Sustainable Sites design strategies concern themselves with minimizing a building's impact on its surrounding environment. They work together synergistically to promote conserving the basic nature of the building’s site by preserving air quality, water and energy while optimizing their use.

Sustainable site development concerns itself with the implementation of strategies that encourage the wise selection and development of a site, and ranges from the protection of surrounding habitats, including eliminating light pollution, to providing access to public transit and alternate transportation in order to reduce the environmental impact of the automobile; to managing stormwater runoff so that it replenishes the ground water table and reduces the strain on sewer systems; to providing green space that promotes biodiversity with native and drought resistant landscaping that provides habitat and conserves water while helping to reduce the urban heat island effect.

The aim is to encourage site design strategies that are sensitive to flora and fauna and that promote air and water quality as well as mitigate against some of the negative effects that a building can have on its local and regional environment.

Listed below are the ways in which Lois Hole Library is achieving LEED prerequisites and credits.

Erosion and Sediment Control

Prerequisite 1

Pollution from construction related activities as both on and off site consequences, ranging from the loss of topsoil to numerous water quality issues, can have both environmental and human health impacts. Landscape vitality can be limited by compaction and or loss of topsoil which reduces the soil's ability to maintain its microbic biodiversity, to store water and to maintain nutrient levels.

On site, this can lead to the increased use of fertilizers, irrigation and pesticides which in turn risks polluting the local hydrology through stormwater runoff.

Off site, pollutants in stormwater runoff add to the pollution of streams and lakes which can hasten eutrophication by causing unwanted aquatic plant growth and can limit sun penetration and the process of photosynthesis causing lower oxygen levels and a resultant loss of aquatic biodiversity. In addition, increased sedimentation can cause a loss in flow capacity of streams, thereby contributing to aquatic habitat loss and increased flooding. Furthermore, airborne dust can travel for miles to contaminate lakes and streams, increasing their acidity and changing nutrient balances.

Strategies for controlling erosion and sedimentation due to construction activities:

Lois Hole Library had an Erosion and Sediment control plan in place to limit erosion from the site and to protect the local hydrology. Installing silt fences and sediment basins to keep surface water sediment from running off the site, using inlet protection around sewer inlets to prevent sediment from entering and stockpiling and protecting topsoil were all measures that were used to control construction related erosion.

Site Selection

Credit 1

Wise site selection is about giving priority to selecting sites within existing infrastructure to reduce the environmental impact of providing such infrastructure, and to avoiding the development of inappropriate sites that include sensitive habitat, prime farmland and flood plains. Because these sites have already been disturbed, further disruption to the environment due to increasing non-urban development is limited and sensitive areas can be preserved.

Strategies for site selection:

Locating the new library within existing infrastructure, namely next to a community centre and private schools and a local shopping centre.

Alternate Transportation

Credits 4.1 Public Transportation Access; 4.2 Bicycle Storage; 4.3 Parking Capacity

These credits are all aimed at reducing the environmental impacts of automobile use. The public transportation access credit requires that two regularly scheduled bus routes are within a minimum walking distance, the bike storage credit requires a provision for bikes to be kept within range of change rooms and the parking capacity credit requires that preferred parking for carpools be provided close to the main entrance.

These requirements are to promote alternate means of arriving at the project site that do not require the use of an automobile. For that reason, the parking capacity credit also requires that no extra parking be provided beyond the minimum required by zoning.

Strategies for alternate transportation:

Locating the new library within 400 m of two regularly scheduled bus routes, providing bike storage with access to change rooms and providing less parking than required by zoning through a shared parking use agreement with the neighbouring community center.

Reduced Site Disturbance

Credits 5.1 Protect & Preserve Open Space; 5.2 Reduced Development Footprint

These credits are aimed at conserving natural areas, restoring damaged ones and for providing a high ratio of open space to development (i.e. building and parking areas).

These requirements are to promote increased biodiversity and habitat and to conserve surrounding natural areas as well as to increase the amount of native landscaped open space available in the neighbourhood by concentrating the building footprint to a smaller portion of the site.

Seen over the long term, as more developments follow these principles, the entire urban setting will include habitat for local species of many kinds.

Strategies for reduced site disturbance:

Lois Hole Library's alternate transportation strategies include requiring the contractor to limit the size of the area disturbed by construction activities, designing an extensive native and drought resistant landscape that encourages biodiversity and reducing the size of the parking so as to leave more area available for landscaping.

Stormwater Management

Credits 6.1 Rate & Quantity; 6.2 Treatment

The Rate & Quantity credit is aimed at limiting the disruption of the local hydrology (water courses) and increasing site infiltration as well as to limiting contaminants in the stormwater runoff which is a major source of pollution for rivers and lakes. Its requirement is to manage potential flooding so as to avoid the environmental impact due to stormwater runoff . As well, by increasing the amount of stormwater and snowmelt infiltrated into the site, groundwater aquifers are recharged and the demand on municipal infrastructure, to otherwise convey the water away, is reduced.

The Treatment credit is aimed at reducing the amount of suspended solids entering the stormwater system by 80% and the total phosphorus by 40%. Phosphorus can add to the pollution of streams and lakes which can hasten eutrophication (excessive richness of nutrients) by causing unwanted aquatic plant growth and can limit sun penetration and the process of photosynthesis, causing lower oxygen levels and a resultant loss of aquatic biodiversity. In addition, increased sedimentation can cause a loss in flow capacity of streams, thereby contributing to aquatic habitat loss and increased flooding.

Strategies for reduced site disturbance:

The design of the landscaping for the Lois Hole Library funnels from the surface to flow into a vegetated swale that provides for filtration and infiltration rather than requiring solid pipes for conveyance into the municipal system. As well, roof stormwater and snowmelt is collected in a cistern and treated as greywater for use in flushing toilets. A Stormceptor® was installed in the surface parking lot which has stormwater channelled to it to remove grit and phosphorus before channelling it away.

Light Pollution Reduction

Credit 8

This credit is aimed at reducing the development impact from lighting on nocturnal environments by limiting light trespass and by reducing sky glow and glare so as to increase nighttime visibility. Poorly designed lighting systems can adversely affect a site's nocturnal ecosystem and light pollution limits night time observations.

Strategies for reduced site disturbance:

For exterior lighting on the building and in the parking lot and surrounding campus, full cut-off fixtures were used to ensure light was not encroaching upwards.

Inside the building, a lighting control system with timer was used to prevent light spillage and fixtures were oriented so light was not directed out the windows to prevent light pollution.