Surface water management | U.S. Green Building Council
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LEED BD+C: Homes | v3 - LEED 2008

Surface water management

SSc4 | Possible 7 points


Design site features to minimize erosion and runoff from the home site.





Note: Certain surface water management strategies may be regulated, restricted, or even prohibited by local water authorities or code requirements.

4.1 Permeable lot (maximum 4 points, as specified in Table 1). Design the lot such that at least 70% of the buildable land, not including area under roof, is permeable or designed to capture water runoff for infiltration on-site. Area that can be counted toward the minimum includes the following:

  1. Vegetative landscape (e.g., grass, trees, shrubs).
  2. Permeable paving, installed by an experienced professional. Permeable paving must include porous above ground materials (e.g., open pavers, engineered products) and a 6-inch porous subbase, and the base layer must be designed to ensure proper drainage away from the home.
  3. Impermeable surfaces that are designed to direct all runoff toward an appropriate permanent infiltration feature (e.g., vegetated swale, on-site rain garden, or rainwater cistern).

4.2 Permanent erosion controls (1 point). Design and install one of the following permanent erosion control measures:

a) If portions of the lot are located on a steep slope, reduce long-term runoff effects through use of terracing and retaining walls.


b) Plant one tree, four 5-gallon shrubs, or 50 square feet of native groundcover per 500 square feet of disturbed lot area (including area under roof ).

4.3 Management of runoff from roof (maximum 2 points). Design and install one or more of the following runoff control measures:

a) Install permanent stormwater controls (e.g., vegetated swales, on-site rain garden, dry well, or rainwater cistern) designed to manage runoff from the home (1 point).

b) Install vegetated roof to cover 50% of the roof area (0.5 point).


c) Install vegetated roof to cover 100% of the roof area (1 point).

d) Have the site designed by a licensed or certified landscape design or engineering professional such that all water runoff from the home is managed through an on-site design element (2 points).

Table 1. Permeable Area

Percentage of buildable lot (excluding area under roof) that is permeable Points
70–79% 1
80–89% 2
90–99% 3
100% 4

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