Habitat is more imperiled than ever as a result of habitat destruction, land fragmentation, pollution, and climate change. While LEED has long protected the environment and promoted sustainability, this Pilot ACP expands its role in habitat protection- not only on project sites, but offsite as well.
The credit, as it exists without this Pilot ACP, allows for projects on non-greenfield sites to transfer ownership of a tract of land to a land trust or conservation group, provided that the area given is equal to or greater than 60% of the previously developed area. In order for a project team to achieve offsite mitigation, project teams would have to purchase and transfer land – actions that have high transactional costs. There is also no guarantee that land given as an offset is of the same ecosystem value as the land used in the project. The donation of land parcels can result in isolated, small tracts of land with limited ecosystem value.
After consulting with leading land trusts, conservation organizations, building developers, and other key stakeholders, USGBC has determined that financial support is more effective in achieving the intent of these credits than the transfer of land. Resources can be deployed to the most critical conservation and restoration needs. This ACP aggregates all financial support, and by doing so, the same amount of money can go much further. NFWF is able to better leverage support by pairing it with matching funds from other sources. 100% of the support generated will be directed to NFWF and will be used for habitat and land conservation initiatives.
The estimated habitat benefit of potential preservation and restoration efforts, degree of leverage available, and most pressing needs at the time of donation will guide which NFWF conservation initiatives are chosen.
The following is a visual representation of how funds will be collected and distributed:
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is a congressionally chartered, independent 501(c)(3) non-profit. This organization will distribute and administer grants with funds generated from this pilot credit. NFWF supported 505 projects for a total of $192 million in distributed funds for environmental mitigation causes in 2012. Since NFWF was founded in 1984, it has facilitated over 12,000 grants to support conservation initiatives.
We welcome and value the opinions of our green building community. We are collecting feedback on LEED v4 during the 5th open commenting period. At this time, each USGBC site user may comment on the open credits.