21-1001 Turf in Affordable Housing Projects

Applicable standards: LBC 4.0 and Core

WT-011 Turf in Affordable Housing Projects

Affordable Housing projects that can demonstrate a funding requirement or clear programmatic need for use of turf that requires irrigation in their climate, may use potable water to irrigate the turf only, subject to the performance and documentation requirements listed below.

Use of this exception requires approval in advance. To request approval, project teams must submit to the Dialogue a narrative that justifies both the use of turf onsite and the proposed areal extent, and that describes the handprinting strategy.

Performance Requirements:

  1. 100% of potable water used for turf irrigation during the performance period must be handprinted,
  2. the area of turf must be the smallest amount that will meet the programmatic need,
  3. a water budget for irrigation must be established using the EPA Water Budget Tool, specifying low-water turf as the only plant type, and the installed irrigation system must be appropriate to achieving the maximum percentage reduction identified by the tool,
  4. the irrigation system serving the turf must be sub-metered,
  5. the area dedicated to turf (as well as the associated soil preparation, species chosen, watering regime, and maintenance plan) must be factored into development and implementation of the Adaptive Plan required under Ecology of Place. Use of this exception does not remove or affect the requirements of the Ecology of Place Imperative.

Documentation Requirements:

  1. Narrative identifying the programmatic or funding requirement and justifying the quantity of turf area, including identification of the nearest public turf access (playground, park, etc.) and explanation of why the public option cannot meet program requirements.
  2. Baseline and reduction calculations using EPA water budget tool (calculation to include turf areas only and must use low-water turf variety). The area of turf must be equal in both the baseline and reduction calculations and must match the turf area called out on the project's landscape drawings.
  3. Project contract documents showing a turf planting plan (including soil prep and depth, seed/sod type, planting schedule, establishment irrigation requirements) showing alignment with best practices/research for low-water turf establishment and survival.
  4. O&M manual including a turf maintenance plan (irrigation schedule, mowing schedule/minimum turf height, recommended soil amendments) showing alignment with best practices/research for low-water turf establishment and survival.
  5. Sub-meter data showing potable water used for irrigation.
  6. Handprinting strategy, including specific beneficiary site and methods for establishing baseline and savings achieved, demonstration of implementation and data showing that potable water savings equaled at least the quantity of water used for turf irrigation at the project site over the performance period.
  7. Data showing compliance with all other measuring and calculation requirements specified under the Water Handprinting for Affordable Housing Clarifications in I05/C3 Responsible Water Use, including calculations showing water savings will remain for 15 years.


The third sentence of the Landscape clarification in Ecology of Place is modified to read:

Ideally, all of the onsite landscape will contribute positively to the site’s ecology. In all cases, the Adaptive Plan must take into account all of the onsite landscape and make specific reference to how each component of the onsite landscape affects the site ecology. 

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