Site selection | U.S. Green Building Council
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LEED BD+C: Homes | v4 - LEED v4

Site selection

Possible 8 points


To encourage construction in environmentally preferable locations and avoid development of sensitive lands.


Option 1. Sensitive land protection (3-4 points)
Path 1. Previously developed (4 points)

Select a lot such that at least 75% of the total buildable land is previously developed.


Path 2. Avoidance of Sensitive Land (3 points)

Do not develop new buildings, hardscapes, roads or parking areas on portions of sites that meet any of the following criteria:

  • Prime farmland. The development footprint does not consist of prime farmland, unique farmland, or farmland of statewide or local importance as defined by the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 7, Volume 6, Parts 400 to 699, Section 657.5 or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.
  • Parkland. Land that prior to acquisition for the project was public parkland, unless land of equal or greater value as parkland is accepted in trade by the public landowner (park authority projects are exempt);
  • Floodplain. Land that lies within a flood hazard area shown on a legally adopted flood hazard map (such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 100 year flood plain) or otherwise legally designated by the local jurisdiction of the state;
  • Habitat. Land specifically identified as habitat for the following:
    • species listed as threatened or endangered under the U.S. Endangered Species Act or the state’s endangered species act, or
    • species or ecological communities classified by NatureServe as GH (possibly extinct), G1 (critically imperiled), or G2 (imperiled), or
    • species listed as threatened or endangered specifies under local equivalent standards (in areas outside of the United States) that are not covered by NatureServe data.
  • Wetlands. Land that is either (1) within 50 feet (15 meters) of any wetlands as defined by the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations 40 CFR, Parts 230-233 and Part 22, and isolated wetlands or areas of special concern identified by state or local rule, or (2) within the setback distances from wetlands prescribed local, state, or national regulations, whichever is more stringent; or
  • Water bodies. Land that is within 100 feet (30 meters) of a water body, defined as seas, lakes, rivers, streams, and tributaries that support or could support fish, recreation, or industrial use, consistent with the terminology of the Clean Water Act 40 CFR 122.2.


Option 2. Infill development (2 points)

Select a lot such that at least 75% of the land within ½ mile (800 meters) from the project boundary is previously developed land. Water bodies and publicly owned parks are excluded from the calculation.

For projects within city limits of towns with populations of less than 20,000, select a lot where at least 75% of the land immediately adjacent to the project boundary is previously developed land. A bordering street itself does not constitute previously developed land; instead, it is the status of the property on the other side of the segment of the street that matters. Any fraction of the boundary that borders a water body is excluded from the calculation.


Option 3. Open space (1 point)

Select a location within ½ mile (800 meters) of a publicly accessible or community-based open space that is at least ¾ acre (0.3 hectare), or create publicly available open space on the project site. The open space requirement can be met with either one large open space or two smaller spaces totaling ¾ acre (0.3 hectare).


Option 4. Street network (1 point)

Locate the project in an area of high intersection density, defined as an area whose existing streets and sidewalks create at least 90 intersections per square mile (35 intersections per square kilometer). When determining the number of intersections, include the following:

  • intersections within a ¼ mile (400 meter) radius of project boundary;
  • streets and sidewalks that are available for general public use and not gated;
  • sidewalk intersections provided they are a unique right of way (i.e., a sidewalk through a city park); and
  • publicly accessible alleys.

Exclude the following:

  • intersections in gated areas, which are not considered available for public use, with the exception of education and health care campuses and military bases where gates are used for security purposes;
  • water bodies and public parks; and
  • intersections leading only to a dead end or cul-de-sac.


Option 5. Bicycle network and storage (1 point)

Meet both of the following requirements:


Design or locate the project such that a primary entry and/or bicycle storage is within a 200-yard (180 meters) walking distance or bicycling distance from a bicycle network that connects to at least one of the following. All choices must be within 3 miles (4 800 meters) bicycling distance of the project boundary.

  1. At least 10 uses (see LT Community Resources)
  2. A school or employment center
  3. bus rapid transit stops, light or heavy rail stations, commuter rail stations and/or ferry terminals

If the network borders the project boundary, a safe, all-weather route must exist between the bicycle network and the project’s bicycle storage and/or main entrance.

Planned bicycle trails or lanes may be counted if they are fully funded at the certificate of occupancy date and are scheduled for completion within one year of that date.


Provide short-term bicycle storage capacity equal to 2.5% or more of all building occupants but no fewer than four storage spaces per building. Short-term bicycle storage must be within 100 feet (30 meters) of a primary entry.

Provide long-term bicycle storage capacity equal to 30% of all building occupants, but no less than one storage space per residential unit. Long-term bicycle storage must be within 100 feet (30 meters) of a primary entry.

Bicycle storage capacity may not be double counted; storage that is fully allocated to the occupants of non-project facilities cannot also serve project occupants.

A single family dwelling unit with enclosed garage meets the bicycle storage requirement.

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