USGBC values the critical role that animals and wildlife play in maintaining a healthy planet for all. As species continue to face interruptions to their habitats and to their migration, hunting and mating patterns, USGBC is celebrating Wildlife Conservation Day by highlighting how buildings can help, rather than hurt, wildlife populations.
Through the #TheresACreditForThat campaign on social media, we showcase the LEED v4 credits that are most effective in promoting a healthy and sustainable world for all. Here are a few of our favorite credits that can help make buildings safer for the wildlife that surrounds them.
The intent of this pilot credit is to reduce bird injury and mortality from in-flight collisions with buildings.
Up to one billion birds are killed every year due to building collision. Glass presents various threats to birds, such as reflecting vegetation or landscapes that give birds the illusion of clear air space, or making greenery inside of buildings visible, luring birds into the glass.
Collisions are not just an issue for skyscrapers. Fifty-six percent of annual collisions occur at low-rise (four- to 11-story) buildings, and 44 percent occur at residences (one to three stories). There are multiple ways that buildings of all kind can comply with this credit.
Incorporate bird-friendly facade design into your structures. Examples include bird-safe glass, patterned stripes or dots on windows, shading to reduce glare and reflection and external screens or shutters.
Shut off unnecessary exterior lighting at night and during migration periods, such as rooftop lighting and floodlights. Light motion sensors that only detect humans are often cost-effective and energy-efficient.
The intent of this credit is to increase night sky access, improve nighttime visibility and reduce the consequences of development for wildlife and people.
Light pollution is incredibly harmful to many animal species. Wildlife that hunt or forage at night may be unable to feed; interrupted mating patterns lead to measurable reductions in population sizes; insects such as moths, which help pollinate the world’s flora, are often killed by outdoor lights; and migratory birds that rely on stars to guide them during migration may become disoriented.
Buildings can reduce their light pollution in many ways.
Adopt the BUG rating method to measure backlight, uplight and glare in your building project. This measure will help you classify where your light pollution weaknesses are and inform the kinds of practices you should adopt to do better.
Advocate to your city to adopt a “Lights Out” program to raise awareness about the problems that light pollution causes for animals.
The intent of this credit is to conserve existing natural areas and restore damaged areas to provide habitat and promote biodiversity.
The preservation and conservation of native ecosystems, including soils, sensitive species habitat, wildlife corridors and hydrology, contributes to maintaining overall ecosystem health. However, habitat loss from development is one of the leading forces driving species endangerment and extinction.
Building projects at every level of development can adopt strategies that protect or restore habitats.
Teams that are building on previously disturbed areas can incorporate restoration into their project through landscape design that highlights reinvigorating depleted soil and replanting native plants that form essential animal habitats.
- For existing buildings that are limited in their ability to provide long-term conservation for their building site, consider an off-site approach, such as providing financial support to a conservation organization or recognized land trust.
These three credits encompass a diverse set of ways that builders and designers can incorporate wildlife protection into their plans. Adopt these strategies and join a global movement to make this planet safer for all living things.