Place vegetation or vegetated structures in strategic locations around regularly occupied buildings to reduce energy consumption and costs associated with indoor climate control.
This credit only applies to sites with regularly occupied buildings or buildings that use HVAC temperature regulation.
Option 1: Reduce energy use
- Use vegetation or vegetated structures to reduce total annual building energy use for heating and cooling by:
- 5 percent 2 points
- 7 percent 4 points
Option 2: Provide shade structures
- Use vegetation or vegetated structures to shade 100 percent of the exposed surface area of all HVAC units within 10 years of installation.
- Shade a percentage of the surface area of west, southwest, southeast, and east building façades and 30 percent of total roof area within 10 years of installation as follows:
- 30 percent 1 point
- 60 percent 2 points
Option 3: Provide a windbreak
- Use trees and dense shrubs to serve as a windbreak for the buildings as follows:
- One row of trees and dense shrubs that extends for the full length of the building’s façades facing the prevailing winter wind 1 point
- Two or more rows of trees and dense shrubs in a staggered planting formation, with rows planted 12 to 20 feet (3.66 to 6.10 meters) apart, extending at least 50 feet (15.24 meters) longer than the building’s walls facing the prevailing winter wind 2 points
The windbreak must:
- Be at least 60 feet (18.29 meters) and no more than 200 feet (60.96 meters) from the building walls facing the prevailing winter wind (the windbreak provides ideal wind protection at distances two to five times the mature height of the trees)
- Not cast shadows on the building
- Use densely branched trees and dense shrubs, or a combination of these, branched to the ground in a row or rows to increase the density of the windbreak
- Use spacing guidelines in the resources listed below for trees and shrubs in the windbreak to provide vegetation density that is adequate to protect the building. Spacing between rows and within rows should allow for proper use of suitable maintenance equipment.
Note: Projects can pursue both Option 2 and Option 3.
- Consult a local professional (e.g., arborist) for information on plant species that maximize benefits appropriate to the climate. Select tree and shrub species that can provide additional benefits to the site, such as food and habitat for wildlife or visual barriers from highways.
- In addition to trees, use shade trellises, green roofs, green façades, and green walls to increase shading. Select deciduous trees that allow access to the sun in winter and provide shade in summer.
- Vegetated roofs and walls may be an appropriate technique in helping to insulate the building envelope as well as providing ecosystem services such as water retention, habitat, and mentally restorative views for building occupants.