On-demand Webinar - Rainwater Management and LEED: Strategies to Protect Ecosystems and Communities Video, 54 minutes

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Conventional stormwater management treats rain as the enemy—a dangerous and destructive force that must be deflected away from building sites as quickly as possible.

But as we pave more and more of paradise, this conventional approach actually compounds rainwater’s danger and destructiveness. The resulting runoff can pollute watershed ecosystems, and it can threaten human habitats as well: some neighborhoods flood nearly every time it rains. Too often, the people in these communities have neither the power nor the resources to prevent routine damage from their upstream neighbors’ diversion tactics. 

But what if we treated rainwater as a resource rather than something to be feared?

Valuing rainwater can lead to far more responsible practices that minimize the impacts human development can have on natural hydrology and vulnerable communities. Using green infrastructure and other best practices, project teams can mitigate the damage caused by increasingly heavy rainfall while also protecting flora, fauna, and neighbors.  

With v4, USGBC began to use the term “rainwater” to emphasize that it can be more of a resource than a risk. And in light of the rising threat of bigger, badder storms, LEED v4 also set stringent thresholds for credit achievement. Many LEED users were relieved to see those thresholds walked back somewhat in v4.1.

In this webinar, we will review the LEED v4 and v4.1 BD+C Rainwater Management credits and discuss how real project teams are approaching and implementing successful management strategies. The presenters will discuss how the Salesforce Tower project in San Francisco manages rainwater, graywater, and blackwater by using an innovative system designed to prevent the social and environmental harms runoff can cause.

A brief Q&A will follow the presentation and panel discussion.

Learning objectives

  1. Examine the intent, sustainability goals, and requirements of the LEED v4.1 BD+C Rainwater Management credit, and compare it to the v4 version.

  2. Review the social and environmental synergies between the LEED v4.1 BD+C Rainwater Management credit and other LEED BD+C credits in v4 and v4.1.

  3. Explore how low-impact development (LID) and green infrastructure (GI) practices can improve social and environmental performance and meet the requirements of the LEED v4.1 BD+C Rainwater Management credit.

  4. Discuss how rainwater management strategies have been leveraged in real project examples.


Sarah is an architect whose wide-ranging expertise includes whole-building life-cycle assessment, decarbonization of building materials, environmental policy research, building enclosure consulting, thermal and hygrothermal analysis, and LEED implementation. 

Art works in the plumbing department in the San Francisco office WSP, where he heads a staff of five engineers. During his 43 years in the field, Art has been involved with a variety of specialized project types, from labs, hospitals, and hotels to police and fire stations and training centers. As part of these projects and others, he has designed onsite reclaimed-water systems and wastewater recovery.

Nathan has more than two decades of experience in environmental consulting as a water resource specialist and a site civil engineer. He also develops project-specific workflows and helps clients and teams with vision alignment. Nathan is a professional civil engineer licensed in 17 states across the US with added expertise in renewable energy development and delivery at many scales.