Take advantage of equivalent credits between SITES and LEED

Published on
24 Oct 2016
Theresa Backhus

If you’re seeking to further define, improve or demonstrate the site sustainability aspects of your project, you can benefit from pursuing both LEED® and SITES® certification. We want to help by simplifying your certification experience at the intersection of these two rating systems. For that reason, we’ve released a list of credit substitutions so that similar credits need only be earned in one rating system—not both! 

Many SITES and LEED credits have similar requirements, and some are almost identical. This analysis resulted in a list of over 40 credits that were deemed equivalent, or partially equivalent, and can be used as substitutes in your LEED and SITES projects. For example, if your LEED v4 project has achieved the Construction Activity Pollution Prevention prerequisite, it can automatically earn the SITES v2 prerequisite, and vice-versa. Some of the credit substitutions may only work one way or the other. Also, some SITES credits have been approved for use as Innovation credits in LEED.

Three types of equivalencies are available: 

  • Full substitution credits. Earning these credits in either LEED or SITES will automatically mean earning the corresponding credit in the other rating system.
  • LEED earns SITES credits. Earning these LEED credits will automatically mean earning the corresponding SITES credits.
  • SITES earns LEED credits. Earning these SITES credit will automatically mean earning the corresponding LEED credits.

Currently, substitutions are only available for projects using LEED 2009 and LEED v4 BD+C rating systems. However, this list will be updated regularly and additional substitution requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

See this guidance document for the full list of credit substitutions, more information on applicability and important considerations for each credit. These will also be noted in the Credit Library, at the bottom of each credit.

Contact SITES for more information.

Download the list of credits