When pursuing LEED certification, it’s important to understand the positive or negative impacts the project’s location can have on your final LEED score. LEED’s Location and Transportation (LT) category focuses on taking advantage of existing infrastructure, encouraging alternatives to private automobile use, and connecting with amenities for building users (i.e. restaurants and parks).

LEED for New Construction v4 allocates 16 possible points for this category while LEED for Homes v4 gives 15 possible points, putting this category in the top 3 for both rating systems in terms of point impact. A project that performs well in this category will be well on its way to the LEED Certified threshold of 40 points.

Below are the top 5 ways that a project’s location can affect this category of LEED.

  1. Sensitive Land Protection – Locate the project on a previously developed site or a site that is confirmed not to be sensitive land (prime farmland, floodplains, habitats, water bodies, wetlands, etc.)
  2. Infill Development – Locate the project in an area where:
    • LEED Homes – the surrounding area is 75% developed (½ mile radius)
    • LEED NC – the surrounding density meets the required thresholds (¼ mile radius)
  3. Community Resources – Locate the project within ½ mile walking distance of at least 4 diverse uses such as pharmacies, banks, or restaurants (more points available for meeting higher thresholds)
  4. Access to Transit – Locate the project so that any functional entry is within:
    • ¼ mile of existing and/or planned bus, streetcar, and rideshare stops*
    • AND/OR ½ mile of existing or planned bus rapid transit stops, light or heavy rail stations, commuter rail stations, or commuter ferry terminals*
      *weekday and weekend trip thresholds to be met
  5. Bicycle Facilities – Locate the project within 200 yards of a bicycle network and provide the required number of short-term and long-term bicycle storage spaces (NC projects must install showers and changing facilities)

Locating a project in a dense, well-connected area can greatly assist a project in reaching its desired LEED certification threshold without incurring any additional costs. If you or your project team would like more information on how your project performs in LEED’s LT category, VCA Green’s team of LEED Accredited Professionals can provide ample feedback and guidance for your project. Contact Moe Fakih below for more information.

Contributing Writer: Mahmoud Harb, Project Manager

Moe Fakih, Principal