As demand for locally grown food increases, LEED has recently imple- mented a new pilot credit addressing this trend. The pilot credit, SSpc82,
gives projects an opportunity to earn a
LEED point if they support local food production. The intent is to improve human
health and well-being as well as to encourage community involvement and education
on food production.
This credit, available to all new construction, existing building, and multifamily/
single-family home projects, can be earned
in a variety of ways. Option 1 requires projects to include space for on-site food production, while Options 2 and 3 are designed
for off-site growing. The flexibility of the
credit allows every building type the opportunity to support local food, whether or not
it is the main intention of the project.
A credit first—Downtown Market
Catalyst Partners, based in Grand Rapids,
Mich., worked with the Grand Rapids
Downtown Market—the first project to
earn SSpc82—to develop an on-site greenhouse. The idea was to support the Market’s
educational programs while providing food
to vendors in the Market Hall.
The Downtown Market pursued Option
1, providing at least 1 sq. ft. per full-time
equivalent (FTE) occupant excluding visitors from on-site agriculture. In many
buildings, this is not much space; the
Market only needed 194 sq. ft. of growing
space. However, the 6,500-sq.-ft. greenhouse was a part of the initial building
design, so the Market chose to dedicate
1,525 sq. ft. to growing food. The rest of the
greenhouse space is used for events as an
integral part of the educational and entrepreneurship programs.
Option 1 is the most involved route, as
Other ways to earn credit
it requires the building owner to provide
growing space on-site, develop an inte-
grated pest management plan, and pro-
vide resources to maintain the space. These
commitments can be a significant invest-
ment for this option, but it is important to
consider the community and the environ-
mental and economic benefits. Plus, it is a
great marketing tool.
Not all projects have on-site space to dedicate to food production. In these situations,
projects should consider Option 2—
community-supported agriculture (CSA) or
Option 3—support an existing farm.
Community-supported agriculture is a
popular way to access local food without
having to grow it yourself. Many CSAs will
deliver food directly to the site, or provide
shareholders with convenient pickup locations. This option is typically used in multifamily projects, but can be easily extended to
offices and retail environments where there
will be a consistent pool of CSA members.
Supporting a local farm is an excellent
Considerations for your project
choice for projects that want to encourage
local food production but cannot meet the
requirements for Options 1 or 2. Farmers
can always use volunteers, financial back-
ing, and new materials to be successful.
The success of a local food production program rests firmly on a solid foundation.
Consider these questions before moving
• What are your goals? What option fits
your project best?
• How much time and money can you
contribute to the program?
• What resources do you need to be successful? Do you have them? If not, how can
you get them?
• Who will be maintaining the program?
Will training be required?
Food comes from all around the world.
It is resource-intensive and can sometimes
harm local communities and the environment. Supporting local food production
LEED pilot credit takes root
green notes by Danielle Glaser
A new LEED pilot credit, SSpc82, gives projects an opportunity to earn a LEED point if they support
local food production. The Grand Rapids Downtown Market is the first project to earn SSpc82 by
implementing an on-site greenhouse to provide food to vendors in the Market Hall.