I am struggling with the language of this credit. In particular the word "OR" in the credit title. We have achieved this credit on other projects. The language has changed considerably since 2009 but the description of changes does not indicate this change.
To keep this example simple, assume 10,000 sq ft site with a 6000 sq ft building area and parking lot. To build on this site, we will have 8,000 sq ft of mass grading and site preparation. When the project is complete, we will have 40% (4000 sq ft) of land set aside and protected. 2500 sq ft (25%) of this protected area will be restored with native vegetation.
In the past, this was an accepted approach. The land that was preserved and protected was not based on setting aside 40% prior to construction. The 40% protected area was set aside and restored after the project was complete. Further, we have always utilized overlapping land for the protected and restored area. To plant a portion of protected area with native vegetation, would require the protected area to be disturbed.
Previous credit interpretations from LEED user do not appear to support this interpretation. I read the other interpretations for a similar 10,000 sq ft site to have 4,000 sq ft of the site set aside and never touched. The allowable area on this site, including mass grading would be 6,000 sq ft. 25% (2500 sq ft) of the disturbed area on site would be restored, leaving 3,500 sq ft of the site to be developed with building and parking. This is very restrictive to set aside 65% of the site total.
LEED user also states: Any building can earn this credit
This credit can be earned by any building, even those that don’t have large amounts of vegetation onsite. Projects that do have sufficient vegetation onsite can earn two points, while projects that pursue the financial support option max out at one point.
The reference manual says protect 40% and option 1: restore the site or Option 2: provide financial support. The protection of 40% of the site is not an option - it is required. If you are on a small site, this credit may not be achievable and meet the program requirements.
Thank you in advance for your review. I appreciate the insight as we move forward in developing our LEED scorecard for this project.