It’s our responsibility. Now it’s your opportunity.
We are all responsible for repairing our planet. For too long, this task has been shouldered by too few.
The Green Financial Exchange (GFEX) allows you to pay your fair share, while securing a just reward.
The Green Financial Exchange (GFEX) is a trading platform for renewable or regenerative commodities
and their derivatives. Operating in Iowa since 2007, the GFEX provides transparent trading platforms
and assists clients in defining appropriate proxies for illiquid commodities.
The GFEX Land Use Restriction Agreement (LURA) was created in 2011 to help individuals or
organizations purchase the benefits of sustainable and regenerative land use. Since its creation, the
LURA has helped United States Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design (LEED) certified properties offset the ecological impact of millions of square feet of commercial
office space located across the United States. In 2016 the LURA has been expanded to include any
current or future befits from the more general regenerative practices employed at a particular location.
The GFEX does not take an ownership interest in any physical or derivative commodity brokered or
consulted on through its systems. The parties to any contracts created by the GFEX for its clients are
responsible for contract execution.
Who can help if I have a problem?
The most efficient method for currently seeking help from the GFEX is via email. Please email
email@example.com with your preferred contact details and you will receive assistance within 16 business
The GFEX is currently working to expand its technical and non-technical support resources, with updated
information provided here as it becomes available.
How does it work?
The GFEX allows you to purchase a land use restriction agreement (LURA) from land owners who are
implementing regenerative practices on their property that also meet the requirements of United States
Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
The money you pay helps the land owner implement regenerative practices on their land, and in
exchange you receive credit for those practices.
What are regenerative practices?
Regenerative agriculture is a sub-sector practice of organic farming designed to build soil health or to
regenerate unhealthy soils. The practices associated with regenerative agriculture are those identified
with other approaches to organic farming, including maintaining a high percentage of organic matter in
soils, minimum tillage, biodiversity, composting, mulching, crop rotation, cover crops, and green
manures. Land that currently employs regenerative practices, especially when used to create regions
like buffer strips, has the potential to qualify for current or future environmental credits or subsidies
that may result in retroactively applied financial awards.
What is a LURA worth?
Each user must bid on a price per acre it is willing to pay for each identified LURA. LURA value will vary
as a function of location and type. The GFEX will publish the value of each accepted LURA. These prices
can be used to discover value for a new LURA.
How can I currently use a LURA?
A LURA can be immediately used to meet the requirements of the USGBC LEED® prerequisites and
credits. To use the LURA for this purpose, please submit to the package you receive from the GFEX into
the appropriate template within the LEED Online platform.
Projects attempting to achieve USGBC LEED certification can attain either prerequisites or credits by
contracting with an off-site organization that is actively engaged in conserving an appropriately sized
parcel of land. The requirements associated with these prerequisites or credits for Existing Buildings
(EB), New Construction (NC), and Neighborhoods (NB) are presented below.
How can I currently use a LURA?
A LURA can be immediately used to meet the requirements of the USGBC LEED® prerequisites and credits.
To use the LURA for this purpose, please submit to the package you receive from the GFEX into the
appropriate template within the LEED Online platform. Projects attempting to achieve USGBC LEED certification
can attain either prerequisites or credits by contracting with an off-site organization that is actively engaged
in conserving an appropriately sized parcel of land. The requirements associated with these prerequisites or
credits for Existing Buildings (EB), New Construction (NC), and Neighborhoods (NB) are presented below.
EB SSc5 1 pt, 1 pt IO
Supporting the restoration and maintenance of an off-site natural area can contribute to satisfying the credit requirements.
Off-site areas can be under the same ownership as the project building or can be improved or maintained as part of a contract
between the off-site landowner and the LEED project owner. The contract can stipulate support through financial or service commitments;
it must detail the location and size of the off-site area and the level and type of support to be provided. Enough detail should be
used in contractual documents to clearly define the responsibilities and expected outcomes of the agreement.
As a first step in preparing to complete the LEED-Online documentation requirements, work through the following measures.
Refer to LEED-Online for the complete descriptions of all required documentation.
- List the natural areas used to achieve the credit; include the size, plant species, and descriptions of other ecologically appropriate features.
- If an off-site natural area is being protected or restored, retain a copy of the contract that details the nature and level of support provided by the LEED project.
Project teams can earn an Innovation in Operations credit for exemplary performance by having on-site native or adaptive vegetation covering a minimum of 50% of the site area
(excluding the building footprint) or 10% of the total site area (including the building footprint), whichever is greater. For off-site habitat
protection or restoration, double the required areas. Project buildings that have previously earned SS Credit 5.1, Site Development – Protect or Restore Habitat,
under LEED Design and Construction area also eligible to earn exemplary performance.
NC SSc5.1, Case 2 1 pt
“Projects with limited landscape opportunities may also donate offsite land in perpetuity, equal to 60% of the previously developed
area (including the building footprint), to a land trust within the same EPA Level III Ecoregion identified for the project site. The
land trust must adhere to the Land Trust Alliance ‘Land Trust Standards and Practices’ 2004 Revision.”
NB SLLp2, Option 2(d)
If any portion of the identified habitat and buffer cannot be protected in perpetuity, quantify the effects by acres or number of plants and/or
animals affected, and protect from development in perpetuity habitat of similar or better quality, on-site or off-site, by donating or selling a
conservation easement on it to an accredited land trust or relevant public agency. The donation or easement must cover an amount of land equal to
or larger than the area that cannot be protected
NB SLLp4, Option 5
If development footprint affects land with prime soils, unique soils, or soils of state significance, as identified in a state Natural Resources
Conservation Service soil survey, mitigate the loss through the purchase of easements providing permanent protection from development on land with
comparable soils in accordance with the ratios based on densities per acre of buildable land as listed in Tables 1 and 2.… All off-site mitigation
must be located within 100 miles of the project.
Of the four opportunities identified above, the Existing Building requirements provide access to the greatest
number of points while allowing the land to be owned by anyone and located anywhere.
What happens if a new credit is created based on regenerative practices?
If a new credit is created that has the ability for the LURA owner to receive a financial benefit from the practices
that occur on the property during the time the LURA is active, the property owner is responsible for making every
reasonable effort to ensure that the LURA owner is able to receive that financial benefit. This responsibility to
ensure that the LURA owner has access to any financial benefit applies both retroactively and going forward.