space to which it abuts. Private open space may include balconies, terraces, courtyards, roof top spaces, yards, and swimming pools and surrounds." The project will comply with DCRs first (20% of common private open space for each plot) then have an additional 5% (20X1.25=25) of the plot area as vegetated open space. The additional 5% would follow the path of previous CIRs and be native or adaptive vegetation and should help promote biodiversity (not monoculture), and help create a connection to the outdoors. Are we correct in applying compliance Option 1 for this project? If so, is our calculation method acceptable?

Ruling:

The project team seeks to determine the appropriate compliance path given a local zoning requirement (or comparable requirement) for open space that does not require vegetation. Based on the definition of open space in the zoning documentation, this project appears to fall under Option 3, reserved for those projects with a zoning ordinance but no open space requirement. Therefore the project would need to designate 20% of the site area to open space. Since the project cannot achieve SSc2, this space would need to be vegetated and pervious. The project description indicates that there is three to five feet of cover above the underground basement, which would be considered adequately pervious in a desert environment to meet the intent of this credit. In this setting, natural open space mimicking the surrounding ecosystem would qualify as vegetated open space.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
6/18/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

This CIR is to request clarification regarding the determination of the LEED specific project site boundary and how this affects Sustainable Sites Credit 5.2 as it relates to a larger parcel of land. This project boundary for a public project will only encompass a smaller portion of a larger parcel of the public land (the project site is a small part of a larger City Operations complex) that has been previously developed. The affected portion has not been subdivided from the rest of the parcel - it will remain part of the larger piece of property. The building and parking lot to be proposed as part of this project will be located in an area of the property that is currently entirely paved. We plan to propose the LEED project site boundary to consist of this area where the building and parking will be located and a portion of the property that will not be disturbed but that will drain directly onto the location where the building will be located. A portion of the site that is already asphalt but will have some re-grading performed (and have asphalt patched back) does not contribute water runoff towards the building area, so this area will not be included in the proposed LEED project site boundary. The area that is not being disturbed is vegetated open space that will allow the project to exceed the open space requirements of the local zoning ordinance by over 50%, thus allowing us to request 1 point for Credit 5.2 along with 1 additional point for an Innovation & Design credit. We request clarification that only this portion of the larger tract of land (as long as it is clearly defined on the drawings) will be allowed to be considered the LEED project site boundary, without subdividing the boundary area from the larger lot.

Ruling:

The project seeks clarification of the LEED project site boundary for a project that is a part of a larger complex. The project has flexibility in the establishment of the LEED site boundary, based on numerous CIR Rulings, but must ensure that the rationale is justifiable and the chosen boundary is applied consistently across all credits. It is not necessary to subdivide the proposed LEED boundary from the remaining land area. However, make certain that the rationale for excluding and including the areas to be graded and left undisturbed, respectively, is justifiable. Any altered or disturbed portion of the site should be included in the LEED boundary.Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
5/23/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

This CIR is requesting clarification for sites located in dense urban areas that are pursuing both SS Credit 5.2 and SS Credit 2. To clear up any confusion, this references the three bulleted points under the Credit 5.2 requirements heading "ALL OPTIONS" The site is 1.7 acres located in an area with a zoning ordinance that has no requirement for open space. Using the first bullet, we include our large vegetated roof areas in the credit calculations which results in 35% open space. Under the second bullet, we also include the hardscape sidewalk area surrounding the building, as it is pedestrian oriented, giving us an additional 15% of open space. When both of these areas are included in the calculations, the resulting open space is 50% of the total site area. We would like to apply for an innovation point, but are unsure what the minimum requirements should be. The 2.2 reference guide states that the required open space must be doubled for an innovation credit, which results in a 40% requirement. Multiple CIRs state that for an innovation credit the next incremental step or doubling is appropriate. However if both the open space and the percentage of vegetated open space required under the second bullet are doubled, the area is quadrupled, ie: Baseline - 25% of 1000sf open space = 250sf vegetated Design - 50% of 2000sf open space = 1000sf vegetated We believe for the purpose of pursuing an innovation point, the required percentage of vegetated space should not be doubled. This would mean in a requirement for 40% of the site area as open space with 25% of the resulting area being vegetated, resulting in an overall doubling of the vegetated open space; Proposed - 25% of 2000sf of open space = 500sf vegetated.

Ruling:

To qualify for an innovation credit given the project description, the project would need to provide a minimum of 40% open space of which 25% must be vegetated. The applicant must further demonstrate that the sidewalk meets the Reference Guide intent of hardscape counting towards open space in an urban context. The hardscape must be pedestrian oriented and accessible, and provide for passive or active recreation opportunities. Examples of urban space include pocket parks, accessible roof decks, plazas and courtyards. The area must also be within the LEED project boundary used consistently for all credits. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
9/10/2007
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

A private company is developing a one level underground parking garage and will operate this facility independently from any future development that may occur above it. This project will be privately financed, operated, and constructed. The one level parking garage will fill the property boundary area and will be designed to accommodate future structural loading from separate projects that may occur above. A nominal 4 ft vertical separation between the concrete parking garage roof podium and future construction is planned to allow for the inclusion of utilities and vegetated areas. Program elements that may need to penetrate the garage will be isolated from the remainder of the garage. Presently, the garage is intended for users of adjacent sites rather than for users above the facility. It is undetermined if the underground garage project will seek LEED certification. The project is scheduled to start construction in January 2008 and finish in January 2009. The City is planning to build a separate publicly financed and operated project consisting of a 750-seat performance hall on top of a portion of the independent privately financed underground parking garage project. The Performance Hall project, per City Ordinance, is presently pursuing LEED Silver certification and is scheduled to start construction in December 2008 and finish in 2010. This Credit Interpretation Request seeks a determination of the LEED Project Boundary for the 750-seat Performance Hall project. It is assumed that the LEED Project Boundary will vertically be the construction above the underground concrete parking structure podium and horizontally the extent of the construction above. Thus the Building Footprint, Development Footprint, and Open Space Area components will be the portion that is directly above the podium but does not include the independent underground parking garage project. Please provide a ruling clarification regarding the vertical LEED Project Boundary including the Development and Building Footprints for the referenced Performance Hall project.

Ruling:

The design team may define the LEED Project Boundary as it sees appropriate. Excluding the described underground parking lot is permissible. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
9/2/2003
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The intent of this point is to conserve existing natural areas and restore damaged areas to provide habitat and promote biodiversity. Our project is a destination residential building at the base of an existing ski area. Our client owns XXX acres of developable land at the base of the ski area, and has plans to build multiple buildings clustered at the base of the ski hill, leaving XXX acres of open space on the site when buildout is completed. There are no legal property boundaries between this project and future phases, although property boundaries may be established for the purpose of building management. In addition, there are no local zoning codes that dictate open space requirements. As such, we are unsure how to apply this point to our project. It is the goal of our client to preserve as much of the existing natural features of the site as possible, which I believe is the intent of the point, but with unclear property boundaries, I do not know how to measure the success of the team in achieving that goal. Also, with the buildings planned to be in a cluster, surrounded by open space, it is clear that the project as a whole will meet the requirements of the point, but when taken individually, some of the individual buildings that are not immediately adjacent to the open space may not. Clustering the buildings is good practice in terms of concentrating the impact of human development in a limited area of the site, thereby leaving as much of the site in its original state as possible. This site planning technique also limits travel distances between buildings, thereby encouraging pedestrians. To evaluate this point, as well as other site related points, such as SS8 Light Pollution Reduction, I anticipate that we would establish a project boundary for each building in the development. To document the compliance with open space requirements related to this point, is it appropriate to gerrymander our site boundary between nearby buildings and into the open space, or would it be preferable to have two distinct property boundaries that are not contiguous, one defining our building and its immediate site, and another defining an equal area of open space within the developable land that is to be legally dedicated to open space? A third approach would be to submit the campus as a whole, indicating the developed area, and the area of open space, disregarding property lines for individual buildings within the site. With this approach, the overall campus plan would be submitted with each building to achieve the point for every building in the development. Are either of these approaches appropriate, or are there some other criteria that we should apply when defining our site?

Ruling:

Your CIR actually addresses SSc5.2, instead of SSc5.1 (as submitted), because it concerns designation of open space. Although SSc5.2 requires "open space adjacent to the building that is equal to the building footprint" for sites without local zoning requirements, it is plausible for a project in a campus setting to make the case for clustering buildings and consolidating the LEED-required amount of open space together next to the cluster, or in a different part of the campus, because wildlife experiences greater benefits from contiguous habitat than it does from small, isolated natural spaces. Without seeing the plans, it is difficult to determine the implications of submitting the campus as a whole. If the campus is submitted as a whole, the total project area should be used in calculating this credit and all other LEED prerequisites and credits (see SSc5.2 CIR ruling dated 1/18/2002). The campus approach might therefore preclude the acquisition of other credits. Likewise, based on the limited information available, the question of either "gerrymandering" the property boundaries to include adjacent open space versus allocating distinct property boundaries that are not contiguous cannot be definitively answered here.

Campus Applicable
Yes
Internationally Applicable:
No
2/11/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

A private company is developing a corporate educational campus on a previously developed site. This site will include the renovation of an existing building and the construction of three new structures. The local zoning open space requirements for this site require that 80% of the site area be maintained as native woodland. The project has been designed according to this premise so the total building footprint (including any access roads and hardscaped areas) occupies only 20% of the given site. Exceeding the local zoning requirement by 25% percent (as per Option 1 of SSc5.2) would represent maintaining as open space the overall site and thus excluding the possibility of any building development. We feel that the high ratio of the existing open space local zoning requirement complies with the intent of this credit and could represent the fulfilment of the next incremental percentage for an Innovation credit. We seek confirmation on whether the special circumstances regarding open space requirements for this project fulfil credit SSc5.2 and could be eligible for an innovation and design credit.

Ruling:

The project team is presenting an unusual situation in which the local zoning requirements specify maintaining 80% open space on the site. Current credit language excludes sites with greater than 80% zoning requirements, since exceeding the requirement by 25% would mean preserving 100% or more of the site as open space. Per the NCv2.1 CIR Ruling dated 2/12/2009, this project would be eligible for this credit if the development area were 25% or less of the allowable developed area (5% of the total site area in this case). It appears that the total building footprint occupies 20% of the site and therefore this credit would not be achieved.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
4/9/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The intent of this credit is to "Provide a high ratio of open space to development footprint to promote biodiversity." The requirements for the credit call for exceeding the zoning requirement for open space by a stated percentage. A stated option for credit compliance is for projects also earning SSc2, which allows projects to provide pedestrian-oriented hardscape to meet the credit requirement for open space, providing a minimum of 25% of the total open space counted is vegetated. Our project is a 36,000-seat ballpark with a retractable roof located in Miami, Florida. The ballpark will host 81 ballgames per year, of which 70 will be held during the evening and 11 during the afternoon. The facility will also host approximately 20 concerts or special events per year, of which 11 will be held during the evening and 9 during the afternoon. The intent of the retractable roof is to remain open the majority of the time in order to provide sunlight, rainwater and natural ventilation to the natural turf field. For day-time events, the roof will be closed beginning 3 hours prior to the event to shade and cool the seating area for the comfort of the attendees. The roof will remain closed for the duration of the event or until evening sunset. To calculate daylight hours the roof will be closed, figure daytime events start at 1:00pm, lasting 4 hours; the roof will be closed from 10:00am till 5:00pm. (7 hours total) For evening events, the roof will be closed late afternoon to shade/cool the seating bowl for the comfort of attendees and will remain closed until sunset. To calculate daylight hours the roof will be closed, figure an evening event starts at 7:00pm, lasting 4 hours; the roof will be closed from 3:00pm till 7:00pm. (4 hours total) The approach that we would like to take to calculate vegetated open space is as follows: (1). Include site vegetated areas in the calculation to count toward the minimum 25% vegetated open space. AND (2A). Include the natural turf field area in the calculation to count toward the minimum 25% vegetated open space. OR, (2B). To be used if (2A) is not acceptable due to partial closure of the roof during daylight hours. Include the field as vegetated open space, but discount the total SF of vegetation relative to the annual number of hours that the retractable roof will be closed during daylight hours. To determine annual daylight hours, go to http://aa.usno.navy.mil/cgi-bin/aa_rstablew.pl For the sake of simplicity, total the average daylight hours for each month based on the available daylight hours on the 15th of each month x number of days in that month for the year 2011, when the ballpark opens. Calculation for total daylight hours annually: Average daylight hours for each month x 12 months = total daylight hours annually Calculation for total roof closure annually: Daylight events: 7 hours x 20 days = 140 hours + Nighttime events: 4 hours x 81 days = 324 hours 140 hours + 324 hours = 464 hours roof is closed during daylight hours annually Calculation for the discounted field area: 464 hours/ total annual daylight hours = XX% XX% x vegetated field area SF The request is this: A. Can we include the total field area SF as open vegetated space? B. Or, will we be required to discount the field SF, based on the % of annual daylight hours the roof is closed? C. If so, is this approach acceptable?

Ruling:

The project team is proposing an alternative strategy to meeting the credit requirement by classifying the natural turf grass of the playing field as open space, and including this within the area calculations for credit compliance. The inclusion of this turf grass is not an acceptable approach, regardless of the number of daylight hours it receives. The turf grass of the playing field is contained within the development of the ballpark structure, is not generally accessible to the building occupants, and is further separated from the surrounding natural environment with the retractable roof. It will be a highly maintained area of vegetation, solely used for ball games. The area does not meet the intent of the credit to promote biodiversity, and therefore cannot be included in the open space calculations for this credit. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
1/18/2002
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

There are no local zoning open space requirements within New York City (exclusive of minimum rear and side yard distances, which are far exceeded in the case of this project). The Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) has created a master plan that, we believe, meets the intent of this credit. In relation to the dense urban context of Manhattan, the BPCA has limited the overall development area of Battery Park in order to provide substantial public park space. In fact, the Master Plan was modified to reduce the original footprint of this building so that open space between 20 River Terrace and adjacent buildings could be increased sufficiently to allow the development of Tear Drop Park. The 18A building site itself is almost entirely occupied by the building; however, this is specifically because BPCA has reserved the adjacent areas for open space purposes. The overall neighborhood has therefore been designed to include a high ratio of open planted spaces (the specific percentage of open area will be calculated and included with the LEED submission).By husbanding all non-developed areas for the assemblage of one larger park (rather than disjointed smaller areas as part of four individual buildings) Battery Park City Authority has created an area sufficient to provide a natural area and promote biodiversity. The individual owners of the buildings, including River Terrace Associates, ensure that open space will be conserved for the life of the building by paying the cost of maintenance of the open space.We believe that this physical configuration and financial participation meets the intent of this credit. 1/18/2002 - Ruling

Ruling:

If there is no criteria in the local zoning codes for open space, your project must show that an open space area equal to the building footprint is adjacent to the building. A letter must be provided by the property owner stating that the open space will be conserved for the life of the building, as you state in your inquiry. For your project, the aggregate net open space of the master planned area would need to be equal to or greater than the aggregate development footprint. The other documentation must also be provided to achieve this credit.Furthermore, if a project includes open space adjacent to the project site, then the project site boundary should be redrawn and this entire project area should be included in the denominator used for calculating this credit and ALL other LEED prerequisites and credits. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
11/1/2011
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The project consists of two new buildings on a campus. The two buildings abut a large green space with gardens and outdoor areas of respite. Both buildings will be pursuing LEED certification and have considered using the LEED guide for campuses. The guide mentions sharing amenities like open space, but is not specific to how these should be shared. Please advise if the open space amenity on this project can be claimed by both buildings. It is a shared amenity that both projects will use as open space and is equal in size to the footprint of both buildings. There is no zoning requirement for open space on the campus.

Ruling:

The open space requirements must be met individually for each building, and the same open space (including shared spaces) cannot be claimed by, or double counted for, multiple LEED projects. Projects can, however, draw the individual LEED project boundaries such that the open space is divided into two separate spaces, so long as each space meets the requirements outlined in the credit and the LEED project boundaries are applied consistently across all LEED credits.Please note that all 2009 projects in multiple building situations can follow the guidance outlined in the 2010 Application Guide for Multiple Buildings and On-Campus Building Projects (2010 AGMBC), located here: www.usgbc.org/campusguidance. The 2010 AGMBC allows projects on a campus to draw a LEED campus boundary in addition to the individual building LEED project boundaries. Credits such as the open space requirement referenced here, can then be reviewed at the LEED campus boundary and include all open space. These campus credits are considered pre-approved for all buildings included in the LEED campus boundary that subsequently apply for certification. Using this guidance allows for accounting for the open space without dividing it between buildings. However, the 2010 AGMBC must be used in full so LEED 2009 project teams should check this document for up to date guidance on all multiple building issues. Applicable internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
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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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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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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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4/1/2012Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Add this clause after "..the life of the building": "and is within the contiguous limits of the campus where the applicable project is located."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
2/12/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Lot Area: 4,997,925 SF Lot Coverage: 72,560 SF In this particular situation, the local zoning requires that we maintain 95% open space. 95% increased by 25% (.95*1.25) = Open space requirement of 118.75%. This is impossible. If we were to perform the converse calculation and educe the maximum lot coverage amount by 25%, (75% of 5% = 3.75%.) On a lot of 4,997,925 sf, the maximum coverage allowed by zoning regulations would be 249,896 SF. 75% of 249,896 SF (allowable footprint) = 187,422 SF (or 3.75% of 4,997,925 SF (lot area) = 187,422 SF) 72,560 = 1.45% lot coverage of an area of 4,997,925 SF (or the open space is equal to 98.55% of the total lot area.) The very fact that the zoning requirements are so stringent, allowing only 5% development of the natural habitat, and by reducing the footprint further, by an excess of 25%, we maintain that this project accomplishes the intent of this credit (to conserve existing natural areas and restore damaged areas to provide habitat and promote biodiversity). The Fort Ticonderoga Association is dedicated to the preservation and protection of the native vegetation and wildlife in the Lake Champlain Valley. Furthermore, we maintain that at the other end of the spectrum, a lot with a smaller open space requirement, 1% for example, when increased by 25% results in a mere 1.25% requirement,. On a 1000 SF lot, this translates to a requirement shift from 10 SF to 12.5 SF, a nearly negligible difference. As the zoning requirements for open space increase, the credit becomes less possible to achieve. A 50% open space requirement increased by 25% results in 62.5% On a 1000 SF lot, the requirement increases from 500 SF by 125 SF to 625. At a requirement of 80% open space, the 25% increase results in a new requirement of 100%. (No building whatsoever.) Those sites with smaller requirements for open space to begin with are rewarded and those sites with the largest requirement for open space are penalized. Can our project achieve this credit by reducing the maximum allowable footprint by 25% as opposed to increasing the minimum required open space by 25%?

Ruling:

The project team is presenting a unique situation in which the local zoning requirements specify maintaining 95% open space on the site. Current credit language excludes sites with greater than 80% zoning requirements, since exceeding the requirement by 25% would mean persevering greater than 100% of the site as open space. The project team believes they meet the intent of the credit requirements by restricting their development footprint to less than 25% of the allowable development space. For a project with 95% open space requirement, this would equate to developing 1.45% of the property. This is an acceptable compliance path for achieving this credit when open space zoning requirements are 80% or greater. The credit submittal documentation should include a copy of the zoning requirements.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
5/25/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The subject project is a 475,000SF mixed use tower that includes retail, office, condominium and underground parking. The building replaces older, run-down low-rise structures and adds desirable density, retail services, Class A office space and underground parking to serve the building. A nexus of transportation options is located within a couple of blocks of the project to include two light rail lines, multiple bus stops, bike lanes connecting to a citywide network and two streetcar lines. The site is one of a series of half-sized blocks that extend North to South through the City. The Northernmost and Southernmost tails of this gridline of blocks are designated as the North and South Park Blocks. The South Park Blocks date back to the late 1800\'s and is used for farmer\'s markets, active/passive recreation, public demonstrations and homeless feeding events among other socially valuable activities. The project owner owns multiple developed blocks at the terminus of the South Park Blocks. Two of these blocks are along the same North-South gridline as the South Park Blocks and are located one block past the last South Park Block. These blocks are located adjacent to each other- one was a surface parking lot ("Park Block 5") and the other is the project site. The block between the last South Park Block and the project owner\'s two adjacent blocks is owned by a separate entity and hosts a new hotel. In 2006, the owner donated the surface of Park Block 5 to the City for the express purpose of replacing the surface parking lot with a public park, the first new South Park Block in over 100 years. The owner had full right to develop another structure on what will now become the City\'s Park Block 5. However, the owner recognized the public value of adding another South Park Block to serve the growing number of downtown residents, visitors and professionals and forewent personal financial gain in the interest of the public good. The benefits realized by the addition of Park Block 5 realize many of the objectives sought by the LEED program. In recognition of the effort, the team would like to know if it is permissible to encompass Park Block 5 in the project\'s LEED boundary. This would influence SSc5.2 and possibly SSc5.1 as the design of the park is fleshed out. We are able to provide an aerial map to help show the park, project and developed block locations as well as the agreement showing the dedication to the City.

Ruling:

The owner of the project donated a parcel of land adjacent to the subject property to the City for the express purpose of creating a public park and would like to include this area in the LEED Project Boundary. The donated parcel may be included within the LEED Project Boundary provided that the submission includes documentation of the deed transfer, as well as evidence that the donated parcel will be developed into a public park that meets the performance requirements under SSc5.2. As a reminder, the project area must be consistently defined across all credits. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
2/18/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

Our project is a multi-story residential project, located in Dubai, UAE. The site was virgin desert, but has been mass graded by the master developer and then sold to our client, a 3rd party developer. And per the ruling 8/25/2008 on SS Credit 2, this project should not be considered previously developed and is therefore ineligible to earn SS Credit 2. As there is no municipal government with authority over this area, a free zone authority, Ports Customs and Free Zone Authority (PCFC - CED) has been established as the local regulatory authority. PCFC - CED is a fully state owned holding company by the government of Dubai. The master developer has created Development Control Regulations (DCRs) and these are applied and enforced as local zoning requirements. As stated in the DCRs, "PCFC - CED will act as the development control authority of Madinat Al Arab" (the name of the master development). Also stated in the DCRs, "PCFC - CED shall be responsible for issuing building permits." The building footprint occupies approximately 40% of the plot, but the underground basement, or development footprint, covers the entire plot. A mixture of planted landscape elements (palm trees, desert shrubs and grass), access roads, hardscape, make up the other 60% of the plot, with a ventilated but unconditioned underground parking garage located 3 to 5 feet below grade. We are attempting to clarify if Option 1 or Option 2 applies, since the local zoning requirement is defined by the master developer, and not the municipality. If Option 1 applies we are then attempting to clarify the following: "Reduce the development footprint (defined as the total area of the building footprint, hardscape, access roads and parking) and/or provide vegetated open space within the project boundary to exceed the local zoning\'s open space requirement for the site by 25%." The development footprint cannot change due to commercial and client requirements, so our approach would be to consider the second half of this option, beginning with, "and/OR provide vegetated open space within the project boundary to exceed the local zoning\'s open space requirement for the site by 25%." Since the local zoning requirement allows both hardscape and softscape areas to contribute to open space, we have calculated the open space requirement as follows: The local code (DCRs) requires that 20% of the plot area be allocated as open space but allows both hardscape and planted landscape, as well as areas above grade, to count as open space. The definition for open space from the DCRs is as follows: Open Space, Private: "Any area located within a privately owned unenclosed part of a building, or land appurtenant to the building, and which is set aside for the exclusive use of the owners and occupants of the building space to which it abuts. Private open space may include balconies, terraces, courtyards, roof top spaces, yards, and swimming pools and surrounds." The project will comply with DCRs first (20% of common private open space for each plot) then have an additional 5% (20X1.25=25) of the plot area as vegetated open space. The additional 5% would follow the path of previous CIRs and be native or adaptive vegetation and should help promote biodiversity (not monoculture), and help create a connection to the outdoors. Are we correct in applying compliance Option 1 for this project? If so, is our calculation method acceptable?

Ruling:

The project team seeks to determine the appropriate compliance path given a local zoning requirement (or comparable requirement) for open space that does not require vegetation. Based on the definition of open space in the zoning documentation, this project appears to fall under Option 3, reserved for those projects with a zoning ordinance but no open space requirement. Therefore the project would need to designate 20% of the site area to open space. Since the project cannot achieve SSc2, this space would need to be vegetated and pervious. The project description indicates that there is three to five feet of cover above the underground basement, which would be considered adequately pervious in a desert environment to meet the intent of this credit. In this setting, natural open space mimicking the surrounding ecosystem would qualify as vegetated open space.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
6/18/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

This CIR is to request clarification regarding the determination of the LEED specific project site boundary and how this affects Sustainable Sites Credit 5.2 as it relates to a larger parcel of land. This project boundary for a public project will only encompass a smaller portion of a larger parcel of the public land (the project site is a small part of a larger City Operations complex) that has been previously developed. The affected portion has not been subdivided from the rest of the parcel - it will remain part of the larger piece of property. The building and parking lot to be proposed as part of this project will be located in an area of the property that is currently entirely paved. We plan to propose the LEED project site boundary to consist of this area where the building and parking will be located and a portion of the property that will not be disturbed but that will drain directly onto the location where the building will be located. A portion of the site that is already asphalt but will have some re-grading performed (and have asphalt patched back) does not contribute water runoff towards the building area, so this area will not be included in the proposed LEED project site boundary. The area that is not being disturbed is vegetated open space that will allow the project to exceed the open space requirements of the local zoning ordinance by over 50%, thus allowing us to request 1 point for Credit 5.2 along with 1 additional point for an Innovation & Design credit. We request clarification that only this portion of the larger tract of land (as long as it is clearly defined on the drawings) will be allowed to be considered the LEED project site boundary, without subdividing the boundary area from the larger lot.

Ruling:

The project seeks clarification of the LEED project site boundary for a project that is a part of a larger complex. The project has flexibility in the establishment of the LEED site boundary, based on numerous CIR Rulings, but must ensure that the rationale is justifiable and the chosen boundary is applied consistently across all credits. It is not necessary to subdivide the proposed LEED boundary from the remaining land area. However, make certain that the rationale for excluding and including the areas to be graded and left undisturbed, respectively, is justifiable. Any altered or disturbed portion of the site should be included in the LEED boundary.Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
5/23/2008
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

This CIR is requesting clarification for sites located in dense urban areas that are pursuing both SS Credit 5.2 and SS Credit 2. To clear up any confusion, this references the three bulleted points under the Credit 5.2 requirements heading "ALL OPTIONS" The site is 1.7 acres located in an area with a zoning ordinance that has no requirement for open space. Using the first bullet, we include our large vegetated roof areas in the credit calculations which results in 35% open space. Under the second bullet, we also include the hardscape sidewalk area surrounding the building, as it is pedestrian oriented, giving us an additional 15% of open space. When both of these areas are included in the calculations, the resulting open space is 50% of the total site area. We would like to apply for an innovation point, but are unsure what the minimum requirements should be. The 2.2 reference guide states that the required open space must be doubled for an innovation credit, which results in a 40% requirement. Multiple CIRs state that for an innovation credit the next incremental step or doubling is appropriate. However if both the open space and the percentage of vegetated open space required under the second bullet are doubled, the area is quadrupled, ie: Baseline - 25% of 1000sf open space = 250sf vegetated Design - 50% of 2000sf open space = 1000sf vegetated We believe for the purpose of pursuing an innovation point, the required percentage of vegetated space should not be doubled. This would mean in a requirement for 40% of the site area as open space with 25% of the resulting area being vegetated, resulting in an overall doubling of the vegetated open space; Proposed - 25% of 2000sf of open space = 500sf vegetated.

Ruling:

To qualify for an innovation credit given the project description, the project would need to provide a minimum of 40% open space of which 25% must be vegetated. The applicant must further demonstrate that the sidewalk meets the Reference Guide intent of hardscape counting towards open space in an urban context. The hardscape must be pedestrian oriented and accessible, and provide for passive or active recreation opportunities. Examples of urban space include pocket parks, accessible roof decks, plazas and courtyards. The area must also be within the LEED project boundary used consistently for all credits. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
9/10/2007
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

A private company is developing a one level underground parking garage and will operate this facility independently from any future development that may occur above it. This project will be privately financed, operated, and constructed. The one level parking garage will fill the property boundary area and will be designed to accommodate future structural loading from separate projects that may occur above. A nominal 4 ft vertical separation between the concrete parking garage roof podium and future construction is planned to allow for the inclusion of utilities and vegetated areas. Program elements that may need to penetrate the garage will be isolated from the remainder of the garage. Presently, the garage is intended for users of adjacent sites rather than for users above the facility. It is undetermined if the underground garage project will seek LEED certification. The project is scheduled to start construction in January 2008 and finish in January 2009. The City is planning to build a separate publicly financed and operated project consisting of a 750-seat performance hall on top of a portion of the independent privately financed underground parking garage project. The Performance Hall project, per City Ordinance, is presently pursuing LEED Silver certification and is scheduled to start construction in December 2008 and finish in 2010. This Credit Interpretation Request seeks a determination of the LEED Project Boundary for the 750-seat Performance Hall project. It is assumed that the LEED Project Boundary will vertically be the construction above the underground concrete parking structure podium and horizontally the extent of the construction above. Thus the Building Footprint, Development Footprint, and Open Space Area components will be the portion that is directly above the podium but does not include the independent underground parking garage project. Please provide a ruling clarification regarding the vertical LEED Project Boundary including the Development and Building Footprints for the referenced Performance Hall project.

Ruling:

The design team may define the LEED Project Boundary as it sees appropriate. Excluding the described underground parking lot is permissible. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
9/2/2003
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The intent of this point is to conserve existing natural areas and restore damaged areas to provide habitat and promote biodiversity. Our project is a destination residential building at the base of an existing ski area. Our client owns XXX acres of developable land at the base of the ski area, and has plans to build multiple buildings clustered at the base of the ski hill, leaving XXX acres of open space on the site when buildout is completed. There are no legal property boundaries between this project and future phases, although property boundaries may be established for the purpose of building management. In addition, there are no local zoning codes that dictate open space requirements. As such, we are unsure how to apply this point to our project. It is the goal of our client to preserve as much of the existing natural features of the site as possible, which I believe is the intent of the point, but with unclear property boundaries, I do not know how to measure the success of the team in achieving that goal. Also, with the buildings planned to be in a cluster, surrounded by open space, it is clear that the project as a whole will meet the requirements of the point, but when taken individually, some of the individual buildings that are not immediately adjacent to the open space may not. Clustering the buildings is good practice in terms of concentrating the impact of human development in a limited area of the site, thereby leaving as much of the site in its original state as possible. This site planning technique also limits travel distances between buildings, thereby encouraging pedestrians. To evaluate this point, as well as other site related points, such as SS8 Light Pollution Reduction, I anticipate that we would establish a project boundary for each building in the development. To document the compliance with open space requirements related to this point, is it appropriate to gerrymander our site boundary between nearby buildings and into the open space, or would it be preferable to have two distinct property boundaries that are not contiguous, one defining our building and its immediate site, and another defining an equal area of open space within the developable land that is to be legally dedicated to open space? A third approach would be to submit the campus as a whole, indicating the developed area, and the area of open space, disregarding property lines for individual buildings within the site. With this approach, the overall campus plan would be submitted with each building to achieve the point for every building in the development. Are either of these approaches appropriate, or are there some other criteria that we should apply when defining our site?

Ruling:

Your CIR actually addresses SSc5.2, instead of SSc5.1 (as submitted), because it concerns designation of open space. Although SSc5.2 requires "open space adjacent to the building that is equal to the building footprint" for sites without local zoning requirements, it is plausible for a project in a campus setting to make the case for clustering buildings and consolidating the LEED-required amount of open space together next to the cluster, or in a different part of the campus, because wildlife experiences greater benefits from contiguous habitat than it does from small, isolated natural spaces. Without seeing the plans, it is difficult to determine the implications of submitting the campus as a whole. If the campus is submitted as a whole, the total project area should be used in calculating this credit and all other LEED prerequisites and credits (see SSc5.2 CIR ruling dated 1/18/2002). The campus approach might therefore preclude the acquisition of other credits. Likewise, based on the limited information available, the question of either "gerrymandering" the property boundaries to include adjacent open space versus allocating distinct property boundaries that are not contiguous cannot be definitively answered here.

Campus Applicable
Yes
Internationally Applicable:
No
2/11/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

A private company is developing a corporate educational campus on a previously developed site. This site will include the renovation of an existing building and the construction of three new structures. The local zoning open space requirements for this site require that 80% of the site area be maintained as native woodland. The project has been designed according to this premise so the total building footprint (including any access roads and hardscaped areas) occupies only 20% of the given site. Exceeding the local zoning requirement by 25% percent (as per Option 1 of SSc5.2) would represent maintaining as open space the overall site and thus excluding the possibility of any building development. We feel that the high ratio of the existing open space local zoning requirement complies with the intent of this credit and could represent the fulfilment of the next incremental percentage for an Innovation credit. We seek confirmation on whether the special circumstances regarding open space requirements for this project fulfil credit SSc5.2 and could be eligible for an innovation and design credit.

Ruling:

The project team is presenting an unusual situation in which the local zoning requirements specify maintaining 80% open space on the site. Current credit language excludes sites with greater than 80% zoning requirements, since exceeding the requirement by 25% would mean preserving 100% or more of the site as open space. Per the NCv2.1 CIR Ruling dated 2/12/2009, this project would be eligible for this credit if the development area were 25% or less of the allowable developed area (5% of the total site area in this case). It appears that the total building footprint occupies 20% of the site and therefore this credit would not be achieved.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
4/9/2009
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The intent of this credit is to "Provide a high ratio of open space to development footprint to promote biodiversity." The requirements for the credit call for exceeding the zoning requirement for open space by a stated percentage. A stated option for credit compliance is for projects also earning SSc2, which allows projects to provide pedestrian-oriented hardscape to meet the credit requirement for open space, providing a minimum of 25% of the total open space counted is vegetated. Our project is a 36,000-seat ballpark with a retractable roof located in Miami, Florida. The ballpark will host 81 ballgames per year, of which 70 will be held during the evening and 11 during the afternoon. The facility will also host approximately 20 concerts or special events per year, of which 11 will be held during the evening and 9 during the afternoon. The intent of the retractable roof is to remain open the majority of the time in order to provide sunlight, rainwater and natural ventilation to the natural turf field. For day-time events, the roof will be closed beginning 3 hours prior to the event to shade and cool the seating area for the comfort of the attendees. The roof will remain closed for the duration of the event or until evening sunset. To calculate daylight hours the roof will be closed, figure daytime events start at 1:00pm, lasting 4 hours; the roof will be closed from 10:00am till 5:00pm. (7 hours total) For evening events, the roof will be closed late afternoon to shade/cool the seating bowl for the comfort of attendees and will remain closed until sunset. To calculate daylight hours the roof will be closed, figure an evening event starts at 7:00pm, lasting 4 hours; the roof will be closed from 3:00pm till 7:00pm. (4 hours total) The approach that we would like to take to calculate vegetated open space is as follows: (1). Include site vegetated areas in the calculation to count toward the minimum 25% vegetated open space. AND (2A). Include the natural turf field area in the calculation to count toward the minimum 25% vegetated open space. OR, (2B). To be used if (2A) is not acceptable due to partial closure of the roof during daylight hours. Include the field as vegetated open space, but discount the total SF of vegetation relative to the annual number of hours that the retractable roof will be closed during daylight hours. To determine annual daylight hours, go to http://aa.usno.navy.mil/cgi-bin/aa_rstablew.pl For the sake of simplicity, total the average daylight hours for each month based on the available daylight hours on the 15th of each month x number of days in that month for the year 2011, when the ballpark opens. Calculation for total daylight hours annually: Average daylight hours for each month x 12 months = total daylight hours annually Calculation for total roof closure annually: Daylight events: 7 hours x 20 days = 140 hours + Nighttime events: 4 hours x 81 days = 324 hours 140 hours + 324 hours = 464 hours roof is closed during daylight hours annually Calculation for the discounted field area: 464 hours/ total annual daylight hours = XX% XX% x vegetated field area SF The request is this: A. Can we include the total field area SF as open vegetated space? B. Or, will we be required to discount the field SF, based on the % of annual daylight hours the roof is closed? C. If so, is this approach acceptable?

Ruling:

The project team is proposing an alternative strategy to meeting the credit requirement by classifying the natural turf grass of the playing field as open space, and including this within the area calculations for credit compliance. The inclusion of this turf grass is not an acceptable approach, regardless of the number of daylight hours it receives. The turf grass of the playing field is contained within the development of the ballpark structure, is not generally accessible to the building occupants, and is further separated from the surrounding natural environment with the retractable roof. It will be a highly maintained area of vegetation, solely used for ball games. The area does not meet the intent of the credit to promote biodiversity, and therefore cannot be included in the open space calculations for this credit. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
1/18/2002
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

There are no local zoning open space requirements within New York City (exclusive of minimum rear and side yard distances, which are far exceeded in the case of this project). The Battery Park City Authority (BPCA) has created a master plan that, we believe, meets the intent of this credit. In relation to the dense urban context of Manhattan, the BPCA has limited the overall development area of Battery Park in order to provide substantial public park space. In fact, the Master Plan was modified to reduce the original footprint of this building so that open space between 20 River Terrace and adjacent buildings could be increased sufficiently to allow the development of Tear Drop Park. The 18A building site itself is almost entirely occupied by the building; however, this is specifically because BPCA has reserved the adjacent areas for open space purposes. The overall neighborhood has therefore been designed to include a high ratio of open planted spaces (the specific percentage of open area will be calculated and included with the LEED submission).By husbanding all non-developed areas for the assemblage of one larger park (rather than disjointed smaller areas as part of four individual buildings) Battery Park City Authority has created an area sufficient to provide a natural area and promote biodiversity. The individual owners of the buildings, including River Terrace Associates, ensure that open space will be conserved for the life of the building by paying the cost of maintenance of the open space.We believe that this physical configuration and financial participation meets the intent of this credit. 1/18/2002 - Ruling

Ruling:

If there is no criteria in the local zoning codes for open space, your project must show that an open space area equal to the building footprint is adjacent to the building. A letter must be provided by the property owner stating that the open space will be conserved for the life of the building, as you state in your inquiry. For your project, the aggregate net open space of the master planned area would need to be equal to or greater than the aggregate development footprint. The other documentation must also be provided to achieve this credit.Furthermore, if a project includes open space adjacent to the project site, then the project site boundary should be redrawn and this entire project area should be included in the denominator used for calculating this credit and ALL other LEED prerequisites and credits. Applicable Internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
11/1/2011
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

The project consists of two new buildings on a campus. The two buildings abut a large green space with gardens and outdoor areas of respite. Both buildings will be pursuing LEED certification and have considered using the LEED guide for campuses. The guide mentions sharing amenities like open space, but is not specific to how these should be shared. Please advise if the open space amenity on this project can be claimed by both buildings. It is a shared amenity that both projects will use as open space and is equal in size to the footprint of both buildings. There is no zoning requirement for open space on the campus.

Ruling:

The open space requirements must be met individually for each building, and the same open space (including shared spaces) cannot be claimed by, or double counted for, multiple LEED projects. Projects can, however, draw the individual LEED project boundaries such that the open space is divided into two separate spaces, so long as each space meets the requirements outlined in the credit and the LEED project boundaries are applied consistently across all LEED credits.Please note that all 2009 projects in multiple building situations can follow the guidance outlined in the 2010 Application Guide for Multiple Buildings and On-Campus Building Projects (2010 AGMBC), located here: www.usgbc.org/campusguidance. The 2010 AGMBC allows projects on a campus to draw a LEED campus boundary in addition to the individual building LEED project boundaries. Credits such as the open space requirement referenced here, can then be reviewed at the LEED campus boundary and include all open space. These campus credits are considered pre-approved for all buildings included in the LEED campus boundary that subsequently apply for certification. Using this guidance allows for accounting for the open space without dividing it between buildings. However, the 2010 AGMBC must be used in full so LEED 2009 project teams should check this document for up to date guidance on all multiple building issues. Applicable internationally.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes

LEEDuser expert

Ellen Mitchell

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