Green Credits for Parking Lots and EV Charging Stations

by Professor Buck Abbey, Landscape Architect

Green Building systems such as LEED 4.1TM™ BD+C, and SITES v2TM™ promote responsible environmental design and construction. These programs do this by certifying points that measure sustainability. Architects, engineers, landscape architects and contractors who follow these practices reduce water demand, manage and clean stormwater runoff, reduce energy consumption, improve air quality, lower urban heat island buildup, optimize shade through solar control, protect human health and preserve native habitat for wildlife and human outdoor activity. In addition when parking lots use fabric sun screens and Electric Vehicle Charging Stations 51-97 points can be earned toward sustainability credits for those who are designing sustainable buildings and green parking lots.

Designers and contractors who follow these green practices in building shade covered fast charging stations for Electric Vehicles can earn between 51-97 sustainability credits though the use of LEED and SITES.

Hundreds of thousands charging stations for electric vehicles are needed to support the use of battery powered automobiles. Charging stations will need to be built across the nation along every Interstate Highway System to allow long distance cross country travel. These stations will feature Level 2 or DC Fast Charge electric charger infrastructure manufactured by ChargePoint and supplied by Apollo Sunguard. The siting of these charging stations will work best if located in green parking lots close to an Interstate ramp and within city centers near multi-modal transit connections for bikes, bus, taxi, train and AVs (autonomous vehicles). These charging stations might also contain facilities for fueling vehicles that power up with compressed natural gas (CNG fueling) or liquefied natural gas (LNG fueling) or even liquefied petroleum gas (propane)  (LPG fueling) all of which can meet LEED-SITES standards. These new state of the art charging stations will lower carbon impacts to our climate, purify the air, clean stormwater run off, increase local biomass, reduce urban heat and promote human health and well-being. Cleansing the air of carbon output will make cities a more healthy place for urban dwellers and even enhance living conditions for wildlife who dwell within the urban forest.

 green parking lot

green parking lots

Green Building Programs Sustainability

Credits for fast charging EV Stations*


LT Credit – Access to Quality Transit. Locate within 1/4 mile to multimode travel points such as bus stops, street cars, transit stops, passenger rail.  (1-5 points)

LT Credit – Locate bicycle entry or bicycle storage within 200 yard walking distance from a bicycle network. (1 point)

LT Credit – Electric Vehicles. Provide charging infrastructure for electric vehicles for on site parking. (1 point)

SS Credit – Protect or Restore Habitat. Preserve and protect from all development and construction activity 40% of the greenfield area (open space) of the site if such area exists or restore 15% of the total site area, (1 point)

SS Credit – Open Space. Provide outdoor space greater than or equal to 30% of the total site area. At least 25% of the calculated open space must be vegetated space planted with two or more types of vegetation or have an overhead vegetative canopy. (1 point)

SS Credit – Rainwater Management.  Retain on site the runoff from a regional or local rainfall event using low-impact development (LID) and green infrastructure practices. (1-3 points)

SS Credit – Heat Island Reduction. Minimize the effects on microclimate, humans and wildlife by reducing heat islands using non-roof measures.  (2 points)

SS Credit – Light Pollution Reduction. Meet uplight and light trespass requirements for all exterior luminaries. (1 point)


Context Credit 1.5 – Redevelop Degraded Sites. Protect ecosystem functions, channel new development to urban previously developed areas.  (3 points)

Water Credit 3.3 – Manage Precipitation beyond baseline. Manage on-site infiltration, evapotranspiration, harvest use, retain or treat maximum precipitation possible above the 60th precipitation event. (4 – 6 points)

Water Credit 3.5 – Design Functional Stormwater Features As Amenities. Integrate aesthetically pleasing stormwater features that are visually and physically accessible and manage stormwater on-site. (4-5 points)

Soil + Veg Credit 4.5 – Conserve Special Status Vegetation. Identify and conserve all vegetation on site designated as special status by local, state or federal entities. (4 points)

Soil + Veg Credit 4.6 – Conserve and use native plants. Conserve or install native plants meeting SITES Native Plants Calculator scores. (3-6 points)

Soil + Veg Credit 4.8 – Optimize Biomass. Maintain or establish a regionally appropriate vegetative biomass by adding site vegetation to meet the site biomass density index (BDI). (1-6 points)

Soil + Veg Credit 4.8 – Reduce Urban Heat Island Effects (UHI). Use vegetation and reflective materials to reduce urban heat emanating from site paving, structures such as roads, sidewalks, courtyards, playgrounds and shelters and parking lots.  (4 points)

Materials Credit 5.9 – Support Sustainability in Materials Manufacturing. (1-5 points) Specifying and using materials from manufacturers whose practices reduce resource consumption and waste, minimize negative effects on human health and the environment. (1 or 3 points)

HHWB Credit 6.4 – Improve human health and well-being by providing visual and physical connections to restorative spaces. (2 points)

HHWB Credit 6.6 – Strengthen community and encourage social connections by providing outdoor gathering spaces to support people gathering, eating, working, and playing together. (2 points)

HHWB Credit 6.8 – Reduce light pollution. Minimize negative effects on nocturnal environments and human health by reducing sky-glow, and increase nighttime visibility by reducing light trespass on site. (4 points)

HHWB Credit 6.9 – Encourage Fuel Efficient and Multi-modal transportation with such facilities as weather protection shelters, seating, bicycle parking, preferred parking, shared usage facilities, electric recharge stations.  (4 points)

HHWB Credit 6.10 – Minimize exposure to environmental tobacco.  (1-2 points)

HHWB Credit 6.11 – Support local economy. Provide economic and social benefits to the local community during site construction providing employments and purchasing local materials and services. (3 points)

Construction Credit 7.5 – Divert construction and demolition materials from disposal. (3-4 points)

Construction Credit 7.6 – Divert reusable vegetation, rocks, and soil from disposal. (3-4 points)

O+M Credit 8.3 – Recycle organic matter. (3-5 points)

O+M Credit 8.4 – Minimize pesticide and fertilizer use.

O+M Credit 8.5 – Reduce outdoor energy consumption. (2-4 points)

O+M Credit 8.6 – Use renewable sources for outdoor energy consumption. (2-4 points)

Education Credit 9.1 – Promote sustainability awareness and education. (3-4 points)

Education Credit 9.2 – Develop and communicate a case study.  (3 points)


Black text, minimal points earned with the design of a VE Charging Station (51)

Blue text, additional points might be earned for the design of an EV Charging Station (46)

Total maximum LEED or SITES points that might be earned  (97)

*Note Credits from the use of LEED and SITES Green Building Systems

It should be noted that when EV Charging is added to green parking lots, exterior traditional parking lots or any facility where autos or fleets are stored overnight these green building system codes can be used in the design or either a building, building site or a parking lot. The number of credits (51-97) is variable based upon the needs of the developer, builder or designer and the specific location of the project. The list of credits above imply that these credits could apply to the design of a covered EV charging station the include parking for bicycles and a waiter area for those charging a vehicle.


        Concerning SITES and LEED Credit Exchangeability

SITES & LEED Synergies Credits

LEED and SITES are related green building programs administered by Green Building Certification, Inc., (GBCI), a management affiliate of the  USGBC (United States Green Building Council).

The two programs sponsored by them have been designed in tandem to design and build both green buildings and green landscapes that protect or restore urban land to more natural fertility, soil porosity and botanical diversity.

In fact, synergies have been built into these programs where credits may be used interchangeably. This means credits may be substituted between LEED and SITES where by LEED can earn SITES credits and SITES can earn LEED credits.

Architects, engineers and builders frequently use the LEED green building standards while landscape architects and ecological consultants use the SITES standards to green the site where a building or other structure is to be built.

Analysis of these two programs indicated that 40 credits are easily exchanged. So when a building project takes place architects, engineers, landscape architects and others will collaborate to make both the land and the structure sustainable whereby energy use is minimized and the environment is protected. This also means that if a building design is being prepared under LEED 4.0 many credits will go toward designing and building a green building site following the green building standards of the SITES program. For details about  this interchangeability between the two systems refer to the GBCI document Synergies Between SITES and LEED, October 2016. This is available by download from the United States Green Building Council. Let’s look at some of these credits whose meanings allow for this convenient exchange between LEED and SITES.

The following credits are interchangeable both ways. LEED and use SITES, SITES can use LEED.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

SITES Context c.15-Degraded Sites
Context C1.5 D-Degraded Sites
Pre-design C2.4-Engage Users
Water P3.2-Reduce Water Use
Soil+Vegetation C4.9- Reduce Heat Island
Construction P7.2 Retain Construction Pollutants

LTc-Sensitive Land Protection
LTc-High Priority Site
IN-Community Outreach
WEp-Water Use Reduction
SSc-Heat Island Effect
SSp-Pollution Prevention

The following credits are SITES credits that can by used by LEED

Site Context P1.1-Limit Farmland Use
Site Context P1.2-Protect Floodplains
Site Context C1.6-Within Existing Development
Water C3.3-Precipitation On Site
Materials C5.7-Extraction of Raw Materials
Materials C5.8-Safer Chemistry
Materials C5.8- Safer Chemistry
Materials C5.9-Sustainability in Materials
Human Health+Well Being-C6.1 Culture/Historic Reduction
Human Health+Well Being-On Site Food
Human Health+Well Being-Fuel Efficient
Human Health+Well Being-Multi-modal
Construction C7.5-Materials Disposal

LYc-Sensitive Land Protection
TLC Sensitive Land Protection
LTc-Surrounding Density
SSc-Rainwater Management
MR-Building Project Disclosure
MR Building Product Disclosure
MR Building Product Disclosure
MR Building Product Disclosure
MRc-Building Life Cycle Reduction
IN Local Food Production
LTc Reduced Parking Capacity
LTc-Green Vehicles
MRc-Waste Management

Sites Credits can be used for Innovation In Design under LEED

Water C3.5 Design Functional Stormwater Features as Amenities
Soil+Vegetation C4.8-Optimize Biomass
Soil+Vegetation C4.8-Reduce Risk of Wildfire
Materials C5.10-Support Plant Production Sustainability
Human Health+Well Being-Promote Equitable Site Use
Human Health+Well Being-Mental Restoration (not available for Healthcare projects
Human Health+Well Being-Support Local Economy
Operations+Maintenance-Plan for Sustainable Site Maintenance
Education C9.3-Monitor and Report Site Performance

Please note the above information being is trademarked and is used here for educational purposes only. The information cannot be used without prior arrangement with the United States Green Building Council.

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search

Apollo Shade Structuretennis court