LEED Certification and Natural Lands

October 21, 2022

Did you know it’s possible to earn a point toward LEED certification while helping to save open space and restore native habitat in Pennsylvania and/or New Jersey?

LEED-Certification projects can earn an additional 1 point by assisting with the conservation and restoration of natural habitat in Natural Lands’ service area.

As the oldest and largest conservation organization in Eastern Pennsylvania, and one accredited by the Land Trust Alliance (LTA), we are equipped to accept a contribution as outlined by the Green Building Council and SSc5.1 for both new and existing buildings seeking LEED certification.

A morning landscape of rolling hills and meadows borded by trees.

Photo: Simone Collins

LEED Certification and Natural Lands

Under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED v4 criteria, applicants may receive 1 point toward certification for fulfilling Option 2 of Site Development—Protect or Restore Habitat, credit SSc5.1.

Option 2 allows applicants to provide financial support to a land trust accredited by the Land Trust Alliance in the same state or EPA Level III ecoregion as the site seeking the certification. Credit aims to conserve existing natural areas and restore damaged ones to provide habitat and promote biodiversity.

Natural Lands is based in Media, Pennsylvania just outside of Philadelphia. Our network of 42 actively managed properties and a public garden in Pennsylvania and New Jersey include Level III Ecoregion 64, Level III Ecoregion 67 and Level III Ecoregion 84.

BD+C: New Construction

Provide financial support equivalent to at least $0.04 per square foot (US $4 per square meter) for the total site area (including the building footprint).

Note: The U.S. Green Building Council has updated this with an addendum, changing the $.02 per square foot requirement to $.04.

O+M: Existing Buildings

Provide financial support equivalent to at least $0.05 per square foot (US$0.50 per square meter) for the total site area (including the building footprint). Performance: Financial support must be provided annually to a nationally or locally recognized land trust or conservation organization within the same EPA Level III ecoregion or the project’s state.

How Natural Lands can help

We’ll assist you with obtaining this LEED credit by preparing a letter agreement confirming that Natural Lands is a 501(c) 3 non-profit and an LTA-accredited land trust. The document will describe the amount of and use of funds as well as your project location and square footage. Your financial support of Natural Lands enables lasting and transformative conservation work throughout our region.

For more information, please contact Lisa Hancock, Director of Institutional Giving at lhancock@natlands.org.

About Natural Lands

Natural Lands is the largest conservation organization working in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey to save open space, care for nature, and connect people to the outdoors. Over the last 70 years we have saved more than 125,000 acres, planted tens of thousands of trees, and restored habitat to encourage biodiversity across a wide range of landscapes. Today, five million people live within five miles of open space under our permanent protection, including 42 nature preserves and one public garden—properties owned and managed under our care that are open to the public free of charge, throughout the year.

Donations may be made with confidence. Beyond our conservation legacy, in 2020, 2021, and 2022 Natural Lands achieved a Platinum Seal of Transparencey from Guidestar  which rates 2.7 million nonprofits on their credibility, transparency, and efficacy.

Our preserves extend to northern Pennsylvania all the way down to the southern tip of New Jersey, with the majority located in Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Bucks County, and Berks County. Natural Lands serves communities in Philadelphia, Ambler, Allentown, Chester, Coatesville, Conshohocken, Downingtown, Exton, Great Valley, King of Prussia, Media, Plymouth Meeting, Reading, Lancaster, Villanova, Wayne, West Chester, Wilkes-Barre, Pottstown, and beyond to save open space, care for nature, and connect people to the outdoors.

To see our latest accomplishments, check out our news page to learn how we’ve been making an impact in our region.