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LEED v4
Existing Schools
Water Efficiency
Outdoor water use reduction

LEED CREDIT

Schools-EBOM-v4 WEc1: Outdoor water use reduction 1-2 points

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SPECIAL REPORT

LEEDuser expert

Dan Ackerstein

Ackerstein Sustainability, LLC
Principal

SPECIAL REPORT

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Credit language

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

Requirements

Reduce outdoor water use through one of the following options. Nonvegetated surfaces, such as permeable or impermeable pavement, should be excluded from landscape area calculations. Athletic fields and playgrounds (if vegetated) and food gardens may be included or excluded at the project team’s discretion.If landscape irrigation is not submetered, use Option 2.

Establishment

Option 1. No irrigation required (2 points except Healthcare, 1 point Healthcare)
Show that the landscape does not require a permanent irrigation system beyond a maximum two-year establishment period.
Option 2. No irrigation meter installed: calculated water budget (1–2 points)
Use the existing landscape to calculate the landscape water requirement using the EPA WaterSense Water Budget Tool. Install an irrigation meter.
Option 3. Irrigation meter installed (1–2 points)
The baseline is established using the annual average of at least 3 years of consecutive data out of the last 5 years.

Performance

Option 1. No irrigation required (2 points)
None.
Option 2. No irrigation meter: calculated water budget (1–2 points)
Points are earned according to Table 1.
Option 3. Irrigation meter installed (1–2 points)
Demonstrate a reduction in outdoor water use over the most recent 12 months compared with the established baseline. Points are earned according to Table 1.
Table 1. Points for reducing irrigation water
Percentage reduction from baseline Points
30% 1
40% 2
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Cost estimates for this credit

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Frequently asked questions

When pursuing Option 2 do I have to use the EPA WasterSense Water Budget Tool or USGBC’s Outdoor Water Use Reduction Calculator?

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

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Does the project site need to have a minimum amount of vegetation in order to pursue the credit?

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Do the 30% and 40% reductions need to be achieved prior to the application of alternative water sources in order to earn the credit?

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See all forum discussions about this credit »

Addenda

4/6/2018Updated: 4/6/2018
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
under "Step 6. Calculate additional reduction from baseline for smart irrigation controls":

replace the last word in the second sentence, "baseline", with the phrase "landscape water requirement."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
7/1/2016Updated: 7/1/2016
Form Update
Description of change:
Revise the examples and calculator to reflect the landscape water baseline, rather than the landscape water allowance (LWA).

Insert new images above Figures 2 and 3 in BD+C and O+M that show the "Part 1 - Baseline & LWA" tab of the .xls Water Budget Tool (https://www3.epa.gov/watersense/excel/water_budget_tool.xlsx).

BD+C prerequisite
Example 1. Livingston, New Jersey
Replace the last paragraph with the following text: "The landscape water allowance equals 43,980 gallons/month. The landscape water baseline equals 62,829 gallons/month. The LWR for this design in this location is 15,939 gallons/month. The total savings from the baseline amounts to 75%. Since only 30% is required to meet the prerequisite, the project easily achieves compliance."

Example 2. Palo Alto, California
Replace the last paragraph with the following text: "With a total landscape area of 16,000 square feet—10,000 square feet of groundcover (low water need, native species, drip irrigation) and 6,000 square feet of trees (medium water need, drip irrigation)—the tool now calculates a landscape water allowance of 41,886 gallons/month, and a landscape water baseline of 59,837 gallons/month. Compared with the New Jersey example above, the landscape water requirement for this design has increased to 26,713 gallons/month. The total savings from baseline is now 55%, but since only 30% is required, the project still achieves the prerequisite."

BD+C credit
Example 1. Livingston, New Jersey
Replace the paragraph that begins with "The landscape water allowance (30% below baseline minimum) equals..." with the following text: "The landscape water allowance equals 43,980 gallons/month. The landscape water baseline equals 62,829 gallons/month. The LWR for this design in this location is 15,939 gallons/month. The total savings from the baseline without alternative water sources amounts to 75%. The project achieves the credit and earns 1 point."

Example 2. Palo Alto, California
Replace the last paragraph with the following text: "With a total landscape area of 16,000 square feet—10,000 square feet of groundcover (low water need, native species, drip irrigation) and 6,000 square feet of trees (medium water need, drip irrigation)—the tool now calculates a landscape water allowance of 41,886 gallons/month, and a landscape water baseline of 59,837 gallons/month. Compared with the New Jersey example above, the landscape water requirement for this design has increased to 26,713 gallons/month. The total savings is now 55%, for 1 point."

O+M credit
Example 1. Livingston, New Jersey
Replace all of the text below the Water Budget Tool Table with the following (delete both existing paragraphs): "The landscape water allowance equals 43,980 gallons/month. The landscape water baseline equals 62,829 gallons/month. The LWR for this design in this location is 15,939 gallons/month. The total savings from the baseline amounts to 75%. The project achieves the credit and earns 2 points."

Example 2. Palo Alto, California
Replace the last paragraph with the following text: "With a total landscape area of 16,000 square feet—10,000 square feet of groundcover (low water need, native species, drip irrigation) and 6,000 square feet of trees (medium water need, drip irrigation)—the tool now calculates a landscape water allowance of 41,886 gallons/month, and a landscape water baseline of 59,837 gallons/month. Compared with the New Jersey example above, the landscape water requirement for this design has increased to 26,713 gallons/month. The total savings is now 55%, for 2 points."

ND credit
Add a new bullet point above the Landscape water allowance line that read: "Landscape water baseline = 746,090 gallons/month"
Campus Applicable
Yes
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
7/1/2016Updated: 7/1/2016
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Revise the examples and calculator to reflect the landscape water baseline, rather than the landscape water allowance (LWA).

Insert new images above Figures 2 and 3 in BD+C and O+M that show the "Part 1 - Baseline & LWA" tab of the .xls Water Budget Tool (https://www3.epa.gov/watersense/excel/water_budget_tool.xlsx).

BD+C prerequisite
Example 1. Livingston, New Jersey
Replace the last paragraph with the following text: "The landscape water allowance equals 43,980 gallons/month. The landscape water baseline equals 62,829 gallons/month. The LWR for this design in this location is 15,939 gallons/month. The total savings from the baseline amounts to 75%. Since only 30% is required to meet the prerequisite, the project easily achieves compliance."

Example 2. Palo Alto, California
Replace the last paragraph with the following text: "With a total landscape area of 16,000 square feet—10,000 square feet of groundcover (low water need, native species, drip irrigation) and 6,000 square feet of trees (medium water need, drip irrigation)—the tool now calculates a landscape water allowance of 41,886 gallons/month, and a landscape water baseline of 59,837 gallons/month. Compared with the New Jersey example above, the landscape water requirement for this design has increased to 26,713 gallons/month. The total savings from baseline is now 55%, but since only 30% is required, the project still achieves the prerequisite."

BD+C credit
Example 1. Livingston, New Jersey
Replace the paragraph that begins with "The landscape water allowance (30% below baseline minimum) equals..." with the following text: "The landscape water allowance equals 43,980 gallons/month. The landscape water baseline equals 62,829 gallons/month. The LWR for this design in this location is 15,939 gallons/month. The total savings from the baseline without alternative water sources amounts to 75%. The project achieves the credit and earns 1 point."

Example 2. Palo Alto, California
Replace the last paragraph with the following text: "With a total landscape area of 16,000 square feet—10,000 square feet of groundcover (low water need, native species, drip irrigation) and 6,000 square feet of trees (medium water need, drip irrigation)—the tool now calculates a landscape water allowance of 41,886 gallons/month, and a landscape water baseline of 59,837 gallons/month. Compared with the New Jersey example above, the landscape water requirement for this design has increased to 26,713 gallons/month. The total savings is now 55%, for 1 point."

O+M credit
Example 1. Livingston, New Jersey
Replace all of the text below the Water Budget Tool Table with the following (delete both existing paragraphs): "The landscape water allowance equals 43,980 gallons/month. The landscape water baseline equals 62,829 gallons/month. The LWR for this design in this location is 15,939 gallons/month. The total savings from the baseline amounts to 75%. The project achieves the credit and earns 2 points."

Example 2. Palo Alto, California
Replace the last paragraph with the following text: "With a total landscape area of 16,000 square feet—10,000 square feet of groundcover (low water need, native species, drip irrigation) and 6,000 square feet of trees (medium water need, drip irrigation)—the tool now calculates a landscape water allowance of 41,886 gallons/month, and a landscape water baseline of 59,837 gallons/month. Compared with the New Jersey example above, the landscape water requirement for this design has increased to 26,713 gallons/month. The total savings is now 55%, for 2 points."

ND credit
Add a new bullet point above the Landscape water allowance line that read: "Landscape water baseline = 746,090 gallons/month"
Campus Applicable
Yes
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/5/2016Updated: 4/7/2016
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Align the section with the text in the Prerequisite as follows:
"The World Meteorological Organization website (worldweather.wmo.int) and other sources provide annual precipitation data for many sites. If precipitation data for the project location are unavailable, they must be estimated.

Evapotranspiration data are available through various government and academic sources. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (fao.org/nr/water/eto.html) calculates reference evapotranspiration using a variety of algorithms based on monthly average weather data. The month with the largest deficit between reference evapotranspiration and rainfall is the peak watering month.

The international version of the WaterSense Water Budget Tool can be found on the USGBC website under this credit’s resources section (See International Tips, Canada)."
Campus Applicable
Yes
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/5/2016Updated: 4/7/2016
Form Update
Description of change:
In the Instructions tab, remove all "Pool, spa, or water feature" rows from the tables under the "Assumptions" section. In the Landscape Water Requirement tab, remove "Pool, spa, or water feature" from the drop down list under "Plant Type or Landscape Feature".
Campus Applicable
Yes
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
1/1/2015Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Replace:
An Excel version of the WaterSense Water Budget Tool can be found under the Resources tab for this credit, at usgbc.org/credits.
Project teams outside the U.S. must complete the tool using IP rather than SI units. Use the conversion calculator found under the Resources tab.

With:
Projects outside the U.S: use the non-U.S. water budget calculator, which can be found on usgbc.org. Projects must provide rainfall and evapotranspiration data for their location. This calculator uses SI units.
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
10/1/2014Updated: 2/14/2015
Form Update
Description of change:
Initial release of the Outdoor Water Use Reduction Calculator (international version of EPA's WaterSense calculator with SI units).
Form changes include adding references to the new Outdoor Water Use Reduction Calculator and adding SI units to the additional reductions section.
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
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

Dan Ackerstein

Ackerstein Sustainability, LLC
Principal

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.

Requirements

Reduce outdoor water use through one of the following options. Nonvegetated surfaces, such as permeable or impermeable pavement, should be excluded from landscape area calculations. Athletic fields and playgrounds (if vegetated) and food gardens may be included or excluded at the project team’s discretion.If landscape irrigation is not submetered, use Option 2.

Establishment

Option 1. No irrigation required (2 points except Healthcare, 1 point Healthcare)
Show that the landscape does not require a permanent irrigation system beyond a maximum two-year establishment period.
Option 2. No irrigation meter installed: calculated water budget (1–2 points)
Use the existing landscape to calculate the landscape water requirement using the EPA WaterSense Water Budget Tool. Install an irrigation meter.
Option 3. Irrigation meter installed (1–2 points)
The baseline is established using the annual average of at least 3 years of consecutive data out of the last 5 years.

Performance

Option 1. No irrigation required (2 points)
None.
Option 2. No irrigation meter: calculated water budget (1–2 points)
Points are earned according to Table 1.
Option 3. Irrigation meter installed (1–2 points)
Demonstrate a reduction in outdoor water use over the most recent 12 months compared with the established baseline. Points are earned according to Table 1.
Table 1. Points for reducing irrigation water
Percentage reduction from baseline Points
30% 1
40% 2

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.

When pursuing Option 2 do I have to use the EPA WasterSense Water Budget Tool or USGBC’s Outdoor Water Use Reduction Calculator?

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.)

Does the project site need to have a minimum amount of vegetation in order to pursue the 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.)

Do the 30% and 40% reductions need to be achieved prior to the application of alternative water sources in order to earn the 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.)

4/6/2018Updated: 4/6/2018
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
under "Step 6. Calculate additional reduction from baseline for smart irrigation controls":

replace the last word in the second sentence, "baseline", with the phrase "landscape water requirement."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
7/1/2016Updated: 7/1/2016
Form Update
Description of change:
Revise the examples and calculator to reflect the landscape water baseline, rather than the landscape water allowance (LWA).

Insert new images above Figures 2 and 3 in BD+C and O+M that show the "Part 1 - Baseline & LWA" tab of the .xls Water Budget Tool (https://www3.epa.gov/watersense/excel/water_budget_tool.xlsx).

BD+C prerequisite
Example 1. Livingston, New Jersey
Replace the last paragraph with the following text: "The landscape water allowance equals 43,980 gallons/month. The landscape water baseline equals 62,829 gallons/month. The LWR for this design in this location is 15,939 gallons/month. The total savings from the baseline amounts to 75%. Since only 30% is required to meet the prerequisite, the project easily achieves compliance."

Example 2. Palo Alto, California
Replace the last paragraph with the following text: "With a total landscape area of 16,000 square feet—10,000 square feet of groundcover (low water need, native species, drip irrigation) and 6,000 square feet of trees (medium water need, drip irrigation)—the tool now calculates a landscape water allowance of 41,886 gallons/month, and a landscape water baseline of 59,837 gallons/month. Compared with the New Jersey example above, the landscape water requirement for this design has increased to 26,713 gallons/month. The total savings from baseline is now 55%, but since only 30% is required, the project still achieves the prerequisite."

BD+C credit
Example 1. Livingston, New Jersey
Replace the paragraph that begins with "The landscape water allowance (30% below baseline minimum) equals..." with the following text: "The landscape water allowance equals 43,980 gallons/month. The landscape water baseline equals 62,829 gallons/month. The LWR for this design in this location is 15,939 gallons/month. The total savings from the baseline without alternative water sources amounts to 75%. The project achieves the credit and earns 1 point."

Example 2. Palo Alto, California
Replace the last paragraph with the following text: "With a total landscape area of 16,000 square feet—10,000 square feet of groundcover (low water need, native species, drip irrigation) and 6,000 square feet of trees (medium water need, drip irrigation)—the tool now calculates a landscape water allowance of 41,886 gallons/month, and a landscape water baseline of 59,837 gallons/month. Compared with the New Jersey example above, the landscape water requirement for this design has increased to 26,713 gallons/month. The total savings is now 55%, for 1 point."

O+M credit
Example 1. Livingston, New Jersey
Replace all of the text below the Water Budget Tool Table with the following (delete both existing paragraphs): "The landscape water allowance equals 43,980 gallons/month. The landscape water baseline equals 62,829 gallons/month. The LWR for this design in this location is 15,939 gallons/month. The total savings from the baseline amounts to 75%. The project achieves the credit and earns 2 points."

Example 2. Palo Alto, California
Replace the last paragraph with the following text: "With a total landscape area of 16,000 square feet—10,000 square feet of groundcover (low water need, native species, drip irrigation) and 6,000 square feet of trees (medium water need, drip irrigation)—the tool now calculates a landscape water allowance of 41,886 gallons/month, and a landscape water baseline of 59,837 gallons/month. Compared with the New Jersey example above, the landscape water requirement for this design has increased to 26,713 gallons/month. The total savings is now 55%, for 2 points."

ND credit
Add a new bullet point above the Landscape water allowance line that read: "Landscape water baseline = 746,090 gallons/month"
Campus Applicable
Yes
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
7/1/2016Updated: 7/1/2016
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Revise the examples and calculator to reflect the landscape water baseline, rather than the landscape water allowance (LWA).

Insert new images above Figures 2 and 3 in BD+C and O+M that show the "Part 1 - Baseline & LWA" tab of the .xls Water Budget Tool (https://www3.epa.gov/watersense/excel/water_budget_tool.xlsx).

BD+C prerequisite
Example 1. Livingston, New Jersey
Replace the last paragraph with the following text: "The landscape water allowance equals 43,980 gallons/month. The landscape water baseline equals 62,829 gallons/month. The LWR for this design in this location is 15,939 gallons/month. The total savings from the baseline amounts to 75%. Since only 30% is required to meet the prerequisite, the project easily achieves compliance."

Example 2. Palo Alto, California
Replace the last paragraph with the following text: "With a total landscape area of 16,000 square feet—10,000 square feet of groundcover (low water need, native species, drip irrigation) and 6,000 square feet of trees (medium water need, drip irrigation)—the tool now calculates a landscape water allowance of 41,886 gallons/month, and a landscape water baseline of 59,837 gallons/month. Compared with the New Jersey example above, the landscape water requirement for this design has increased to 26,713 gallons/month. The total savings from baseline is now 55%, but since only 30% is required, the project still achieves the prerequisite."

BD+C credit
Example 1. Livingston, New Jersey
Replace the paragraph that begins with "The landscape water allowance (30% below baseline minimum) equals..." with the following text: "The landscape water allowance equals 43,980 gallons/month. The landscape water baseline equals 62,829 gallons/month. The LWR for this design in this location is 15,939 gallons/month. The total savings from the baseline without alternative water sources amounts to 75%. The project achieves the credit and earns 1 point."

Example 2. Palo Alto, California
Replace the last paragraph with the following text: "With a total landscape area of 16,000 square feet—10,000 square feet of groundcover (low water need, native species, drip irrigation) and 6,000 square feet of trees (medium water need, drip irrigation)—the tool now calculates a landscape water allowance of 41,886 gallons/month, and a landscape water baseline of 59,837 gallons/month. Compared with the New Jersey example above, the landscape water requirement for this design has increased to 26,713 gallons/month. The total savings is now 55%, for 1 point."

O+M credit
Example 1. Livingston, New Jersey
Replace all of the text below the Water Budget Tool Table with the following (delete both existing paragraphs): "The landscape water allowance equals 43,980 gallons/month. The landscape water baseline equals 62,829 gallons/month. The LWR for this design in this location is 15,939 gallons/month. The total savings from the baseline amounts to 75%. The project achieves the credit and earns 2 points."

Example 2. Palo Alto, California
Replace the last paragraph with the following text: "With a total landscape area of 16,000 square feet—10,000 square feet of groundcover (low water need, native species, drip irrigation) and 6,000 square feet of trees (medium water need, drip irrigation)—the tool now calculates a landscape water allowance of 41,886 gallons/month, and a landscape water baseline of 59,837 gallons/month. Compared with the New Jersey example above, the landscape water requirement for this design has increased to 26,713 gallons/month. The total savings is now 55%, for 2 points."

ND credit
Add a new bullet point above the Landscape water allowance line that read: "Landscape water baseline = 746,090 gallons/month"
Campus Applicable
Yes
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/5/2016Updated: 4/7/2016
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Align the section with the text in the Prerequisite as follows:
"The World Meteorological Organization website (worldweather.wmo.int) and other sources provide annual precipitation data for many sites. If precipitation data for the project location are unavailable, they must be estimated.

Evapotranspiration data are available through various government and academic sources. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (fao.org/nr/water/eto.html) calculates reference evapotranspiration using a variety of algorithms based on monthly average weather data. The month with the largest deficit between reference evapotranspiration and rainfall is the peak watering month.

The international version of the WaterSense Water Budget Tool can be found on the USGBC website under this credit’s resources section (See International Tips, Canada)."
Campus Applicable
Yes
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/5/2016Updated: 4/7/2016
Form Update
Description of change:
In the Instructions tab, remove all "Pool, spa, or water feature" rows from the tables under the "Assumptions" section. In the Landscape Water Requirement tab, remove "Pool, spa, or water feature" from the drop down list under "Plant Type or Landscape Feature".
Campus Applicable
Yes
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
1/1/2015Updated: 2/14/2015
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Replace:
An Excel version of the WaterSense Water Budget Tool can be found under the Resources tab for this credit, at usgbc.org/credits.
Project teams outside the U.S. must complete the tool using IP rather than SI units. Use the conversion calculator found under the Resources tab.

With:
Projects outside the U.S: use the non-U.S. water budget calculator, which can be found on usgbc.org. Projects must provide rainfall and evapotranspiration data for their location. This calculator uses SI units.
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
10/1/2014Updated: 2/14/2015
Form Update
Description of change:
Initial release of the Outdoor Water Use Reduction Calculator (international version of EPA's WaterSense calculator with SI units).
Form changes include adding references to the new Outdoor Water Use Reduction Calculator and adding SI units to the additional reductions section.
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes

LEEDuser expert

Dan Ackerstein

Ackerstein Sustainability, LLC
Principal

See all LEEDuser forum discussions about this credit » Subscribe to new discussions about Schools-EBOM-v4 WEc1