LEED credit for your garden | U.S. Green Building Council
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Have a green thumb and a green building project? Then, LEED pilot credit SSpc82: Local Food Production is for you! Whether the project is growing food onsite or supporting an off-site farm, it could be rewarded for the intrinsic value of local food production.

As with any LEED credit, there are site requirements. For Design and Construction (D&C) projects, the project owner can grow edibles in the ground, hydroponically, on the roof, or in a greenhouse. The metrics are based on the site or roof size or on the number of Full Time Equivalents (FTE). For LEED for Schools projects, it’s based on the number of students. Learn more about the criteria » 

Because Existing Building (EBOM) projects are able to use the ongoing activities of occupants, these projects can earn credit for occupant participation in supporting the functions of an on-site or local farm. There are two path options: either purchase shares in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm or help out an existing farm with financial or material support and staff volunteer time. Find the details »

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) processes must be used in all projects and permanent structure provided. The pilot credit resources has recommendations for herbicide and fertilizer usage and soil testing. This information will help your project to meet the credit intention to improve human health and well-being, community involvement, and education on food production.

The pilot credit lists the submittal requirements, some of which your project may have developed already. You'll need to gather together various drawings, narratives, and calculations.

So, how to decide? What to consider?

If your project is BD&C or ID&C:

  • Does it have space for the infrastructure?
  • Is irrigation necessary in the local climate?
  • Has the soil been tested in multiple locations?
  • Does the organization have staff or other resources committed to maintaining a food production area for at least the three-year commitment?
  • Is there permanent infrastructure such as, solar access, fencing, watering systems, garden bed enhancements (such as raised beds), secure storage space for tools, and pedestrian access for these spaces?
  • Are the caretakers willing and knowledgeable about IPM and natural fertilizers and pest control?
  • What will you do with the fresh, lovely produce? Who will eat it? Will it go to a food bank, will employees take it home, or can it be used in the building cafeteria?
  • Is someone on board to create the credit documentation? 

And, additionally for Schools projects, consider:

  • Is staff available to teach the lesson plans about community food production?
  • Are the students interested in learning about gardening?
  • Is there a maintenance plan for school breaks? 

If your project is applying for Existing Buildings certification and using Option 1 (CSA):

  • Is the building owner committed to local food production?
  • Does the building owner have staff to administer the program for at least the three-year commitment?
  • How many staff members are interested in CSA shares?
  • Is there an easy pick-up area in the building? Will refrigeration be needed?
  • Is someone on board to create the credit documentation?

Existing Buildings certification and using Option 2 (farm support):

  • Is the building owner committed to local food production?
  • Is there a commitment to provide either financial or material support for at least the three-year commitment?
  • Are there staff members interested in learning about farming and participating in the program?
  • How will staff work their farm hours during the work week?
  • Is someone on board to create the credit documentation? 

Pilot credit 82 is where well-being meets green buildings through exercise, healthy food, and productive, sustainable gardens.

Where will your project take this?


Pilot Credit 82 was developed and initiated by a team of green building professionals led by Joyce Lee, FAIA, LEED-AP. Their draft was reviewed, adjusted, and approved by USGBC/GBCI staff, the Sustainable Sites TAG, and LEED Steering Committee.

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