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Sustainable Sites 5.1 – Site Development – Protect or Restore Habitat

Protect or Restore Habitat

Intention:

  1. Conserve existing natural areas
  2. Restore damaged areas
  3. Provide habitat space
  4. Promote biodiversity

Implementation:

  • greenfield sites : protect by limiting site disturbance beyond:
  1. 40 ft. of building perimeter
  2. 25 ft. of constructed areas
  3. 15 ft. of roadways
  4. 10 ft. of walkways
  5. 15 ft. of main utility trenches & 10ft. for utilities less than 12in. diamater
  • previously developed sites :
  1. keep 50% of site green (using native species)
  2. exclude building footprint in calculation
  • zero-lot-line:
  1. projects earning SS2 (60,000 sq.ft. min/acre) and using vegetated roofs may apply vegetated roof surface for this calculation
  2. 20% of site area to be green
  3. include building footprint in calculation

Codes or Standards Applied:

  1. none

Extra Credit:

  • previously developed sites : keep 75% (instead of 50%) site as green /vegetated with native species.

Submittal Phase:

  • construction

Links from Reference Guide:

  1. American Society of Landscape Architects
  2. Ecological Restoration
  3. Lady Bird Johnson Wildlife Center
  4. Plant Native
  5. Society for Ecological Restoration International
  6. Soil and Water Conservation Society

Other Sustainable Sites Credits

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45 Comments On This Post

  1. Great resource! Kudos to you! I have a first edition LEED-NC 2.2, and it has no reference to the zero lot line requirement. I wanted to confirm where that information came from before I added it into my brain for my test tomorrow. Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Hey Aaron,

    Thanks for the kind words. I’m looking at my reference guide right now, along with the Colorado Chapter Study Guide, and they mention the zero-lot-line. Here is a quote from the reference guide summary:

    “Projects earning SS Credit 2 (with reference to the 60,000sf/acre density calc.) and using vegetated roof surfaces may apply vegetated roof surface to this calculation (native/adaptive plants only)in which the requirement is 20% of the total site area (including building footprint). This option is intended for urban sites with little or no building setback (i.e. zero-lot-line).”

    Hope this helps! Good luck!

    Reply
  3. Your notes above and the practice test at Building Green (http://www.buildinggreen.com/live/index.cfm/2008/3/13/LEED-AP-Practice-Exam-Test-USGBC) states that SSc5.1 requires 20% restoration of the site including the building footprint. Is this a recent change? The test is dated March 08 and I’m using the October 2005 Manual. Has this changed?
    Whats the newest manual?
    Thanks for the help.
    -Paul

    Reply
  4. Hi Paul.

    I believe you are using the First Edition Manual. The Second edition came out on September 2006 and since then, a third has come out in October of 2007. Ugh, I know it’s annoying, but you can go to the usgbc website for the erratta sheets to see what has been updated since the first edition.

    I don’t have the first edition handy, so unless you missed this part, I’m guessing it was added later. Probably because
    the projects with a “zero-lot-line” had no way to really get this credit without this change.

    Let me know if you have any more questions. Thanks Paul and good luck.

    Reply
  5. Pat,
    Thanks for this great blog.
    One comment on the implementation of ‘previously developed site’ I think you mean to ‘minimize’ impervious surfaces as oppose to ‘restore’ impevious surfaces. right?
    Thanks again.

    Reply
  6. Or else restore ‘pervious’ surfaces.

    Thanks

    Reply
  7. Hi Drayton,

    I believe I have it correct. We are to “restore” impervious surfaces, meaning change them to pervious surfaces. I guess the English isn’t very good here, but I’m pretty sure it’s correct here. Maybe a better word would be to “REPLACE.” Any thoughts?

    Reply
  8. Hey Pat,

    I agree with you the word ‘replace’ would be better. But considering how good the test people are trying to trick us, it made me wonder. Thanks again for this very helpful site!!

    Reply
  9. Hi Pat,
    You have an absolutely wonderful resource here, and thank you so much for it.
    However, restore ‘impervious’ surfaces had me also surprised, until I read your answer to Drayton above. I guess you probably correct, but the fact is that it does leave a level of ambiguity which your site normally does not have.

    Reply
  10. Thanks for the comment, Krishna. I’ll see if I can come up with a clearer explanation for this. Thanks!

    Reply
  11. Hi Pat,

    The LEED reference book Im looking at (USGBC 2005 V2.2) says that for small utilities (12 in or less in diameter)you must limit the site disturbance to 10 feet. But, for main utilities you must limit disturbances to 15 ft, not 10 ft.

    Has somthing changed?

    Reply
  12. I’m seeing 10 ft. for 12in. or less diamater utilities, and 15ft for main utility branch trenches. (in the reference guide). I’ll make the change. Thanks!

    Reply
  13. Zero-lot-line + SSc2 (60k ft^2/acre) means only commercial projects achieving option 1 of SSc2 can apply a vegetated roof towards the 20%? Would that then mean a residential project achieving SSc2 option 2 could not apply its vegetated roof towards this 20% requirement?

    Reply
  14. Wes: Thats how i understand it

    Reply
  15. Thanks Parker…that seems silly, but thems the rules…

    Reply
  16. I’m guessing that exemplary credit for SSc5.1 for a zero lot line building scenario would be 75% of the roof, not a doubling of 20% to reach 40%, correct?

    the zero lot line scenario was new to me, thanks to this site.
    (Darn first edition 2.2 pdf…)

    Reply
  17. Another question: say you start with an undeveloped green site. 60,000 sf site. You develop 40,000 sf of the entire site as your building footprint. You follow the setback limits of 40′, etc.
    What’s stopping you from claiming this credit, even though you developed more than 50% of the green site? The setbacks were followed, but the intent of protecting half the site went out the window? It wasn’t a previously developed site, so as written, what’s stopping a developer from doing this and still claiming the credit?

    Reply
  18. 5. Urban projects on previously developed sites using vegetated roof surfaces with native or adapted plants to attain SS Credit 5.1, Site Development: Protect or Restore Habitat, must fulfill which of the following requirements? (Choose 1.)
    a. restore or protect at least 20% of the site area, excluding building footprint
    b. restore or protect at least 20% of the site area, including building footprint
    c. restore or protect at least 50% of the site area, excluding building footprint
    d. restore or protect at least 50% of the site area, including building footprint

    the answer given to this qs. is B. I answered C.

    but now when i look at the qs., if i was to EXCLUDE the building footprint – i would not be making using of the vegetated roof.

    HELP!

    Reply
  19. Once you earn SSC2 Option 1 (60,000 density), you have proven to USGBC that you are indeed developing on a qualifying urban site. For urban sites, the USGBC sets different thresholds for compliance. These differences take into account the fact that designers may have very little if any (zero lot line) site area to protect, restore, or leave as openspace area.

    Because of these inherent limitations, the USGBC allows designers to include the building footprint into the calculations. This effectivly gives designers more site area to protect, restore, or leave as openspace area (now you can include vegetated roofs as part of your calculations because it includes the site footprint)

    Additionally, the USGBC also reduced the overall openspace requirements from 50% to 20%.

    Other things to note:

    - Pedestrian orientated hardscape can count in calculations as long as they are 25% vegetated
    - Constructed wetlands and natural bodies of water can also be included if the slope is 1:4 or less and vegetated.

    Reply
  20. Thanks Parker.

    crystal clear. It couldnt have been explained better

    Thanks a bunch

    Reply
  21. Parker:

    What you are talking about reflects in ss c5.2.

    Does the same apply to ssc5.1? my qs relates to ss c 5.1
    Thanks in advance

    Reply
  22. Arpita:

    Everything I said applies to both SS5.2 and 5.1 however, pedestrian orientated hardscape is only applicable to credit 5.2. Although 5.1 doesn’t specifically say wetlands would count, it is implied from the intent of the credit.

    Reply
  23. Thanks Parker

    Reply
  24. I’m not seeing in the Reference Guide where it specifies that only Option 1 of SSc2 is acceptable… will someone please point me to the right place? I’m using the Third edition…

    Reply
  25. What is your qs about mam02k?

    Reply
  26. To earn SSc2 there are two options: to have a density of 60,000 sf/acre, or the Community Connectivity option. My question is, where in the Reference guide under SSc5.1 does is say that the Density option must be earned to qualify for the zero-lot-line path of this credit? Pat has it called out here and in the AP Walkthrough, but i can’t find it in the Guide.

    Reply
  27. http://209.85.173.132/search?q=cache:vJnbr5jSZmcJ:https://www.green-building.org/ShowFile.aspx%3FDocumentID%3D2609+1st+Edition+errata+posted+November+17,+2005,+and+June+29,+2006&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

    That link is to the 1st set of Erratas which for Edition 1 (most of you are using 2 or 3).This apparently got incorporated into Version 2)

    See what it says about SS c5.1 (on the first page) – it is an HTML file. The PDF does not open for some reason!SIGH

    does not mention LOT LINE – but talks about everything else.

    Hope this helps

    Reply
  28. Can a urban project satisfying the base requirements of SSc5.1 , attain exemplary credit, if so how?

    Reply
  29. Arpita asked:
    “5. Urban projects on previously developed sites using vegetated roof surfaces with native or adapted plants to attain SS Credit 5.1, Site Development: Protect or Restore Habitat, must fulfill which of the following requirements? (Choose 1.)
    a. restore or protect at least 20% of the site area, excluding building footprint
    b. restore or protect at least 20% of the site area, including building footprint
    c. restore or protect at least 50% of the site area, excluding building footprint
    d. restore or protect at least 50% of the site area, including building footprint

    the answer given to this qs. is B. I answered C.

    but now when i look at the qs., if i was to EXCLUDE the building footprint – i would not be making using of the vegetated roof.

    HELP!”

    I just took the same quiz and looked up the answer in the LEED-NC Version 2.2 Reference Guide, which states:

    “On previously developed or graded sites, restore or protect a minimum of 50% of the
    site area (excluding the building footprint) with native or adapted vegetation. Projects earning SS Credit 2 and using vegetated roof surfaces may apply the vegetated roof surface to this calculation if the plants meet the de?nition of native/adapted.”

    Reply
  30. Sabrina asked:

    “Can an urban project satisfying the base requirements of SSc5.1 attain exemplary credit; if so, how?”

    Exemplary credit is set at 75% green space for SSc5.1 . The credit threshold itself is 50%.

    This is from the LEED-NC Version 2.2 Reference Guide pg 68:

    “The project may be awarded one innova-
    tion point for exemplary performance
    in restoring or protecting a minimum
    of 75% of the site area (excluding the
    building footprint) with native or adapted
    vegetation on previous developed or
    graded sites.”

    Reply
  31. Hi,
    Can somebody please clarify me this question.

    Urban projects on previously developed sites using vegetated roof surfaces with native or adapted plants to attain SS Credit 5.1, site development : protect or restore habitat, must fulfill which of the following requirements (choose 1):

    a. restore or protect at least 20% of the site area, excluding building footprint.
    b. restore or protect at least 20% of the site area, including building footprint.
    c. restore or protect at least 50% of the site area, excluding building footprint.
    d. restore or protect at least 50% of the site area, including building footprint.

    The answer given to this question is b, although i think it should be c.

    Can someone please clarify.

    Thanks

    Reply
  32. In a value engineering exercise for an office building in a zoned commercial development, a heated and enclosed smoking pavilion located more than 25 feet away from building entrances, operable windows, and fresh air intakes has been removed from a project design. The pavilion was to be constructed with no-added-urea-formaldehyde composite lumber. The owner wants to do the minimum necessary to comply with LEED credits that are being pursued. The project will definitely need to adjust calculations for compliance with which credits? (Choose Two)

    A) SS Credit 7.2, Heat Island Effect: Roof
    B) MR Credit 4.4, Low-Emitting Materials: Composite Wood
    C) EQ Prequisite 2, ETS Control
    D) SS Credit 6.2, Stormwater Management: Quality
    E) SS Credit 5.1, Protect or Restore Habitat

    Answers are A and E. I can see how E would qualify since you are taking away the smoking pavilion, therefore providing more natural open space. I don’t see how there is enough information to select A. I originally chose B and C…but I guess since these factors are being discarded, they don’t apply to credits being pursued.

    Can someone please help!?!?!

    Reply
  33. cus182 – your question is discussed above.
    For the previous discussion on same question …
    I still have a question on this question. The question does not state that the project has earned SS2 credit, just that it is urban and has a vegetated roof. The 5.1 requiremetns are that the project be ‘earning SS2′. Since the question didn’t mention SS2, I would have thought the answer would be C as well. Having the answer be B requires an assumption that the project is complying with many more requirements (60K sqft density, etc) which are not mentioned in the question. I think it’s a large leap for the question to expect the assumption that the project will earn SS2.

    Reply
  34. Miche,
    I agree, the question is very poorly written.
    1. Answer A is likely if the owner is pursuing SS c7.2
    2. It is not B, there are no credits concerning formaldehyde in MR
    3. It is not C, the question is concerning credits and not pre-req.
    4. Answer D is less likely, eliminating roof area impacts quantity more than quality. Roof water is generally not required to be treated.
    5. Answer E is likely if the pavilion is replaced with vegetated green space (this is not stated in the question)

    Reply
  35. Hello Folks! How I wish, I had known about this excellent website earlier enough! My LEED NC v2.2 exam date is June 30, 2009, the very last day. I am very much under prepared. I have just 40 hours of expendable time to cram in as much info I could into my brain! Any tips? Thanks!

    Reply
  36. -know who is responsible for each credit
    -the standards
    -the pre requisites
    -the exemplary performance credits
    - and the ERRATA sheets

    that would be my take

    and practice 10 minutes brain dump material in order to just vomit out things you need to remember on a sheet of paper (in the examination hall)- that helps a lot for quick recollection!

    Reply
  37. Thanks a lot Arpita! I guess you passed the LEED exam already?

    Reply
  38. Yes I did….back in March!
    Best of Luck!

    Reply
  39. Thanks! Yes, I need luck. I liked the “brain dump” idea. I did not know that we could do that in the test center!

    Reply
  40. Dumb question: what is the difference between a CREDIT and a POINT??

    Reply
  41. Sustainable Site is a credit

    A point is what you get, if you follow everything under the credit requirements

    Reply
  42. Ram, Brain dump is invaluable if you tend to forget things and will be needed to remind you of things as you tackle the tricky questions in the exam.

    Reply
  43. yes, it should be, especially with the tons of material one has to memorize. good tip!

    Reply
  44. My projects are situated on a Military Installation. Seed Mix A and B [grasses only native and adaptive] are required to vegetate areas disturbed in construction. For LEED Credit SS 5.1 Protect or Restore will we meet the requirements, restore?

    Reply
    • Colorado Gov/Energy site: The USGBC characterizes native and adaptive species as an area that will not be mowed. The base has stopped mowing due to budget, technically it will not be mowed. Requirements I assume will not be met.

      Reply

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