With the rise in demand for resource efficiency, proper indoor air quality and lower energy bills, green buildings are the new standard for the construction industry. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a third-party certification program for green buildings developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
LEED certification encourages innovation in sustainable urban development by awarding credits to projects that satisfy requirements in categories such as Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency and Indoor Environmental Quality. LEED-designed work and living places stimulate resource efficiency and productive communities. Those who pursue certification benefit from instant name recognition, amongst many other merits, including long-term wellness and environmental payoff, possible tax incentives, high return-on-investment and increased marketability.
LEED-CERTIFIED ON-SITE GARDEN
Whether your intent is to provide fresh produce for a community, restore habitat and foster biodiversity or promote healthy lifestyle choices in office workers through a corporate wellness program, LEED emphasizes the value of having an on-site food production system that mimics natural systems, and rewards its pursuers accordingly. Gardens are productive, simple ways to promote environmental sustainability and healthy lifestyles in a community
POSSIBLE LEED CREDITS
Whether you are planning a mixed-use redevelopment project for a neighborhood or in the process of constructing a new building, you are able to accrue credits toward certification. Sites with an on-site vegetable garden are eligible for up to 6 LEED credits in the following four categories:
- Local Food Protection (1 credit)
- Social Equity Within the Community (1 credit)
- Heat Island Reduction (2 credits)
- Site Development: Protect or Restore Habitat (2 credits)
Ecoscaping is a holistic approach to sustainable land management meant to increase biodiversity and strengthen local ecosystems. This is an opportunity for GCG to create a customized and aesthetically pleasing landscape that incorporates high-yield gardens to help your building and land become more sustainable.
LOCAL FOOD PRODUCTION
The LEED v4 2013 program released a pilot credit for Local Food Production to better human health. This project is intended to improve human nutrition and inform the community about sustainable, small-scale food production.
SOCIAL EQUITY WITHIN THE COMMUNITY
This credit encourages the nurturing of healthier communities, and may be fulfilled by identifying and working with an existing advocacy or service nonprofit and finding ways in which your project can improve social equity. Your project can collaborate with a local nonprofit food bank and donate the food that is produced by your garden to the organization.
HEAT ISLAND REDUCTION
As built infrastructure replaces natural areas, the land becomes more impermeable and susceptible to forming an “island” of spiked surface and atmospheric temperature. LEED’s Heat Island Reduction credit was initiated to decrease effects on micro climates and habitats by minimizing heat islands, which can be accomplished by growing food and native plants on your site.
SITE DEVELOPMENT: PROTECT OR RESTORE HABITAT
Construction often inhibits habitats from thriving. LEED created the Protect or Restore Habitat credit in an effort to urge building teams to mitigate habitat destruction and promote biodiversity on-site. The LEED credit library states that a vegetated roof surface may earn credit for this project “if the plants are native or adapted, provide habitat, and promote biodiversity.” Some edible New England native plants GCG can plant for you are wild leeks/ramps, Jerusalem artichokes, wild strawberries and ostrich fern fiddle heads.
Allow Green City Growers to help your building become more environmentally friendly. Engage with us as consultants, or hire us to provide our customized products + services to your building. Give us a call to discuss!