US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

Page last updated on April 10, 2019

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the U.S. Green Building Council's voluntary green building certification system. Under LEED Version 4.1 (2019), the following rating systems award up to 2 points for heat island reduction under the Sustainable Sites Credit: Building Design and Construction (BD+C); Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M); Neighborhood Development (ND) (LEED Version 4.0 2018); and Residential (Single Family and Multifamily). When cool roofs are used for the heat island reduction credit, the CRRC Rated Products Directory can be used to find products that meet the requirements. 

Options, requirements, and points vary by rating system. The tabs below outline each rating system's requirements and options for seeking the heat island reduction credit.

Please Note: The CRRC has summarized these credits for the convenience of CRRC users. The CRRC does not intend to interpret the credit requirements. Please visit www.usgbc.org/LEED for more information on LEED programs and to read the requirements for each rating system.

The LEED v4.1 Building Design and Construction (BD+C) rating system (January 2019) applies to buildings that are newly constructed or going through a major renovation. Under this rating system, up to 2 points may be awarded under the SS: Heat island reduction credit. There are 2 options for seeking this credit, listed below.

Compare roofing products by SRI in the CRRC Rated Products Directory to find products that meet the LEED requirements for obtaining this credit.

 
Requirements

New Construction, Core & Shell, Schools, Retail, Data Centers, Warehouses & Distribution Centers, Hospitality, Healthcare

Choose one of the following options:

Option 1. Nonroof and roof (2 points except Healthcare, 1 point Healthcare)

Meet the following criterion:

Alternatively, an SRI and SR weighted average approach may be used to calculate compliance.

Use any combination of the following strategies.

Nonroof Measures

  • Use the existing plant material or install plants that provide shade over paving areas (including playgrounds) on the site within 10 years of planting. Install vegetated planters. Plants must be in place at the time of occupancy and cannot include artificial turf.
  • Provide shade with structures covered by energy generation systems, such as solar thermal collectors, photovoltaics, and wind turbines.
  • Provide shade with architectural devices or structures. If the device or structure is a roof, it shall have an aged solar reflectance (SR)  value of at least 0.28 as measured in accordance with ANSI/CRRC S100. If the device or structure is not a roof, or if aged solar reflectance information is not available, it shall have at installation an initial SR of at least 0.33 as measured in accordance with ANSI/CRRC S100.
  • Provide shade with vegetated structures.
  • Use paving materials with an initial solar reflectance (SR)  value of at least 0.33.
  • Use an open-grid pavement system (at least 50% unbound).

High-Reflectance Roof

Use roofing materials that have an SRI equal to or greater than the values in Table 1. If aged SRI is not available,  the roofing material shall have an initial SRI equal to or greater than the values in Table 1.

Table 1. Minimum solar reflectance index value, by roof slope

  Slope Initial SRI 3-year aged SRI
Low-sloped roof ≤ 2:12 82 64
Steep-sloped roof > 2:12 39 32

Roof area that consists of functional, usable spaces (such as helipads, recreation courts, and areas covered by equipment, solar panels, and appurtenances) may meet the requirements of nonroof measures.

Vegetated Roof

Install a vegetated roof using native or adapted plant species.

 

OR

Option 2. Parking under Cover  (1 point)

Place a minimum of 75% of parking spaces under cover. Any roof used to shade or cover parking must (1) have a three-year aged SRI of at least 32 (if three-year aged value information is not available, use materials with an initial SRI of at least 39 at installation), (2) be a vegetated roof, or (3) be covered by energy generation systems, such as solar thermal collectors, photovoltaics, and wind turbines.

The credit calculations must include all existing and new off-street parking spaces that are leased or owned by the project, including parking that is outside the project boundary but is used by the project. On-street parking in public rights-of-way is excluded from these calculations.

The LEED v4.1 Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M) rating system (April 2019) applies to existing buildings that are undergoing improvement work or little to no construction. This rating system includes existing buildings, schools, retail, hospitality, data centers, and warehouses and distribution centers. Under this rating system, up to 2 points may be awarded under the SS: Heat island reduction credit. There are three options for seeking this credit listed below.

Compare roofing products by SRI in the CRRC Rated Products Directory to find products that meet the LEED requirements for obtaining this credit.

 

Requirements

Have in place strategies to minimize the project’s overall contribution to heat island effects and that meet the following criterion:

Alternatively, an SRI and SR weighted average approach may be used to calculate compliance.

Use any combination of the following strategies.

OPTION 1. Nonroof Measures (1 POINT)

  • Plants that provide shade over paving areas (including playgrounds) on the site. For newly installed plants, base shade area on 10-year canopy width at noon.
  • Vegetated planters.
  • Shade with structures covered by energy generation systems, such as solar thermal collectors, photovoltaics, and wind turbines.
  • Shade with architectural devices or structures that have a three-year aged solar reflectance (SR) value of at least 0.28. If three-year aged value information is not available meet an initial SR of at least 0.33.
  • Shade with vegetated structures.
  • Paving materials with a three-year aged solar reflectance (SR) value of at least 0.28. If three-year aged value information is not available, meet an initial SR of at least 0.33.
  • Open-grid pavement system (at least 50% unbound).

 

OR

OPTION 2. High-Reflectance Roof (1 POINT)

Establishment

Roofing materials with an SRI equal to or greater than the values in Table 1. Meet the three-year aged SRI value if available, otherwise, meet the initial SRI value.

Table 1. Minimum solar reflectance index value, by roof slope

  Slope Initial SRI 3-year aged SRI
Low-sloped roof ≤ 2:12 82 64
Steep-sloped roof > 2:12 39 32

 

OR

Option 3. Vegetated roof (1 point)

Vegetated roof. If newly installed, sufficient growing medium and plant material must be in place to provide full vegetative cover within 3-years.

Have in place a maintenance program that ensures all high-reflectance surfaces are cleaned at least annually to maintain good reflectance, all vegetation is maintained for plant health, and any vegetated structures or vegetated roofs are maintained for good structural condition.

The LEED v4 Neighborhood Development rating system (July 2018) applies to new land development projects or redevelopment projects containing residential uses, nonresidential uses, or a mix. Projects can be at any stage of the development process, from conceptual planning to construction. Under this rating system, up to 1 point may be awarded under the GIB: Heat Island Reduction Credit. There are three options for seeking this credit listed below.

Compare roofing products by SRI in the CRRC Rated Products Directory to find products that meet the LEED requirements for obtaining this credit.


REQUIREMENTS

Choose one of the following options:

Option 1. Nonroof (1 point)

Use any combination of the following strategies for 50% of the nonroof site paving (including roads, sidewalks, courtyards, parking lots, parking structures, and driveways).

  • Use the existing plant material or install plants that provide shade over the paving areas on the site within 10 years of plant material installation.
  • Install and plant planters, either at grade or raised. Plant material cannot include artificial turf.
  • Provide shade with structures covered by energy generation systems, such as solar thermal collectors , photovoltaics, and wind turbines, that produce energy used to offset some nonrenewable resource use.
  • Provide shade with architectural devices or structures that have a three-year aged solar reflectance (SR) value of at least 0.28. If three-year aged value information is not available, use materials with an initial SR of at least 0.33 at installation,
  • Provide shade with vegetated structures.
  • Use paving materials with a three-year aged solar reflectance (SR) value of at least 0.28. If three-year aged value information is not available, use materials with an initial SR of at least 0.33 at installation.
  • Use an open-grid pavement system (at least 50% unbound).

 

OR

Option 2. High-reflectance and vegetated roofs (1 point)

Use roofing materials that have an SRI equal to or greater than the values in Table 1.Meet the three-year aged SRI value (if three-year aged value information is not available, use materials that meet the initial SRI value) for a minimum of 75% of the roof area of all new buildings within the project, or install a vegetated (“green”) roof for at least 75% of the roof area of all new buildings within the project. Combinations of SRI-compliant and vegetated roofs can be used, provided they satisfy the equation in Option 3.

Table 1. Minimum solar reflectance index value, by roof slope

  Slope Initial SRI 3-year aged SRI
Low-sloped roof ≤ 2:12 82 64
Steep-sloped roof > 2:12 39 32

 

OR

Option 3. Mixed nonroof and roof measures (1 point)

Use any of the strategies listed under Options 1 and 2 that in combination meet the following criterion:

Alternatively, an SRI and SR weighted average approach may be used to calculate compliance.

The LEED v4.1 Residential rating system (April 2019) applies to Single Family homes, Multifamily Core & Shell and Multifamily.

Compare roofing products by SRI in the CRRC Rated Products Directory to find products that meet the LEED requirements outlined below.

Requirements

Single Family Homes

Ensure that at least 50% of hardscapes and roofs, but not including common roads that serve multiple buildings, on the project site meet one or more of the following requirements.  

Option 1. Nonroof and roof (1 point)

Use any combination of the following strategies.

Nonroof Measures

  • Use the existing plant material or install plants that provide shade over paving areas (including playgrounds) on the site within 10 years of planting. Install vegetated planters. Plants must be in place at the time of occupancy permit and cannot include artificial turf.
  • Provide shade with structures covered by energy generation systems, such as solar thermal collectors, photovoltaics, and wind turbines.
  • Provide shade with architectural devices or structures. If the device or structure is a roof, it shall have an aged solar reflectance (SR) value of at least 0.28 as measured in accordance with ANSI/CRRC S100. If the device or structure is not a roof, or if aged solar reflectance information is not available, it shall have at installation an initial SR of at least 0.33 as measured in accordance with ANSI/CRRC S100.
  • Provide shade with vegetated structures.

  • Use paving materials with an initial solar reflectance (SR) value of at least 0.33.
  • Use an open-grid pavement system (at least 50% unbound).

High-Reflectance Roof

Use roofing materials that have an aged SRI equal to or greater than the values in Table 1. If aged SRI is not available, the roofing material shall have an initial SRI equal to or greater than the values in Table 1.

Table 1. Minimum solar reflectance index value, by roof slope

Roof area that consists of functional, usable spaces (such as helipads, recreation courts, and areas covered by equipment, solar panels, and appurtenances) may meet the requirements of nonroof measures.

 

OR

Option 2. Tree planting (1 point)

Install a tree with a canopy width of at least 20 feet, or smaller trees that will have a cumulative shading area of at least 315 square feet. Shading should be calculated when the sun is directly overhead (noon on the summer solstice), based on ten years’ growth after installation.

 

Multifamily (MF) and MF Core & Shell (Non-US Countries)

Nonroof and roof (1-2 points)

Ensure that at least 50% of roof and nonroof hardscapes, but not including common roads that serve multiple buildings, on the project site meet one or more of the following requirements. Points are awarded according to Table 1.

Table 1. Points for percentage area with shading or nonabsorptive material

Percentage of hardscape area Points
50-75% 1
>75% 2

 

OR

Meet the following criterion for 2 points:

Alternatively, an SRI and SR weighted average approach may be used to calculate compliance.

Use any combination of the following strategies.

Nonroof Measures

  • Use the existing plant material or install plants that provide shade over paving areas (including playgrounds) on the site within 10 years of planting. Install vegetated planters. Plants must be in place at the time of occupancy permit and cannot include artificial turf.
  • Provide shade with structures covered by energy generation systems, such as solar thermal collectors, photovoltaics, and wind turbines.
  • Provide shade with architectural devices or structures. If the device or structure is a roof, it shall have an aged solar reflectance (SR) value of at least 0.28 as measured in accordance with ANSI/CRRC S100. If the device or structure is not a roof, or if aged solar reflectance information is not available, it shall have at installation an initial SR of at least 0.33 as measured in accordance with ANSI/CRRC S100.
  • Provide shade with vegetated structures.
  • Use paving materials with an initial solar reflectance (SR) value of at least 0.33.
  • Use an open-grid pavement system (at least 50% unbound)

High-Reflectance Roof

Use roofing materials that have an aged SRI equal to or greater than the values in Table 1. If aged SRI is not available, the roofing material shall have an initial SRI equal to or greater than the values in Table 1.

Table 1. Minimum solar reflectance index value, by roof slope

Roof area that consists of functional, usable spaces (such as helipads, recreation courts, and areas covered by equipment, solar panels, and appurtenances) may meet the requirements of nonroof measures.

Vegetated Roof

Install a vegetated roof using native or adapted plant species.