The Innovation LEED Credit Category. How do we quantify new and creative ideas?

This Innovation credit category offers an opportunity to earn additional points by implementing innovative strategies and sustainable practices that go beyond the standard requirements. Here’s what you should know before starting your project:

  1. Innovative strategies: The Innovation credit category encourages the implementation of unique and inventive sustainability strategies. It allows you to propose new ideas, technologies, or approaches that contribute to environmental, social, or economic benefits. Identify areas where you can push the boundaries and propose innovative solutions to address sustainability challenges within your project.
  2. Pilot credits: The Innovation credit category often includes pilot credits, which are optional credits that address emerging green building practices. These credits are experimental and offer an opportunity to explore new concepts and approaches that are not yet part of the standard LEED rating system. Consider incorporating pilot credits into your project to demonstrate cutting-edge sustainability initiatives.
  3. Performance-based design: The Innovation credit category emphasizes performance-based design and evaluation. This approach focuses on achieving specific, measurable goals and demonstrating the actual performance of the building or project. By implementing advanced modeling techniques, simulation tools, or performance monitoring systems, you can optimize building performance and showcase innovative design strategies.
  4. Exemplary performance: The Innovation credit category recognizes projects that achieve exemplary performance in specific credit requirements. Exemplary performance signifies going above and beyond the baseline requirements and achieving significantly higher levels of performance or innovation. Identify areas where you can exceed the standard expectations and strive for exemplary performance.
  5. Collaborative partnerships: Collaboration and partnerships play a vital role in the Innovation credit category. Engage with stakeholders, experts, and professionals in the sustainability field to explore innovative ideas and gain valuable insights. Collaborative efforts can lead to breakthrough solutions and foster a culture of innovation within your project.
  6. Documentation and reporting: Proper documentation is essential for achieving the Innovation credit category. Clearly articulate the innovative strategies, technologies, or approaches implemented in your project. Provide detailed documentation, case studies, research findings, or performance data to support the innovative aspects of your project. Thorough documentation strengthens your case for earning innovation credits.
  7. Continuous improvement: Embrace a mindset of continuous improvement throughout your project. Seek feedback, monitor performance, and evaluate the effectiveness of the implemented innovative strategies. Learn from the experience and incorporate lessons learned into future projects to further advance sustainability practices.

Considering the Innovation credit category from the outset of your project allows you to explore new horizons and push the boundaries of sustainability. By incorporating innovative strategies, exploring pilot credits, emphasizing performance-based design, aiming for exemplary performance, fostering collaboration, documenting your efforts, and embracing a culture of continuous improvement, you can demonstrate your project’s commitment to sustainability innovation.

Plants and Today’s Water

Image via Pexels.

Today, water is scarce, salty, contaminated, polluted, torrential, rising, and perilous.

As a water-minded practice, Watearth looks to a broad scope of techniques to resolve water-related challenges. Plants are an integral element to the nature-based solutions proposed throughout much of our work. The following highlights instances where plants are instrumental to challenges of water supply, water quality, food supply, and natural disasters.
Water Supply
Plants are an integrated part of hydrology and can be a component of water supply conservation. The use of native, drought tolerant plants integrate the benefits of plants without a huge demand on a scarce water supply. Additionally, plants better facilitate infiltration and groundwater recharge as their roots create infiltration channels within the soil called macropores.
Water Quality
Plants can have a positive impact on groundwater and downstream water quality. Plants reduce erosion, a major contributor to water quality pollution. Not only do plants hold soil in place with their roots, but also slow down the speed of rainfall, as foliage and branches intercept rainfall, reducing erosion. The construction of upstream vegetated wetlands and other vegetated best management practices, such as filter strips and bioretention features, protect downstream waterbodies from sediment and nutrient pollution. According to the EPA, phytoremediation, the practice of using plants to reduce contamination, has been an economical and feasible solution to contain and degrade contaminants affecting soils and groundwater at Superfund sites.
Food Supply
With increasing agricultural issues relating to water, plants provide solutions to production of food. In response to excessive flooding impacting rice production in Southeast Asia, scuba rice was hybridized as a flood-tolerant rice crop. In California, many tree crops are grafted onto drought and salt-tolerant rootstocks as today’s farmers face drought and saltwater intrusion into available groundwater.
Natural Disasters
Native plants have evolved to withstand and regenerate form natural disasters. Native plants, in some instances, can even mitigate impacts. For example, mangroves, tropical trees that grow along the water’s edge, reduce wave energy, and protect coastline from flooding and erosion damage. Mangrove forest regeneration is being coordinated around the world as coastlines become more threatened by rising sea level and increasingly severe storm events and hurricanes.

Constructed wetland habitat at the Crosby Arboretum, Picayune, MS

Celebrate Earth Day through the photography of Watearth

To celebrate this year’s Earth Day, the Watearth team wanted to showcase their love for this amazing planet through their own personal photos. From the Swiss Alps to the deserts of California to the depths below and everywhere in-between, the Watearth team loves to explore Mother Earth.

We are so grateful that every single day, we work towards preserving the beauty of this planet.