18-0419 v3.1/The Ecology School Commons/Determining Project Area 3.x


Our project, The Ecology School runs overnight and day programs for schools throughout New England, which will be embedded in the framework of a working farm.  We are going after Living Community Certification, with two Living Building Certified Buildings - the dorms (9,000 SF) and the commons/dining building (7,000 SF).

Our site sits on 116.5 acres, about 30% open fields. However, only 8.75 acres immediately surrounding the existing farmhouse & barn are buildable per the contract zone. 

In this case, how might we determine the project area for each LBC building? It is an L2 transect but similar to a campus in this instance, as it is a large plot of land with a single owner and several buildings. I have read on previous posts that the project area includes the site disturbance + construction staging + agriculture needed.  I have also seen a post referencing a diagram going 30' beyond the area of disturbance of a project if the campus zone calculation is used, however I could not track the diagram down. It doesn't seem like using the entire buildable area as the project area for each LBC building makes sense, as there is more than one building on the site, with potential for additional construction in the future. Attached is a sketch plan of the 8.75 acre site showing the existing buildings and proposed. 

Furthermore, in reference to ADA accessibility in rural sites. The Dorms & Commons (including entry route) will be fully accessible per ADA standards.  However in terms of secondary paths extending in the site, if they are graded per ADA standards, is a compacted aggregate material acceptable to use? The school intends to purchase beach/multi-terrain wheelchairs to have on-hand if needed.


Buildings within a campus should use a reasonable boundary based on the disturbed area. Per the May 2017 v3.1 Early Project Guidebook, "LBC projects on campuses must include all disturbed areas in the Project Area, including all land used for construction work, conveyance, or staging. Undisturbed areas that are clearly linked to the LBC project (e.g., an associated courtyard or parking area) must also be included." The larger campus area will come into play in determination of the LCC project area. The 30' rule for campuses has been superseded by the above, and therefore the diagram is no longer online. 
Compacted aggregate material is acceptable for ADA access only if it meets the criteria defined in  ADA guidelines. "Accessible floor and ground surfaces must be stable, firm, and slip resistant. Stable surfaces resist movement, while firm surfaces resist deformation by applied forces. Accessible surfaces remain unchanged by external forces, objects, or materials." Provision of multi- terrain wheelchairs does help meet the intent, but would not necessarily make the aggregate paths ADA accessible. 
However, the entire site does not need to be ADA accessible. The team should provide ADA access to all education facilities and some portion of outdoor areas in order to allow participation by and benefit to all attendees. 

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