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LEED Principles and LEED Green Associate Study Guide, Third Edition
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All rights reserved.

Chapter 1 Guiding Principles ........................................................................................................................ 4
Minimum Program Requirements (MPR) ........................................................................................................ 4
Chapter 2 Integrative Process ...................................................................................................................... 7
Guiding Documents: OPR & BOD ................................................................................................................. 10
Healthcare Prerequisite | Integrative Project Planning and Design .......................................................... 14
Chapter 3 Location and Transportation..................................................................................................... 18
LT Credit 1 | LEED for Neighborhood Development Location ................................................................... 19
LT Credit 2 | Sensitive Land Protection ........................................................................................................ 20
LT Credit 3 | High Priority Site ....................................................................................................................... 24
LT Credit 4 | Surrounding Density and Diverse Uses ................................................................................. 26
LT Credit 5 | Access to Quality Transit ......................................................................................................... 30
LT Credit 6 | Bicycle Facilities ....................................................................................................................... 32
LT Credit 7 | Reduced Parking Footprint ...................................................................................................... 35
Transportation Demand Management .......................................................................................................... 36
LT Credit 8 | Green vehicles ........................................................................................................................... 37
Chapter 4 Site Selection .............................................................................................................................. 41
SS Prerequisite 1 | Construction Activity Pollution Prevention ................................................................. 42
SS Prerequisite 2 | Environmental Site Assessment .................................................................................. 44
SS Credit 1 | Site Assessment ....................................................................................................................... 46
SS Credit 2 | Site Development Protect or Restore Habitat ..................................................................... 47
SS Credit 3 | Open Space ............................................................................................................................... 50
SS Credit 4 | Rainwater Management............................................................................................................ 53
SS Credit 5 | Heat Island Reduction .............................................................................................................. 57
SS Credit 6 | Light Pollution Reduction ........................................................................................................ 60
SS School Credit | Site Master Plan .............................................................................................................. 62
SS School Credit | Joint Use of Facilities ..................................................................................................... 63
SS Core and Shell Credit | Tenant Design and Construction Guidelines ................................................. 65
SS Healthcare Credit | Places of Respite...................................................................................................... 66
SS Healthcare Credit | Direct Exterior Access ............................................................................................. 68
Chapter 5 Water Efficiency.......................................................................................................................... 72
WE Prerequisite 1 | Outdoor Water Use Reduction 30%............................................................................. 72
WE Credit 1 | Outdoor Water Use Reduction ............................................................................................... 74
WE Prerequisite 2 | Indoor Water Use Reduction 20%................................................................................ 77
WE Credit 2 | Indoor Water Use Reduction .................................................................................................. 81
WE Prerequisite 3 | Building-level Water Metering ...................................................................................... 82
WE Credit 4 | Water Metering ......................................................................................................................... 84
WE Credit 3 | Cooling Tower Water Use ....................................................................................................... 86
Chapter 6 Energy and Atmosphere ............................................................................................................ 93
EA Prerequisite 1 | Fundamental Commissioning and Verification .......................................................... 94
EA Credit 1 | Enhanced Commissioning .................................................................................................... 100
EA Prerequisite 2 | Minimum Energy Performance ................................................................................... 105
EA Credit 2 | Optimize Energy Performance .............................................................................................. 110
EA Prerequisite 3 | Building-level Energy Metering .................................................................................. 113

EA Credit 3 | Advanced Energy Metering ................................................................................................... 114

EA Prerequisite 4 | Fundamental Refrigerant Management ..................................................................... 117
EA Credit 6 | Enhanced Refrigerant Management ..................................................................................... 117
EA Credit 4 | Demand Response ................................................................................................................. 120
EA Credit 5 | Renewable Energy Production.............................................................................................. 123
EA Credit 7 | Green Power and Carbon Offsets ......................................................................................... 126
Chapter 7 Materials and Resources ......................................................................................................... 134
MR Prerequisite 1 | Storage and Collection of Recyclables ..................................................................... 135
MR Prerequisite 2 | Construction and Demolition Waste Management Planning ............................... 137
MR Credit 5 | Construction and Demolition Waste Management ............................................................. 138
MR Credit 1 | Building Life Cycle Impact Reduction ................................................................................. 142
Building Product Disclosure and Optimization Credit Suite .................................................................... 152
MR Credit 2 | BPDO - Environmental Product Declarations ..................................................................... 154
MR Credits 3 | BPDO - Sourcing of Raw Materials .................................................................................... 159
MR Credit 4 | BPDO - Material Ingredients ................................................................................................. 164
MR Healthcare Prerequisite | PBT Source Reduction - Mercury .............................................................. 167
MR Healthcare Credit | PBT Source Reduction Mercury ....................................................................... 168
MR Healthcare Credit | PBT Source Reduction Lead, Cadmium, and Copper .................................... 168
MR Healthcare Credit | Furniture and Medical Furnishings ..................................................................... 168
MR Healthcare Credit | Design for Flexibility ............................................................................................. 169
Chapter 8 Indoor Environmental Quality ................................................................................................. 172
IEQ Prerequisite 1 | Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance................................................................ 172
IEQ Credit 1 | Enhanced Indoor Air Quality Strategies ............................................................................. 176
IEQ Prerequisite 2| Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control ................................................................... 182
IEQ Credit 2 | Low Emitting Materials ......................................................................................................... 183
IEQ Credit 3 | Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan ........................................................... 186
IEQ Credit 4 | Indoor Air Quality Assessment ............................................................................................ 188
IEQ Credit 5 | Thermal Comfort ................................................................................................................... 191
IEQ Credit 6 | Interior Lighting ..................................................................................................................... 192
IEQ Credit 7 | Daylight .................................................................................................................................. 196
IEQ Credit 8 | Quality Views ......................................................................................................................... 202
IEQ Prerequisite Schools | Minimum Acoustic Performance ................................................................... 203
IEQ Credit 9 | Acoustic Performance .......................................................................................................... 205
Key Terms ...................................................................................................................................................... 207
Chapter 9 - Innovation .................................................................................................................................. 209
Chapter 10 Regional Priority ..................................................................................................................... 214

Chapter 1 Guiding Principles

LEEDs Goals
The best place to start is to understand Why undertake the effort to achieve LEED
certification. The USGBC publishes the following seven goals in the preface of every
reference guide. They are the drivers for the intent and requirements of all prerequisites
and credits.
In addition, these goals inform the weighting of points. If you have ever wondered why
one strategy is worth five points, but another only one, it is directly related to these goals.
Credits that offer the greatest benefit towards the most important goals also offer the most
amount of points. The goals are:
To reverse contribution to global climate change
To enhance individual human health and well-being
To protect and restore water resources
To protect, enhance, and restore biodiversity and ecosystem services
To promote sustainable and regenerative material resources cycles
To build a greener economy
To enhance social equity, environmental justice, community health, and quality
of life

Minimum Program Requirements (MPR)

Building upon the goals, the second set of guiding principles are Minimum Program
Requirements (MPRs). These three requirements are the mandatory conditions that make
a project eligible to pursue LEED certification.
The MPRs are not part of the rating system, and project teams do not have to document
them. Acknowledgment that your project meets the MPRs is taken during the registration

MPR 1 | Permanent Location on Existing Land

The first MPR is the project must be in a permanent location on existing land. The idea
is, if you are going to measure the building energy and water use, it must be from a
consistent location to trend patterns over time. Therefore, boats and mobile homes are
excluded from LEED certification. Prefabricated structures are acceptable as long as they
are not broken down or moved after initial occupancy.

In addition, a project may not construct new piers, jetties, infill, or other manufactured
structures over water exclusively for the LEED project. Your project may be located on
such structures only if they are previously developed.

MPR 2 | Reasonable Site Boundary

The second MPR is a project must use a reasonable site boundary. This makes sure the
building and features primarily used by its occupants are accurately evaluated. The site
includes hardscapes, parking, stormwater treatment and landscaping. The boundary
should be contiguous land delineated by ownership, management, or lease. Gross floor
area of the project building should be no less than 2% of the gross land area within the

MPR 3 | Project Size Requirements

The third MPR is a project must comply with the project size requirements. The size
requirements are all different based on the type of rating system. Make sure you check
the rating system or reference guide to make sure you know what the minimums are for
your project type.
As an example a BD+C project must include a minimum of 1,000 square feet (93 square
meters) of gross floor area. An ID+C project must include a minimum of 250 square feet
(22 square meters) of gross floor area.

Selecting a Rating System

Project teams are empowered to select the rating system and adaptation that best fits their
project buildings program. There are lot of online resources to help you make the best-fit
selection, including this fun, interactive graphic (
The rating system adaptations covered in this study guide are as follows:

LEED BD+C: New Construction and Major Renovation. New construction or

major renovation of buildings that do not primarily serve K-12 educational,
retail, data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, or healthcare
uses. New construction also includes high-rise residential buildings 9 stories or
LEED BD+C: Core and Shell Development. Buildings that are new construction
or major renovation for the exterior shell and core mechanical, electrical, and
plumbing units, but not a complete interior t-out.
LEED BD+C: Core and Shell is the appropriate rating system to use if more than
40% of the gross oor area is incomplete at the time of certication.
LEED BD+C: Schools. Buildings made up of core and ancillary learning spaces
on K-12 school grounds.
LEEDBD+C: Schools may optionally be used for higher education and non-

academic buildings on school campuses.

LEED BD+C: Retail. Buildings used to conduct the retail sale of consumer
product goods. Includes both direct customer service areas (showroom) and
preparation or storage areas that support customer service.
LEED BD+C: Data Centers. Buildings specically designed and equipped to
meet the needs of high density computing equipment such as server racks, used
for data storage and processing.
LEED BD+C: Data Centers only addresses whole building data centers (greater
than 60%).
LEED BD+C: Warehouses and Distribution Centers. Buildings used to store
goods, manufactured products, merchandise, raw materials, or personal
belongings, such as self-storage.
LEED BD+C: Hospitality. Buildings dedicated to hotels, motels, inns, or other
businesses within the service industry that provide transitional or short-term
lodging with or without food.
LEED BD+C: Healthcare. Hospitals that operate twenty-four hours a day, seven
days a week and provide inpatient medical treatment, including acute and longterm care.
LEED BD+C: Homes and Multifamily Lowrise. Single-family homes and multifamily residential buildings of 1 to 3 stories. Projects 3 to 5 stories may choose
the Homes rating system that corresponds to the ENERGY STAR program in
which they are participating.
LEED BD+C: Multifamily Midrise. Multi-family residential buildings of 4 to 8
occupiable stories above grade. The building must have 50% or more residential
space. Buildings near 8 stories can inquire with USGBC about using Midrise or
New Construction, if appropriate.

Key Terms | Guiding Principles

Previously Developed
Site Boundary
Rating System

Chapter 2 Integrative Process

Integrative Process
The integrative process is a foundation in LEED v4, and uses the knowledge of team
members to find the best solutions for a project. LEED has encouraged for many years
integrated project teams, but now in LEED v4 it is actually rewarding projects for
documenting the process.
The first thing you will notice is this credit is not part of any category. It isnt found
under Sustainable Sites, Innovation in Design, or any other category. The credit stands
alone. There is also a pre-requisite for Integrative Project Planning and Design,
exclusively for the Healthcare rating system. Because the idea behind this credit impacts
every LEED credit, it was not put in a category by itself, nor was it added to an existing
The Integrative Design credit is optional for all rating system except LEED for
Healthcare. But smart teams will follow the guidance and easily earn the point with
straightforward documentation of the teamwork that adds value to their project. The goal
is to uncover opportunities that might be missed in a more traditional process.
The Integrative Process credit in LEED v4 asks design teams to explore energy- and
water- related improvements early in design. Moreover, it asks teams to use energy
modeling to explore synergies and cost impacts across interrelated systems to perform
holistic investigations rather than the targeted, credit-specific calculations.

IP vs. IPD
Integrated/Integrative whats in a name?
The terms integrated and integrative are often used interchangeably. Originally the
term integrated was used to describe this collaborative design process, but Bill Reed,
president of the Integrative Design Collaborative and a principal of Regenesis
Development, has championed the use of the term integrative because it is a verb in
present tense and the work of this iterative, ongoing process is never done. Appreciating
this distinction, many organizations in the sustainability movement have adopted the term
integrative, although both terms are still in use.
Another point of confusion is the overlap with the AIAs Integrated Project Delivery
(IPD) Guide. AIAs IPD is a contractual agreement with the Owner, designer and
contractor where all these parties share the benefits and risks of a development project.

Using the Integrative Process (IP) to steer Integrated Project Delivery is a natural fit. Just
remember IP is the process and IPD is the contract.
The USGBC official definition of the integrative process is an iterative, collaborative
approach that involves a projects stakeholders in the process from visioning through
completion of construction and throughout building operation.
It has to be collaborative; having a dialog between participants. The challenge is working
under a project budget and schedule. The timeline includes everything from the initial
visioning charrette through building operations. Building professionals need to look at a
project through different lenses-not just design or construction. To fully understand what
impact the building operations will have, teams must consider how the design process
affects both the construction and the operations together. Its great if a LEED project has
a very lofty goal for energy performance, but if the facility managers cant operate the
building when its done, it doesnt matter how good the design was.

What is the buildings purpose?

Essentially the integrative process needs to first and foremost understand the purpose of
the project. Who it is serving, and what is the mission. Engage everyone to understand
what their needs are, what their wants are, and what their expectations are for the
buildings performance. You have to establish what the drivers are for the project, to set
the rules for the project that will not be broken. Why are you building this building? If
you understand the purpose, the mission, and the drivers, you can create the elements that
are important to the stakeholders by measuring the value-that is what integrative design is
all about.

Integrative Project Team

Who is in the integrative project team? You are inviting everyone with particular areas
of expertise. There are a lot of team members with varying responsibilities.

Owners capital budget manager

Architect or building designer

Mechanical engineer

Structural engineer

Energy modeler

Equipment planner

Acoustical consultant

Telecommunications designer

Controls designer

Food Service Consultant


Infection Control Staff

Building science or performance testing agents

Green building or sustainable design consultant

Facility green teams

Physician and nursing teams

Facility managers

Environmental services staff

Functional and space programmers

Commissioning agent

Community representatives

Civil engineer

Landscape architect


Land planner

Construction manager or general contractor

Life cycle cost analyst; construction cost estimator

Lighting Designer

Other disciplines appropriate to the specific project type

By getting feedback from everyone early on and having the stakeholders interact
together, all phases of the project benefit. Resources get used more efficiently, costs are
reduced, change orders are reduced, and a higher value building is achieved.

Discovery and Implementation

With this new credit, LEED rewards projects for using an integrative process. The credit
focusses on the discovery portion of the integrative process preparation, evaluation, and
conceptual design. This is the very earliest part where project team members are getting
an understanding of the unique needs and challenges of their projects, an understanding
of the project goals, what the owner ultimately wants, and what their priorities are.
The idea is you are at least looking at water and energy analysis during two early phases.
The discovery phase is commonly referred to as schematic design, pre-design, or analysis
of rough for. The implementation phase is the actual design, once you get into the
construction details, and eventual construction.
The discovery process is very important because the performance analysis is going to tell
you exactly how the building should perform. Its going to give you great insight into not
only how the building performs (outputs) but what the drivers are (inputs) to make it

perform in a certain way and to be able to manage that building. The buildings outputs,
ie. energy use, water use, et cetera are going to define the environmental footprint of that
building. Its really important to be able to understand what the systems, or drivers, are
and their sensitivities so the whole team can optimize the inputs.
The purpose here is to really take all of that information, put it together and make early
design decisions that help the project in its execution and in its operation. Ideally
projects will lessen the number of decisions that are changed as the project team goes
through construction, or at least lessen the number of challenges faced along the way
because the right things were considered upfront, including budget and schedule.
To make this credit more attainable to project teams the focus was placed on ways to get
the project team to develop valuable documentation that would help with building
performance rather than submitting meeting notes and project goals. The credit includes
worksheets that walk the project team through the iterative analysis associated with their
energy and water related systems. Documentation is done by completing a worksheet
and providing a simple box energy model result.
The big issue with the integrative process is getting the owner to understand that its
going to take some time and require everyone to get involved, and meet for a day.
Everyone agrees on the priorities, and then everyone continually checks in to ensure that
the goals and priorities stay in focus as the project moves along.

Guiding Documents: OPR & BOD

Every LEED project is supposed to be guided by two documents, the Owners Project
Requirements (OPR) and Basis of Design (BOD), which define the project goals and
strategies for meeting them. The basis of design is the information necessary to
accomplish the owner's project requirements, including system descriptions, indoor
environmental quality criteria, design assumptions, and references to applicable codes,
standards, regulations, and guidelines.
These documents are required as part of the basic commissioning process, which has long
been mandatory in LEED. Basic commissioning doesnt begin until the design documents
are 50 percent completed, howeverand project teams, being deadline driven, all too
often fail to produce the OPR and BOD until that time.
The integrative process credit defines steps that must happen before design gets
underway to inform the content of those documents. You have to address positions early
in the process. You cant decide at 50 percent construction that youre going to collect all
your rainwater in your building. You cannot decide at 50 percent construction that you
are going to change the systems in your building. You have to do it much earlier in the

Beginning in discovery and continuing throughout the design phases, identify and use
opportunities to achieve synergies across disciplines and the buildings energy and water
related systems. Use the analyses to inform the OPR, BOD, design documents, and
construction documents.

Energy Modeling Analysis

What would you want to do for energy in the discovery phase? Collect information in
order to establish a baseline. Every decision made going forward will be compared to the
baseline. You cant establish your baseline half way through the construction. By then
you have designed your building and there is no opportunity to make changes in the
Perform a preliminary simple box energy modeling analysis before the completion of
schematic design that explores how to reduce energy loads in the building and
accomplish related sustainability goals by questioning default assumptions. Assess at
least two potential strategies associated with each of the following:

Site conditions, such as assessing shading from surrounding buildings

Massing and orientation, and their impacts on HVAC loads, energy use, and
renewable energy

Envelope attributes, such as insulation levels, glazing ratios, and shading

Lighting levels, in occupied spaces and interior surface reflectance

Thermal comfort ranges, including expanding the comfort zone

Plug and process load reductions

Programmatic and operational settings, such as schedules, occupancy, and

required square footage

Some software packages allow you to do a very quick model on the schematic design and
frankly those interactions are really critical. Often by the time the full energy model is
done its too late to make significant changes. The decisions need to be made early
before anything moves forward, especially trying to balance the relationships among
systems. A lot of new buildings are still including a lot of glass curtain walls and you
start to wonder whether it is possible to optimize the energy efficiency of the design with
that kind of form.


Energy Documentation
For credit documentation, demonstrate how the analysis informed design and decisions in
the projects OPR including the following, as applicable:

Building and site program;

Building form and geometry;

Building envelope and faade treatments on different orientations;

Elimination and/or significant downsizing of building systems (e.g., HVAC,

lighting, controls, Exterior materials, interior finishes, and functional program
elements); and

Other systems.

Water Budget Analysis

Water improvement is the next part of the integrative process. Can you get a non-potable
sources for sewage conveyance? Will waterless urinals be acceptable for the occupants?
If its a hotel project, what is the lowest shower flow rate the owner will allow?
For water related systems, perform a preliminary water budget analysis before the
completion of schematic design that explores how to reduce potable water loads in the
building and accomplish related sustainability goals. By just documenting what project
teams are planning, projects can earn this credit and have big water savings.
A water budget is a project-specific method of calculating the amount of water required
by the building and associated grounds. The budget takes into account indoor, outdoor,
process, and makeup water demands, including any on site supply like rain or greywater.
Water budgets are associated with a specified amount of time, such as a week, month, or
year and a quantity of water.
Its like your personal budget at home. Take into account your water related income,
from supply sources such as rainwater and graywater, and compare it to the water
expenditures toilets, irrigation, and cooling towers.
Assess and estimate the projects potential nonpotable water supply sources and water
demand volumes, including the following:

Indoor water demand. Assess flow and flush fixture design case demand
volumes, calculated in accordance with WE Prerequisite Indoor Water-Use

Outdoor water demand. Assess landscape irrigation design case demand volume
calculated in accordance with WE Credit Outdoor Water-Use Reduction.

Process water demand. Assess kitchen, laundry, cooling tower, and other
equipment demand volumes, as applicable.

Supply sources. Assess all potential nonpotable water supply source volumes,
such as on-site rainwater and graywater, municipally supplied nonpotable water,
and HVAC equipment condensate.

Water Documentation
And again you need to document how the analysis informed design and equipment
selection decisions in the projects OPR and BOD and the eventual design of the project,
including the following, as applicable:

plumbing systems;

sewage conveyance and/or on-site treatment systems;

rainwater quantity and quality management systems;

landscaping, irrigation, and site elements;

roofing systems and/or building form and geometry; and other systems.

Using the USGBC Worksheet

The Integrative Process worksheet supplied by USGBC can help project teams organize
the information required for credit documentation. Looking at the form, the steps are to:

Describe the baseline assumptions for each component

Describe at least two potential load reduction strategies that were assessed for
each aspect through the simple box energy modeling before the completion of
schematic design

Describe how research and analysis uncovered through the discovery influenced
the project building program, form, geometry, and/or configuration

Provide a brief explanation of how the research and analysis uncovered through
discovery influenced the project design and/or resulted in system downsizing. If
applicable, give reasons for not addressing topics.

Describe how this process informed changes made to the OPR and BOD.

You dont have to use the worksheet, but its helpful if you dont want to create your own

When are you going to work on this credit? The requirements make it pretty clear before the completion of schematic design your energy and water analysis budgets need


to be completed. The owner and most of your lead designers are going to be involved in
providing input into these two primary building systems water and energy.

Healthcare Prerequisite | Integrative Project Planning and Design

The healthcare adaptation has an Integrative Project Planning and Design prerequisite. It
is the only rating system adaptation that has this prerequisite. The intent is to maximize
opportunities for integrated, cost-effective adoption of green design and construction
strategies, emphasizing human health as a fundamental evaluative criterion for building
design, construction and operational strategies. Well review the prerequisite
requirements because the process for the prerequisite reinforces the same process we just
discussed to have a successful integrative design.

Health Mission Statement

Prepare an Owners Project Requirements (OPR) document. Develop a health mission
statement and incorporate it in the OPR. The health mission statement must address
"triple bottom line" valueseconomic, environmental and social. Include goals and
strategies to safeguard the health of building occupants, the local community and the
global environment, while creating a high-performance healing environment for the
buildings patients, caregivers and staff.
If you work on a non-healthcare project the OPR should have a mission statement that
would be related to the project type or goals. In the case of a healthcare project, this OPR
will of course be specific to the hospitals mission.

Preliminary Rating Goals

As early as practical and preferably before schematic design, conduct a preliminary
LEED meeting with a minimum of four key project team members and the owner or
owners representative. As part of the meeting, create a LEED action plan that, at a

Determines the LEED certification level to pursue (Certified, Silver, Gold, or


Selects the LEED credits to meet the targeted certification level; and

Identifies the responsible parties to ensure the LEED requirements for each
prerequisite and selected credit are met.

Again, this is something project teams need to do anyway for a LEED project. Youre
going to sit down with the project team and discuss what credits we can achieve, what


our target certification level is, and who is going to be responsible for those credits we
work towards.

Design Charrette
As early as practical and preferably before schematic design, conduct a minimum fourhour, integrated design charrette with the project team as defined above. The goal is to
optimize the integration of green strategies across all aspects of building design,
construction and operations, drawing on the expertise of all participants.
This should be starting to sound familiar if you have worked on a LEED project or one
with an integrative design. Write a mission statement, develop performance goals, vet
materials, and identify desired occupant experiences.

Selecting a Team
A lot of big firms are doing this process already, but what if its new territory? Some
owners may be used to hiring an architect and having the architect take care of everything
else, like hiring the consulting engineers, and other team members. That might not work
to get optimum results.
What if the project team has one LEED v4 expert and that person finds a new job, and
everyone else doesnt have a clue whats going on or why they are doing it. Thats a
problem too.
The lighting design is usually going to play a critical role in many areas of the project, so
what happens if the lighting consultant or the lighting designer isnt well versed in
integrative design. Another problem.
Picking the right team members is a critical decision. Do they have experience, do they
buy into the process, do they understand the why and the how? You need to have buy-in
from the team, and make sure there is more than one expert, or better still, junior staff
who can shadow the expert and learn.
If youre project goal is a Gold or Platinum level certification, youll probably want a
team that thinks outside the box as well, so they can come up with creative solutions to
earn the maximum number of points available by having synergies between credits.

IP Case Study
Clearly the integrative process is a dynamic and creative venture for all involved. Just as
it evolves individual projects from conventional practice to sustainable to regenerative,
the integrative process itself will evolve to meet the ever-new and demanding


opportunities in the design of our built environment. Only by learning and evolving with
it will we be able to create the sustainable future we envision for our children.
Well close this presentation with an example of what can be achieved through the
integrative process.
This is the Bullitt Center, a super-efficient office space at 1501 East Madison Street,
designed to become the worlds largest functioning, commercial Living Building, using
an estimated 83 percent less energy than a typical Seattle office building and achieving
Net Zero Energy and Net Zero Water.
The building reaches these goals through a variety of systems such as:

A high performance building envelope.

A layout designed to optimize natural light, an estimated 82 percent of the

Centers spaces are lit by natural sunlight.

Careful coordination with tenants to reduce their plug loads by over 75 percent
through the use of high-efficiency monitors, copiers, laptops, zero clients and
cloud based servers.

26-bore, 400 foot-deep geo-exchange HVAC system that harvests energy from
the earth to provide efficient heating and cooling.

Radiant floor system to efficiently heat and cool office spaces.

242 KW roof-top photovoltaic array to provide all the net energy needed for the

Rainwater and greywater reclamation systems including a 56,000-gallon cistern

to capture rainwater and a constructed wetland to treat greywater.

Foam flush, composting toilets reduce toilet water consumption by 96 percent.

Each week there was a meeting with the architects, owner, and contractor, as well as subcontractors as needed. Working closely with the engineers, every change the architects
made had to move closer to the performance target. The engineers examined the
performance impact of each design change to understand its impact on the building
performance. It is a systems-based design approach, both organic and science-based.
Margaret Sprug noted that this was more of an integrated process with the engineers than
on any other Miller Hull project she had worked on in her office, and Brian Court
commented that this project is the first purely performance-driven design for the firm.
The attention-getting elements of the Bullitt Center100% onsite renewable energy,
water and waste management, as well as a safe, naturally day-lit and ventilated work
environment built to last 250 yearsfollow from an equally exciting integrated design
process that enabled us to move beyond the traditionally linear design, engineering and

construction process to orchestrate a diverse team targeting the seemingly impossible

together, right from the start, said Craig Curtis, design partner with The Miller Hull
Partnership. In considering first and foremost how to design a building with essentially
no environmental footprint, it was energizing to identify imaginative and elegant ways to
beautifully express the buildings core performance functions through design strategies
using a mix of existing and new technologies, systems, and materials. While in one sense
we had to do more with less, we happily found that designing to high-performance targets
actually opened up numerous formal design opportunities.

Key Terms | Integrative Process

Simple box energy model
Water budget
Health Mission Statement


Chapter 3 Location and Transportation

New Category
Lets get started with the Location & Transportation credit category. This is a new credit
category for LEED. While it is a new credit category, most of the credits were extracted
out of the sustainable sites category from the prior version of LEED. If you worked on a
LEED for New Construction project under LEED 2009, these credits should look familiar
to you.

Community Relationships
Why the division? The credit categories were divided to separate a buildings
relationship to its community versus its relationship to its site and the site ecosystem.
To be successful with the credits in the location and transportation category, a project
team is going to need to be familiar with the surrounding areas of the site and the public
transportation that is available.

Synergy with Neighborhood Development Projects

The Location and Transportation credit category has 8 credits, and no prerequisites.

LT Credit 1: LEED for Neighborhood Development Location

Can earn up to 16 points. That is a huge number of points and emphasizes

how LEED is trying to push sustainable neighborhoods and the alignment
between the other rating systems and the LEED ND rating system, so they all
become a more cohesive family of rating systems.

LT Credit 2: Sensitive Land Protection; can earn one point

LT Credit 3: High Priority Site; can earn 2 points

LT Credit 4: Surrounding Density and Diverse Areas; can earn up to 5 points

LT Credit 5: Access to Quality Transit; can earn up to 5 points

LT Credit 6: Bicycle Facilities; can earn up to 1 point

LT Credit 7: Reduced Parking Footprint; can earn 1 point

LT Credit 8: Green Vehicles; can earn 1 point

What is interesting to note here is if you add up the points from credits 2 through credits
7, they come out to a total possible of 16 points. That is the same as the maximum for the


LEED for Neighborhood Development location credit. Whats happening here is if you
locate a project in a LEED ND development, your paperwork gets streamlined and just
went down significantly. This was one of the goals for LEED version 4. By tying the
rating systems closer together the paperwork gets reduced.
Project teams may only submit either credit one solely, or any combination of credits 2-7
to achieve the maximum of 16 points. Of course if locating your project in a LEED ND
location isnt possible, you still have the option of earning up to 16 points by attempting
the other credits in this category. It will just take more documentation to do so.

LT Credit 1 | LEED for Neighborhood Development Location

Lets start with the credit for LEED for Neighborhood Development Location. The intent
of this credit is to avoid development on inappropriate sites, to reduce vehicles miles or
kilometers traveled, and to enhance livability and improve human health by encouraging
daily physical activity. This is a new credit and encourages selection of a LEED ND
certified site. This credit is designed to give project teams a streamlined path to earn

Must be a LEED ND certified project

The requirements are to locate the project within the boundary of a development certified
under LEED for Neighborhood Development (Stage 2 or Stage 3 under the Pilot or 2009
rating systems, Certified Plan or Certified Project under the LEED v4 rating system).
Your project team needs to find a LEED ND project to site the building in.
As we mentioned in the introduction, if a project attempts this credit then the project is
not eligible to earn any of the other location and transportation credits.

Point Distribution
The number of points a project can earn varies based on the project type, and the
certification level of the LEED ND project. The possible point totals are listed in this













This table is going to be handy during your pre-planning. Dont just assume that putting
your project in a LEED ND location is going to earn you the most points in this category.
Its possible that by achieving credits 2 through 7 individually or in some combination
that your project could earn more points than attempting the LEED ND location credit.

Review Question
True or False: Project teams that attempt LT Credit LEED for Neighborhood
Development Location can also attempt other credits in the LT category.
Answer is: False. Your project can either attempt this credit, or attempt one or more of
the other credits were going to be discussing next. If you pursue this credit, your
documentation is easier.

LT Credit 2 | Sensitive Land Protection

The intent is to avoid the development of environmentally sensitive lands and reduce the
environmental impact from the location of a building on a site. This credit is the
evolution of the Sustainable Sites credit Site Selection in LEED 2009. This credit
addresses wetlands, waterbodies, floodplains, and prime farmland.

2 Options
There are 2 options for this credit. The first option is to develop on previously developed
land. The second option is to develop on previously developed land or land that does not
meet the criteria for sensitive land. Each option can earn one point, and you pick one
option or the other.

Option 1: Previously Developed Land

Option 1 requires locating the development footprint on land that has been previously
developed. There are some key terms here that are important for this requirement.
The development footprint is the total land area of a project site covered by buildings,
streets, parking areas, sidewalks, and other typically impermeable surfaces constructed as
part of the project. Its not just the building itself, but the entire sum of all physical
development. Its not enough to put the building on a previously developed area and put
the parking lot next door in a greenfield.
And what does previously developed mean? It is land that has been altered by humans,
such as paving, construction, and/or land use that would typically have required
regulatory permitting to have been initiated (alterations may exist now or in the past). If
100% of the land within your LEED boundary is previously developed, you may build

anywhere. If 40% of the area within the LEED project boundary is previously developed,
your project team has to prioritize that 40% of the site for new development. The date of
previous development permit issuance constitutes the date of previous development, but
permit issuance in itself does not constitute previous development.
So its a bit of a technical definition to determine if your site is previously developed,
rather than just looking at an empty paved parking lot and saying ok, this is a previously
developed site. In prior LEED versions there would be projects on huge greenfields and
a tiny portion of the land was developed, and the project team would say oh, previously
developed. That is not the case anymore.
Land that is not previously developed and landscapes altered by current or historical
clearing or filling, agricultural or forestry use, or preserved natural area use are
considered undeveloped land. By developing on previously developed land, we can
conserve and preserve undeveloped land, which promotes natural habitats for species
diversity and stormwater infiltration.

Option 2: Avoid Land meeting Sensitive Criteria

Option 2 applies to undeveloped land, or greenfield conditions. The intent is avoiding
building on land that meets one of the sensitivity criteria.
Do not develop on portions of sites that meet any of these criteria. When it says, Do not
develop, think carefully about what development means.
Development means not just the building. Its also hardscapes, roadways, and sidewalks,
which are all parts of the building project. When it says don't develop, the requirements
mean all of those.

Prime Farmland
Do not develop on prime farmland. The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations defines prime
farmland. In addition, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) maintains
detailed maps with soil data identifying soil as prime, unique, or of state significance.

Do not develop on undeveloped floodplains. What if there was somewhere in New
Orleans that falls into a flood plain, but it previously had a building on it? If I develop
there, am I still eligible to receive this credit? And the answer is yes. Its only new
developments or previously undeveloped areas that arent allowed within this limit.
However, developed areas are ok. Flood hazard maps must delineate areas with a 1% or
greater chance of ooding in any given year. FEMA is the referenced standard used to
determine floodplains.


Protect habitats for endangered species. Remember there are both endangered plant and
animal species. There are several standards used for identifying endangered species. The
U.S. Fish and Wildlife service sponsors both the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the
NatureServe Heritage Program. The act lists threatened and endangered animals.
NatureServe classifies habitats that are home to species identified as GH (possibly
extinct), G1 (critically imperiled) or G2 (imperiled).

Water Bodies
Do not develop land within 100 feet (30 meters) of a water body such as a stream
(including intermittent streams), arroyo, river, canal, lake, estuary, bay, or ocean. It does
not include irrigation ditches. This buffer is generous because if human impacts affect the
water body, from stormwater runoff, it will quickly end up in the ocean or our drinking
water supply.

Do not develop land within 50 feet (15 meters) of any wetlands. Wetlands are areas
inundated or saturated by surface or ground water at a frequency and duration sucient
to support a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil
conditions. This buffer is smaller than water bodies because the primary purpose of a
wetland is to filter water of contaminants! That doesnt mean you can pollute at will, but
if you need a metaphor, wetlands are natures water filter.

International Projects
For international project teams, you may need to identify local equivalencies from many
reference standards. Working with a qualified biologist or ecologist may be necessary to
identify those local equivalencies. Organizations likely to have qualied members
include the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management, the Institute
of Ecology and Environmental Management, and the Institute of Environmental
Management and Assessment.

The credit does allow for making minor improvement within the wetland and water body
buffers, if these improvements are for the betterment of the site. Improvements include:

Bicycle and pedestrian pathways no more than 12 feet wide (3.5 meters), of
which no more than 8 feet (2.5 meters) may be impervious;

Activities to maintain or restore native natural communities and/or natural



One single-story structure per 300 linear feet (90 linear meters) on average, not
exceeding 500 square feet (45 square meters);

Grade changes necessary to ensure public access;

Clearings, limited to one per 300 linear feet (90 linear meters) on average, not
exceeding 500 square feet (45 square meters) each;

Removal of the following tree types:

Hazardous trees, up to 75% of dead trees

Trees less than 6 inches (150 millimeters) diameter at breast height

Up to 20% of trees more than 6 inches (150 millimeters) diameter at breast height
with a condition rating of 40% or higher.

Trees under 40% condition rating

The condition rating must be based on an assessment by an arborist certified by

the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) using ISA standard measures, or
local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.

Brownfield remediation activities.

As you consider that list you can visualize how each of those improvements does indeed
add to the user experience of the site. Allowing your project occupants to visually
connect with natural habits can increase their awareness of how special these ecosystems
are to the broader community.. Minor improvements align with the triple bottom line that
respects people and the planet as equally valuable to your buildings profit.

Sample Question
A technology firm is deciding on a location to build a new data center. Which of the
following sites would be most appropriate?
A. Developed site 30 feet (9 meters) from a fishing stream
B. Land with a species classified as possibly extinct by NatureServe
C. Undeveloped land in a flood plain as defined by FEMA
D. Undeveloped land that is 40 feet (12 meters) from a stream
E. Brownfield that is 80 feet (24 meters) from a wetland
F. Organic tree nursery defined as prime farmland
E is the correct answer. Focus on the word most. First prioritize conservation of
greenfields; B, C, and D are off limits. Now there are three choice remaining, all
previously developed sites: A, E, and F. A is too close to the stream, development should
be at least 100 feet from a body of water. F is classified as prime farmland, which meets
the definition of sensitive site and will not earn the credit. E is highly desirable for a
LEED project. It is a brownfield so it is previously developed, and it is more than 50 feet
from the wetland.


LT Credit 3 | High Priority Site

The next LT Credit is High Priority Site. The intent is to encourage project location in
areas with development constraints and promote the health of the surrounding area.
This credit merges the Brownfield Redevelopment credit from LEED 2009 along with a
credit that is in the LEED ND rating system into this new credit for LEED v4. The credit
encourages project teams to select sites with difficult development constraints.

Three Options

Option1 is to locate the project on an infill site in a historic district. 1 point for
BD&C, 2 points for CS.
Option 2 is to locate the project in an area with a priority redevelopment
designation. 1 point for BD&C, 2 points for CS
Option 3 is brownfield remediation. 2 points for BD&C, 3 points for CS

Historic Districts
A historic district is a group of buildings, structures, objects, and sites that have been
designated or determined to be eligible as historically, culturally or architecturally
significant, and categorized as either contributing or noncontributing to the historic nature
of the district. These districts are usually designated by a local or national group or
agency. A 100 year old neighborhood doesnt automatically qualify as historic just
because its old - it has to be designated as such. In the United States we have the
National Register of Historic Places that has the official list of the Nation's historic places
worthy of preservation.
An infill site is a site where at least 75% of the land area, exclusive of rights-of-way,
within mile (800 meters) of the project boundary is previously developed. A street or
other right-of-way does not constitute previously developed land; it is the status of
property that matters. Developing on an infill site contributes to the overall health and
livelihood of a neighborhood by reducing vacant space for crime and blight. Layering this
benefit over a historic district ensures the longevity of the social character and regional
vernacular. These can be very desirable places to live or work.

Priority Designation
This option is where you find the rating system working on the economic and social
nature of the LEED rating systems. They are trying to get projects to move into
underserved neighborhoods and areas to promote growth.


Locate the project on one of the following:

a site listed by the EPA National Priorities List;

a Federal Empowerment Zone site;

a Federal Enterprise Community site;

a Federal Renewal Community site;

a Department of the Treasury Community Development Financial Institutions

Fund Qualified Low-Income Community

a site in a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Developments Qualified

Census Tract (QCT) or Difficult Development Area (DDA)

Note that the project will qualify as a priority designation if only part of the site is located
within one of the priority designations. In the LEED documentation the project team will
need to include a site map that indicates the portion of the site in the priority area.
Projects outside the U.S. can use a local equivalent program administered at the national

Brownfield Remediation
The definition of brownfield is property reuse which may be complicated by the
presence, or potential presence, of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant. For
this option projects locate the building on a brownfield where soil or groundwater
contamination has been identified, and where the local, state, or national authority
(whichever has jurisdiction) confirms its remediation.
Your team is either going to remediate the site, or you can locate on a site that has
already been remediated and designated as a brownfield. Contaminated sites can be
identified by two different processes. The owner may perform a phase two environmental
site assessment to demonstrate that contamination is present. Sometimes, a site is
designated as a Brownfield by local, state or federal government agencies. Either one of
these counts as a brownfield redevelopment.
Remediation is the process of cleaning up a contaminated site by physical, chemical, or
biological means. Remediation processes are typically applied to contaminated soil and
groundwater. Project teams have to perform remediation to the satisfaction of the
identified authority.

Environmental Site Assessment

A phase two environmental assessment tells you what the problems are and perhaps
suggests what remediation is needed. Then the remediation experts would come in to
help you identify what needs to be done. The scope of work varies based on type and


magnitude of contamination. It could be safely demolishing existing structures, or

treating soil and groundwater.
New technologies can minimize site disruption, treat contamination, and monitor the site
factors like air and water to ensure contaminants do not return.

Case Study: Tassafaronga

Tassafaronga in Oakland California earned LEED for Homes Platinum Certification and
LEED ND Plan Gold. The project is an apartment building with supportive housing
units, medical facility, and townhouses. The project size is 7.5 acres with a budget of $58
Tassafaronga was originally founded in 1945 by the U.S government as temporary
housing for wartime workers in Oaklands shipyards. In 1964, the Oakland Housing
Authority (OHA) acquired the property and replaced the original structures with 87
concrete low-rise public housing units. Tassafaronga Village, as the project was quaintly
and optimistically christened, devolved into a breeding ground for drug and gang crime.
Deep fissures in the concrete and seismic issues added to the deteriorating scenario. For
decades, Tassafaronga, in Oakland, California, sat in a blighted condition, continually
declining, and the home of crime and drug lords. It was a dangerous brownfield, tainted
with asbestos, lead, and toxic insecticides.
Creative financing and environmentally enlightened development strategies brought
about transformation. In 2007, OHA secured permission to demolish the project,
officially deemed severely distressed. Tassafaronga Village was ultimately dismantled
and rebuilt with 97 percent of its waste materials recycled, many reused on site, including
existing concrete foundations ground up for the project's new road base.

LT Credit 4 | Surrounding Density and Diverse Uses

The intent of this credit is to conserve land and protect farmland and wildlife habitat by
encouraging development in areas with existing infrastructure and social benefits.
Density promotes walkability, transportation efficiency, reduces vehicle distance
traveled, and improves public health by encouraging daily physical activity.

Two Options
While this is really one credit, it offers two distinct and different options for point
achievement. The first option is surrounding density which can earn 2 to 3 points. The
second option is diverse uses, which can earn 1 to 2 points. Projects may pursue both


Surrounding Density
The goal is to locate the project on a site whose surrounding density within mile (400
meter) meets the following thresholds for either combined, or separate residential and
nonresidential densities.

Separate Residential and

Nonresidential Densities

Points BD+C
(except CS)

Points Core
and Shell



Residential density is measured by dwelling units per acre or hectare. Nonresidential

density is measured by floor area ratio. If the number of dwelling units cannot be
determined, combined density calculations are the best path. For mixed-use building,
apply a weighted average.

Density Calculations
For documentation youll need a map of your project site with a mile or 400 meter
radius drawn around the project site. If a building falls halfway within the radius, it is
still counted in the calculations. You count the entire building, not just the percentage
that falls within the radius.
You can find out the size of the buildings from the local tax assessors office. Start with
what you think are the most dense buildings first. If the dense buildings are enough to
meet the credit requirements, then you can stop calculating the rest of the buildings
because youve met the requirements at that point.
Include all properties in the density calculations except for undeveloped public areas such
as parks and water bodies. Also, do not include public roads and right-of-way areas.
You do have to include any unused, buildable land within the radius. Do not include the
project building, or non-habitable space, such as parking garages.

Diverse Uses
The goal is to locate the project within a mile (800-meters) walking distance of diverse
uses. The key here is walking distance, not a fixed radius. Meaning it cant be on the
other side of the freeway which is within mile as the crow flies, but is inaccessible
without walking more than mile. Proximity to four to seven uses earn a project one
point, or 2 points for eight or more.


Use Types and Categories

A use type is something the public would use, like a library or a bank. Thats key, it has
to be a publicly available use, not a private club. It also has to exist at the time of
submitting the LEED certification documents. Uses that are planned but not completed
dont count.
LEED defines the following use categories:

Food retail include supermarkets and other food stores with produce sections

Community serving retail, which include

Convenience store

Farmers market

Hardware store


Other retail

Services, which include


Family entertainment venue such as a theatre or sport place

Gym, health club, exercise studio

Hair care

Laundry, dry cleaner

Restaurant, caf, diner (excluding those with only drive-thru service)

Civic and community facilities, which include

Government office that serves public on-site

Medical clinic or office that treats patients

Place of worship

Police or fire station

Post office

Public library

Public park

Social services center

Community anchors uses, like a commercial office, or housing

There are some restrictions on counting the uses:

A use counts as only one type (e.g., a retail store may be counted only once even
if it sells products in several categories).

No more than two uses in each use type may be counted (e.g. if five restaurants
are within walking distance, only two may be counted).

The counted uses must represent at least three of the five categories, exclusive of
the buildings primary use.

Diverse Use Calculations

On a map, draw a half mile walking distance from the buildings main entrance. Mark all
the uses. You can do this with Google maps or a similar mapping program. Show that
the uses are easily walk accessible. If there were any obvious obstacles, like rivers or
freeways, it would show how those would be crossed. The review staff are quite
particular in the documentation as to if there is a safe pedestrian path, or sidewalk that
lets people access the services safely.

Rating System Adaptation

For healthcare projects either option may earn just one point for achieving the lowest
density thresholds (22,000 SF/AC, 7 DU/AC, 0.5 FAR) or seven uses.
A warehouse, as you might expect, isnt likely to be located near diverse uses or in dense
areas, so the options are completely different. Warehouse Option 1 is renamed,
Development and Adjacency, which can earn 2 to 3 points. Construct or renovate the
project on a previously developed site that was used for industrial or commercial
purposes. (2 points). Or project teams can construct or renovate the project on a site that
is both a previously developed and an adjacent site. The adjacent sites must be currently
used for industrial or commercial purposes (3 points).
Warehouse Option 2 is renamed, Transportation Resources, which can earn 1 to 2 points.
For this option, construct or renovate the project on a site that has two or three (1 point)
or four (2 points) of the following transportation resources:
The site is within a 10-mile (16 kilometer) driving distance of a main logistics
hub, defined as an airport, seaport, intermodal facility, or freight village with
intermodal transportation.

The site is within a 1-mile (1600-meter) driving distance of an on-off ramp to a


The site is within a 1-mile (1600-meter) driving distance of an access point to an

active freight rail line.

The site is served by an active freight rail spur.

In all cases, a planned transportation resource must be sited, funded, and under
construction by the date of the certicate of occupancy and complete within 24 months of
that date.


LT Credit 5 | Access to Quality Transit

The intent of this credit is to encourage development in locations shown to have
multimodal transportation choices or otherwise reduced motor vehicle use, thereby
reducing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and other environmental and public
health harms associated with motor vehicle use.

Stops and Service

This credit has two requirements. First, locate any functional entry of the project within a
-mile (400-meter) walking distance of existing or planned bus, streetcar, or rideshare
stops, or within a -mile (800-meter) walking distance of existing or planned bus rapid
transit stops, light or heavy rail stations, commuter rail stations or ferry terminals. This is
the establishment portion of the credit. Planned stops and stations may count if they are
sited, funded, and under construction by the date of the certificate of occupancy and are
complete within 24 months of that date.
In addition to proximity, the transit services need to meet trip minimums. This is the
performance portion of this credit. Each transit routes must have service in opposite
directions, however, only trips in one direction are counted towards the threshold. Transit
must meet the minimums for both weekend and weekday to count. The next page
displays a table identifying the multiple thresholds to reward increased frequency of
Minimum Daily Service for Multiple Transit Types (bus, streetcar, light rail, ferry)
Points BD+C
Weekday Trips Weekend Trips
(except CS)
Core and Shell




Minimum Daily Service for Commuter Rail or Ferry Service Only (long distance)
Points all
Weekday Trips Weekend Trips
Projects served by two or more routes where neither route provide greater than 60% of
daily rides may earn an additional point for diversity of service.


Temporary Detours
If existing transit service is temporarily rerouted outside the required distances for less
than two years, the project may meet the requirements, provided the local transit agency
has committed to restoring the routes with service at or above the prior level. This can be
an issue with construction projects where traffic is detoured while the construction is
going on.

Similar to the Density and Diverse Uses credit, compliance is verified by locating your
project building on a map that identifies all transit stops and pedestrian walking distance
from building entries.
In addition, teams must count aggregate trips available at all qualifying transit stops.
Compliance can be demonstrated by any combination of bus, rail, etc. to meet the
minimum daily stops. Timetables or service-level documentation must be provided to
verify available trips.
Example Transit Service Summary
Bus #1
Bus #2
Light Rail


Day A

Day B


Example Route Diversity Summary

Light Rail
Total Service
This example does not meet 60% for extra point.

137 (80%)
32 (20%)

Rating System Adaptations

The school adaptation has two options. Option 1 is Transit-Served location. Its similar
to what we just discussed except there are no weekend trip requirements, just weekday
only. The walking distance and minimum trip numbers are all the same from the base
credit. The point totals for mixed transit types are 1, 2, or 4.


Option 2 is Pedestrian Access. Show that the project has an attendance boundary such
that the specified percentages of students live within no more than a mile (1200-meter)
walking distance (for grades 8 and below, or ages 14 and below), and 1 1/2-mile (2400meter) walking distance (for grades 9 and above or ages 15 and above) of a functional
entry of a school building.
If 50% of students are within walking distance, the project earns 1 point. 2 points for
60%, and 3 points for 70% or more.
To document pedestrian access, use mapping software to create a walkshed boundary
based on appropriate radius. The walkshed conveys a representation of walkability that is
customized to the school address. Overlay the walkshed boundary with an attendance
boundary map and estimate what percentage of students are within the walkshed
The Healthcare rating system also has an adaptation that requires weekend trips but offer
limited points, only 1 or 2 based on the first tow thresholds of daily rides.

Exemplary Performance
Double the highest transit service point threshold for an additional point in the Innovation
category (except Schools option 2).

LT Credit 6 | Bicycle Facilities

The intent of this credit is to promote bicycling and transportation efficiency and reduce
vehicle distance traveled, and to improve public health by encouraging utilitarian and
recreational physical activity.
New to LEED v4 is the addition of a bicycle network requirement. In the past, projects
just had to install bicycle storage and shower rooms. It was considered an easy point to
get, but the intent to promote health and reduce vehicle miles was missed. By requiring
the project to be located near a bicycle network, LEED is trying to get more people to
actually ride their bikes to work by having part of the requirements be proximity to a safe
and reliable bike lane or path.

Bicycle Network
First well look at the bicycle network requirements-if you dont have this, you cant earn
the credit. A bicycle network is a continuous network consisting of any combination of
the following:

physically designated on-street bicycle lanes at least 5 feet (1.5 meters) wide;

off-street bicycle paths or trails at least 8 feet wide for a two-way path and at
least 5 feet (1.5 meters) wide for a one-way path

streets designed for a target speed of 25 mph (40 kmh)

The bicycle network must connect one of the following: ten diverse uses, access to
quality transit, or a school or employment center (if 50% or more residential). All
destinations must be within three miles of the project. Planned lanes or trails may be
counted if fully funded by date of occupancy and scheduled for completion within one

Bike Storage and Showers

The requirements vary by building type, but they all require both long and short term
bicycle storage, minimum four each (eight total), and at least one shower with changing
Case 1 is for commercial or institutional projects
Provide short-term bicycle storage for at least 2.5% of all peak visitors, but no fewer than
four storage spaces per building.
Provide long-term bicycle storage for at least 5% of all regular building occupants, but no
fewer than four storage spaces per building in addition to the short-term bicycle storage
Provide at least one on-site shower with changing facility for the first 100 regular
building occupants and one additional shower for every 150 regular building occupants
thereafter. Visitors not included in this calculation because they are assumed to stay for
only short visits.
Case 2 is for residential projects
Provide short-term bicycle storage for at least 2.5% of all peak visitors but no fewer than
four storage spaces per building.
Provide long-term bicycle storage for at least 30% of all regular building occupants, but
no less than one storage space per residential unit in addition to the short-term bicycle
storage spaces.
Case 3 is for mixed-use projects
Meet the Case 1 and Case 2 storage requirements for the nonresidential and residential
portions of the project, respectively.


Storage Accessibility
For all projects, short-term bicycle storage must be within 100 feet (30 meters) walking
distance of any main entrance. This could be near the main lobby where a visitor or guest
is going to arrive and conveniently park their bike for quick entry, like a courier
delivering a package.
Long-term bicycle storage must be within 100 feet (30 meters) walking distance of any
functional entry.
Note the slight difference there. Short term storage must be near a main entrance, long
term storage may be near any functional entry. Long term storage could be in a covered
parking deck or at the back of the building near secure entry reserved for employees only.

Sample Calculation
How many bike storage spaces and showers are required for an office building with:
100 occupants working 8 hours per day.
20 part time employees in the building working 4 hours per day.
50 daily average visitors, 30 peak time visitors.
1) Calculate the full time equivalents (FTE) to identify regular occupants for long term
100 full time + ((20 part time x 4 hours) / 8 hours per day) = 110 FTE or regular
building occupants.
2) Select peak visitors to identify short term storage requirements. Note: daily average
refers to the number of visitors over a 24-hour period; peak is the number of visitors
measured at highest occupancy. We will use 30 visitors in this example.
3) Calculate storage required for regular occupants at 5% of total:
110 x 0.05 = 5.5, round up to 6, verify it meets minimum of 4-yes.
Provide 6 long term bike storage spaces
4) Calculate storage required for visitors at 2.5% of total:
30 x 0.025 = 0.75, round up to 1, does not meet minimum of 4.
Provide 4 short term bike storage spaces.
5) Calculate showers required with the following equation:
If regular occupants > 100; 1 + ((regular building occupants 100) / 150) = showers
1 + ((110-100)/150) = 1.067, round up to 2. Provide two showers.
Provide 6 long term bike storage spaces for 110 regular occupants.
Provide 4 short term bike storage spaces for visitors.
Provide two showers to regular occupants.


When the project team is considering site locations, dont eliminate sites that dont have
access to a bicycle network without trying to work with the local government. They
might be willing to work with by adding bike lines, lowering the street speed limit, or
helping in other ways.

LT Credit 7 | Reduced Parking Footprint

The intent of this credit is to minimize the environmental harms associated with parking
facilities, including automobile dependence, land consumption, and rainwater runoff. The
implication is if theres less parking, people are motivated to walk, get a bus, get a bike,
or do something other than drive.

The referenced standard used in this credit is the Institute of Transportation Engineers
Transportation Planning Handbook, 3rd edition ( To earn the credit, project teams
must not exceed local code, and provide parking capacity that is either 20% or 40% less
than the baselines adapted from the ITE guidance. The LEED reference guide offers over
70 use types and associated parking ratios in units like space/SF, space/DU, or space/seat.
In addition, projects must provide preferred parking for carpools for 5% of total parking
spaces after the reduction.

Reduction based on LT Credit Synergy

If your project has not attempted any points under Surrounding Density and Diverse Uses
credit or Access to Quality Transit credit, Case 1, projects must achieve a 20% reduction
from the base ratios.
If your project anticipates to earn one or more points under Surrounding Density and
Diverse Uses or Access to Quality Transit, Case 2, projects must achieve a 40%
reduction. This increased threshold encourages projects in dense neighborhoods to
employ rigorous design strategies to support transit ridership and open space at ground

5% Preferred Parking
LEED defines preferred parking as the parking spaces closest to the main entrance of a
building (exclusive of spaces designated for handicapped persons). For employee
parking, it refers to the spaces that are closest to the entrance used by employees.
Preferred parking is not required if no off-street parking is provided. Do not count spaces
for fleet vehicles.


Projects with no off street parking automatically achieve credit compliance and do not
require preferred parking spaces. To reduce parking below code minimums, work with
local zoning officials and apply for a waiver if needed. Designers should also work with
future occupants to estimate parking needs and select a site that balances transit
infrastructure with parking reduction goals.
Ensure that the design does not just displace parking; instead of actually reducing it. If
everyone parks on the street instead of a private lot; it creates the same problems as
having a big parking lot, potentially even more.

Transportation Demand Management

Especially in the United States, the concept of reducing parking lot size can be met with
opposition and uncertainty. Creating a Transportation Demand Management Plan is a
great strategy to overcome barriers to reducing parking, however, it is not required for
credit achievement.
Beyond locating near mass transit, building owner or managers can initiate programs to
alleviate the need for parking. Physical programs could be sharing parking with
neighboring buildings or providing shuttles between the project building and transit hubs.
Social programs could be allowing telecommuting, compressed work weeks, or providing
transit subsidies. Residential buildings can consider renting or selling parking sepratly
from the dwelling unit.

Calculation Example
Lets say your project is a major renovation of a 10,000 square foot health club in an
existing property with 100 parking spaces. The project is also attempting LT Credit:
Surrounding Density and Diverse Uses. How should they re-design their parking lot to
achieve LT Credit: Reduced Parking Demand?
1) Calculate baseline parking capacity using the table in the reference guide. For health
clubs, the baseline is 7 parking space per 1,000 square feet.
(10,000 / 1,000) x 7 = 70 parking space is the baseline for this project.
2) Calculate parking reduction based on LT credit synergies. Since the project is also
attempting Surrounding Density and Diverse Uses, it must achieve a 40% parking
70 x 0.04 = 28 space reduction.
3) Arrive at target space count but subtracting the reduction from the baseline.
70-28 = 42 spaces in final design.
4) Designate 5% of total as preferred parking.

42 x 0.05 = 2.1, round up to 3. Three spaces should be marked with signage near the
main entry as reserved for carpools.
5) Create a plan to renovate existing parking lot. Since 100 spaces already exist on the
site, but we can only have 42 to earn the credit, the project must demolish 58 spaces.
Since the building already exists, we cannot design the footprint to go on top of these
demolished spaces. Instead, the next best function of that area is a permeable,
vegetated use to promote water infiltration and reduce the heat island effect-synergies
with the Site Selection category. Since it is a health club, you may even consider a
community vegetable garden.

Exemplary Performance
To achieve exemplary performance, triple or double the parking reduction from the
baseline capacity. Case 1 must demonstrate a 60% reduction and Case 2 must
demonstrate an 80% reduction.

LT Credit 8 | Green vehicles

The intent of this credit is to reduce pollution by promoting alternatives to conventionally
fueled automobiles. This credit requires two components to promote green vehicle
ownership: providing preferred parking and providing fueling stations. Parking spaces
that include fueling stations must be provided separate from, and in addition to, preferred
parking spaces for green vehicles.
The first thing we need to know is whats a green vehicle? LEEDs definition is vehicles
achieving a minimum green score of 45 on the American Council for an Energy Efficient
Economy (ACEEE) annual vehicle rating guide. International project teams must use a
local equivalent that addresses fuel economy and vehicle emissions ratings, including
particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide
(CO), and present a side-by-side comparison.

5% Preferred Parking
To incentivize building users to purchase and drive cars like a low-emission vehicle
(LEV), designate 5% of all parking spaces as preferred parking for Green Vehicles.
Distribute preferred parking spaces proportionally among various parking sections (e.g.
between short-term and long-term spaces). A discounted parking rate of at least 20% for
green vehicles is an acceptable substitute for preferred parking spaces. The discounted
rate must be publicly posted at the entrance of the parking area and permanently available
to every qualifying vehicle.


2% Alternative-Fuel Fueling Stations

To encourage building users to invest in green vehicles like a hybrid or zero emission
vehicle (ZEV), install alternative fuel stations. Consider the legal, technical, and safety
issues when selecting the type of fuel to provide on-site, and choose one of the following
two options.
Option 1 is electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). Clearly identify and reserve these
spaces for the sole use by plug-in electric vehicles.
The EVSE must:
Provide a Level 2 charging capacity (208 to 240 volts) or greater.

Comply with the relevant regional or local standard for electrical connectors

Be networked or internet addressable and be capable of participating in a

demand-response program or time-of-use pricing to encourage off-peak charging.

That last requirement is key because its not something you would normally think of
the charger has to be connected to the Internet. You can do that via wi-fi, cellular, or a
hard line to the projects network. This requirement is a synergy with energy and
atmosphere credit demand response.
Option 2 is for liquid, gas, or battery facilities. Examples of low-polluting, nongasoline
fuels include hydrogen, propane, compressed natural gas, liquid natural gas, and ethanol.
Install liquid or gas alternative fuel fueling facilities or a battery switching station capable
of refueling a number of vehicles per day equal to at least 2% of all parking spaces.
When providing alternative fueling stations, poll future building occupants to see what
fuel they need. Compare the environmental & economic costs and benefits of alternative
fuels, and research local codes and standards for fueling stations in the area. Project
teams also need to learn about the safety and maintenance issues associated with
alternative fuels

Rating System Adaptations

Schools have an additional option to provide green buses and school-owned vehicles in
lieu of preferred parking and fueling stations. 100% of school buses must meet emissions
standards within seven years of the buildings certificate of occupancy.
nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions of 0.50 grams or less per brake horsepower-hour
particulate matter emissions of 0.01 grams or less per brake horsepower-hour
100% of all other non-bus fleet vehicles must achieve a green score of 45 or


For Warehouse projects there are two different options.

Option 1 is to purchase at least one yard tractor that is powered by electricity, propane, or
natural gas, and a refueling station for the tractor. Yard tractors are trucks that move
trailers around a warehouse yard. Think of it like one of those small vehicles that are
used to push around big airplanes at the airport.
The second option for warehouse projects is to reduce truck idling. Provide outlets for at
least 50% of loading dock doors so drivers can operate in-cab features without leaving
their truck engines idling at the dock. An example of this would be a refrigerated trailer
containing perishable produce. The truck needs to stay running to keep the contents cool.
Instead of leaving the truck idling while its waiting to be unloaded, the trailer could be
hooked up to electricity from the loading dock so the truck engine can be turned off while
the trailer contents are kept cold.

Location and Transportation Synergies

Schools have an additional option to provide green buses and school-owned vehicles in
lieu of preferred parking and fueling stations.


Key Terms | Location and Transportation

Flood hazard maps
prime farmland
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
endangered species
NatureServe Heritage Program
previously developed
stormwater infiltration
International Society of Arboriculture (ISA)
National Register of Historic Places
infill site
phase two environmental assessment
dwelling units per acre (DU/ac)
floor area ratio (FAR)
non-habitable space
walking distance
main logistics hub
freight rail spur
Transit-Served location
walkshed boundary
bicycle network
peak visitors
Institute of Transportation Engineers Transportation Planning Handbook
preferred parking
Transportation Demand Management Plan
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
green score of 45
Green Vehicles
electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE)


Chapter 4 Site Selection

The Sustainable Sites credit category has 6 common credits between the BD+C Rating
Systems. There are 5 other credits for different LEED adaptations. There is one
common prerequisite, and one prerequisite specific to Schools and Healthcare.

SS Prerequisite 1 | Construction Activity Pollution Prevention

SS School Prerequisite 2 | Environmental Site Assessment

SS Credit 1 | Site Assessment

can earn 1 to 3 points for all BD&C rating systems, except for Healthcare
which can earn 1 to 2 points

SS Credit 5 | Heat Island Reduction

can earn one point for all BD&C rating systems

SS Credit 4 | Rainwater Management

can earn 1 to 2 points for all BD&C rating systems, except for Healthcare
which can earn one point

SS Credit 3 | Open Space

can earn one point for all BD&C rating systems

SS Credit 2 | Site Development Protect or Restore Habitat

Only required for School and Healthcare projects

can earn 2 points for all BD&C rating systems, except for Healthcare which
can earn 1 point

SS Credit 6 | Light Pollution Reduction

can earn 1 point for all BD&C rating systems

Its worth remembering which credits have multiple points associated with them. The
implication there is that they have a greater environmental benefit. The Architects of
LEED v4 have weighted credits based on their contributions to the seven goals
mentioned in chapter one of this study guide.
We can see in this section that Rainwater Management is inherently more important than,
Light Pollution Reduction. In addition, School and Healthcare projects have extra
sensitivities, which require Environmental Site Assessments, whereas that approach is
optional for other rating systems.


These next credits are specific to certain rating systems.

SS School Credit | Site Master Plan

SS School Credit | Joint Use of Facilities

can earn one point for Core & Shell

SS Healthcare Credit | Places of Respite

can earn one point for Schools

SS Core & Shell Credit | Tenant Design and Construction Guidelines

can earn one point for Schools

can earn one point for Healthcare

SS Healthcare Credit | Direct Exterior Access

can earn one point for Healthcare

Bear in mind that, in the end, all rating systems have a total of 110 points, but they
distribute them based on whats important. Youll hear it over and over again its
important to start early with these credits as they affect the size and shape of the footprint
of your building.

SS Prerequisite 1 | Construction Activity Pollution Prevention

This prerequisite applies to all of the BD&C rating systems. The intent is to reduce
pollution from construction activities by controlling soil erosion, waterway
sedimentation, and airborne dust.
The thing you need to remember is that construction activity pollution refers to erosion
and sedimentation. More explicitly, erosion of top soil harms ecosystem services, and
sedimentation, or silt in stormwater runoff, impairs waterways. To avoid these negative
impacts of construction, teams are required to produce and follow an erosion and
sedimentation control plan (ESC).
What is your project site receives little rainfall? If so, then it probably produces a lot of
dust, so your pollution source is airborne and your pollution prevention plan must address
dust rather than stormwater sedimentation.

Reference Standard
The ESC plan must comply with the 2012 EPA construction general permit or local
standards and codes, whichever is more stringent. The EPAs guidance is a really

common approach in LEED because its a national system adopted by many

municipalities. Of course, LEED says if the local codes or standards are more stringent,
you have to follow those. If the local jurisdiction requires a construction general permit
(CGP) based on National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), then using
the CGP is a streamlined path and no additional ESC plan is required. Lets look at these
standards more closely.
Storm water discharges from construction activities (such as clearing, grading,
excavating, and stockpiling) that disturb one or more acres, or smaller sites that are part
of a larger common plan of development or sale, are regulated under the NPDES storm
water program. Prior to discharging storm water, construction operators must obtain
coverage under an NPDES permit, which is administered by either the state (if it has been
authorized to operate the NPDES storm water program) or EPA, depending on where the
construction site is located.
Where EPA is the permitting authority, construction storm water discharges are almost
all permitted under the CGP. The CGP requires compliance with effluent limits and other
permit requirements, such as the development of a Storm Water Pollution Prevention
Plan (SWPPP). If you have driven by a construction site before you may have seen a
SWPPP permit posted on the perimeter right near the entrance to the project. The
government takes these very seriously and if a project is found to be in violation of the
plan the local agency may shut down construction until the issues are remedied.
For international projects youll need to find a local equivalent code.

Prevention Activities
Three different categories of action identified within the CGP must be followed for every
project: erosion and sedimentation control, stabilization, and pollution prevention.
Erosion and sedimentation control
Providing natural buffers

Installing perimeter controls

Minimizing sediment track-out

Controlling discharges from stockpiled sediment or soil

Minimizing dust

Minimizing the disturbance of steep slopes

Preserving topsoil

Minimizing soil compaction

Protecting storm drain inlets

Maintaining control measures


Deadlines for initiating and completing stabilization

Criteria for stabilization

Pollution Prevention
Prohibited discharges

General maintenance requirements

Pollution prevention standards

Emergency spill notification

Fertilizer discharge restrictions

Project teams should start by evaluating the site specific needs. Pay attention to slope,
rainwater management control (like existing storm sewers), weather conditions, and
entrances to local roads. Every project will require different strategies to achieve the
above stated actions. For example you could stabilize the soil through temporary seeding,
permanent seeding, or mulching. Larger structural controls like an earth dike, terracing,
riprap, and a silt fence are frequently used.
You may have driven by a construction site and seen hay bales around sewer drains or
next to sidewalks, this prevents sedimentation in runoff water. In addition, gravel at the
construction entrance helps keep soils on the site and off the roads. Sometimes vehicles
are even washed prior to entering the public right away from a muddy jobsite.
These concepts are not just for LEED compliance. The property owner can be fined for
overburdening the public infrastructure and impacting stable environmental conditions.
Weekly inspections from the local municipality enforce the ESC plan. The ESC plan is
created by a civil engineer and included in the drawing set used by contractor.

SS Prerequisite 2 | Environmental Site Assessment

This one is for schools and healthcare only, which are what you would call sensitive
types of occupancy. The intent is to protect the health of vulnerable populations by
ensuring that the site is assessed for environmental contamination and that any
environmental contamination has been remediated. The assessment shall cover soil,
groundwater, and surface water.

The project team will start with a phase one environmental site assessment (ESA). This
assessment is superficial and limited and identifies whether contamination is suspected.
If the conclusion is, there was a drycleaner here at some point, that would mean one

can suspect some contamination. The report may state no contamination if the prior use
was a greenfield or daycare.
If contamination is suspected, then a phase two environmental assessment is required,
including specific and in-depth analysis of soil and water conditions. If contamination is
found or perceived to be on the site, then you are mandated to remediate the site.

Referenced Standard
The Phase I ESA must comply with ASTM E1527-05 procedures. Typical actions
include review of historical records, site visit, interviews, and a full report documenting
findings. No collection of physical samples or chemical analysis is done. LEED
considers a Phase I ESA valid for 180 days. If the assessment is between 180 days and
one year old certain updates must be made to different sections of the assessment. An
assessment older than one year must be redone.
A Phase II ESA must comply with ASTM E1903-11 procedures. It is an investigation
that collects original samples of soil, groundwater, or building materials to analyze in a
laboratory for quantitative values of various contaminants. Typical findings include:
petroleum hydrocarbons, heavy metals, pesticides, solvents, asbestos, and mold. Sites
previously occupied for industrial or manufacturing use commonly have residual

If a site is contaminated according to a Phase II ESA, then it must be remediated prior to
re-use. Strategies vary depending on scope and type of contamination. Common
remediation activities include:

Pump and treat

Solar detoxification

Using bioreactors

Land farming

In-situ remediation

On-going monitoring


SS Credit 1 | Site Assessment

This site assessment is about everything else besides contaminants. The intent is to
observe site conditions before design, and evaluate sustainable options to inform major
decision. You can think of it as the integrative process for the site design. Project teams
will need to document a site survey or assessment of the sites characteristics.
Project teams need to ask what is happening on the site in terms of soil, habitat, what
are the options for space preservation, what are the human uses of the facility? This
credit encourages project teams to maximize natural qualities of the site to take advantage
of passive water and energy opportunities.
Elements of a Site Assessment:

Topography. Contour mapping, unique topographic features, slope stability risks.

Hydrology. Flood hazard areas, delineated wetlands, lakes, streams, shorelines,

rainwater collection and reuse opportunities, TR-55 initial water storage capacity
of the site (or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.).

Climate. Solar exposure, heat island effect potential, seasonal sun angles,
prevailing winds, monthly precipitation and temperature ranges.

Vegetation. Primary vegetation types, greenfield area, significant tree mapping,

threatened or endangered species, unique habitat, invasive plant species.

Soils. Natural Resources Conservation Service soils delineation, U.S. Department

of Agriculture prime farmland, healthy soils, previous development, disturbed
soils (local equivalent standards may be used for projects outside the U.S.).

Human use. Views, adjacent transportation infrastructure, adjacent properties,

construction materials with existing recycle or reuse potential.

Human health effects. Proximity of vulnerable populations, adjacent physical

activity opportunities, proximity to major sources of air pollution.

Like the integrative design credit, site assessment is done very on in the process so the
findings can influence the design decisions of the project. It begins prior to the
conceptual design, which makes sense, the goal is to have the site influence the design of
the project, such as where it is sited on the property, the building orientation, etc. The
architect, landscape designer, civil engineer, and owner will need to work closely
together early on to gather information and make informed decisions.


Research and Documentation

USGBC provides a spreadsheet project teams can use for the site inventory. The
reference guide includes a list of sources for each of the categories to consider. For
example the vegetation sources on the project you might bring in someone to physically
identify the plant species, aerial maps from google maps for determining the boundaries
on the site where vegetation is, species lists from the U.S. and Wildlife Service
Endangered species list, local land use and zoning maps to locate stream buffers and
wetlands, etc.
For the other categories consider topographical maps, soil surveys, previous site
assessments, and climate data.
In your final narrative, project teams should identify the design opportunities impacted by
the site analysis. An example might be The northwest corner of the property is at a
lower elevation where water was more likely to run off, so we located our retention pond
in that quadrant. Additionally, a soil analysis and plant inventory guided the landscape
architect to create a plan to restore the natural habitats for local bird populations.

SS Credit 2 | Site Development Protect or Restore Habitat

The intent of this credit is to conserve existing natural areas and restore damaged areas to
provide habitat and promote biodiversity. All of the BD&C rating systems can earn 1 to
2 points for this credit, except for Healthcare which can earn one point.
Whats new in LEED v4 is the setback requirements from LEED 2009 have been
replaced with standards for preservation, and percentages to preserve and restore.

This credit has multiple approaches based on pre-existing site condition. All projects
must preserve and protect 40% of the greenfield site condition from development and
construction activity.
In addition, projects can choose either: restore on-site 30% of previously developed total
area, or financial support of a land trust off-site.

Option 1: On-Site Restoration

If youre on a previously developed site, the goal is to restore 30% of the total site area,
including building footprint, with native or adaptive plants. You cant use nonnative
plants or invasive plants, and you have to restore the soil as well to bring the land closer
to its original ecosystem before it was developed.


The soils have to meet the following criteria:

Soils (imported and in situ) must be reused for functions comparable to their
original function. Imported topsoils or soil blends designed to serve as topsoil
may not include the following:

soils defined regionally by the Natural Resources Conservation Service web

soil survey (or local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.) as prime
farmland, unique farmland, or farmland of statewide or local importance; or

soils from other greenfield sites, unless those soils are a byproduct of a
construction process.

Restored soil must meet the criteria in categories 1 to 3 below, as well as meet either
category 4 or 5:
1. organic matter
2. compaction
3. infiltration rates
4. soil biological function
5. soil chemical characteristics
In the beginning of the project you might have to bring in a local soil expert or conduct
some soil analysis to see what type of soils exist around the site.

Alternative Landscapes
Projects that achieve a density of 1.5 floor-area ratio may include vegetated roof surfaces
in this calculation if the plants are native or adapted, provide habitat, and promote
Project teams may exclude vegetated landscape areas that are constructed to
accommodate rainwater infiltration from the vegetation and soils requirements, provided
all such rainwater infiltration areas are treated consistently with SS Credit Rainwater

Option 2: Financial Support

If a project team chooses not to restore the site, or faces other barriers, the building owner
can write a check to a land trust. This option is not providing land, or a donation of land,
but money for land. It meets the intention of preserving habitat for the life of the building.
Project teams must provide financial support equivalent to at least $0.40 per square foot
($4 U.S. per square meter) for the total site area (including the building footprint).
Financial support must be provided to a nationally or locally recognized land trust or
conservation organization within the same EPA Level III ecoregion or the projects state.

For U.S. projects, the land trust must be accredited by the Land Trust Alliance. For
projects outside of the U.S., the financial support must be provided to a land trust within
100 miles of the project (160 kilometers).

Meet local zoning requirements, or if not needed, apply for a waiver. Identify areas for
vegetation. Replace paved areas with landscaped areas. Thats the key for this credit that youre restoring a previously developed site to a native habitat condition. On a
greenfield site, you would establish non-disturbance boundaries during construction.
Thats saying, Okay, general contractor, where can you stage your equipment, your
trailer, your debris bins so theyre not going to encroach on the existing habitat? Thats
part of reducing disturbance of construction activity. Heavy machinery compacts soil and
weakens its ability to perform its role of filtration in the ecosystem. Consider using paved
areas for staging.
Furthermore, think about the buildings placement (if you have that opportunity), and
even the building plan. Look at things like stacked program, tuck-under parking or
sharing facilities with neighboring buildings.

Calculation Examples
Scenario 1
If you had a 20,000 sf site that was 10,000 sf previously developed and 10,000 sf
greenfield, the requirements apply to both portion. First, protect 40% of the 10,000 sf
greenfield area, or 4,000 sf. In addition, for the previously developed portion of the site,
30% of it must be restored, or 3,000 sf.
All together, the project will contain 7,000 sf of native and adaptive landscaping, or 35%
of total site area. That leaves 13,000 sf for the building footprint, parking, hardscapes,
and roads. Remember, if a site contains both greenfield and previously developed
conditions, it must meet both requirements.
Scenario 2
A project site is 10 acres (4 hectares). 5 acres (2 hectares) of the site have been
previously developed, including a 1 acre (0.4 hectare) building footprint. How much
money must be contributed to a land trust? (Hint: There are 43,560 square feet in an
acre, and 10,000 square meters in a hectare.)
10 x 43,560 sf x 0.4$/sf = $174,240 or 4 ha x 10,000 x 4$/ha = $160,000. For large
projects, it will be more cost effective to restore on-site.


Rating System Adaptations

In the schools rating system, dedicated athletic fields that are solely for athletic uses are
exempted from the soil restoration criteria. These areas may not count toward the
minimum required area.

Case Study
Ball Horticultural Company wanted to set an example for other corporations by restoring
areas on their corporate headquarters in West Chicago to an ecologically stable
This included improving erosion control, wildlife habitat, diversity, aesthetics, and air
and water quality. In planning the project, the property was divided into a wetland
mitigation area, south woods, west woods, Oak savanna, existing lawn, tall-grass prairie,
and an old field.
To gain acceptance within the community the company began restoration of the tall-grass
prairie. This area needed the least amount of invasive plant removal and gave the
quickest results with flowers blooming the following spring. To connect the prairie to the
wetland, the west woods and old-field were restored next. With the opening of the canopy
in the west woods, more sunlight reached the ground stimulating the growth of native
trees, shrubs, wildflowers, and grasses. Seed and woody plants were installed within the
woods to enhance the remnant populations.
The wetland mitigation area was vegetated in a year later, and it required a DuPage
County Stormwater permit. A new detention basin and the existing lawn were seeded
with native species, while clearing and seeding began in the South woods as well.
After installation was complete, interpretive signs were installed as well as houses for
Blue Birds, Wood Ducks, and Tree Swallows.

SS Credit 3 | Open Space

The intent of this credit is to create exterior open space that encourages interaction with
the environment, social interaction, passive recreation, and physical activities.
Its crucial that you differentiate credits with similar names. The last credit was called
protect or restore habitat; this one is open space. Whats the difference?
Both are vegetated landscapes. Open space is a generic description for any kind of tree,
shrub, groundcover, water, and minimal pavement. Habitat is a specific type of
landscape that supports the native ecology and habitats for indigenous plants and animals.

Habitat is generally for the animals and not people. Open spaces must be usable to the
project, as defined by the intent of the credit.

Space Requirements
The first requirement is the outdoor space must be greater than or equal 30% of the total
site area, including the building footprint.
A minimum of 25% of that outdoor space must be vegetated or have overhead vegetated
Turf grass does not count as vegetation for this credit. Artificial turf doesnt count, or tiny
pieces of open space in the middle of a parking lot that divides rows of parking.

Quality Requirements
The outdoor space must be physically accessible and be one or more of the following:

a pedestrian-oriented paving or turf area with physical site elements that

accommodate outdoor social activities;

a recreation-oriented paving or turf area with physical site elements that

encourage physical activity;

a garden space with a diversity of vegetation types and species that provide
opportunities for year-round visual interest;

a garden space dedicated to community gardens or urban food production;

preserved or created habitat that meets the criteria of SS Credit Site

DevelopmentProtect or Restore Habitat and also includes elements of human

Alternative Spaces
For projects that achieve a density of 1.5 floor-area ratio (FAR), extensive or intensive
vegetated roofs can be used toward the minimum 25% vegetation requirement, if they are
physically accessible. In addition, qualifying roof-based physically accessible paving
areas can be used toward credit compliance.
Wetlands or naturally designed ponds may count as open space if the side slope gradients
average 1 to 4 (vertical: horizontal) or less and are vegetated.

Campus Projects with Master Plans

If the project is part of a multitenant complex or part of a master-planned location, the
open space can be part of the master development or adjacent to the building as long as it
wont be developed in the future. This is an option if the open space is shared with the

whole plan, such as a park or another outdoor space. The open space also doesnt have to
be one area. It can be a combination of adjacent open space, and other open spaces
around the master plan.

Strategies for Implementation

These implementations arent necessarily linear; theyre a laundry list of things that you
would do.
Minimize the development footprint by stacking floor plans and analyzing the program
needs to design only what is needed.
Choose a location where construction disturbance might be minimized.
It is important that the team consider how much a site and building location may affect
other credits in the LEED rating system. Consider:
Building orientation
Significant drainage
Existing green corridors
Heat Island Effect
Rainwater runoff
Any other possible green impacts
Design the site to preserve open space and provide connections to adjacent ecosystems.
For multitenant complexes, open space does not have to be adjacent to the building, but
must be preserved for the life of the building.
In urban sites, make the hardscapes pedestrian oriented. Provide for recreation
opportunities including pocket parks, roof decks, and courtyards.
For sites using green roofs, the green roofs will require special attention to the following
Green roofs have a membrane, drainage system, filter cloth, growing medium, and plants.
Consider that some modular green roof systems can be purchased pre-prepared.


The calculations are going to be the trick for this credit. You have two percentages to
keep track of. 30% of the total site must be outdoor space, and 25% of that area must be
Take the total site area and multiply it by 30%. That value is how much open space the
project needs. If you had a 10 acre (4 hectare) project site, 3 acres (1.2 hectares) must be
open space.
25% of 3 acres is 0.75 acres or 0.4 hectares that must be vegetated (but no turfgrass).

SS Credit 4 | Rainwater Management

The intent of this credit is to reduce runoff volume and improve water quality by
replicating the natural hydrology and water balance of the site, based on historical
conditions and undeveloped ecosystems in the region.
Sites under their natural land cover conditions have a natural water balance that has
evolved over millennium. While the precipitation amount remains constant, development
alters the natural water balance. Much of our soil has been sealed and covered with
impervious surfaces and rainwater is converted into runoff. This credit attempts to restore
that balance.
By managing rainwater with low impact development and green infrastructure, project
teams can restore and re-establish the natural site water balance that existed prior to

Two Options
Option 1 is Percentile of rainfall events.
Option 2 is Natural land cover conditions.

Option 1: Percentile of Rainfall Events

There are 3 paths for option 1, and this path is best suited for urban projects with little
open space. The resulting impact is little to no runoff.
Path 1, 95th percentile can earn 2 points, except for healthcare which can earn 1 point.
Path 2, 98th percentile can earn 3 points, except for healthcare which can earn 2 points.


Path 3 is for zero lot line projects only. Managing the 85th percentile can earn 3 points
except for healthcare which can earn 2 points.
What is the 95th percentile rainfall event? The measured precipitation depth accumulated
over a 24-hour period for the period of record that ranks as the 95th percentile rainfall
depth based on the range of all daily event occurrences during this period. Meaning, only
5% of all recorded events had more rain. In general, at least a 20 to 30 year period of
rainfall record is recommended for such an analysis. This raw data is readily available
and collected by most airports across the country.
For each of these paths, project teams are trying to get into the higher percentiles of
regional or local rainfall events using low-impact development and green infrastructure,
by managing on site runoff from the development while replicating the natural site
Path 3 is for zero lot line projects, or projects that essentially have no ground cover on the
site. The minimum density is a floor area ratio of 1.5 or greater.

Use daily rainfall data and the methodology in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
(EPA) Technical Guidance on Implementing the Stormwater Runoff Requirements for
Federal Projects under Section 438 of the Energy Independence and Security Act to
determine the 95th percentile amount.
The 95th percentile storm would be represented by a number such as 1.5 inches, and this
would be the design storm. The designer would then select a system of practices that
infiltrate, evapotranspire or harvest and use this volume multiplied by the total area of the
project footprint. Retaining all storms up to and including the 95th percentile storm event
is analogous to maintaining or restoring the pre-development hydrology with respect to
the volume, flow rate, duration and temperature of the runoff for most sites.

Option 2: Natural Land Cover Conditions

Manage on site the annual increase in runoff volume from the natural land cover
condition to the post-developed condition.
Option 2 is really more for project teams that have a lot of green space and open space.
In that case you are looking at pre-development and post-development and managing the
difference. The project team is managing the quantity and quality, where the quantity is
really just the volume.


For example, if prior to development, 25 percent of the annual rainfall runs directly into
the stream and the remainder infiltrates into the ground or is evapotranspired into the air,
then the post-development goal should be to limit runoff to 25 percent of the annual
precipitation while maintaining the correct aquifer recharge rate. This has the benefit, in
most cases, of delivering water to the stream at approximately the same rate, volume,
duration and temperature as the stream had naturally evolved to receive prior to
development. The result will be to eliminate or minimize the erosion of streambeds and
streambanks, significantly reduce the delivery of many pollutants to water bodies, and
retain historical instream temperatures.

The volume of run-off to manage is determined by the option and path the project uses.
Green infrastructure and low-impact development (GI/LID) approaches are a set of
management approaches and technologies that utilize and/or mimic the natural
hydrologic cycle processes of infiltration, evapotranspiration and use. GI/LID practices
include green roofs, trees and tree boxes, rain gardens, vegetated swales, pocket
wetlands, infiltration planters, porous and permeable pavements, vegetated median strips,
reforestation and revegetation and protection of riparian buffers and floodplains.
These practices can be used almost anywhere soil and vegetation can be worked into the
urban or suburban landscape. They include decentralized harvesting approaches such as
rain barrels and cisterns that can be used to capture and re-use rainfall for watering plants
or flushing toilets. Some of these are engineered practices that may require specialized
design assistance from landscape architects or civil engineers.
Many of these strategies you are probably already familiar with, and they can help with
other LEED credits. A vegetated roof is one of the best examples it reduces rainwater,
it counts as open space, it reduces energy use.

Green Infrastructure
Green infrastructure is a soil- and vegetation-based approach to wet weather management
that is cost-effective, sustainable, and environmentally friendly. Green infrastructure
management strives to infiltrate, evapotranspire, capture and reuse stormwater to
maintain or restore natural hydrologies. Design approaches and technologies preserve
rainwater flows, reduce impervious areas, minimize and mitigate rainwater runoff.
Recovered rainwater can be used to replace potable water for:
fire suppression
toilet flushing
custodial uses


In in urban setting projects cant replicate natural hydrology. What project teams have to
do is remove the excess volume from the runoff. Rainwater harvesting techniques allow
the water to be removed and not directed downstream to where it would cause problems.

Site Design
If a project team is targeting a specific rainfall amount, say 2 inches of rainfall, the first
step is to determine what that rainfall does when it lands on the site. This credit ties into
the Site Assessment credit to understand the hydrology of the site, and analyzing the site
the typography, vegetation, soils, etc. This information helps to understand how the
site worked in its natural form to help decide how the rainwater can be managed.
When planning the site use, preserve as much of the existing natural site as possible.
Rainfall that lands on the natural areas is being captured onsite - its one less raindrop to
worry about. Protect the sites steep slopes so rainwater doesnt come rushing down it.
During development consider how the preserve the soils from being compacted, and
protecting the existing trees and vegetation.
Think about how to minimize the development footprint in your design phase clustering
the development, building up instead of out, reducing frontage and setbacks. The most
popular low impact development strategy is pervious pavement. Parking lots are huge
barriers to natural infiltration and installing permeable concrete or open-grid paving
would reduce runoff compared to traditional parking lots.

Case Study
Portland, Oregon. A 27-acre site with 95% impervious area. If the 95th percentile rainfall
event (1.0 inches) occurred on the existing site (i.e., no control measures), 0.86 inches of
runoff would be generated and require management.
Given these site conditions, there was not enough pervious area to manage the entire
runoff volume discharged by the 95th percentile rainfall event with bioretention. As a
result, other practices were evaluated and selected. The practices integrated into the
design included a green roof, cisterns, and porous pavement. Based on the technical
considerations of constructing and maintaining control measures at the site, it was
assumed that approximately 30% of the available pervious area could be converted into
bioretention cells; 20% of total rooftop area could be converted into green roofs; 40% of
paved area could be converted into paver blocks; and 50,000 gallons of total volume
could be captured in cisterns for use on this urbanized site. Using this system of four
different practices, all runoff for the 95th percentile rainfall event would be retained.


SS Credit 5 | Heat Island Reduction

The intent of this credit is to minimize effects on microclimates and human and wildlife
habitats by reducing heat islands.
The idea is that the built environment retains a great deal of heat from the sun, and that
negatively impacts your buildings energy performance, in addition to creating an
uncomfortable outdoor space. When the horizontal hardscape retains heat, it also radiates
heat onto nearby vertical surfaces like walls. When the suns rays hit your buildings
roof, heat transfers into your building and requires more energy to cool. Its a vicious
cycle of heat transfer

Two Options
The heat island reduction credit has two options, and project teams may pursue both.
Option 1 Non-roof and Roof, addresses horizontal surfaces and requires reflective
hardscape or roof materials.
Option 2 Parking Under Cover, addresses the undesirability of surface parking lots.

Option 1: Non-roof and Roof

Option 1: Non-roof and Roof requires project teams to use any combination of strategies
that reduce heat islands. The surface area of compliant strategies get plugged into a
spreadsheet to see if the goals are met. Your strategies span three types: the area of the
non-roof measures, area of high-reflectance roof, and area of vegetated roof, the sum of
which needs to be greater than or equal to the total site paving area and total roof area.







You can see by the equation greater weight is given to the roofing areas (75% versus
50%). Keep that in mind when you are doing your design.


Non-roof Strategies
What are some of the non-roof measures a project team should consider?
Minimize hardscape

Use the existing plant material or install plants that provide shade over paving
areas (including playgrounds) on the site within 10 years of planting. Install
vegetated planters. Plants must be in place at the time of occupancy permit and
cannot include artificial turf.

Provide shade with structures covered by energy generation systems, such as

solar thermal collectors, photovoltaics, and wind turbines.

Provide shade with architectural devices or structures that have a three-year aged
solar reflectance (SR) value of at least 0.28. If three-year aged value information
is not available, use materials with an initial SR of at least 0.33 at installation,

Provide shade with vegetated structures.

Use paving materials with a three-year aged solar reflectance value of at least
0.28. If three- year aged value information is not available, use materials with an
initial SR of at least 0.33 at installation.

Use an open-grid pavement system (at least 50% unbound).

Roof Strategies
Use roofing materials that have an SRI equal to or greater than the values in this table.












Additionally the requirements want you to seek out products that have an aged SRI value.
While a nice shiny new white roof may have an initial SRI of 82, after 3 years of being in
the sun, being rained on, collecting dust and dirt, the SRI may decrease.
Since some projects might not have this information published, if three-year aged value
information is not available, use materials that meet the initial SRI value. You can still
use the product if the three-year aged value is not available, but the performance of the
roof might not be what you think it should be 3 years down the road. This is why when
you are reviewing products, try to find one with a 3-year SRI value.
Projects can also install a vegetated roof to help meet the requirements.


Option 2: Parking Under Cover

The second option is to place a minimum of 75% of parking spaces under cover. Parking
underground, under deck, or under building complies with the intent. Motorcycle parking
counts as a vehicle parking space, while bicycle spaces do not. Any roof used to shade or
cover parking must:
Have a three-year aged SRI of at least 32 (if three-year aged value information is
not available, use materials with an initial SRI of at least 39 at installation)
Be a vegetated roof
Be covered by energy generation systems, such as solar thermal collectors,
photovoltaics, and wind turbines

Use a combination of strategies, starting with minimizing the development footprint.
Limit the amount of impervious hardscape,

Utilize light-colored paving surfaces,

Include a building parking deck or underground parking

Plant vegetation that will provide shade

Open grid paving

There are a lot of measures to use to earn this credit, and since they can be used in
combination with each other it should be a no-brainer to try to attempt this credit. If an
area meets one or more criteria you would only count the area once
Use durable high reflective and emissive materials. Check the manufacturing data
carefully for information on the material. Manufacturer data is preferred for submission
for this credit. Also refer to the LBNL Cool Roofing Material Database. Note that
reflective roofs may increase the heating costs of a building in cooler weather.
A vegetated roof absorbs heat and provides insulation. These types of roofs require semiannual inspection (2 times yearly), but they tend to last longer than conventional roofs.
Green roofs can absorb stormwater and the thermal insulation also help reduce HVAC
and cooling costs.

Calculation Example
A site has 100,000 sq. ft. in hardscapes, and 25,000 sq. ft. of the hardscapes have been
replaced with pervious pavement that has an initial SR of 0.33. The same 25,000 sq. ft.
will also be shaded with new trees. The building has a 30,000 sq. ft. low-sloped roof with
an initial SRI value 85. Will the project as designed earn Sustainable Sites Credit, Heat
Island Reduction?
The key here is the compliant hardscape surfaces are the same 25,000 square feet.


Compliant surfaces: (25,000 / 0.5) + (30,000 + 0.75) = 50,000 + 40,000 = 90,000

Total surfaces: 100,000 + 30,000 = 130,000
Compliant surfaces are not greater than or equal to total surfaces, therefore, this project
cannot earn the credit as designed.

SS Credit 6 | Light Pollution Reduction

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 due to
uplighting or tresspass can cause annoyance, discomfort, distraction, or loss of visibility.
This credit is a champion for the bats and possums and all nocturnal creatures to thrive
just as we humans do in daytime.

Exterior Lighting Factors

This credit addresses three exterior lighting factors: uplighting, light trespass, and
internally illuminated signs. Uplighting is any light emitted above the horizontal plane of
the fixture. Light trespass is light extending beyond the lighting boundary. Both are
considered obtrusive illumination that is unwanted because of quantitative, directional, or
spectral attributes.
There are two options to comply with the first two factors: calculations or the prescriptive
path. The prescriptive path allows teams to demonstrate compliance by selecting
luminaires with an appropriate BUG rating and placing them appropriately. These
optional paths do not require point-by-point calculations. Many projects can achieve the
credit by simply selecting luminaires with an appropriate BUG rating.
The signage requirement specifies two levels of luminance allowed for either daytime or
nighttime hour.

BUG Method
The BUG acronym stands for Backlight Up-light and Glare. BUG is a luminaire
classification system that classifies luminaires in terms of back-light (B), uplight (U) and
glare (G) (taken from IES/IDA Model Lighting Ordinance).
Designers using this option will be looking through light fixture specifications for BUG
ratings that master lighting zone, allowing them to avoid spending time with these
complicated photometric plans. The BUG method is a luminaire classification system


that uses subdivided zones and outdoor luminaires for providing a standard for measuring
and reporting fixture data for compliance of light pollution and restrictions.
Your BUG option is going to be much easier you purchase luminaires that have certain
ratings, and install them in appropriate places. Its like doing prescriptive requirements
for energy, almost like a checklist that doesnt require somebody with a specialty to be on
the team. The calculation method is going to require someone to do lighting
measurements and calculations, and take a lot more time to do.
Project teams can use different options for the uplight and light trespass, meaning you
can use the BUG method for uplight and then use the calculation method for trespass, or
vice versa.

Lighting Zone
The referenced standard just mentioned is the IES/IDA Model Lighting Ordinance, which
is where the BUG method is taken from.
The lighting zone of the project property (at the time construction begins) must be
classified using the lighting zones definitions provided in the Illuminating Engineering
Society and International Dark Sky Association (IES/IDA) Model Lighting Ordinance
(MLO) User Guide.


















Each zone is going to have its own set of requirements for illumination. Look at the list
and you can see that as the quantity or density of people in an area increases, the greater
the amount of light trespass is allowed in the area. Be careful with your lighting zone
selection. You need to backup your selection to the LEED reviewers, because you might
be questioned on it. Some project teams in the past have picked a lighting zone that
wasnt appropriate for the site.

Establish Scope
After you identify your lighting zone, you need to determine your lighting boundary.
Typically, it is identical to the LEED project boundary, but in certain cases, it can be
moved to the center line of an adjacent street for safety purposes. Next, inventory all


exterior lights, including mounting heights. Collect data on fixture characteristics like:
manufacturer, model, lamp type, orientation, tilt angle, and input wattage.
Then, determine and document any exempt fixtures. Project teams may exempt fixtures
for purposes like: emergency lighting, government-mandated roadway lighting, theatrical
lighting, and lighting of the national flag. Finally, decide whether the project will pursue
the calculation or BUG method of compliance.
All projects must provide a site lighting plan.

Uplighting Compliance
Based on lighting zone, meet the requirements identified in the reference guide for
maximum percentage of total lumens emitted about the horizontal. Manufacturer data or
cutsheets will provided the necessary information. In general terms, look for fixtures
classified as full cut-off meaning that there is a shield over the bulb which directs the
light at the ground rather than up into the clouds.

Trespass Compliance
When using the BUG option do not exceed the luminaire and backlight and glare ratings
as defined in IES TM-15-11 Addendum A. There is a table in the reference guide that
lists the allowed ratings depending on the MLO lighting zone.
For the calculation method of light trespass, create a photometric site plan and do not
exceed vertical illuminance thresholds at the lighting boundary. Calculation points may
be no more than five feet apart, and must extend 33 feet above grade level.

SS School Credit | Site Master Plan

This credit applies to schools only and is worth 1 point. The intent of this credit is to
ensure that the sustainable site benefits achieved by the project continue, regardless of
future changes in programs or demographics.
A site master plan, by the LEED definition, is an overall design or development concept
for the project and associated (or potentially associated) buildings and sites. The plan
considers future expansion of structures, parking, landscape, and demolition. The site
master plan is typically illustrated, with building plans (if applicable), site drawings of
planned phased development, and narrative descriptions.


For this credit your project must achieve at least four out of these six credits:
LT Credit: High Priority Site
SS Credit: Site DevelopmentProtect or Restore Habitat
SS Credit: Open Space
SS Credit: Rainwater Management
SS Credit: Heat Island Reduction
SS Credit: Light Pollution Reduction
All of the credits must be recalculated using the data from the master plan. The plan
needs to be developed in collaboration with the school board or other decision making
body, and include not only the current construction but plans for any future construction
as well. You need to consider how student enrollment is going to grow 5 or 10 years
from now and into the future. The master plan development footprint must include
parking, paving, and utilities.
Master plans should consider plans for community centers, fields, libraries, parks,
wetlands, and other major projects. Strategically develop a master plan to evaluate future
expansion. Involve decision makers and local municipalities during early stages. Review
geographic and demographic information to determine factors that may affect expansion.
Incorporate flexibility in the master plan to accommodate for a range of scenarios

The calculations are the same as for the 4 credits that your project will achieve to earn the
credit. For example if your project earned SS Credit Heat Island Reduction, you would
run the calculations for the entire area of the site master plan, not just the project
buildings area. For example, if the master plan is 100 acres (40 hectares), but the project
building area is only 20 acres (8 hectares), the heat island calculations would be done
using 100 acres (40 hectares).

SS School Credit | Joint Use of Facilities

This credit applies to Schools only and can earn one point. The intent is to integrate the
school with the community by sharing the building and its playing fields for non-school
sponsored events and functions. This credit covers how a school can share facilities with
the community and vice versa. What that does is share existing facilities, reducing the
demand for more construction, thus preserving natural resources.
Imagine boy and girls scouts meeting in elementary school classroom afterhours. Imagine
the high school swim team using a university pool for practice. Joint use is already
happening, and this LEED credit promotes its longevity.

Three Options

Option 1 is to make the LEED building space open to the general public
Option 2 is to contract with specific organizations to share space within the
LEED building.
Option 3 is for the LEED building to use shared space owned by other

Option 1: Share On-site Facilities

Option 1 is to share school spaces with the community. Sports fields are great examples
of spaces that get under-used at most schools. Most schools do not have games on the
weekends, and practice ends around 5p.m. during the weekdays. There is a lot of idle
time fields have.
The school would need to make available at least three of the following:



1 or more classrooms

Playing fields and stadiums

Joint parking

Option 2: Share Space with Third Party

Option 2 is to contract with specific organizations to share building space. If you are
designing a new school you may consider putting in a space for a community service,
such as a police station. For this option a contract is required that provides at least 2
dedicated-use spaces such as:
Commercial office

Health clinic

Community service centers

Police offices

Library / media center

Parking lot

One or more commercial sector businesses

Option 3: Share Off-site Facilities

The third option is to find services off of the school property and enter into an agreement
that would provide student access. Why build a natatorium onsite when there could be a


YMCA or health club down the street that already has a swimming pool available for
use? Two of the following six spaces are needed:



1 or more classrooms

swimming pools, and

Playing fields and stadiums

These require pedestrian access from the school. An example might be a community
center that is in walking distance from the school and provides the students access to an
auditorium after school so the students can practice for the upcoming play.

Prior to selecting a site, get agreements with the community to share facilities. It may be
possible to share construction costs. The security of the school needs to be a priority if
public access is going to occur. Restrooms must be available at the school if the
community will be coming to the school to access the facilities.
To find out more about joint use agreements that apply to Option 1, the state of California
has published a toolkit for increasing physical activity through joint use agreements. You
can google the title of the document shown on this slide.

SS Core and Shell Credit | Tenant Design and Construction

This credit applies to core and shell only and is worth 1 point. The intent is to educate
tenants in implementing sustainable design and construction features in their tenant
improvement build-outs. The goal of establishing Tenant Design and Construction
Guidelines is for future tenants to complete their interior fit-out with LEED compliant
features, and if desired, streamline pursuit of LEED Commercial Interiors certification.
The guidelines also serve to educate tenants about how to take advantage of the
sustainable features of the core and shell building host. If you didnt know that the
electrical infrastructure was designed for enhanced controls or HVAC zoning, you may
not design your space to utilize its full potential.
It is essentially a user-friendly manual that tells you all the design and construction team
has done to achieve LEED certification, and all the steps they have done that will help
you achieve LEED Commercial Interiors certification.


Keep in mind that a tenant sales and lease agreement is not enough to satisfy the
requirements of this credit. You must write guidelines specifically referencing LEED and
the requirements in this credit. The guidelines only have to be provided to all tenants.
The tenants do not actually have to comply with the guidelines, unless you build that into
your lease agreement. For the purposes of this credit, the guidelines need only be created
and distributed.

The guide assists tenants to understand the building systems and capitalize on whats
been done already. The reference guide contains a list of 20 specific credits that must be
referenced. The guidelines must cover the base building systems:
Water Use

Optimizing Energy Performance

Lighting Power

Lighting Controls


Energy Use & Metering

The guide needs to be an illustrated document, with descriptions, recommendations,

examples, products, materials, and services. When you discuss indoor water use
reduction in the guide, include some product recommendations that will reduce indoor
water use.
The guidelines can include product and material recommendations. If the project team
has built out the lobby of the building and installed particular LED lightbulbs, a particular
brand of toilet in the common areas, or used a specific carpet in the lobby, those are all
products that can be recommended.

SS Healthcare Credit | Places of Respite

This credit applies to healthcare only and is worth 1 point. The intent is to provide
patients, staff, and visitors with the health benefits of the natural environment by creating
outdoor places of respite on the healthcare campus.
The natural environment displays a cycle of life that brings lifes beginnings, events and
closures into perspective. Seasonal cycles of plant life, cycles of the sun and moon, and
life cycles, often evade our notice. Interaction with these natural cycles of life is a proven
relaxant in times of stress, including many of the experiences commonly associated with
the hospital environment of care.

The physical and mental health of medical staff and clinicians is key to successful patient
outcomes. The environment of care plays a role in staff health and may be leveraged as
both a recruitment and retention tool. Reducing staff stress and fatigue through a healing
and supportive environment may be achieved through application of evidence-based
concepts such as places of respite in health care design.

Space Requirements
Provide places of respite that are accessible to patients and visitors, equal to 5% of the net
usable program area of the building.
Provide additional dedicated places of respite for staff, equal to 2% of the net usable
program area of the building.
The key here is a dedicated portion just for staff; thats 7% total.
The net usable program area is the sum of all interior areas in the project available to
house the project's program. It does not include areas for building equipment, vertical
circulation, or structural components.

Types of Place
Places of respite can be outdoors, such as
Healing Gardens

Meditative Gardens

Restorative, Rehabilitative, and Enabling gardens

Green roof and rooftop gardens

Staff gardens with sitting areas

Space for Programs of Care, such as Horticultural Therapy, Group and Physical

Or, a quiet green space with a bench

or be located indoors, such as:

Interior atria and greenhouse gardens

Wide corridors that offer seating with views of nature and seasonal variations

Places to pause with seating adjacent to destination points

Display areas of flora and fauna

Family consultation spaces with views

Meditation spaces, chapels or grieving rooms

Resource areas and libraries with seating

Exercise and therapy spaces


Such interior spaces may be used to meet up to 30% of the required area, if 90% of each
qualifying spaces gross floor area achieves a direct line of sight to unobstructed views of

Quality of Place
All areas must meet the following requirements.
The area is accessible from within the building or located within 200 feet (60
meters) of a building entrance or access point.

The area is located where no medical intervention or direct medical care is


Options for shade or indirect sun are provided, with at least one seating space per
200 square feet (18.5 square meters) of each respite area, with one wheelchair
space per five seating spaces.

Horticulture therapy and other specific clinical or special-use gardens unavailable

to all building occupants may account for no more than 50% of the required area.

Universal-access natural trails that are available to visitors, staff, or patients may
account for no more than 30% of the required area, provided the trailhead is
within 200 feet (60 meters) of a building entrance.

Additionally, outdoor areas must meet the following requirements.

A minimum of 25% of the total outdoor area must be vegetated at the ground
plane (not including turf grass) or have overhead vegetated canopy.

The area is open to fresh air, the sky, and the natural elements.

Signage must meet the 2010 FGI Guidelines for Design and Construction of
Health Care Facilities

Places of respite may not be within 25 feet (7.6 meters) of a smoking area (see
IEQ Prerequisite Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control).

SS Healthcare Credit | Direct Exterior Access

This credit applies to Healthcare only and can earn one point. The intent is to provide
patients and staff with the health benefits associated with direct access to the natural
environment. This credit goes is complimentary with the previous credit, Places of
Respite. The difference in Direct Access is that patients are provided with an outdoor
opportunity adjacent to their room.
Direct access means entering an exterior space without having to leave the floor or pass
through another patient's room, dedicated staff space, service or utility space, or major


public space. Patients' and public circulation corridors, common sitting areas, and waiting
and day space may be part of a direct access route.

The total size of the space depends on the number of patients the hospital can
accommodate and must provide direct access to an exterior courtyard, terrace, garden, or
balcony. The space must be at least 5 square feet (0.5 square meters) per patient for 75%
of all inpatients and 75% of qualifying outpatients whose clinical length of stay (LOS)
exceeds four hours.

Calculation Example
A hospital has 50 hospital beds for inpatients, and can accommodate 50 outpatient
procedures whose length of stay exceeds 4 hours. How much exterior access is necessary
to earn SS Credit Direct Exterior Access?
The requirements call for 5 square feet (0.5 square meters) per patient for 75% of all
inpatients, and 75% of qualifying outpatients whose clinical length of stay exceeds four
[(50 x 0.75) + (50 x 0.75)] x 5 sqft = 375 sqft

Case Study
Dell Childrens Medical Center of Central Texas, Austin, TX
The 169-bed, 455,000 square foot Dell Childrens Medical Center in Austin, Texas, on
the 750-acre brownfield site of the former Robert Mueller Municipal Airport, is
striving to become the first hospital in the world to achieve platinum-level LEED
certification. The project design incorporates outdoor places of respite in two ways:
several enclosed courtyards and a three-acre healing garden surrounding the Inpatient
Units that was fully funded by outside sources.
The healing garden offers a multi-functional experience for a variety of users. These
include areas for private solace and elements for reflection and communication, such as
the Reflecting Pond and the Labyrinth. Several areas also provide exterior exposure for
patients in beds with telemetry. Walking paths for exercise and larger gathering areas for
social interactions support the physical and social needs of the healing environment. The
design intent for the healing garden emphasized views of seasonal and day-night changes
highlighting dimensional variations and areas of interest through discrete low-level
lighting. The use of regional, indigenous plants and materials allowed for a xeriscape
landscape design to limit the irrigation requirements within the garden.


The healing courtyard is a large, four-level exterior space within the footprint of the
facility used as a place of respite and as a wayfinding orientation element. This courtyard
is both visible and accessible from public spaces and viewed from the patient towers. In
addition, every level of the hospital has bed access to one of the four levels of this
courtyard. The central focal design feature, a four level waterfall, provides sound and
movement throughout the courtyard. Materials on each level reflect geology of regions of
Central Texas served by the Childrens Hospital. Landscaping also reflects the typical
plantings found in these geologic regions, a source of comfort to patients and their
families. One of the smaller courtyards is dedicated to Outpatient Physical Therapy.
Accessed from the department, this courtyard features a walking path with varied
surfaces, ramps, and steps for gate therapy and training. The Physical Therapy swimming
pool also opens onto this courtyard.

Sustainable Site Synergies

Lets look at some synergies between credits and prerequisites. Synergies are single
actions you can take that help you achieve more than one prerequisite or credit. USGBC
wants to know your ability to recognize synergies. It is especially important to know the
related credits for every prerequisite and how there may be synergies between them, since
the prerequisites are required for your project.
First consider SS Prerequisite Construction Activity Pollution Prevention. Its important
to think of which credits these are related to. If you are asked to do some type of
analysis, you're going to show well -rounded knowledge of a particular prerequisite or
credit. In this case, you would be showing how this credit may overlap with another.


Key Terms | Sustainable Sites

Ecosystem Services
Erosion And Sedimentation
Control Plan (ESC)
EPA Construction General
Permit (CGP)
National Pollutant Discharge
Elimination System (NPDES)
Storm Water Pollution
Prevention Plan (SWPPP)
Fertilizer Discharge
Earth Dike
Silt Fence
Phase I ESA
Pump And Treat
Solar Detoxification
Using Bioreactors
Land Farming
In-Situ Remediation
Human Health Effects
In Situ
Organic Matter
Infiltration Rates
Land Trust
EPA Level III Ecoregion

Turf Grass
Pedestrian-Oriented Paving
Side Slope Gradients
Roof Membrane
Growing Medium
Natural Hydrology
Impervious Surfaces
Zero Lot Line
Natural Land Cover Condition
Riparian Buffers
Vegetated Swales
Low-Impact Development (LID)
Heat Island
Solar Thermal Collectors
Open Grid Paving
Light Trespass
BUG Rating
IES/IDA Model Lighting
Lighting Zone
Tilt Angle
Input Wattage
Full Cut-Off
Tenant Design And
Construction Guidelines
Horticulture Therapy
Direct Access


Chapter 5 Water Efficiency

Water efficiency relates to not only water consumption and potable water but also
indirectly to saving energy, water recycling, and feedback mechanisms. The Water
Efficiency credit category has 3 prerequisites and 4 credits. Three of the credits build
upon the prerequisite requirements and offer points for increased levels of achievement.

WE Prerequisite Outdoor Water Use Reduction

WE Prerequisite Indoor Water Use Reduction

WE Credit Indoor Water Use Reduction can earn up to 6 points

WE Prerequisite building-level water metering

WE Credit Outdoor Water Use Reduction can earn up to 2 points

WE Credit Water metering can earn one point

WE Credit Cooling Tower Water Use can earn up to 2 points.

WE Prerequisite 1 | Outdoor Water Use Reduction 30%

This is a new prerequisite in LEED v4, and shows LEEDs commitment to transforming
the built environment. The intent is to reduce outdoor water consumption for landscaping
needs. The prerequisite has two options: Option 1 No Irrigation Required and Option 2
Reduced Irrigation.

Option 1: No irrigation
The big idea for option one is to design your landscape to not require permanent
irrigation system. This reduces your water demand by 100%. Projects are allowed to
install a temporary system for up to 2 years to allow the plants to get established.

Option 2: 30% Reduction

Option two requires reducing the projects landscape water requirements by at least 30%
from the calculated baseline for the sites peak watering month. Reductions are calculated
using the EPA WaterSense Budget Tool.
The nice thing about this new prerequisite is all projects are going to be held to the same
standard. In the past projects would create their own baseline and prepare their design


based on that, and it would have been easier to massage the numbers to get more points.
Now the EPA WaterSense Budget Tool is used which calculates your baseline for you.

Plant Selection Strategies

To design a landscape that doesnt require irrigation, you must utilize the practices of
Xeriscaping to design efficiency into the site from day one. Xeriscaping is offered as a
course in the GBES catalog if you are interested to go deep into the principles and
strategies of designing a landscape that uses little to no water.
The primary driver for efficiency is choosing appropriate plant species for the climate the
building is in, because those are the types of plants that will thrive under the local soil
conditions and weather patterns. Planting native and adaptive plant species, and no turf
grass, are your best choices. In cooler climates turf grass can be installed that would do
well without watering. If you compare the northern United States to the southern United
States, youll find a lot more outdoor sprinkler systems installed in commercial and
residential properties in the south. In the warmer climates, there are greater opportunities
for reducing outdoor water use.

Irrigation Design Strategies

For Option 2, reductions must be achieved through plant species selection and irrigation
system efficiency. Note that for the prerequisite, reductions using alternative water
sources such as rainwater, gray water, or recycled water are not part of the reductions.
Alternative water sources can be used for reductions in the credit calculations, which we
will see coming up.
Non-native plants and even invasive plants can be used to achieve this credit, but they are
not good choices. You could actually plant the entire property with a single species of
turf grass, as long as the watering is done with non-potable water. This credit doesnt
restrict your plant choice like SS Credit Site Development does when restoring habitat.
For your irrigation system, choose micro or drip irrigation. Sensors and timers should be
used to water when the landscape needs it, rather than on a fixed schedule. Conventional,
ie. wasteful systems are known by names such as conventional spray or circular irrigation

This prerequisite should be part of the water analysis of the Integrative Process credit if
project teams are pursuing that credit. The landscape and irrigation team members will
take the lead role in coming up with ideas of how best to implement this credit for your
particular site and the region it is located in. The EPA WaterSense Budget tool can be


used to test the landscape design to see how it performs and what kind of water reduction
can be achieved with different strategies.
When using the tool, only include vegetated areas. Exclude hardscapes and nonvegetative softscapes, such as mulch paths. The calculator will ask teams to select low,
medium, or high-water demand for each plant type. This information can be found in
local plant guides, state agricultural extension services, or nurseries. If a portion of the
landscape area requires no irrigation, then the calculator must be completed separately for
the irrigation section and the non-irrigated section. Then the results must be added

Sample Question
What is allowed to be used to reduce a projects landscape water requirement for WE
Prerequisite Outdoor water use reduction? Choose 2 answers.

Smart scheduling technologies

Plant species
Irrigation system efficiency

This prerequisite requires reducing the projects total potable water requirement by at
least 30% from the calculated baseline for the sites peak watering month. Reductions can
only be achieved through plant species selection and irrigation system efficiency, which
reduce total water demand, not just potable water consumption.
The correct answers are C and D. You may have thought about selecting choice A, smart
scheduling technologies. While scheduling can help reduce outdoor water use, it isnt a
consistent reduction of demand based on landscape design. The efficiency of an
irrigation system is different than the scheduling of when the system is run. A system
that is smart enough to know not to run until 48 hours have lapsed after the last rain event
may still not have an efficient watering system.

WE Credit 1 | Outdoor Water Use Reduction

This credit builds upon the prerequisite and has two options. Option 1 No Irrigation
required can earn 2 points, except for Healthcare which can earn 1 point. Option 2
Reduced irrigation can earn 1 to 2 points, except for healthcare which can earn 1 point.

Option 1: No Irrigation
The requirements for option 1 are the same as for the prerequisite. Project teams that
show the landscape has no permanent irrigation system, beyond the 2 year maximum for

establishment, have met the requirements for both the prerequisite and credit, and can
then earn the points for the credit.

Option 2: 50% Reduction

The prerequisite requirement of a 30% reduction must be achieved through plant
selection and irrigation efficiency only.
Above and beyond the 30% for the prerequisite, project teams can use a combination of
design efficiency, alternative water sources, and scheduling technologies. Thats going to
be key in your implementation to earn this credit properly. The first 30% comes from
plant selection and design, beyond that it can be alternative sources of water, like
rainwater or graywater, and smart scheduling technologies.
Project teams that have a 50% reduction can earn one point. Projects that have a 100%
reduction of potable water can earn 2 points (except for Healthcare).

Alternative Water Sources

Use non-potable water to earn this credit, such as graywater and rainwater. Nonvegetated surfaces, such as permeable or impermeable pavement, should be excluded
from landscape area calculations. Athletic fields and playgrounds (if vegetated) and food
gardens may be included or excluded at the project teams discretion.
When using alternative water sources one of the concerns that should be tested for is
salinity, which in arid regions can cause salt buildup, and eventually harming the soil.

Scheduling Technologies
WaterSense labeled irrigation controllers, which act like a thermostat for your sprinkler
system telling it when to turn on and off, use local weather and landscape conditions to
tailor watering schedules to actual conditions on the site. Instead of irrigating using a
controller with a clock and a preset schedule, WaterSense labeled controllers allow
watering schedules to better match plants' real-time water needs. With proper installation,
programming, and maintenance, owners can use WaterSense labeled controllers instead
of standard clock-timer controllers on their existing systems, and no longer worry about
wasted water.
When smart irrigation controls are used that meet WaterSense criteria, they automatically
result in a 15% reduction from the baseline water use. This makes it easier to get to the
50% reduction. The prerequisite requires a 30% reduction, and if you use WaterSense
smart irrigation systems you are already at a 45% reduction for the credit without doing
anything else.


Sample Question
What area should be excluded from landscape area calculations for WE Credit Outdoor
Water Use Reduction?

Permeable pavement
Food garden
Vegetated playground
Athletic field

Nonvegetated surfaces, such as permeable or impermeable pavement, should be excluded

from landscape area calculations. Athletic fields and playgrounds (if vegetated) and food
gardens may be included or excluded at the project teams discretion. Choice A is the
correct answer.

Case Study
When the Las Vegas MGM Grand Hotel opened its doors in 1993, it was reported
to use more water than any other property on the strip. When the water usage was
investigated, they found that the amount of water the guests were using was
actually quite modest in comparison to other properties. The largest consumer of
water was found to be the landscaping. It was easy to understand as over 85
percent of the property was covered with turf, plants, and flowers requiring 60
gallons of water per square foot per year. As Nevada is one of the driest and
drought prone areas of the country, the facility converted to xeriscaping.
Following the principles of Xeriscaping, architects created a detailed plan. In
considering the path of the sun, workers relocated plants from the southern and
western exposures that were requiring more water and experiencing high water
loss. Appropriate desert plants and ground materials were chosen based on their
low need for water. The hotel removed more than 20,000 square feet of turf,
converting it to rock mulch. All parking lot planters were replaced with waterwise landscape.
Managers of the project also took several other xeriscaping principles under
consideration when implementing the changes to the Las Vegas MGM Grand
Hotel. Plant slope and grade of property were taken under consideration during
the design phase. Large efforts to prepare the soil in an appropriate manner aided
in supporting healthy plant life as well as ensuring the soil had a proper balance of
soil clusters, sand and pore spaces to optimize water usage. To insure efficient
irrigation and ease of continued maintenance, an irrigation system was installed
that would allow the plants to thrive without wasting water. Over 1.5 acres of

shrub-landscaped areas were converted from spray irrigation to drip irrigation in

an effort to save 80 percent of the water being used. They further increased their
water efficiency by using two water wells to supply water to the cooling tower for
air conditioning, irrigate the landscape and operate its water feature, amounting to
about 120 million gallons of water per year.
Currently more than half of the total acreage at the MGM Grand and the
surrounding land owned by parent company MGM Mirage has been converted to
xeriscaping. Their efforts are largely successful. Follow up water audits have
revealed a two-thirds reduction in water use, from 60 gallons to 20 gallons of
water per square foot per year.

WE Prerequisite 2 | Indoor Water Use Reduction 20%

This prerequisite has requirements for building water use, appliance and process water
use, and standards for processes. Specifically, it concerns restroom fixtures inside the
building, water heating appliances, as well as cooling towers and condensers. The
prerequisite requires a 20 percent reduction beyond a baseline.

All eligible newly installed toilets, urinals, private lavatory faucets, and showerheads
must be WaterSense labeled.

Referenced Standards
The Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct) and the Energy Policy Act of 2005 set the rates
for comparison of the baseline fixtures and fittings.
All newly installed toilets, urinals, private lavatory faucets, and showerheads that are
eligible for labeling must be WaterSense labeled (or a local equivalent for projects
outside the U.S.). WaterSense is a partnership program sponsored by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency that helps consumers identify and choose waterefficient products. WaterSense labeled products are verified to be high-performing,
water-efficient fixtures and exceed the IPC standards.
For projects outside of the U.S. look for acceptable substitutes that have equivalent


Two Compliance Paths

There are two paths for the prerequisite a prescriptive path and a usage-based
calculation. If your project is going to attempt to earn points under the corresponding
credit, you will have to do the calculations. The prescriptive path is intended for projects
to just meet the prerequisites. As long as each fixture does not exceed the WaterSense
maximum levels, your project would comply with the prescriptive requirements.
For the calculations of the building water use, fixture selection must demonstrate 20
percent less water use than the baseline. Thats the key term here baseline. In fact, if
you were building a new building, you would have to have a baseline because you dont
know how much water this building uses, since it hasnt been built. The process is to
define a baseline case, and then build a design case based on the fixtures youre going to
Calculations must aggregate all of the fixtures to get a 20% reduction. Its ok if some of
the fixtures are over, as long as in total, there is a 20% reduction. This allows a bit more

Baseline Fixture Usages Rates

Your baseline use of water consumption for fixtures and fittings is shown in this table
here. It addresses toilets, urinals, faucets, and showerheads. The baselines are given in
both IP units and SI units for projects in other countries. You should be familiar with
these values for your exam.





















Note that in your documentation a private lavatory faucet is private only in reference to
hotels or when a hospital room has a private restroom. Everything else is considered
public. What happens in some projects is the CEO or the dean of a school has a restroom
that is just for their use with their own sink, and while it may be a private restroom for
just that person LEED considers it a public restroom. Its public because the private
baseline is a lot higher and not intended for use in those circumstances. Not making that
distinction can end up jeopardizing the projects 20% baseline.


Equipment and Process Requirements

For appliance and process water use, install appliances, equipment, and processes within
the project scope that meet the requirements listed in the table. For most of these
appliances LEED is looking for ENERGY STAR labels or an equivalent.












When applicable meet the following standards for processes.

For heat rejection and cooling, dont use once-through cooling with potable water
for any equipment or appliances that reject heat.
Cooling towers and evaporative condensers must be equipped with makeup water
meters, conductivity controllers and overflow alarms, and efficient drift
For the process water reduction this really ties back into the integrative process credit and
the initial water model. When you have all of the stakeholders together you can set your
agenda and focus on the drivers of the project. What decisions can be made that meet the
intent of the credit, and will result in a better building?

Energy Synergy
Water usage may not intuitively connect to energy consumption. However, treating,
heating and transporting water all takes energy. Reducing the amount of water that is
wasted and reducing the energy to heat it can improve your savings. Set water
temperatures only as hot as necessary (120 degrees F). Water heaters are often set to 140
by manufactures which is much hotter than necessary and causes energy waste. Water
heater timers can be installed to be off during low times of occupancy.

Ultra-low-flow showerheads
In the United States, a standard shower in a typical building can use up to 2.5 gallons
of water per minute, while ultra-low-flow showerheads use 1.5 gallons of water
per minute, or less. Some models currently available on the market use as little as 0.5
gallons of water per minute.


These little savings add up, generating significant reductions in the overall buildings
water consumption. The US Environmental Protection Agency has calculated what
savings from ultra-low-flow showerheads can generate for a 20,000 square foot model
office building. The results show that at an extra cost of $4.99 per unit (or $0.50 per 1000
square feet) these devices can produce savings of $0.33 per 1000 square feet. The simple
payback time for the investment is only 1.5 years. For hotels, the payback time can be
even shorter.
Ultra-low-flow faucets aerators
Current standards say that kitchen faucets cannot exceed 2.5 gallons per minute, and
bathroom faucets: 2.2 gallons per minute. The US EPA has calculated that using 1.0
gallons per minute faucet models for both kitchens and restrooms, for a 20,000 square
feet model building can generate savings of $8.14 per 1000 square feet. At the
incremental first cost of $5.87 per faucet, the simple payback for the investment is
0.3 years only.
Dual flush toilets and flushometers
Current regulations require that toilets must not exceed 1.6 gallons of water per flush.
Dual flash toilets are designed to provide liquid flushing at 0.8 gallons per flush and solid
flushing at 1.6 gallons per flush.
For its model 20,000 square feet building, the EPA calculated that the incremental first
cost for installing dual-flush toilets versus standards models was $50.00 per toilet. The
calculated annual cost saving per 1000 square feet was $3.58 and the simple payback for
the investment was 2.8 years. Industry experts claim that switching to dual flush toilets
typically reduces water consumption in the building by 10%.
Waterless urinals
Waterless urinals are designed to treat waste chemically instead of using water.
The device contains a chemical cartridge in its drains that traps odors while allowing
the urine to pass through.
Waterless urinals have been installed in several federal sites, such as: military bases, post
offices, and national parks, recording very good performance. For example the North
Island Naval Air Station, in San Diego, California have over 200 waterless urinals
installed on site.
The study carried out by the University of California, Los Angeles, compared waterless
urinals with traditional 3 gallons per flush ones. No odors or clogs were detected during
the testing period and the chemical cartridge was sufficient for over 7,000 uses with no
maintenance problems recorded.


Waterless urinals did not displayed greater bacterial growth in comparison with
traditional models and no significant difference between the ammonia levels in the
vicinity of the two urinals was recorded. The economic analysis demonstrated a simple
payback for waterless urinals of less than three years and annual return in the range of 37
to 61% (depending on the building type).

Installing waterless urinals generate immediate cash savings, and contribute to the
majority of your performance efficiency. In the EPA model building study, waterless
solutions generated savings of $4.53 per 1000 square feet per year. Moreover, there
was no incremental first cost included, as waterless units were $282 cheaper than
traditional ones. Typically, waterless urinals generate a 14% reduction in building
water use, according to the industry experts.
The United States Department of Energy estimates that in the office and administrative
buildings, plumbing fixtures in the restrooms are responsible for 60% of the overall water
When combining waterless urinals with ultra-low-flow toilets and ultra-low-flow faucets,
the building can easily achieve over a 40% reduction in the overall water consumption
and qualify for points under Water Efficiency Credit Indoor Water Use Reduction.

WE Credit 2 | Indoor Water Use Reduction

Designing efficiency beyond the prerequisite, WE Credit Indoor Water use Reduction can
earn up to 6 points. The points available for reducing water use depend on the percent
reduction, and the rating system used. As an example, the highest percent reduction for
the credit (50%) can earn 6 points for a New Construction project and 12 points for a
Commercial Interiors project.

Alternative Water Sources

This credit is similar to Outdoor Water Use Reduction in that the additional savings can
be achieved through other methods. In this case it is using alternative water resources.
Remember that the first 20% has to come from using efficient fixtures. Any savings
beyond 20% can come from efficient fixtures, or alternative water sources.
The prerequisite and the credit have the exact same calculations, standards, and


Rating System Adaptation

For Core & Shell projects, the project earns the prerequisite if no eligible fixtures and
appliances are installed as part of the scope of work. For credit achievement, calculate
what plumbing fixtures would be necessary to meet occupant needs. If the project team
creates a lease agreement that includes requirements of tenants purchasing certain fixture
with maximum flush and flow rates, this can be used to earn points for the credit.
For school projects the annual use is assumed to be 195 days of the year due to summer
break, school vacations, and holidays.
Retail, healthcare, and school projects can earn additional points for meeting the
requirement of one or two of the appliance and process water tables requirements.
Hospitality projects can earn a point for meeting the requirements of one of the appliance
and process water tables requirements.

Case Study
The Proximity Hotel, Greensboro, North Carolina, earned LEED Platinum under LEED
for New Construction. The hotel was built with high efficiency plumbing fittings, able to
save the hotel two million gallons of water annually (compared with standard fixtures).
This achievement is imperative in the Greensboro area, where water resources are
About one third of a gallon of water is saved per each flush, compared to regular toilets.
The strategy does not compromise guests comfort and satisfaction level the hotel has
not recorded any complaints and guests do not seem to notice any difference.
As a result of high efficiency plumbing features installed on site, the hotel enjoys
a $14,000 lower annual water bill. Water-saving plumbing fittings cost the hotel $7,000.
The simple payback for this investment was six months only.

WE Prerequisite 3 | Building-level Water Metering

Traditionally, we put a lot of focus energy consumption, but we often overlook the
amount of domestic water that people are using in their buildings. This metering
prerequisite helps project teams verify predicted reductions and enables facility managers
to better manage their buildings water consumption. New to v4, whole building level is
be required to measure, track, and report total water use.


Equipment Requirement
Install at least one permanent water meter that measures the total potable water use for
the entire building and associated grounds. This is known as a whole-building water
meter. It can be owned and installed by the utility company, or the building owner. The
goal is to isolate the LEED project from other properties.
Of course submetering is recommended, and we will talk more about that later. Some
projects may require multiple meters if there have more than one source of potable water,
such as an on-site well or on-site water treatment system in addition to the public water

Reporting Requirement
Its not enough to just know how much water a building uses. The real benefit is tracking
the data over time and analyzing trends. Therefore, meter data must be compiled into
monthly and annual summaries. Energy Stars Portfolio Manager is a great tool to collect
this information in one place, and synergizes with your energy use tracking and reporting.
The meter readings can be manual or automated but in either case the data must be shared
with USGBC. All projects must commit to sharing with USGBC the resulting wholeproject water usage data for a five-year period beginning on the date the project accepts
LEED certification or typical occupancy, whichever comes first.

For this credit you are going to have to identify all the sources of potable water end uses
in the building and the grounds plumbing, irrigation, cooling towers, etc. The sources
might include a public water supply, or some type of well installed onsite. Based on the
types of water, that is going to determine what you need to meter. If you have both
public water and a well, they both have to be metered if they are separately connected to
the project. If both of those sources are routed together before they arrive at your
building intake, then you only need the single meter. The type of meter you choose
doesnt matter as long as it is permanent. It can be manual or a wireless based system
that feeds into your building operations system.
Once the building is occupied or certified you have to start tracking the water use and
sharing it with USGBC.
An extra meter or two isnt going to add a whole lot of cost to the building project, and
the data metering yields will be invaluable. The saying you hear repeatedly by LEED
practitioners is you cant manage what you dont measure. If youre landscape design
called for using 20,000 gallons of water for irrigation per year but it ends up using
100,000, you wouldnt find that out very quickly unless you metered the grounds, as the
prerequisite requires. The types and locations of the meters are decisions the facility


manager and MEP designers can figure out quickly early on in the process. Consider this
another item to add to the integrative design.

WE Credit 4 | Water Metering

Projects must include permanent water meters for two or more of the following water
subsystems, as applicable to the project: Irrigation, Indoor plumbing fixtures and fittings,
Domestic hot water, Boilers, Reclaimed Water, and Other Process uses.

Meter water systems serving at least 80% of the irrigated landscaped area. Calculate the
percentage of irrigated landscape area served as the total metered irrigated landscape area
divided by the total irrigated landscape area. Landscape areas fully covered with
xeriscaping or native vegetation that requires no routine irrigation may be excluded from
the calculation.

Indoor plumbing fixtures and fittings

Meter water systems serving at least 80% of the indoor fixtures and fitting described in
WE Prerequisite Indoor Water Use Reduction, either directly or by deducting all other
measured water use from the measured total water consumption of the building and

Domestic Hot Water

Meter water use of at least 80% of the installed domestic hot water heating capacity
(including both tanks and on-demand heaters).

Boilers with aggregate projected annual water use of 100,000 gallons (378 500 liters) or
more, or a boiler of more than 500,000 BtuH (150 kW). A single makeup meter may
record flows for multiple boilers.

Reclaimed Water
Meter reclaimed water, regardless of rate. A reclaimed water system with a makeup water
connection must also be metered so that the true reclaimed water component can be


Other process water

Meter at least 80% of expected daily water consumption for process end uses, such as
humidification systems, dishwashers, clothes washers, pools, and other subsystems using
process water.

Why Submeter? Installing a Submeter doesnt reduce the amount of water used, or does

Metering can be employed at several different scales, and is used to support

effective management of a buildings systems, including management of comfort,
energy and water consumption, delineated cost burdens, and investment decisions
in the short and long term. Historically, utility metering has occurred on an
aggregate basis, with measurements taken for whole buildings or campuses
roughly once per month. While this model has supported utility cost-recovery and
billing practices, in recent years the utility sector has looked to greater integration
of information technologies as potential sources of resource conservation and
economic savings.
Thus far, among consumer-focused smart grid technologies, smart meters have
received the bulk of public attention and funding, with less emphasis placed on
submeters or the metering of resources not related to energy. Whereas advanced
meters generate more temporally resolved longitudinal data, submeters provide
more spatially resolved measurements for individual areas, systems, or
equipment. Moreover, while utility companies have led smart meter deployments,
submetering requires involvement of and investment by individual building
owners as well as more detailed tailoring to specific building configurations.
Advanced metering may provide data at hour- or minute-long intervals at a full
building scale, but submetering is capable of providing data at near-continuous
time resolution and at a sub-building scale.
Resource conservation is achieved through improved operation and maintenance
practices and/or occupant behaviors such as reducing unnecessary lighting or
heating loads and reprogramming energy control systems. Metrics for both
efficiency and conservation require knowledge of current resource use and
practices, generally at the sub-building level, but the temporal scales for the data
may be different. Retrofits for resource efficiency can sometimes be identified
through snapshot data such as those obtained through an energy or water audit.


While helpful, audits are of limited use in that they provide data only for one
specific period of time.
Submetering, on the other hand, can drive long-term and deeper efficiency and
conservation improvements by introducing a localized, continuous timescale. This
refined timescale provides insight into daily, weekly, or seasonal operations
issues, occupant behaviors, performance of installed equipment (e.g., HVAC and
lighting), and verification of installed efficiency technologies. A time-series
approach to analysis also provides the necessary insight to drive conservation
through changes in occupant behaviors or continual improvements to building
operating procedures as conditions change over time. Moreover, these refined
data points may reveal other system problems or potential efficiency measures
that were not immediately apparent with snapshot data.
This gets back to the old saying - you cant manage what you dont measure. If
you dont know how much water a subsystem is using, there is no way you can
reduce that water use and quantify the reduction.
Rating System Adaptation
There is a healthcare adaptation for this credit. Healthcare projects meter an additional
five of the following systems:

purified water systems (reverse-osmosis, de-ionized);

filter backwash water;

water use in dietary department;

water use in laundry;

water use in laboratory;

water use in central sterile and processing department;

water use in physiotherapy and hydrotherapy and treatment areas;

water use in surgical suite;

closed-looped hydronic system makeup water; and

cold-water makeup for domestic hot water systems.

WE Credit 3 | Cooling Tower Water Use

Originally pilot credit, cooling tower water has been brought into the water consumption
equation in LEED v4. In addition to meeting the ASHRAE 189 cooling tower
requirements, points will be awarded for projects which perform a chemical analysis of

the blowdown water and maximize water cycles to the cooling tower based upon this
Cooling towers regulate temperature by dissipating heat from recirculating water used to
cool chillers, air-conditioning equipment, or other process equipment. Heat is rejected
from the tower primarily through evaporation. Therefore, by design, cooling towers
consume significant amounts of water.
Beyond evaporation, cooling tower eliminate water daily in a process known as
blowdown. When the water within the system cycles through the pipes, it accumulates
contaminants and micro particles. This build-up is not ideal for system performance and a
portion must be bleed out of the system and new, clean water added to make-up the
difference. Saving water that gets lost through blowdown is the major emphasis in this
credit in recognition that thousands of gallons of water can be saved cycling back noncontaminated water.
Because of the sheer magnitude of water used to operate a cooling tower, implementing a
successful water management program and automatic controls can have a much greater
overall impact on your buildings water efficiency than retrofitting indoor plumbing
fixtures. Depending on your local water rates, it can also bring your project significant
cost savings.
Projects have to conduct a one-time potable water analysis, in order to optimize cooling
tower cycles.

The analysis has to measure at least five of the control parameters listed here, verifying
they do not exceed the maximum concentrations:












Project teams calculate the number of cooling tower cycles by dividing the maximum
allowed concentration level of each parameter by the actual concentration level of each
parameter found in the potable makeup water. Limit cooling tower cycles to avoid
exceeding maximum values for any of these parameters.


For a project to earn one point, the setup cant exceed 10 cycles, without exceeding any
filtration levels or affecting operation of condenser water systems.
For two points, increase the level of treatment or use a minimum of 20% recycled
nonpotable water.

The thermal efficiency and longevity of the cooling tower and equipment used to cool
depend on the proper management of water recirculated through the tower. Water leaves
a cooling tower system in any one of four ways:
Evaporation: This is the primary function of the tower and is the method that transfers
heat from the cooling tower system to the environment. The quantity of evaporation is
not a subject for water efficiency efforts (although improving the energy efficiency of the
systems you are cooling will reduce the evaporative load on your tower).
Drift: A small quantity of water may be carried from the tower as mist or small droplets.
Drift loss is small compared to evaporation and blowdown, and is controlled with baffles
and drift eliminators.
Blowdown or bleed-off: When water evaporates from the tower, dissolved solids (such as
calcium, magnesium, chloride, and silica) are left behind. As more water evaporates, the
concentration of dissolved solids increases. If the concentration gets too high, the solids
can cause scale to form within the system or the dissolved solids can lead to corrosion
problems. The concentration of dissolved solids is controlled by blowdown. Carefully
monitoring and controlling the quantity of blowdown provides the most significant
opportunity to conserve water in cooling tower operations.
Basin leaks or overflows: Properly operated towers should not have leaks or overflows.
Check float control equipment to ensure the basin level is being maintained properly and
check system valves to make sure there are no unaccounted for losses.
The sum of water that is lost from the tower must be replaced by make-up water:
Make-up equals Evaporation plus Blowdown plus Drift

A key parameter used to evaluate cooling tower operation is "cycles of concentration"
(sometimes referred to as cycles of concentration ratio). This is calculated as the ratio of
the concentration of dissolved solids (or conductivity) in the blowdown water compared
to the make-up water. Since dissolved solids enter the system in the make-up water and


exit the system in the blowdown water, the cycles of concentration are also
approximately equal to the ratio of volume of make-up to blowdown water.
From a water efficiency standpoint, you want to maximize cycles of concentration, which
will minimize blowdown water quantity and reduce make-up water demand. However,
this can only be done within the constraints of your make-up water and cooling tower
water chemistry. Dissolved solids increase as cycles of concentration increase, which can
cause scale and corrosion problems unless carefully controlled.

Alternative Water Sources

In addition to carefully controlling blowdown, other water efficiency opportunities arise
from using alternate sources of make-up water. Water from other equipment within a
facility can sometimes be recycled and reused for cooling tower make-up with little or no
pre-treatment, including the following:

Air handler condensate (water that collects when warm, moist air passes over the
cooling coils in air handler units). This reuse is particularly appropriate because
the condensate has a low mineral content, and typically is generated in greatest
quantities when cooling tower loads are the highest.

Water used in a once through cooling system.

Pretreated effluent from other processes, provided that any chemicals used are
compatible with the cooling tower system.

High-quality municipal wastewater effluent or recycled water (where available).

Rainwater is most preferred because it has the least amount of dissolved solids

Ice machine condensate

Food steamer discharge water

Calculate and understand your "cycles of concentration." Check the ratio of conductivity
of blowdown and make-up water. Work with your cooling tower water treatment
specialist to maximize the cycles of concentration. Many systems operate at two to four
cycles of concentration, while six cycles or more may be possible. Increasing cycles from
three to six reduces cooling tower make-up water by 20% and cooling tower blowdown
by 50%.

Get expert advice to help determine an efficient cooling tower design. New cooling tower
designs and improved materials can significantly reduce water and energy requirements
for cooling.


For specifics on this technology, consult with experts in the field. Your first resource
should be local or headquarters for engineers, but do not overlook input from experienced
contractors or Government agencies.
Consider in your design how alternate sources of make-up water can be used for the
cooling tower system.

Case Study
Established in 1960, the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) is located in
Huntsville, Alabama. In 2005, MSFC built Building 4600, NASAs first certified
building under the LEED rating system, achieving a Silver rating. Since that time, a
companion building has been constructed at MSFC that achieved a Gold LEED rating.
MSFC is also one of the first NASA sites to pursue LEED O&M certification.
This case study highlights MSFCs implementation of new water treatment technologies
to improve the efficiency and performance of one of their cooling systems. MSFC
identified a problematic cooling loop with six separate compressor heat exchangers and a
history of poor efficiency. The facility engineering team at MSFC partnered with Flozone
Services, Incorporated to implement a comprehensive water treatment platform to
improve the overall efficiency of the system.
First, the team at MSFC identified a service provider and technology platform to better
manage the cooling program on the inefficient cooling loop. The water treatment
platform included 24/7 monitoring and management of cooling system performance, and
real-time adjustments if needed. Traditional chemical treatments were replaced by a
patented technology that utilizes radio frequencies to alter the waters scaling tendencies
by creating a seeding mechanism that agglomerates scale-forming minerals in the
water. This technology removes minerals before they can be deposited on heat exchange
surfaces. Additionally, ozone was implemented to minimize biological activity resulting
from ozones strong oxidizing characteristics. Tight control of pH levels coupled with
tight control of ozone production provided corrosion control, and side-stream filtration
was integrated to remove sediment and debris from the recirculating system water. To
demonstrate the technologys capabilities, three heat exchangers were sent off site to be
treated by the proposed system. The technology demonstration showed marked
improvement after only 48 hours. Because of the success of this demonstration, MSFC
opted to have all three heat exchangers cleaned for a 90-day time period.
Performance Baseline and Improvement Projections
Prior to implementation, electricity, water, and sewer consumption data were collected to
establish a baseline. Additionally, numerous water tests were performed on the cooling
system and raw water to fully understand system performance along with existing water

quality considerations. This particular cooling loop was running at 2.5 cycles of
concentration, and used 4,142,400 gallons of water and 9,896,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh)
of electricity in 2008. After assessing system performance, Flozone Services projected
savings of 420,808 gallons of water over eight months by increasing cycles of
concentration to 5.0.
Technology Implementation
The treatment platform was integrated at the beginning of August 2009, while the cooling
loop was in operation. Prior to installing the treatment platform, the three heat exchangers
cleaned during the technology demonstration period were re-installed in the system. The
remaining three heat exchangers were inspected but not cleaned prior to implementation
of the new treatment system. These three heat exchangers had extensive deposits and biofouling present. Inclusive of the treatment platform, software was implemented to allow
control and monitoring from multiple locations, including the central operations
computer and a backup computer in a different control room. Incremental changes were
made to the system set points and alarms to allow the treatment platform to slowly
increase cycles of concentration and gradually remove historical deposits and bio-fouling.
This approach ensured system strainers werent clogged with debris.
Performance Improvements
Water usage and energy usage were tracked for an eight month period in 2009 and
compared to the same timeframe in 2008. Water and energy trends show cumulative
savings as MSFC achieved reduced water consumption of 821,300 gallons and reduced
electrical consumption of 434,900 kWh during the eight-month technology assessment.
By implementing a comprehensive water treatment platform, MSFC successfully
eliminated treatment chemicals in the selected cooling loop, removed historical deposits
and biofouling from heat exchanger surfaces, and lowered operating temperatures on the
heat exchangers between 5F and 6F. The resulting eight-month documented savings
exceeded expected savings in every category.


Key Terms
Native And Adaptive Plant Species
Vegetative Softscapes
Potable Water
Energy Policy Act Of 1992 (Epact)
Private Lavatory
Process Water
On-Site Water Treatment
Domestic Hot Water
Reclaimed Water
Cooling Tower
Cooling Tower Cycles
Cycles Of Concentration
Dissolved Solids
Make-Up Water


Chapter 6 Energy and Atmosphere

This section is one of the most challenging sections because it is very technical. The
Energy and Atmosphere category can earn more points than any other category; 33 points
of 110 possible points, or 30% of the entire application. Once you master the concepts of
designing and building LEED energy systems with balanced atmospheric impacts, you
will better understand the relationship between mechanical ventilation and GHG impacts.
The knowing of how a building serves your productivity and comfort needs, grows your
strength of confidence in joining the movement to evolve success for all beings; humans,
their systems, and the planet (and her systems).
Therefore, Energy and Atmosphere addresses a number of areas:

Energy Performance, How well your buildings energy performs in design versus
the baseline case. Predicted.
Tracking Energy Performance, including feedback devices; commissioning the
building, and metering.
Demand Response, Peak grid events. This is cutting edge, despite LEEDs 12+
years of market presence.
Refrigerant Management, CFC-based refrigerants in buildings.
Renewable Energy, On-site or community scale based renewables.
Green Power and Carbon Offsets, Mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (GHG)
through the use of grid-source, renewable energy technologies and carbon
sequestration projects.

The Energy & Atmosphere credit category has 4 prerequisites and 7 credits. Four of the
credits build upon the prerequisites.

EA Prerequisite 1: Fundamental Commissioning and Verification

EA Credit 1: Enhanced Commissioning

EA Prerequisite 2: Minimum Energy Performance

EA Credit 2: Optimize Energy Performance


EA Prerequisite 3: Building level energy metering

EA Credit 3: Advance Energy Metering

EA Prerequisite 4: Fundamental Refrigerant Management

EA Credit 6: Enhanced Refrigerant Management

EA Credit 4: Demand Response

EA Credit 5: Renewable Energy Production

EA Credit 7: Green power and carbon offsets

EA Prerequisite 1 | Fundamental Commissioning and Verification

The intent is to support the design, construction, and eventual operation of a project to
meet the owners project requirements for energy, water, indoor environmental quality,
and durability.
Following the trend that lots of green building techniques are now becoming minimum
building code; Commissioning (Cx) is mandated in some parts of the country. In the
past, project teams would say We dont want to do LEED because we dont want to pay
for an expensive energy model or commissioning. Whereas now, qualified and
credentialed Commissioning Agents (CxA) are thriving around the quality assurance
concept of a third party review of HVAC systems, domestic hot water, daylighting, and
lighting controls. In 2015, there are buildings and institutions that may not pursue LEED,
but they pay professionals for Energy Modeling and Cx services because they see the
value in it.

Concept Process
First, the owner documents their expectations, or project requirements. The owners
project requirements (OPR) is a written document detailing the functional requirements
of a project and the expectations of the buildings use and operation as they relate to the
systems to be commissioned.
Typical System List
HVAC systems | Mechanical AND passive

Electric Systems | Lighting and daylighting controls

Plumbing Systems | Domestic hot water systems

Onsite renewable energy systems | Wind, solar, gas-if applicable


Building Envelope | Acknowledge in document, but implementation not required

Optional | Life safety systems, communications and data systems, fire protection
systems, and process equipment.

The Engineers ensure that the OPR is met in their drawings and specifications as they
develop the basis of design (BOD). The basis of design describes the systems to be
commissioned and outlines any design assumptions that are not otherwise included in the
design documents, such as assemblies, and systems. The CxA joins here to begin drawing
The field-commissioning happens after the contractors build the building. The CxA
functionally inspects all the systems in the BOD against the OPR. A report is made.

Referenced Standards
The standards used for the prerequisite is ASHRAE Guideline 0-2005 and ASHRAE
Guideline 1.12007 for HVAC&R Systems, as they relate to energy, water, indoor
environmental quality, and durability. This is the guide that will be followed when
commissioning the required systems.
NIBS Guideline 3-2012 for Exterior Enclosures provides additional guidance on the
requirements for exterior closures.

The commissioning authority (CxA) must do the following:

Review the OPR, BOD, and project design.

Develop and implement a commissioning plan.

Confirm incorporation of commissioning requirements into the construction


Develop construction checklists.

Develop a system test procedure.

Verify system test execution.

Maintain an issues and benefits log throughout the commissioning process.

Prepare a final commissioning process report.

Document all findings and recommendations and report directly to the owner
throughout the process.

The review of the exterior enclosure design may be performed by a qualified member of
the design or construction team (or an employee of that firm) who is not directly
responsible for design of the building envelope.


Commissioning Authority
For fundamental commissioning, the commissioning authority must have experience in at
least 2 building projects. The individual must be independent of the projects design and
construction team. The individual reports results and findings directly to the owner. If
the project is less than 20,000 square feet (1,860 square meters) the commissioning
authority may be on the design or construction team. In essence LEED is setting these
rules to avoid conflicts of interest.
There are exceptions to these rules as you get into smaller projects, so be familiar with
those rules if you plan to document the prerequisite. The matrix in your Reference Guide
describes the conditions and qualifications for who can be a commissioning authority and
their responsibilities. The commissioning authority provides third party verification, and
if they are the ones doing the design your project will not get objectivity.
In the same sense, if they are the person installing the products, they may not be doing
the balancing or testing required that a Commissioning Agent would look for. There is
some separation needed. In general, LEED wants them to be contracted directly with the

Ongoing Operations and Maintenance Plan

The CxA, with the help of the project team, must prepare and maintain a current facilities
requirements and operations and management plan. This document facilitates transition
from construction to occupancy. It is a technical manual describing how the facilities
manager can operate the building efficiently. The plan needs to include:

a sequence of operations for the building;

the building occupancy schedule;

equipment run-time schedules;

setpoints for all HVAC equipment;

set lighting levels throughout the building;

minimum outside air requirements;

any changes in schedules or setpoints for different seasons, days of the week, and
times of day;

a systems narrative describing the mechanical and electrical systems and


a preventive maintenance plan for building equipment described in the systems

narrative; and

a commissioning program that includes periodic commissioning requirements,

ongoing commissioning tasks, and continuous tasks for critical facilities.


The O&M staff training plan should be developed by the contractor and reviewed by the
commissioning authority to ensure that all systems to be commissioned are covered.

OPR Development and System Design

The Commissioning Agent and the Project Team coordinate a scope based on the owner
project requirements. Remember those owner project requirements can start in simple
narrative style. For instance, This room will be a warehouse, workers stand and operate
forklifts. I need it to be at least 68 degrees. The owner would indicate certain light levels
needed in the rooms and any other experiential descriptions. These are very basic criteria
and then they get pushed into fuller descriptions in the basis of design.
The Owners Project Requirements should be developed either by the Owner or by the
Commissioning authority with direct input from the Owner. If your project is going to
attempt the Integrative Process credit the OPR would be developed alongside of this in
one of the design workshops at the start of the project.
This document should describe the requirements of the project ranging from the building
usage and area requirements, to the expected HVAC setpoints. The more information
that is identified in this document, the better understanding the design team will have
when developing the building size, layout, and systems for the project.
Some of the elements that should be included in the OPR are as follows: Applicable
codes required, detailed anticipated occupancy schedule, number of expected occupants,
temperature and humidity requirements, specific thermal zoning requirements, HVAC,
lighting, plumbing fixture, and water heating system types preferred (if known), controls
system requirements for lighting and HVAC, energy savings goals, LEED certification
level desired, project schedule, budget considerations, and operations and maintenance

BOD Development
During the schematic design or design development phase of the project (depending on
size/scope), the OPR should be consulted by the design team. This should lead to the
design team creating the Basis of Design document. This document will indicate how the
project building will meet the OPR. The document includes assumptions about the
design decisions, and may include:

Overview of system assemblies

Expectations of systems and performance criteria

Descriptions of systems and how they will operate

Codes and standards the design was based off of


Owners directives about how the facility will be used

Concepts, calculations, decisions, and product selections; the specific design

methods, techniques, and software used in design; information regarding ambient
conditions (climatic, geologic, structural, existing construction) used during
design; and specific manufacturer makes and models used as the basis of design
for drawings and specifications.

Revision history of the document

After the team has confirmed that the OPR can be met by the BOD, the design team
begins the design process and moves towards the construction documents. Prior to the
50% construction document phase, the Commissioning authority should perform a
thorough review of the progress drawings against the OPR and BOD documents. This
will ensure that the design is on track to meet all OPRs and provide a step in the process
to ask questions about accessibility, functionality, energy efficiency, and other long-term
Owner related issues.
Direction for the commissioning team is provided by assembling the documentation of
the OPR at the inception of a project and the proper transfer of this information from one
party to the next throughout the building delivery process. The Commissioning Process
has been structured to coincide with the phases of a generic project with Pre- Design,
Design, Construction, Occupancy and Operations phases. Beginning the commissioning
process at project inception will maximize benefits and minimize the cost.
The entire goal of commissioning is to provide a building that is not only designed and
built with the OPR in mind, but one that is maintainable and has the lowest possible
operating costs following completion and turnover.

Commissioning Process
Document and commission all systems outlined in the prerequisite. Documenting system
design is the responsibility of the design engineer. The CxA reviews the drawings and
appropriate submittals against the ORP and BOD. Functional commissioning includes
verifying proper installation of products, testing, and training on the products.
Everybody - owners, users, architects - should be involved in this process.
The commissioning plan is a document that describes the systems to be commissioned,
the commissioning team and their roles and responsibilities, the schedule of events,
equipment startup and functional performance test procedures, and O&M staff training


Incorporating the commissioning requirements into the CDs (construction documents

equals plans and specs) includes adding commissioning specifications to the project.
This details contractor expectations to include in the project pricing, covering all the
aspects of the commissioning plan. In addition to the commissioning specifications, the
construction documents should also include in detail the components in the system
necessary to allow Test and Balance and Commissioning of the system. This includes
sensors, test ports, and control points that will make testing possible.
System verification checklists (startup forms) and functional performance testing
procedures are created by the commissioning authority (or design team) for use in the
construction process. This can be developed either before or after CDs, but early in the
construction process. When created by the commissioning authority, these forms should
be reviewed by the design team and contractor prior to incorporation into the construction
process to ensure it matches both the design intent and best practices.

Step-by-Step Implementation

Designate commissioning authority

Establish Owner Project Requirements (OPR) and Basis of Design (BOD)
The commissioning authority reviews OPR and BOD
Develop and implement the Commissioning Plan
Incorporate Commissioning Requirements into the Construction Documents
Develop construction checklists
Develop a system test procedure
Verify system test execution
Maintain a log that documents issues and benefits
Complete a summary commissioning report

The commissioning authority must be engaged by the end of the design development
phase. Thats a requirement for the prerequisite. It needs to be someone that week-toweek is part of the team to get the best possible product.
Create transparency by incorporating commissioning into construction documents. This is
formal set of plans used as the basis for construction. At the end of construction, execute
the commissioning plan by verifying installation and performance of system. The design
and construction team should remain engaged and perform any corrective actions as
required in the initial findings. Then, publish a summary commissioning report.
This is a logical progression of what the owner wants. Design to their vision, then
incorporate the vision into the documents, and execute a commissioning plan to ensure
the vision is a reality. It is very advantageous to start the commissioning process as soon
as possible in the project schedule. By having a Commissioning Authority involved in


the project early, that person can help ask questions of the Owners expectations and help
steer the design process to match those expectations.

EA Credit 1 | Enhanced Commissioning

Who the commissioning authority can be is different between the credit and prerequisite.
For the credit, the CxA may not be an employee of the design or construction firm nor a
subcontractor to the construction firm. Its important to note the differences.

In addition to the Fundamental Commissioning, you would implement extra steps for
increased oversight and document review.

Review Submittals

Train Operations Team

10 month post-occupancy visit

The commissioning authority must be leading, reviewing, and overseeing the

commissioning process.
This credit has 2 options based on scope of systems.
Option 1 enhanced systems commissioning can earn 3 to 4 points.
Option 2 envelope commissioning can earn 2 points.

Option 1 Path 1
Option 1 enhanced systems commissioning has 2 paths for achievement.
Path 1 enhanced commissioning can earn 3 points.
The commissioning authority must review and check submittals in accordance with the
OPR and BOD. The review must be concurrent with the review of the architect or
engineer of record.
Verify the systems manual. This is something is nice for optimal performance of the
While it's recommended in Fundamental Commissioning that you train people, it's
mandatory and you have to verify that personnel were trained as part of Enhanced

Occupancy Phase
The big part of Enhanced Commissioning is a 10 month follow-up after substantial
completion. The idea behind this being is that it occurs within the warranty period for all
of the mechanical, electrical and plumbing fixtures. In this process the commissioning
authority goes through and determines how the system is working. This is a smart idea as
far as tuning the building.
How many times have you seen buildings where you say, Well, the designer put in these
daylight sensor lights, but they're just not working. During this 10 month period,
occupants and facility managers have had enough time to kick around the systems and to
see whether things are working correctly or not.
Or you may see energy bills after these first 10 months and say, I thought we would be
saving a lot more. The Commissioning authority can help find out where some of the
gaps are. This is another check to see how the actual performance rates compared to the
design performance.

Option 1 Path 2
Or project teams can choose Path 2 Enhanced and monitoring-based commissioning.
Monitoring based commissioning - or MBCx - is the integration of three components:
permanent energy monitoring systems, real-time energy analysis, and ongoing
This path requires first achieving path 1. Projects can get additional points by installing
the right monitoring devices and tracking points. The points must be measured and
evaluated on an ongoing basis based on those tracking points that youve installed. This
is a good option for projects that are energy intensive and need real time data to make
adjustments, such as a data center. Monitoring based commissioning allows users to
track energy consumption, detect faulty equipment, and see unusual energy patterns in

Continuous Monitoring
For monitoring based commissioning all of the procedures and measurement points need
to be included in the commissioning plan. The following need to be addressed:

roles and responsibilities;

measurement requirements (meters, points, metering systems, data access);

the points to be tracked, with frequency and duration for trend monitoring;

the limits of acceptable values for tracked points and metered values


the elements used to evaluate performance, including conflict between systems,

out-of-sequence operation of systems components, and energy and water usage

an action plan for identifying and correcting operational errors and deficiencies;

training to prevent errors;

planning for repairs needed to maintain performance

The monitoring systems are looking at real-time energy analytics and ongoing
commissioning. Path 1 is a one stop process while Path 2 is ongoing. Knowing the realtime data and knowing how the building is currently performing, that can be helpful to
clients. Utilizing metering equipment for monitoring is the ongoing process of
verification. It opens up the opportunity for continuous improvement.

Option 2 Envelop Cx
Option 2 Envelope commissioning can earn 2 points. Fulfill the requirements in EA
Prerequisite Fundamental Commissioning and Verification as they apply to the buildings
thermal envelope in addition to mechanical and electrical systems and assemblies.
Enhanced commissioning is generally pretty familiar to everyone. You can build on it
from the prerequisite. Envelope commissioning is new. Many project teams may have
expertise in option 1 but not in option 2. Its a case where a project team may take a look
hiring different companies for the different options. The work can be completed
The Building Enclosure Commissioning (BECx) process is utilized to validate that the
design and performance of materials, components, assemblies and systems achieve the
objectives and requirements of the owner. The BECx process achieves this through
experience, expertise, modeling, observation, testing, documenting and verifying
materials, components, assemblies and systems to validate that both their use and
installation meet the owners requirements. The process uses performance oriented
practices and procedures to verify that the project is achieving the Owners Project
Requirements (OPR) throughout the delivery of the project.

Just like in Option 1, if you choose envelope commissioning the commissioning authority
is going to complete the same things:

Review contractor submittals.

Verify inclusion of systems manual requirements in construction documents.


Verify inclusion of operator and occupant training requirements in construction


Verify systems manual updates and delivery.

Verify operator and occupant training delivery and effectiveness.

Verify seasonal testing.

Review building operations 10 months after substantial completion.

Develop an on-going commissioning plan

Envelope commissioning will be included in the OPR and BOD, as well as the
commissioning plan. The envelope is treated like another system and follows similar
documentation and testing.
Note that not every commissioning authority is qualified to do envelope commissioning.
You can have two different commissioning authorities on the project one for the
systems and another who specializes in envelopes. One person should serve as lead CxA
to oversees all of the commissioning activities for coordination in overall project
documents and timeline.

The Commissioning Process should not infringe upon the authority or responsibility of
the projects designers or contractors. While the CxA can identify areas of concern,
relative to the owners project requirements, to be discussed with the owner and their
team, it is the owner who determines the course of action by the team. It is recommended
that the CxA be engaged in predesign to define the scope of the commissioning so that
the owners agreements with the project team clearly define the commissioning tasks that
will be performed during the design phases of the project. The commissioning tasks and
obligations between the Owners Design Professionals or Contractors contained in
contract forms or project-specific contracts provide the agreement that establishes the
foundation for the commissioning process. It is intended to aid these professionals
involved in providing an Owner with a facility that meets their expectations and
The BECx process begins during the Pre-Design Phase and continues for the life of the
facility through the Occupancy and Operations Phase. The process includes specific tasks
to be performed during each project phase in order to verify that the design, construction,
operational maintenance and training meet the OPR.
Remember the verifications and late 10 month review are the standouts, as well seasonal
testing and verifying a systems manual and training. Those are sort of extraneous things
throughout, but the verifications and late 10 month review after substantial completion
are the most notable differences.


Rating System Adaptations

For Core & Shell projects the systems to commission only include whats in the design
teams scope of work.
For data centers there are additional activities for the commissioning authority to perform
depending on the size of the computer rooms. There are also more rigorous failure mode
Healthcare projects have additional testing of life safety equipment.

Case Study
One of Sustainable Investment Groups (SIG) commissioning agents discovered that a
three-way valve for a condenser water system serving a chiller and cooling tower was
stuck at 80% closed. The solution to this inappropriate situation was costing the building
owner over $8,700 per year in additional pumping energy. After the valve ($800) was
replaced, the payback was just over one month and this buildings Energy Star score went
up because of one discovery.

The Case for Commissioning

The 2011 AABC Commissioning Group industry event highlighted a handful of projects
with major issues that could have been avoided with commissioning. The buildings were
tested and balanced during construction without finding (or correcting) any problems.

a Caribbean Beach Resort Project with 2,112 rooms that had $5.5 million in
HVAC and Envelope Problems before Opening Day,

a Hotel in Charleston, SC Project had $10 million in HVAC and Envelope

Problems immediately after opening,

a Florida Courthouse Project that had $15 million in repairs and the building was

a Hotel Project in Kansas City that had $2 million in HVAC repairs during its
first summer in operation.

These problems could have been predicted during the design stage. The changes needed
to prevent these failures would not have cost more money or added to the schedule.
Commissioning would have prevented these problems.


EA Prerequisite 2 | Minimum Energy Performance

The intent of this prerequisite is to reduce the environmental and economic harms of
excessive energy use by achieving a minimum level of energy efficiency for the building
and its systems. There are 3 options for this prerequisite.

Option 1 Whole building energy simulation

Option 2 Prescriptive compliance - ASHRAE 50% advanced energy design guide
Option 3 Prescriptive compliance - Advanced Buildings Core Performance guide

Option 1 - Whole building energy simulation

The first option is a whole building energy simulation which most people do. Projects
need to achieve a five percent improvement for new buildings, and 3 percent
improvement for renovations, and 2% for core and shell projects based on energy costs.
5, 3, or 2% of what, you ask? A percentage improvement comes over a baseline building
performance rating. The baseline building performance rating is calculated using the
updated ASHRAE 90.1-2010 standard. As the LEED rating system is updated, it
includes the newest standards available and incorporates them into the LEED
requirements. For this requirement a computer simulation model is used for the entire
Your project must comply with the mandatory provisions of ASHRAE 90.1-2010, and
include all energy costs with the building project. The percent savings is calculated
before factoring any savings from renewable energy systems.
An important note is that these calculations are based on energy costs, not on the quantity
of energy saved.
Like the water prerequisites the reduction for the prerequisite must be achieved without
accounting for any cost offset by onsite renewables. Projects need to be efficient first in
the building design, and then in the next step for the credit to look at supplementing
energy use with renewables. In the past for earlier rating system versions projects could
ignore efficiency, and just dump a solar array on the roof to show a reduction. For the
prerequisite projects cant do that anymore.

Prescriptive Options
Option 2 and 3 are based on different standards. They do not require computer modeling
and project teams simply follow design guidelines. These prescriptive approaches are
limited in the size of the building and the number of points available. What can happen
with this prescriptive path for design, is that it encourages project teams into an
integrative approach.

Option 2 is a prescriptive approach, using the ASHRAE 50% Advanced Energy Design
Guide. There are different guides based on different types of buildings. Consider if you
had an office. If the office is less than 100,000 square feet then use the ASHRAE
Advanced Energy Guide for Small to Medium Office Buildings. There are other guides
for medium to large big box retail, k-12 schools, and large hospitals.
Projects must comply with the applicable criteria based on the buildings specific climate
Option 3 is a Prescriptive Compliance Path using the Advanced Buildings Core
Performance Guide. This is for buildings less than 100,000 square feet (9,290 meters).
Healthcare, warehouses and lab projects are ineligible for this option.

Referenced Standards
New in LEED v4 is the use of ASHRAE standard 90.1-2010. With LEED v4 there are up
to 20 points for an energy model but only 6 points for the prescriptive path using
ASHRAE 50% Guide. That is a 14 point difference if you dont do an energy model.
The difference is comparing the ASHRAE 90.1 baseline from 2003 to 2010. The 50%
in the standard for the prescription path refers to 50% better than the 2003 standard. So
basically, the 2010 baseline performance is more than 50% improved from 2003.
Energy model practitioners will notice that a significant update is the regulation of plug
loads. Previously, most buildings used a default value that process loads were 25%. Now,
the regulation of plug loads the computers and things that get plugged into walls must
reflect predicted usage based on program requirements.
Daylight harvesting was not a baseline in LEED 2009, and now it is in LEED v4, so
projects dont easily win benefit for doing daylight harvesting, they must design
optimized daylight harvesting.

Mandatory Requirements
The first step you will do is determining the buildings climate zone, because different
zones have different requirements.
There are a lot of new mandatory requirements introduced by following ASHRAE 90.12010. For example some just for lighting include:
All spaces must now have automatic shut-off control

The lighting power density has to be reduced an average of 17% in different

space types

Every spaces has to have vacancy or occupancy sensors to 50% or less of the
lighting power

Exterior lighting must be turned off or operated at a reduced level during daylight

When a stairway is vacant the lights have to be reduced by at least 50%

Automatic daylight control is a requirement, so for daylight zones the lights have
to be under automatic control

All installed controls must be tested, like making sure the occupancy sensors and
timers work

Another new requirement is half of outlets or receptacles in open office, private offices,
or computer classrooms must be under automatic control, so they can be switched off
automatically when not in use. The control has to be hardwired it cant be a device
thats plugged into a receptacle.
For implementation, the mandatory requirements address the following:

Building Envelope Requirements

HVAC&R Requirements

Service Water Heating Requirements

Power Requirements

Lighting Requirements

Specialty Equipment Requirements

Your project has to show you met all of those requirements and you beat the ASHRAE
90.1-2010 standard by at least 5% for BD+C projects. How are you going to get that
Its now harder just to meet the standard. Lighting controls must be optimized. For
example what is required by code is occupant sensors have a 30 minute timeout.
However, if you have occupancy sensors timeout out at 20 minutes, or even 10 or 5
minutes, that can save you some energy.
You need to go beyond what is already required by the new codes. If you do high-end
tuning, you set the maximum light level space-by-space to go beyond the standard.
Reflective window shades can save 10 to 20% in cooling costs. Use automated shades to
further save on your lighting, because when there are manual shades what usually
happens is that people close the shades or close the blinds and then never open them
again. An automatic shading system will automatically open to let in sunlight and take


advantage of the natural light. Automated shading tied in with occupancy and daylight
sensors have been shown to save 10 to 15 % in lighting costs.

When to Use Option 2

For the prescriptive requirements of Option 2 check out the ASHRAE 50% Advanced
Energy Design Guide. The specific prescriptive requirements are based on the building
type office, retail, school, or hospital. If the building doesnt meet the size and building
type the project must pursue Option 1 or Option 3.
The architect and engineer will work together to determine what requirements must be
met. Note the prescriptive requirements in ASHRAE 90.1-2010 are not the same as in
the advanced energy design guide. For Option 2 and Option 3 the project must meet the
prescriptive requirements of ASHRAE 90.1-2010 for the building envelope, HVAC,
service water, heating, and lighting. Then meet the prescriptive requirements for the
HVAC and service water heating equipment from the Advanced Energy Design Guide.

When to use Option 3

Option 3 is similar to Option 2, where the project team will first meet the prescriptive
requirements of ASHRAE 90.1-2010 for the building envelope, HVAC, service water,
heating, and lighting. Then review the prescriptive requirements of the Core
Performance Guide. Projects choosing this option cant earn any points under the credit.
This option requires achieving all of the prescriptive requirements of sections 1 and 2 of
the core performance guide, and three strategies from section 3.
For this option analyze at least three alternative building configurations to maximize
passive reduction of building energy loads.

It cant be stressed enough to start your energy planning from day one. Its one of the
reasons the Integrative Process Credit requires performing a preliminary simple box
energy modeling analysis before the completion of schematic design. In addition, set
goals early. Project teams can use Energy Stars target finder to help pick an energy use
target for the building. This will be helpful for teams pursuing points under the credit.
The energy use target helps prioritize strategies.
Project teams should begin energy modeling early in the design phase. Energy
performance is a prerequisite so you want to get this right by starting early and
assembling the documentation to show compliance. For projects pursuing the credit an
energy performance target must be selected no later than the schematic design phase.


If saving money on energy is important, ask yourself how you go about doing that. Talk
with the team and discuss what the overall goals of the project are. Discuss what
numbers the team wants to hit, and stick to them. Follow up with a computer model to
make sure the project is going to hit the desired number.

The calculations are something the specialized energy modeler would do with software.
There are area calculations, lighting, power, and energy model simulation calculations.
Minimum Energy Performance is consistently one of the most difficult credits and
prerequisites to document. For other LEED credits project teams can submit the
documentation and it passes review about 50% of the time. For energy performance that
drops to about 5%.
The credit calculations are in an Excel spreadsheet. The sheets assist energy modelers in
developing the ASHRAE 90.1 Appendix G building energy models. The inputs include
specific information about the baseline and proposed ASHRAE modeling requirements,
and provide the energy modeler with quality control checks for the energy modeling
inputs and outputs. Prior to LEED submission the energy modeler should confirm that
the energy model inputs listed are consistent with those modeled, and provide quality
control to confirm that the outputs are reasonable based on the energy inputs listed.
The sheets also highlight all of the things the project team should be paying attention to
as they build the energy model, as well as including quality assurance checks for things
that frequently get overlooked or submitted incorrectly. When one part of the
spreadsheet gets updated the information is reflected elsewhere to update these checks.
Dont make a mistake about filling out the spreadsheet until near the completion of the
building, or you might find some of the ASHRAE mandatory requirements were
overlooked or the modeling requirements werent addressed.

Sample Question
A whole building energy simulation resulted in a baseline building performance of
$112,488 for a new school. What minimum improvement in building performance is
needed for LEED certification?
For EA Prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance and EA Credit Optimize Energy
Performance the modeled energy savings are reported based on the energy cost, using the
states average energy prices.
Theres some important information here that helps you. For this credit youre
comparing a baseline to a design case. The baseline for the building has a performance


of $112,488 for a new school. Ask yourself, New buildings require a 5 percent
improvement as opposed to 3% for a renovation, so what is the minimum performance?
Multiply 5 percent times the overall number here.

Sample Question
What criteria are not used to determine what prescriptive measures must be followed
when using the ASHRAE 50% Advanced Energy Design Guide to calculate minimum
energy performance?
A. Climate zone in which the building is located
B. Square footage of the building
C. Type of building
D. Building orientation
Read this a second time to say, What criteria are not used. All of these are criteria that
are used except for one.
Option 2 is for the prescriptive compliance path using ASHRAE 50% Advanced Energy
Design Guide requires the building type, the square footage, and the climate zone
determine what applicable criteria the project must meet.
The ASHRAE whole building energy performance includes the building orientation in
the modeling. What modeling does beyond written guidelines, is to look at your building
from four different sides relative to the suns path of travel. The prescriptive measures do
not take into account the suns position. D is the correct answer.

EA Credit 2 | Optimize Energy Performance

Option 1 is a whole building energy simulation and can earn 1 to 18 points,

except Healthcare which can earn 1 to 20 points and Schools which can earn 1 to
16 points.
Option 2 is Prescriptive compliance using the ASHRAE Advanced Energy
Design Guide. Projects can earn 1 to 6 points.

Point Thresholds
Remember in the prerequisite new construction projects start at a 5% improvement,
major renovations a 3% improvement, and core and shell a 2% improvement. The
reference guide or rating system has the complete table with the percentages and points
for each increment of improvement. Its a big table so check it out. Youll notice the
increments change from 2% to 3% as the improvements increase. For example new


construction starts with 6%, 8%, 10%, on up to 26%, 29%, 32%, up to a maximum of

Option 2 Prescriptive Path

Option 2 is the prescriptive path. Projects earn points by following the appropriate
ASHRAE design guide based on the project type and climate zone. To choose this option
a project must have done Option 2 in the Minimum Energy Performance Prerequisite.
Note here in the option 2 prescriptive path there are only one to 6 points available. As
you study this credit think about that as a big differentiator between these options. The
whole building energy simulation is the optimal choice for achieving the most points.
Here is an example for a K through 12 school building.

Building envelope, opaque: roofs, walls, floors, slabs, and doors (1 point)

Building envelope, glazing: vertical fenestration (1 point)

Interior lighting, including daylighting and interior finishes (1 point)

Exterior lighting (1 point)

Plug loads, including equipment choices, controls, and kitchen equipment (1


If you review all the building types you will notice they are all very similar with minor
variations between each type. Its important to note the differences between each type.

How to design Energy Efficiency

First, reduce demand. Think about the building orientation and reducing the size of the
building footprint. Installing better insulation and having a tighter envelope are cheaper
ways to reduce demand.
Next, harvest free energy. Day lighting is sustainable practice and generally reduces the
amount of lighting installed. However, daylighting is a passive solar strategy, as opposed
to an active strategy like solar power. Natural ventilation is like day lighting, it passively
allows reduces energy demands on mechanical systems, but isnt awarded points directly
for its own value. The energy model compares these benefits in the design case to
conventional design in the baseline case.
Then, look at your required systems and find ways to increase efficiency. Increase
efficiency in HVAC, lighting, water heating. Think about, Is the boiler the right size?
Do we have too many lights? Are we using daylight sensors? Or if it was the
mechanical system, Are we using the most efficient fans, motors and such?


Finally, where available, recover waste energy. Exhaust air energy recovery has
synergies with increasing ventilation.

Variable Factors
Project teams using energy simulation software should consider the following criteria:
Schedule of operation

Building orientation

Building envelope

Lighting systems

HVAC&R systems

Process energy

Energy rates

Hot water systems

Making improvements in each variable add up to large savings. Projects that go above
and beyond the point threshold earn an innovation point. In this case, new buildings
would need a 54 percent improvement from the baseline and existing buildings need 52
percent improvement. People might ask, What if I have a 70 percent improvement?
Projects would only achieve one innovation point for that, but ideally, your best savings
are decreased energy bills and increased performance to your building.
The last step is refining your energy performance to meet the project goals. Often people
calculate the results, throw up their hands and say, Oh, well, heres where we are as far
as energy savings. On a project you may find a certain level of energy savings and say,
That doesnt meet our goal. The mechanical engineer and the electrical engineer might
meet with the energy modeler and ask them, What can we change? How can we alter
this in order to get better performance?
You see a lot of the same information here in option 1 because its really the same
process. The same person doing the minimum energy performance measurement would
complete the documentation for this credit because they are exactly the same.

Case Study
From a visible, tangible aspect, the most energy efficient feature of the HKS headquarters
in Dallas, Texas is the LED lighting system thats fully integrated with a window shade
system. It is a complete daylight autonomy system. There are daylight sensors and
occupancy sensors.


One of HKS most impressive energy achievements is reducing the lighting power
density down to 0.6 watts per square foot. The hard work to get this number came from
smart lighting design and using 95% LED through the entire project.
However the lighting only runs at about 75% of the time because the employees said they
could work with less light. Each desk has task lighting with built in sensors. When the
light doesnt sense any motion it turns itself off, further saving energy.
Conference rooms are equipped with vacancy sensors instead of occupancy sensors.
Occupancy sensors automatically turn on the lights as someone walks in the room, but
because the rooms have natural light HKS has found employees will walk into a room
and never turn on the lights. When the employees do use the lights, the vacancy sensors
will turn them off when the occupants leave the room.

EA Prerequisite 3 | Building-level Energy Metering

This prerequisite is new in LEED v4 and it mirrors the water metering prerequisite
In addition to making buildings accountable for comprehensive energy, whole building
energy metering is required to measure and track on-going energy efficiency. In the past,
LEED points used to be based on predicted usage, and now LEED is requiring projects to
measure their actual performance. Thats working towards raising the bar for building
This is a two-part prerequisite: meter and report energy data. Some project teams may ask
why does the USGBC want this information? If the building scores worse than
predicted, will my plaque be taken away? No, nothing to worry about there. For years
LEED has been certifying projects and not knowing what happens after the plaque is put
up. Sharing metering data helps everyone learn what strategies produce measureable
results, and which have inflated value.
We look a lot at energy consumption of systems, but one of the biggest oversights in
predictive models has been underestimating or overestimating the amount of energy that
people use in their buildings. Consequently, metering is a valuable tool to enable facility
managers to better understand energy usage based on human factors.
Metering also helps connect LEED BD+C and LEED O+M. For years USGBC required
metering for existing building projects, but since new construction projects didnt always
install whole-building meters as a common practice, it became more of a challenge. Now
the facility managers are having discussions with the design team in the new construction
projects, and there is a greater synergy between the rating systems.


Install new or use existing building-level energy meters, or submeters that can be
aggregated to provide building-level data representing total building energy consumption
(electricity, natural gas, chilled water, steam, fuel oil, propane, biomass, etc). Utilityowned meters capable of aggregating building-level resource use are acceptable. The
project building must be separately metered from other buildings or structures, even if
they are owned by the same party.
Projects must commit to sharing the data with the USGBC for a five-year period
beginning on the date the project accepts LEED certification or typical occupancy,
whichever comes first. At a minimum, energy consumption must be tracked at one-month
intervals, which is pretty easy since most electric bills occur in monthly cycles anyway.
The challenge is reporting the data. Project teams can either send their data to the
USGBC when requested, or be proactive and report online through the EPAs Energy
Star Portfolio Manager program. The portfolio manager tool is not only a path for
prerequisite compliance, but also a great resource for facility managers to trend energy
use patterns.
This commitment must carry forward for five years. These are your key dates 5 years
commitment for data, at one month intervals, beginning on the date the project accepts
LEED certification or typical occupancy, whichever comes first.

EA Credit 3 | Advanced Energy Metering

For even more accuracy and clarity on actual energy use demands, projects can earn
points for installing additional submeters. First, projects must install advanced energy
metering for all whole building energy sources used by the building. Whole building
systems include:


Natural Gas



Chilled water

On-site Renewable



Major End Uses

Secondly, projects must also have advanced energy metering for any individual energy
end uses that represent 10% or more of the total annual consumption of the building.
These systems include:

Primary HVAC systems

Secondary HVAC systems


Plug loads



Only those systems with individual energy end uses that represent 10% or more of the
total annual consumption of the building need to be monitored fans, chillers, pumps,
etc. The path to analyze the data is a bit more flexible than having to go back and do a
calibrated simulation. The data has to be gathered at least hourly, and be able to
communicate that data remotely. All of the data must be stored for at least 36 months.

Is it worthwhile?
Submeters are important, because without detailed feedback, problems are going to cost
extra money and extra time to detect and fix. A whole building energy meter is a good
start, but it can only tell you yes, or no that your building is operating as designed. If your
building is consistently exceeding predicted usage, how will you know what system to
adjust? Submeters will tell you exactly where the excess occurring.
Architects, engineers, and managers will want to use this data to do things differently in
the next building. How can you improve the design or setpoints? Without the right data,
you dont know. Its why the energy model, the advanced metering, and the monitoring
are an important combination.
For example, ff you find a load in the building is only 15% of the total, the potential ROI
for reducing that in the new building is pretty limited. But if you find the lighting load is
40% of your total, you now know where you can focus on for improvement and where
you can find a significant reduction in your electric bill in your next project.
It may be you find an issue with what was done in the simulation, and what actually
occurred during one specific month because of the weather. Thats why the requirement
is to report data hourly, daily, monthly, and annually. The comparison of the simulation
and actual data can help identify patterns or discrepancies.


In one case a university started metering and found that one of the compressors had been
bad. It was a multiple compressor unit and the one compressor had been bad for over a
year. It was causing more energy use because the system couldnt keep up. The building
was still comfortable so nobody noticed but it was just using more energy.

Case Study
An audit conducted at Southern Connecticut State University revealed that computers,
lights, and air conditioners left on overnight and on weekends were costing the University
more than $100,000 a year. Simply turning off these devices when not in use would
actually have a meaningful effect on the Universitys $2.5 million annual electric bill.
Realized dollar savings from such simple energy-saving actions could easily be applied in
support of additional energy saving projects or directly to bolster academic programs.
Sub-metering equipment, applicable in a variety of situations, has allowed SCSU to
obtain savings of tens of thousands of dollars a month depending on the type of facility
being metered. Savings like these are possible because advanced metering equipment,
energy management, and control are directly in the hands of facility operators. By
comparing historical energy usage with current kWh values, facility managers can
identify energy savings opportunities that will guarantee the largest and quickest
paybacks. New sub-metering systems can pinpoint which computers, lights, and air
conditioners are on or off, and whether there might be a need to adjust operating
schedules for larger system elements or equipment. Meter-derived data can reveal
locations and situations that call for change-outs of equipment to more high efficient
The sub-metering connected to SCSUs central energy management system is capable of
recording eight electrical parameters on a daily basis (broken down into four time periods
with 15 minute demand and Kwh for read-outs for each period). Peak demand times are
also recorded.
Sub-meters are installed on the secondary side of the switchgear in a building or facility.
Besides having a lower cost, secondary sub-meters are much easier to install. Electricians
can install them in about three hours while performing cleaning and maintenance of load
centers or as a separate job. Additionally, the meters facilitate electricity monitoring
without necessitating major interior changes in the building. Installation is simply a
matter of hooking three current sensors around the electrical feeds and adding the three
potential taps. The meter can be mounted anywhere. Average cost to purchase and install
a sub-meter connected to the DDC system is approximately $3,000.


EA Prerequisite 4 | Fundamental Refrigerant Management

The intent of this prerequisite is to reduce stratospheric ozone depletion. Refrigerants are
an ozone depleting material. This prerequisite requires zero use of CFC-based
refrigerants in HVAC&R systems. If your project is an existing building renovation that
has a CFC based system already in it, the project must have a comprehensive phase out
conversion to remove the CFC-based refrigerants.

All full sized refrigerant containing equipment is required in the scope of this
prerequisite. However, small HVAC&R units, standard refrigerators, and any other
equipment that contains less than 0.5 pound (225 grams) of refrigerant, are exempt from
the calculations.

New construction projects cannot install new CFC-based refrigeration due to the
Montreal Protocol, which phased out CFCs for industrialized nations in 1995. However,
CFCs may still be used in existing HVAC equipment prior to either 1995 in developed
countries or 2010 in developing countries.
The EPA set regulations on using and recycling ozone-depleting compounds as part of
the Clean Air Act. Project teams must adhere to this standard to minimize refrigerant
leakage for systems with existing CFC-containing equipment.

Two Paths
There are two different paths. One is the new building in which youre just not going to
install CFC based refrigerants. For new buildings, select refrigerants that have short
environmental lifetimes, minimize any leakage, and establish safe removal and disposal
of refrigerants.
The fact of the matter is many of us are dealing with existing buildings which have
existing CFC-based refrigerant systems. Insure proper maintenance on systems to
minimize leakage. Replace or retrofit existing CFC-based equipment before the projects
completion. A post-occupancy phase-out can occur in special circumstances.

EA Credit 6 | Enhanced Refrigerant Management

The intent of this credit is to reduce ozone depletion and support early compliance with
the Montreal Protocol while minimizing direct contributions to climate change.


Reduced Impact
Fundamental Refrigerant management is pretty clean cut use no CFC-based refrigerants
and have a phase out plan for existing buildings. This eliminates the most harmful
Enhanced Refrigerant Management takes it a few steps further and requires project teams
to use the least impactful refrigerants to earn points.
Option 1 No refrigerants or low-impact refrigerants can earn one point.
Option 2 Calculations of refrigerant impact can earn one point.

Option 1 | Lowest Impact

Option 1 is to not use refrigerants at all, or naturally occurring or synthetic refrigerants.
This is a simple option, with minimal impacts, but it is rarely done. Most commonly,
projects with natural ventilation can comply with no refrigerants when the building is in a
very supportive climate region. Most natural, or low- impact refrigerants are cost
prohibitive because they require additional energy demand to operate at the same
capacity as the more potent products. To comply with this option, projects may only use
refrigerants with 0 ODP and maximum of 50 GWP.

Option 2 | Calculation
Option 2 is selecting equipment with a combination of low ODP, Ozone Depleting
Potential, and GWP, Global Warming Potential. The table here shows some of the
available refrigerants and their ODP and GWP values. The refrigerant impacts along
with the expected equipment life can be used to calculate the impact of the proposed
system design.



























Equipment is assumed to have a life of 10 years, a leakage rate of 2% per year and end of
life refrigerant loss of 10%. These values along with the refrigerant charge are plugged
into some formulas to determine the impact. The refrigerant charge is the ratio of the
total refrigerant used, to the cooling capacity measuring in pounds per ton, or kilograms

per kilowatt. To comply with this option, projects must demonstrate a refrigerant impact
less than 100.

The combination of all new and existing base building and tenant HVAC&R equipment
that serve the project must comply with the requirements. Even if the owner does not
install or control the equipment, they must ensure that it meets credit requirements. If a
tenant installs their own HVAC unit on the rooftop to cool their own computer closet, and
the HVAC unit doesnt comply, the project cant earn this credit. Therefore, future
tenants are key members to coordinate with during the overall design process.

For the least impact, consider natural ventilation, or even mixed mode when possible.
This way your project doesnt rely solely on hazardous refrigerants for comfort.
If you cant use CFCs, what can you use? There are options, but its going to take some
work to do the calculations to make sure your design will serve the building occupants.
The mechanical engineer will select the proper refrigerants and minimize refrigerant
In addition, select fire suppression, direct energy systems, and systems with a long
service life.
Window air-conditioning units and heat pumps have service lives of 10 years

Unitary, split and packaged air-conditioning units and heat pumps have service
lives of 15 years

Reciprocating compressors and reciprocating chillers have service lives of 20


Centrifugal and absorption chillers have service lives of 23 years

Finally, when using the Retail rating system adaptation, and installing commercial
refrigeration systems, it is required to test the leakage rate. Projects must demonstrate no
more than 15% emission leakage rate using GreenChills best practices guide.

Case Study
One of the worlds largest airports is also one of the greenest. At the heart of Heathrow
Airports Terminal 5 (T5) is a virtually HFC-free central ammonia chilling plant.
To make the vast T5 virtually independent from the use of ozone-depleting and high
global warming HCFCs and HFCs, all heating and cooling is done by a dedicated energy
center providing continuous supply of hot and chilled water for heating and air-


conditioning respectively. All chillers operate with the non-ozone depleting and nonglobal warming refrigerant ammonia. This natural substance was selected by the airport
authority because it was recognized as a future proof solution offering excellent
efficiency. A thorough risk analysis and safety review removed every concern regarding
the system design and the installations safety, and confirmed that ammonia would not
pose any greater risk to the public or the airport staff than any other conventional large
chiller solution. In fact, large ammonia chillers had been already used before in more
densely populated applications without any safety compromises.
UK manufacturer Johnson Controls / Sabroe supplied Heathrows central chilling plant
with four energy efficient chillers, each with a cooling capacity of 6.6 mW, or 1,875 tons.
The units, powered by high-voltage electricity, use twin compressors ensuring a good
part load performance, while the 11 kV motors reduce transformer losses. Safety features
include a minimal refrigerant volume through plate heat exchangers, separate sealed
compartments, a leak detection system, and an electrical switching outside the
compartments. As the large-scale R717 chillers deliver higher efficiencies than smaller
local chillers, they reduce energy consumption by at least 30% and possibly more from
the chilled water store benefit. Storing the chilled water reduces the system capacity and
takes advantage of night electricity rates.

EA Credit 4 | Demand Response

The intent of this credit is to increase participation in demand response technologies and
programs that make energy generation and distribution systems more efficient, increase
grid reliability, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The official definition of demand response is a change in electricity use by demand-side
resources from their normal consumption patterns in response to supply-side requests.
The utility company, or supply-side, changes the price of electricity or incentivizes
payments to induce lower electricity consumption at times of high wholesale market
prices or when system reliability is jeopardized.
A simplified definition demand response is balancing customers' need for electricity with
the power company's output. Participants voluntarily enroll in the program and reduce
energy during peak demand.
When you turn on an appliance, you expect immediate results: You don't wait for a light
bulb to come on after you've flipped the switch. That's the power grid at work-always on,
always ready. Electricity is generated at a power plant and transmitted to local substations
where transformers turn it into a usable voltage. Then it's distributed into our homes and
businesses through a network of high voltage transmission lines aka the grid.


From day to day, electricity consumers use a predictable minimum amount of power,
called the baseload. At the very least, the grid is designed to handle this scheduled energy
demand, in addition to any usage spikes that happen. Demand for electricity is typically
highest in the afternoon and early evening, especially during the summertime when air
conditioners run day and night. When everyone is using their electrical appliances at the
same time, it's called peak usage time.
Until your power is knocked out, you probably don't pay much attention to how often you
turn on a light or the television or what time of day you do it. When you flip on a light
switch, electricity travels in an instant to your home and the bulb glows -- that's called
demand. When millions of electricity customers all turn on their air conditioners after
work, it increases the demand load on the grid. Our demand for electricity is growing and
the Energy Information Administration estimates that demand will rise at least 40 percent
by 2030.
The power grid supplies only the electricity we ask for, though, and it's up to us to
practice energy conservation. In broad terms, demand response programs give us -residential, commercial and industrial consumers -- the ability to voluntarily trim our
electricity usage at specific times of the day (such as peak hours) during high electricity
prices, or during emergencies (such as preventing a blackout).

Limited Availability
Case 1 can earn 2 points and is for projects located in an area where the utility company
offers a demand response program. Demand response is still relatively new so it isnt
available everywhere. Contact your electricity provider to find out what options are
Case 2 can earn 1 point and is for projects located in an area without a demand response
program available. This option requires the building to install local infrastructure and
contact your utility about participation in future programs.

Case 1 - Participation
Case 1 requires a project to participate in a demand response program. There are several
activities that have to be completed:

Design a system to provide real-time, fully-automated DR based on external

requests by a DR Program Provider. Semi-automated DR may also be used, and
those two types of system will be covered later.

Enroll in a minimum one-year DR contract with a qualified DR program

provider, for at least 10% of the estimated peak electricity demand (determined


under EA Prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance). Have an intention for

multi-year renewal.

Develop a plan to achieve the contractual requirements during a Demand

Response event.

Include the DR processes in the commissioning plan and perform at least one full
test of the DR plan.

The key point to remember is shedding at least 10% of the buildings estimated peak
electric usage.

Case 2 - Advocacy
Case 2 requires designing the building in a manner that enables it to participate in a
demand response program when it becomes available.
Projects have to install recording meters, develop a load shedding plan, include the
system in commissioning, and contact utility representatives to discuss future DR
programs. Basically you are getting the building ready for a program, if and when the
program is released by the utility company.

Types of Systems
Demand response systems can be manual, semi-automated, or fully-automated. LEED
does not allow project to use a manual system, thats important to remember. Manual
systems involve intensive human intervention to activate. More advanced uses of demand
response, such as systematically shifting load to off-peak times requires some form of
automation, and consequently the installation of an energy management control system
(EMCS) or building automation system (BAS). BAS is a demand response tool that
allows building managers to program the building's equipment and appliances in such a
way that they automatically power down in response to peak load events, reducing the
building's load demand in times of peak usage and/or peak pricing.

Manual demand response does not use a BAS. People manually turn off lights
and equipment when asked to do so. This is not an option for LEED.

Semi-automated demand response uses a BAS. A person initiates a control

strategy preprogrammed into the BASwhen a demand response event is

Fully automated demand response (AutoDR) also uses a BAS. Receipt of an

external price, reliability, or event signal automatically triggers a BAS control
sequence that switches the building to low- power mode; no human intervention
is required.

Demand response is something you will need to contact your utility provider about early
on to see if a program is available. The minimum reduction is 10% in peak electricity
demand, so the project team will need to review the energy model from EA prerequisite
minimum energy performance to determine what quantity that will be. If a project used
the prescriptive paths for the prerequisite this credit can still be earned. In these cases
projects can use space peak load calculations to estimate the peak demand.

Case Study
If you think demand response isnt going to work for your project, take a look at this case
study on the extreme end of the spectrum - a refrigerated warehouse for perishable food.
In 2010, Railex,1 a nationwide full-service transport, logistics and distribution firm, built
a new 225,000 sf distribution center. The building was built for high-performance, and
soon business was growing and operating expenses increased. Railex contacted their
utility, Southern California Edison (SCE), and asked how they could lower their energy
costs. The answer was Auto-DR.
SCE offered Railex a $72,400 incentive to install the required controls. The remainder of
the expenses was repaid in four months from the savings during DR events. Over two
years, Railex has averaged 9-15 peak events in summer months only. Although their
energy use increased by 35% in one year, participation in the DR program kept their
electricity costs the same.

EA Credit 5 | Renewable Energy Production

The intent of this credit is to reduce the environmental and economic harms associated
with fossil fuel energy by increasing self-supply of renewable energy. Onsite renewable
energy systems offset building energy costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Your
building may not become more efficient, but you reduce the cost of energy and lessen
your environmental footprint.

The renewable energy produced is expressed as a percent of the annual energy cost.
What people generally do is look at their total building energy performance, then look at
how much renewable energy theyre producing, and calculate a percentage.


For projects that did not do an energy model the Commercial Building Energy
Consumption Survey (CBECS) database can be used to estimate the annual energy use
and cost.
ratingsystems andShellonly




Community Systems
New in LEED v4 is the ability to include the use of solar gardens or community
renewable energy systems if both of the following requirements are met.

The project owns the system or has signed a lease agreement for a period of at
least 10 years.

The system is located with the same utility service area as the facility claiming
the use.

Credit is based on the percentage of ownership or percentage of use assigned in the lease

Eligible on-site systems for this credit include:
Photovoltaic systems

Wind energy systems

Solar thermal systems

Biofuel-based electrical systems

Geothermal heating systems

Geothermal electric systems

Low-impact hydroelectric systems

Wave and tidal power systems

Some geothermal systems

Generally projects mistakenly undersize their renewable energy systems. If you can
oversize the systems, it creates a safety net and you potentially become a power supplier
to your local energy provider. This is called net metering and your system can become a
small profit center.


Its important for you to know what onsite systems are eligible. Some biofuels that cant
be included are:
Burning trash

Forest biomass other than mill residue

Wood covered with paints and coatings

Preserved wood, such as pressure treated lumber

Those biofuels that are not eligible have a high greenhouse gas potential or toxicity

The percent of renewable energy cost is calculated by dividing the equivalent cost of
usable energy produced by the renewable energy system, by the total estimated building
annual energy cost which you will find in EA Prerequisite Minimum Energy
Manufacturers will be able to assist with the calculations based on the information they
provide about their systems.
The percent of renewable energy cost is calculated by dividing the equivalent cost of
usable energy produced by the renewable energy system, by the total estimated building
annual energy cost.
Usable energy is defined as the output energy from the system less any transmission and
conversion losses, such as standby heat loss or losses when converting electricity from
DC to AC. So while you may install an 8kW PV array, that doesnt mean youre
building gets 8kW of output or you use 8kW in the calculation.
The equivalent cost of the usable energy system can be calculated in two ways either by
using a virtual rate or actual utility tariff plus demand rates. This is beyond the scope of
this study guide, so check out the reference guide for the fine grained details.

Case Study
The Brewster Community Solar Garden Project is a large solar array located in a field
adjacent to the Brewster Water Department. In Brewsters industrial zone, the field is a
former sand pit and debris disposal locationa site unsuitable for most other
development. The facility is constructed and maintained by My Generation Energy, Inc.,
also a Brewster-based company and a leader in community solar installations in


The solar power is delivered to the site every day, welcomed by a large array of 1,440
highly-efficient and US made Sharp panels. The panels generate electricity which is then
conditioned and metered to the utility grid at the site. Through virtual net metering the
credit from the projects utility account is then transferred to the accounts of the Brewster
Community Solar Garden Cooperative members. Each members SunShare entitles the
member to the equivalent of 28 panels of energy each month. The facility provides
enough locally grown solar energy to power dozens of businesses and households in

EA Credit 7 | Green Power and Carbon Offsets

The intent is to encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through the use of
renewable energy technologies and carbon mitigation projects.
Green Power and Carbon Offsets are different than any of the other credits we talked
about in one distinct way. First of all, its a five year contract for financial investment in
at least 50 percent of the buildings electricity from green power, renewable energy
certificates, or carbon offsets. More importantly, it is the only credit that allows strategies
to be fully designed and implemented by a third party off-site.

Credit Synergy
Projects earn one point for a 50% offset, and 2 points for a 100% offset. The percentages
are based on the quantity of energy the project consumes, as determined by the projects
annual energy consumption.
This credit factors all of the energy used in the building, not just the electric energy use.
If your building uses natural gas for heat in the winter, you must include that usage too.
Green power and carbon offsets are calculated based on the energy consumed by the
project. This is different than Energy and atmosphere credit Renewable Energy
Production, which is based on cost.

For the Green Power and Carbon Offset credit, the building owner is looking at a long
term commitment to earn this credit at least 5 years. This credit is not a one-time
purchase, it is a yearly purchase for a minimum of 5 years. That is something to consider
when deciding to pursue this credit.


What is green power? Not to be confused with onsite renewable energy production, green
power is a subset of renewable energy composed of grid-based electricity produced from
renewable energy sources. To be considered a qualified resource, the renewable project
must have come online since January 1, 2005.
Visit to for detailed descriptions on how green power works for this credit.
The idea is your electricity provider is adding renewable energy to the grid on your
By purchasing 50 percent of your power over five years from a green-e provider, you are
subsidizing green power. Youre paying not just for power, but also the difference for
them to provide this power to the grid.
The provider is not plugging green power into your building. Youre subsidizing them
providing green power to the grid.

Referenced Standards
Any Green Power and RECs must be certified by Green-e.
Carbon offsets must be Green-e Climate certified or an equivalent.

The way most people achieve this credit is purchasing Green-e Renewable Energy
Certificates (REC). By purchasing RECs, the project obtains the environmental attribute
of renewable energy. Beyond the LEED application, building owners can use RECs to
balance their carbon emissions on corporate sustainability reports. Teams can call any
Green-e certified provider and get a quote in cents per kilowatt hour cost. Getting that
quote would help you understand this credit.

Green Power
Project teams may purchase green power directly, where available. For the Green Power
calculations you need to know your design energy cost and your default electricity
consumption. Heres a little bit of the math. Lets say a project uses a million kilowatt
hours per year. Multiply that by 50 percent. The project would need to purchase 500,000
kilowatt hours annually for a minimum of 5 years. The provider would multiply that by
0.2 cents per kilowatt hour (or whatever the rate is), and then they would charge the
building owner that amount each year.


Carbon Offsets
The newest recognition for GHG accounting is carbon offsets. For the credit, the
minimum purchase is 50% of the buildings annual GHG emissions. Carbon offsets are
proactive strategies to capture or sequester carbon in biological, agricultural, or clean-fuel
technologies. Examples include planting trees and changing from conventional to no-till
For LEED, the overall equation is: consumption, times the CO2 emissions factor, equals
the GHG emissions, or CO2 equivalent.
What you are purchasing is carbon offsets, so you have to determine the total metric tons
of CO2 equivalent the building is putting out for both grid-generated electricity and
nonelectrical energy (such as natural gas). This is not difficult to calculate at all. Well
walk through the terminology and an example as well.

Types of Emissions
Total emissions is the primary metric, quantifying the majority of GHG associated with
commercial buildings. It can be broken down into component metrics, direct and indirect
Direct emissions, scope 1, are emissions from fuel that is directly burned at your
building, for example natural gas that may be combusted to heat your property.
Indirect emissions, scope 2, are emissions associated with energy purchased from a
utility, for example emissions associated with the generation of electricity or district
To calculate the projects total emissions, first you have to know how much energy the
building is estimated to use, and the different types of energy. This data already has to be
determined from Energy & Atmosphere Prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance.

GHG Emission Factors

For the calculations you will need to know the direct and indirect GHG emission factors
for different fuel types as defined in the ENERGY STAR portfolio manager. These
tables are listed in the LEED reference guide.


Shown here is a table for direct greenhouse gas emission factors.










































To calculate direct GHG emissions:
1. All billed or metered site energy consumption for each fuel is converted from
native units to MBtu. Fuels that are delivered, billed, or measured in mass or
volume units (i.e., cubic feet, tons, gallons) are converted to energy using
standard heat content factors.
2. Total site energy for each fuel is multiplied by a single CO2-equivalent factor
that incorporates the reference global warming potential of each gas. In the US,
these factors are computed at the national level (each fuel has one factor).
3. Direct emissions are summed together across all fuels (e.g., oil, gas, etc) and
reported as a Direct Emissions Metric.
4. Direct emissions are also added to the Total GHG Emissions.

Lets say your energy model shows your office building is going to consume 5,000,000
kWh of electricity per year, and 1,000,000 kBtu of natural gas.
The natural gas is a direct GHG emission.
The ENERGY STAR direct GHG emissions factor of natural gas is 5.32 times ten to the
minus fifth of metric tons of CO2 equivalent per kBtu.


1,000,000 kBtu per year times 5.32 times ten to the minus fifth metric tons of CO2
equivalent per kBtu which equals 53.2 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year. You
multiplied two numbers easy.
The next step is to calculate indirect GHC emissions.
Indirect emissions result from the purchase of a utility-supplied energy product such as
electricity or district heat. When these secondary forms of energy are purchased,
emissions occur at the plant where the heat/electricity was originally produced. These
factors are applied to your site energy consumption and take into account emissions
associated with the heat (or power) generation. However, the emissions associated with
energy losses from the delivery of that energy (e.g. along transmission and distribution
lines) is attributed to the utility, not to your building. The main sources of indirect
emissions are electricity, district steam, district hot water, and district cold water.
In our project example we had 5,000,000 kWh of purchased electricity per year.
ENERGY STAR has an emission factor of 5.90 times 10 to the minus forth per metric
ton of CO2 equivalent per kWh.
Doing that math is 5,000,000 kWh per year times 5.90 times 10 to the minus forth per
metric ton of CO2 equivalent per kWh, which comes out to 2,950 metric tons of CO2
equivalent per year. Its a mouthful when you say it, but again its just multiplying two
For natural gas we had 53.2 metric tons and for electricity the project has 2,950 metric
tons. The total output is 2,950 plus 53.2 equals 3,003 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per
year. The projects carbon offset would be 50% of this amount per year for 5 years to
earn the credit, or 1,502 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year.
While that seemed like a lot of math and big terms, it boils down to taking the energy
values from the prerequisite, and multiplying them by the emission factors provided in
the reference guide, and multiplying that total by 50%.

How to Choose
In summary your project team has to choose from purchasing green power, RECs, and/or
offsets. The choices will vary by the project location.
Carbon offsets can be used to offset non-electricity sources, such as natural gas. RECs,
green power, or carbon offsets can be used to offset electricity sources. That is a key
differentiator carbon offsets are the only choice that can be used for both electricity and
nonelectric energy.


A cost-benefit analysis can align the projects goals with the type of purchase that best
fits. Carbon offsets are not all equal, some are for energy efficiency, some are for land or
forest restoration and preservation. Whatever the project team chooses must be for a
minimum 5 year commitment.

Net Zero
If the project is a net-zero building, the project can achieve 2 points for this credit without
purchasing additional renewable energy, RECs, or offsets. To do this project must not
sell any RECs associate with the on-site renewable energy production.

Energy and Atmosphere Synergies

Within the EA category, there are a number of synergies with commissioning because it
is the oversight of energy systems. When you look at light pollution, that has an effect on
energy, therefore it requires commissioning.
In optimized energy performance there's a huge overlap, and then on and on through any
credit related to energy. Remember when you see these Related Credits to think about
how things sync up. For instance, how does one decision that affects commissioning also
affect minimum indoor air quality performance, etc.

HVAC System Design

These are the same related credits we saw in Fundamental Commissioning. As you
study, try to figure out how each of these fit in. For example, how is it that increased
ventilation combines with Enhanced Commissioning? Think about a project that wants
this credit and say, Increased ventilation is going to be achieved by a certain fan power,
then pulling air out through some exhaust fans. Then you would think, Well, that
would be connected because Enhanced Commissioning would be looking for those fans
on the construction drawings. They might be looking for those fans in the submittal
process. This is how commissioning would oversee an actual performance credit.
Drawing those parallels is a great way to learn.
Your refrigeration choice impacts the energy use. Less efficient refrigerants require more
energy to achieve the same level of cooling as more efficient refrigerants. The gotcha is
that more efficient refrigerants usually have higher ODP and/or GWP. You must strike a
balance based on the project goals. Efficiency can also impact the design of the HVAC


System Interdependency
Anything related to energy is really related to energy performance. You could even see
things as distant as heat islands being tied to this, because the heat island effect has to do
with how much a building is being heated by the heat retention from the roof. This
relates to how much you cool the building, which relates to energy if the building is
mechanically cooled.
For water reduction, if you reduce the quantity of hot water, you reduce the energy
needed to heat the hot water.

Integrative Process
Project teams pursuing the Integrative Process credit must complete the basic energy
analysis for that credit before conducting the energy simulation for Energy and
Atmosphere Optimize Energy Performance.


Key Terms
Commissioning (Cx)
Commissioning Agents (Cxa)
Owner Project Requirements
Basis Of Design (Bod)
Ashrae Guideline 0-2005
Ashrae Guideline 1.12007
Sequence Of Operations
Seasonal Setpoints
Preventive Maintenance
Fundamental Vs. Enhanced
Monitoring Based
Commissioning (Mbcx)
Building Enclosure
Commissioning (Becx)
Whole Building Energy
Ashrae 90.1-2010
Return On Investment (Roi)
Ashrae Advanced Energy
Design Guide
Appendix G
Natural Ventilation
Recover Waste Energy
Building Orientation
Chlorofluorocarbons (Cfc)
Montreal Protocol
Ozone Depleting Potential

Plug Loads
Demand Response
Load Shedding
Energy Management Control
System (Emcs)
Building Automation System
Fully Automated Demand
Response (Autodr)
Commercial Building Energy
Consumption Survey Cbecs
Carbon Offsets
Ghg Emission Factors
Direct Emissions
Indirect Emissions
Scope 1
Scope 2
Net Zero


Chapter 7 Materials and Resources

LEED v4 is a performance-based rating system. Its easy to visualize and measure the
performance of water and energy systems, but what does resource performance look like?
LEED has shifted the focus away from single attribute resource performance to
incorporate all aspects of the environmental impacts from a materials lifecycle.
The Materials & Resources section is shaped around lifecycle thinking at both the wholebuilding and product levels. Lifecycle thinking refers to the entire span of existence from
resource extraction to materials processing, product manufacture to construction, and
building use to building demolition or deconstruction. The comprehensive goal of the
credits in the new LEED version 4 is to encourage as much materials reuse as possible.
Lifecycle thinking helps to overcome questions about end of life value. For example,
whereas a material made from recycled content may perform quite high with respect to
new resource extraction, it may not be particularly durable and therefore will require
replacement much earlier than a material thats built to last. Using lifecycle thinking, the
LEED v4 credits will consider a complete, holistic picture of a materials life, whether it
be made of recycled content, salvaged from the existing building, or a bio-based resource.
When were talking about lifecycle thinking, were not talking about any one phase. We
want to incorporate all of the steps from raw materials to operation, and look at a full
comparison of product options.
Why is LCA a useful tool? It helps you see these tradeoffs and helps you look at the
whole picture and not just one aspect. It helps you see across all these different stages. It
gives us scientific methodology for doing these calculations and making these decisions.
Of course, its only one decision. Youre still going to look at the products performance,
other technical requirements, and the cost. LCA helps you have an environmental metric
to add to your equation when youre trying to decide what you want to do. It gives us
the framework to have an apples to apples comparison on some of these products as well.

The Materials & Resources credit category has 2 prerequisites and 5 credits.

MR Prerequisite 1 Storage and Collection of Recyclables

MR Prerequisite 2 Construction and Demolition Waste Management Planning


MR Credit 1: Building life cycle impact reduction

MR Credit 2: Building product disclosure and optimization environmental

product declarations

MR Credit 3: Building product disclosure and optimization sourcing of raw


MR Credit 4: Building product disclosure and optimization material ingredients

MR Credit 5: Construction and demolition waste management

LEED v4 aims to increase market demand for manufacturer transparency. The MR

section contains credits specifically aimed at building product disclosure and

Life Cycle Analysis

We can use LCA in a number of ways. We can look at it in a component and element
level and we can look at whole building assessments. We can then actually understand
how that transfers into our existing buildings and we can make sure we can understand
that we can make better decisions when we refer to those buildings.
In LEED what we have at the Building Level is a whole building LCA, where the
building is the product. In this case, the architect can be the LCA expert as the architect
understands how the building is constructed, how building materials and products flow to
the job site and how the building is going to be operated over time.
At its core, LCA is defined at the material level. It is not likely that an architect or any
building industry consultant would be called on to produce material-level Life Cycle
Inventory data. This information is calculated by process chemists, chemical engineers
and submitted for inclusion in various LCI databases that companies producing product
LCA data use as a resource.

MR Prerequisite 1 | Storage and Collection of Recyclables

The intent of this prerequisite is to reduce the waste that is generated by building
occupants and hauled to and disposed of in landfills.

Provide an appropriately sized area that serves the entire building for recycling. You
must collect the following streams of on-going consumables: paper, corrugated
cardboard, glass, plastics, and metals. The recycle bins must be distributed throughout


the whole building. Make recycling as convenient as possible. Think about ways to make
the recycling stations convenient and they will be used more frequently.

Hazardous Waste
In addition to the ongoing consumables, the prerequisite requires safe collection, storage,
and disposal of two of the following hazardous waste sources: batteries, mercurycontaining lamps, and electronic waste. Since these waste streams are limited and
infrequent, a single collection point for the whole building is reasonable.
Electronic waste includes discarded office equipment (computers, monitors, copiers,
printers, scanners, fax machines), appliances (refrigerators, dishwashers, water coolers),
external power adapters, and televisions and other audiovisual equipment

Provide well written signs placed in plain view make it easy for occupants to know what
can be recycled, and where the materials should be placed. For example if you have a
blue plastic recycling bucket with a label that says aluminum cans on it, chances are
nobody is going to throw cardboard into it.
Convenience is one of the most important factors for getting employees to participate in
the recycling program. In an office building, recycling areas could be placed in each
office, and then have a collection area near where the garbage is picked up.
Successful projects provide instructions. Let occupants know about the recycling
program, or else they will not know to use it.
If recycling activity disrupts occupants it can have a negative effect. Noise, foul orders,
and air contaminants all need to be addressed.
Label the recycling areas and collection strategies on your floor plans as part of the
LEED documentation.

Rating System Adaptations

Retail has an adaptation for this prerequisite. Retail projects must do a waste stream
audit to identify the projects top five recyclable waste streams. The idea behind the
audit is once again you cant manage what you dont measure. By analyzing the waste
streams, retailers can get a better idea of where the waste is coming from and how best to
divert it.


The waste stream audit must be conducted over at least one 24-hour period. Once the
audit is complete, list the top four waste streams for which the project will designate
collection and storage space.
To review those numbers: identify the top five recyclable waste streams over at least a 24
hour period. Provide dedicated and accessible collection areas for at least the top four
waste streams identified in the audit.

MR Prerequisite 2 | Construction and Demolition Waste

Management Planning
The prerequisite is simply a plan, not a requirement to meet any thresholds or percentages
of diversion rates. Projects need to report the diversion rates at the end of the project.
In 1996, 136 million tons of construction & demolition (C&D) debris was generated
57% by non-residential construction. Most of this waste could have been recycled,
thereby reducing the demand for virgin materials. Waste reduction by recycling C&D
debris can also turn a cost into a savings for builders. Instead of paying haulers to
dispose of C&D debris from a job site, the materials can be sold to a recycling facility, or
given to a recycling facility in exchange for free hauling.
There are more than 6,000 centers around the United States that run specialized programs
for reusing building materials. These programs are run by groups such as Goodwill, the
Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity and include using unneeded materials in

Document a Plan
Project teams must develop and implement a construction and demolition waste
management plan. The plan must:
1. Establish waste diversion goals for the project by identifying at least five materials
(both structural and nonstructural) targeted for diversion. Approximate a percentage
of the overall project waste that these materials represent.
2. Specify whether materials will be separated or commingled and describe the
diversion strategies planned for the project. Describe where the materials will be
taken and how the recycling facility will process the material.
Provide a final report detailing all major waste streams generated, including disposal and
diversion rates.


Educate and Collaborate

Establish requirements for waste reduction. First, make waste reduction a priority from
the onset of the project and include it as a priority throughout the inception, design,
implementation, and occupancy phases of construction.
Secondly, establish specific waste reduction benchmarks and goals for each phase and
assemble a team of qualified professionals experienced in environmentally sound design
and construction practices to see it through. Identify materials that can be salvaged and
reused. Include these goals and requirements for experience in requests for proposals and
other contract documents.
Monitor and support the program. Continually monitor the progress of waste reduction
efforts by requiring contractors to submit the waste management plan and waste
management progress reports. Support these efforts by identifying locations to collect and
store recyclables on-site.
Architects, designers and specification writers also have specific roles in the process.
They need to identify opportunities for waste reduction. Work with owners and
developers to identify opportunities for waste reduction and public relation benefits.
Select a contractor with proven waste reduction experience. A contractor experienced in
reducing construction waste will keep the bid the same or may even lower the bid. An
inexperienced contractor may increase the bid.
Use a Construction Waste Management Specification. A Construction Waste
Management Specification written with legally enforceable language is your most
effective tool to ensure waste reduction happens successfully on your project.
It is critical to monitor the waste reduction program. The architect and designer play an
important role in assuring the contractors compliance with the waste reduction program.
These individuals are responsible for requiring and reviewing waste management
progress reports and invoices from recycling and garbage haulers and recycling facilities.
By successfully monitoring the progress of the program and potential barriers, they can
lead the discussion about the waste reduction program during the project meetings.

MR Credit 5 | Construction and Demolition Waste Management

This credit builds on the prerequisite. For this credit project teams are recycling and/or
salvaging nonhazardous construction and demolition materials.
Option 1: Diversion can earn 1 to 2 points.
Option 2: Reduction of total waste material can earn 2 points.

Option 1 | Diversion Percentage

Path one requires a 50% diversion of at least 3 of the material streams selected from the
plan created for the prerequisite.
Path two requires a 75% diversion of at least 4 of the material streams.
LEED defines material streams as material flows coming from a job site into markets for
building materials. For LEED a waste stream should constitute at least 5% by weight or
volume of the projects totaled diverted waste. This can represent either a material
category that is diverted in the specific way or a mixture of several material categories
that are diverted in a specific way. For example if you are separating out wood and
concrete into separate bins on site those are each considered one stream. If you have a
mixed bin with both wood and concrete for offsite recycling that is considered one total

Option 2 | 2.5 pounds / squarefoot

Option 2 requires generating no more than 2.5 pounds of construction waste per square
foot (12.2 kilograms of waste per square meter) of the building's floor area. For this
option you dont have to go through the diversion process.

There are some things you cant include in the calculations. Excavated soil, land-clearing
debris, and alternative daily cover are all excluded from the calculations.

Implementation is about good practices and identifying ways to divert waste from
landfills. What a good general contractor is going to do is find places to take the material
other than just throwing it to a debris bin and sending it off to the dump.
Project can have separate containers (wood, drywall, metal, etc.) or have a single
container for vendors that do commingled recycling. Regardless of your choice, your
documentation has to be either in weight or volume.
If you have a service that does commingled recycling for the project, they can provide
you with a log once they take the debris away. The vendor can provide you with the
actual log on how much materials you have recycled and how much was trash.
If you're going in and doing demolition and there is a lot of carpet, many carpet factories
will take that carpet and pick it up, sometimes for free. Make sure you quantify it. In a
case where you can grind up the material, such as asphalt or concrete, and use it onsite,


that counts as well. Donate to Habitat for Humanity or other causes as long as the debris
is documented and you know what it weighed or what its volume was.
Onsite, the containers need to be labeled appropriately. Hazardous materials and landclearing debris doesn't count against you. Make sure you're using just the trash
containers onsite.

Source Reduction
Eliminating waste at the source, known as source reduction, saves money and valuable
landfill space. There are many opportunities to implement source reduction strategies on
construction sites. The total waste generated by a project can be greatly reduced by
considering waste generation during the design phase, employing conservative
purchasing practices, and by reusing excess materials at the jobsite.
Before construction begins, a construction waste management plan should be developed
that identifies potential waste streams and where waste diversion can be put in place
salvage this waste, reuse it, and recycle it. If the waste can be taken out of the building
and reused elsewhere, it avoids waste disposal in landfills and incinerators. Be sure the
plan is actually put into practice and that the team tracks the waste through reports from
the waste haulers to check that the waste management plan is actually working.

Work with suppliers to streamline purchasing:
Request materials come with minimal or no packaging.

Purchase previously used or salvaged items (most building owners will welcome
the opportunity to save money while conserving natural resources).

Determine where existing policies and procedures might represent a barrier to

purchasing used or recycled materials.

Keep a binder of information on product specifications and prices and check back
with manufacturers regularly for updates.

Document product performance, especially when materials exceed expectations

or require special handling; establish a feed-back loop with the manufacturer
by reporting usage information to them.

Ask suppliers to take back or buy back damaged or unused materials and

Streamline supply estimations; make sure orders do not exceed your


Waste prevention can be more beneficial than recycling because it identifies potential
waste early in the design process and decreases waste generated during construction.

Design with standard sizes for all building materials. This avoids creating waste
when standard sized materials are cut to unusual lengths.

Design spaces to be flexible and adaptable to changing uses. This avoids creating
waste during remodels.

Design for prefabricated components. Modular building components, or

products that dont need to be trimmed down onsite reduce waste.

From your vendor you need waste haul tickets.
Even though the project might extract soil and land, that doesn't count against the project.
If you're taking out some trees with clumps of dirt, that won't count against you. This
credit is focused on the construction materials. Actual land clearing wouldn't count
against the project.
If you have 30-yard dumpsters and you fill that up with wood, the calculations can be all
volume in cubic yards, or weight. From experience, the weight usually is going to be the
better measurement.

For some projects, waste-to-energy might be an option if reuse or recycling is not an
option. Waste to energy focuses on the potential to improve the sustainable management
of waste in Europe's regions, and to produce energy from waste. Directive 2006/12/EC of
the European Parliament establishes the legislative framework for the handling of waste
in the Community.
It defines key concepts such as waste, recovery and disposal and puts in place the
essential requirements for the management of waste, notably an obligation for an
establishment or undertaking carrying out waste management operations to have a permit
or to be registered and an obligation for the Member States to draw up waste
management plans.
It also establishes major principles such as an obligation to handle waste in a way that
does not have a negative impact on the environment or human health, an encouragement
to apply the waste hierarchy and, in accordance with the polluter-pays principle, a
requirement that the costs of disposing of waste must be borne by the holder of waste, by
previous holders or by the producers of the product from which the waste came.


Case Study
The Boston Scientific Company undertook the renovation of a two-story, 30,000 squarefoot office building as Phase 1 of a 2-building, 400,000 sq ft project. The general
contractor was Payton Construction Corp.; SOS Corp. was the demolition subcontractor.
The project involved gutting and replacement of interior furnishings and fittings,
wall/partition systems, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and membrane roof. The project was
particularly complex because renovation began at the same time as demolition, so that
employees could move into parts of the building while other areas were still in
construction. The project was carried out to LEED Silver.
The Total Waste Reduction was 92% (702 tons recycled, 62 tons disposed). The Cost
Savings was $49,983, or 63%.
Loading dock space was a particular problem, with only two dock slots which had to be
reserved for the receipt of new materials as well as all outbound shipments. This was the
only location from which wastes could be shipped. The large footprint also entailed long
carry distances from locations where wastes were generated.
The team addressed this problem by mobilizing over 200 wheeled, soft-sided hampers
holding 15 to 20 bushels (about 1 cubic yard) of wastes, along with four-wheeled rigid
dollies to handle bulky materials like studs and partitions. These were spotted at
individual work locations, where employees deposited specific wastes into designated
containers. Full hampers or dollies were wheeled and staged in the shipping/receiving
area. When wastes accumulated in a quantity to fill a dumpster or rolloff, the appropriate
container was brought to the dock, loaded, and removed, taking up dock space only for
the short time needed to fill the container. Using the hampers and dollies also made for a
very clean work site; because wastes were picked up as they were generated, with none
left on the floor for later collection.

MR Credit 1 | Building Life Cycle Impact Reduction

The intent of this credit is to encourage adaptive reuse and optimize the environmental
performance of products and materials. This credit can earn up to 5 points.

Four Options

Option 1 historic building reuse can earn 5 points.

Option 2 renovation of an abandoned or blighted building can earn 5 points
Option 3 building and material reuse can earn 2 to 4 points.
Option 4 whole building life cycle assessment can earn 3 points.


This credit is trying to change the way we look at old buildings, so instead of looking at
just the bricks and just the mortar of the building as a resource or material, LEED is
trying to get us to think of the building as a whole. Projects that use appropriate
rehabilitation or restoring buildings in blighted areas can get a good number of points for
using the whole building.

Historic Reuse
Lets look at option 1 first, historic building reuse. The most environmentally friendly
building you can build is one that already exists. This strategy extends the lifetime of
embodied energy and diverts the resources from landfills.
The requirements are to maintain the existing building structure, envelope, and interior
nonstructural elements of a historic building or contributing building in a historic district.
To qualify, the building or historic district must be listed or eligible for listing in the
local, state, or national register of historic places.
LEED version 4 gives preference to advanced solutions over old-world techniques such
as cross ventilation, even though these would provide equally good energy savings. As a
result, designers have struggled with the conflict between the standards of LEED and the
demands for historic preservation. The improvements included in the LEED version 4
standard offer points for overcoming this shortfall.

Types of Reuse
Theres more than one way to reuse a building. In fact, when it comes to historic
structures, the Secretary of the Interiors Standards for the Treatment of Historic
Properties outlines four historic building treatment approaches, including preservation,
restoration, rehabilitation, and reconstruction. While preservation is focused on the
stabilization and repair of existing historic properties, restoration involves returning an
existing building to its original design concept which often requires the removal of
features that were added during periods of time following original construction.
Similarly, rehabilitation involves retaining a buildings historic character but changing it
to meet new requirements and uses. Reconstruction, on the other hand, requires the rebuilding of non-surviving buildings (or portions thereof) in order to restore them to
For this option there is no percent compliance and no minimum area of building reuse. If
however the project team does something to the building that causes the building to lose
the historic designation, this option can no longer be achieved. In normal circumstances
a member of the local historic society and permitting board would work closely to make
sure the historic aspects of the building are preserved. The value is retaining the regional
vernacular of a neighborhood.


Abandoned or Blighted
Option 2 is for the renovation of an abandoned or blighted building. For this option
project teams must maintain at least 50%, by surface area, of the existing building
structure, enclosure, and interior structural elements for buildings that meet local criteria
of abandoned or are considered blight. The building must be renovated to a state of
productive occupancy. Up to 25% of the building surface area may be excluded from
credit calculation because of deterioration or damage.
The definition of what is abandoned or blighted may be defined by local criteria. LEED
considers a property be abandoned if the rights have been surrendered, relinquished, or
ceded voluntarily with no intention of the owner to reclaim it. This includes the title
claim in possession of the property. Blighted properly is defined as neglected, rundown
or deteriorated, sufficient to constitute a threat to human health, safety, and public

Material Reuse
If the building cannot be deemed abandoned or blighted project teams can look at earning
Option 3, building and material reuse.
Likely the most obvious way to reuse buildings is by retaining the existing structure and
renovating it for a new purpose and/or to improve its performance. Different than a
purely aesthetic remodeling of a building, a whole building retrofit involves systems
thinking, which is used to evaluate the buildings current performance in terms of energy
consumption, waste use, and occupant health and productivity, with a view to developing
a project plan for widespread upgrades.
This type of building reuse may involve any number of aspects, including upgrades to the
building envelope, improvements to the heating and cooling systems, retrofitting the
structure to encourage natural ventilation and increase daylighting, as well as replacing
old fixtures and piping to reduce water consumption. More advanced retrofits may also
include installing a green roof or integrating renewable energy systems such as
geothermal, solar photovoltaics, or even wind energy.
Sometimes a retrofit will also involve converting the structure or interior layout in order
to accommodate different activities. This is often the case for derelict buildings in
depressed neighborhoods, for instance, for the purpose of breathing new life into
abandoned spaces. For low-income communities, this helps to beautify their
neighborhoods at a lower cost than constructing new buildings. It also keeps disposal of
C&D waste to a minimum which helps relieve stress on local landfills.


Numerous reports show that renovating and upgrading existing buildings has a positive
impact on the culture of communities as well. Restoring old buildings infuses a sense of
revitalization by turning buildings once considered eyesores into functional spaces. When
the buildings are reused for things such as local businesses and community purposes, they
stimulate job creation and keep more money circulating within local economies. These
benefits in turn reduce poverty, decrease crime rates, and create a sense of cohesion and
togetherness, all of which enriches peoples lives.
For Option 3 Building Material Reuse, reuse or salvage building materials from off site
or on site as a percentage of the surface area, as listed in the table. Include structural
elements (e.g., floors, roof decking), enclosure materials (e.g., skin, framing), and
permanently installed interior elements (e.g., walls, doors, floor coverings, ceiling
systems). Exclude from the calculation window assemblies and any hazardous materials
that are remediated as a part of the project.
The minimum percent of completed project surface area reused is 25%, with increasing
increments of 50% and 75%. Points vary between BD&C projects and Core & Shell

First consider the building structure and envelope, the roof deck and exterior skin.
Window assemblies are not counted. Hazardous materials are also excluded from any of
these calculations because you wouldnt want to keep them and they must be removed
anyway. If you have asbestos abatement and that makes you have to demo certain areas,
that doesn't hurt you in the calculations.
There are a different number of points depending on the type of project and how much of
the building is retained. This is one of those credits that a lot of projects can't achieve
because the project is for new construction, and you can't retain walls, floors and a roof if
you're doing new construction. Then you may ask, Well, what about salvage items?
Salvage items will fit into this option as well but its going to be a lot harder to get to
25% salvaged material on a new construction project where youre not reusing a building.
If you are using less than 25% salvaged materials, you can count their contribution in MR
credit BPDO: Raw Materials.
In predesign project teams would identify items for reuse, and analyze the cost savings
from the building reuse. Look at what you can keep and what should be demolished.
During the schematic design the project team can pinpoint how to reuse these materials
and as much of the building as possible. Incorporate existing components in plans and
specifications. The project teams determine the square footage for existing building
reuse for credit compliance.


For the calculations, create an itemized spreadsheet listing all of the interior components.
Quantify the reuse in terms of square feet. All calculations are based on surface areas of
major existing structural and envelope components. Add up the surface area of your
walls, floors and the roof altogether. Window assemblies would be excluded, because
LEED doesnt want projects to reuse windows. Newer windows are more energy
efficient. Hazardous materials and materials that pose contamination risks are excluded
as well, as is any materials that are not structurally sound. If there are walls covered in
lead paint, those walls would need to be removed. The area of those walls will not count
against the totals.

Sample Question
A major renovation project of an abandoned warehouse will include reusing the building.
What project materials are excluded in the calculations for building and material reuse?
(Choose 2)

Interior load-bearing wall

Second floor window assemblies
Western facing cement wall that has no windows
Exterior walls painted with lead paint

For Option 3 Building and Material Reuse, maintain the existing building structure,
-structural floors
-roof decking
-envelope, excluding window assemblies
-permanently installed interior elements (e.g., walls, doors, floor coverings, ceiling
The cement wall would be included in the calculations as contributing to the materials
reused in the building.
What must be excluded are:
-window assemblies (Choice B)
-hazardous materials such as asbestos
-materials that pose a contaminations risk to occupants such as walls with lead paint
(Choice D)


Whole Building Lifecycle Assessment

Option 4 is the whole building life-cycle assessment which can earn 3 points. LCA is
about looking both at manufacturing and future waste impacts of a building or product.
An issue that is quite common with materials such as steel or aluminum is that a large
amount of energy goes in to the front end of the process in terms of the extraction. How
then, do we understand what the true impact of the material is in the building if you want
to reuse the material, and how do you measure that material impact? This is where LCA
helps us consider future impacts. Keep in mind, life cycle analysis only provides
numbers, but the understanding of those numbers affects your environmental footprint.
Properly performed, a life-cycle analysis is a detailed calculation of every phase of a
product's manufacturing process and usage over time. Typically, this includes five basic
1. Extraction phase. (Sometimes called the cradle.) A true life cycle starts with the
extraction phase where the raw materials of the product are identified along with the
means of extracting and transporting that material to a manufacturing site such as a
2. Manufacturing phase. This phase is examined in terms of the processes and procedures
needed to turn the raw materials into a finished product ready for delivery. Often, it
includes electricity and water consumption is volumes greater than the weight of the
finished product. (When ready for delivery it is sometimes referred to as being at the
3. Construction phase. The third phase is where design and construction professionals
usually see the products, specifically when the products are transported from a factory to
the jobsite and installed as part of the normal construction process.
4. Use phase. From there the product begins its useful service life or use phase as part of
the building to the benefit of the building owner and users. Here, a product like a fan
would consume electricity under normal operation. This electricity end use is known as
scope 2 emissions.
5. End of life phase. (Sometimes called the grave.) At the end of its usefulness in the
building, the product moves to its end of life phase where it needs to be removed and
either reclaimed, repurposed, recycled, reused, or disposed of.
Assessing the issues and impacts across all five of these phases makes up a full life-cycle
assessment (sometimes called a full cradle to grave assessment) of a particular product
or even a category of products and materials.


The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has become recognized around
the world for establishing LCA standards and rules, and LEED references ISO 14044.

Decision Making
This credit is designed to provide the project team with guidance to lessen the
construction impact on the environment. The more information you can get through a
whole building life-cycle assessment, the better decisions the project team will make
about material selection and re-use. This credit answers the question of how much
impact am I avoiding by reusing the building or by optimizing the materials being used?
If you are reusing a building you can use options 1, 2, or 3. If you arent reusing the
building then you are building new, in which case the project is automatically going to
need to choose option 4
The idea of this credit is similar to the Energy and Atmosphere credit for optimize energy
performance, where project teams take a baseline scenario and then creates a design case
to compare against. The savings are calculated against a baseline, so you will get points
based on your improvement. Option 4 whole building life-cycle assessment is similar in
concept. A project team would create a reference LCA building and compare it against
the building design. Using less materials, using better materials, or using different
materials will help out with the savings.
For this option projects must demonstrate a minimum of 10% reduction compared to the
baseline of a building in 3 impact categories, which we will cover next.
The scope of the whole building life cycle assessment is the complete building envelope
and structural elements, which includes the material components of footings and
foundations, structural wall assemblies, floors and ceilings. Whats not in scope are the
MEP components, site development, and interior nonstructural components.

Impact Categories
Ok so how is LEED going to define better materials and better decisions? That is
where impact categories come in. There are 6 impact categories used for measuring
global warming potential (GHG, greenhouse gases)

depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer

acidification of land and water sources

eutrophication of water

formation of tropospheric ozone and

depletion of nonrenewable energy resources


Projects must demonstrate a minimum of 10% reduction compared to the baseline of a

building in global warming potential, and a 10% reduction in at least 2 of these 5 other
impact categories.
One of the categories must be global warming potential, so you are really only picking
two others.

Designed cannot make improvements in one area at the sacrifice of another. That would
be a negative externality of single attribute thinking. In general, LEED promotes the
proactive strategy called Triple Bottom Line decision making, or balancing the benefits
of all impact categories. Therefore, in life-cycle assessments, no impact category in the
design case may increase by more than 5% compared with the baseline building.
What that means is for those 6 categories, your buildings design case may not exceed the
baseline case by 5% in any category. Its not enough to just do well in 3 of the
categories, you cant do poorly in the other categories in order to do well in others.
Part of the requirements are for the baseline building and the proposed building design
must be comparable. This includes the size, function, orientation, and operating energy
as defined in EA Prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance. Youre not saving energy
by comparing a 100,000 square foot (9,290 square meter) 10-story office building to a
20,000 square foot (1,858 square meter) retail building. These different comparison
options are different aspects of defining the baseline building, and help isolate the
material decisions being made.
The baseline and design case of the proposed building use a service life of 60 years for
the comparison. Youre looking at these buildings over an extended period of time to get
a good comparison.

The whole building LCA is simply thinking of the building as one big product. That
means youre taking all the LCAs of each of the material and considering them together.
The whole-building LCA is going to include the building envelope, walls, structures,
ceilings, and covered parking. Its basically the major assemblies of the building and not
the interior. Projects can assess the interiors if they choose to but it isnt required for the
credit. No painting, no finishes, etc. The best way to think of it is to take the building,
turn it upside down and shake it. All the stuff that falls out doesnt count.
Define the wall, roof, and floor assemblies following the performance requirements of the
building envelope as defined in ASHRAE 90.12010, Appendix G, Opaque Assemblies,


Vertical Fenestration, Skylights, and Roof Solar Reflectance and Thermal Emittance
sections, for the projects climate zone.
Windows count because they are part of the faade. If a project has a curtain wall versus
insulated metal panels or brick, all of those things count. The wall insulation counts in
this credit. Its that whole exterior wall structure from the skin to the skin. All of that
counts. What doesnt count are things like dividing walls.
The 60 year service life is used as the assumed life of the entire building structure and
enclosure. Things like dividing walls may change over the service life so they arent
included, especially when tenants may come and go and want the walls rearranged.
If you wanted to include solar panels, you could but dont have to. You need to consider
the goal of your assessment. Do solar panels have much to do with the building?
However, covered parking is on this list because there are a lot of projects that have
parking underground or have parking associated with the building.
What is excluded are MEP components, elevators, fire detection, excavation, and parking

For this assessment, the scope will be cradle to grave. You will see in the Environmental
Product Declarations credit later the scope is cradle to gate, which is different. For a
building LEED is expecting to look at the end-of-life scenario of the building. The
cradle-to-grave assessment includes environmental impacts associated with all the lifecycle stages for the building structure and enclosure: resource extraction or harvest,
building product manufacture, on-site construction, product maintenance and replacement
(where warranted), and deconstruction or demolition and disposal over the assumed 60year service life.

First you have to select which tool you are going to use for your LCA. The tool you
select is going to be based on ability, knowledge, and goals. The first step is to create the
baseline. When you are creating the baseline there are some aspects laid out in the credit
requirements of what has to be the same the size, function, orientation, location, and
operating energy performance.
Some things can be different, like the buildings shape. If you have a square baseline
building, you can have a rectangular design case building. The floor areas have to be the
same however. It is acceptable to compare a one-story building to a ten-story building if
they have the same floor area.


During the process compare the different structural types, assemblies, and variations in
products. For example comparing curtain walls vs. brick. You can break up different
components of the building and group them together and ask how much impact is
coming from this high level grouping of components? Depending on the project you can
decide what makes sense as you look at the components and dig deeper to determine
what it means. For example consider the foundation. You might ask where did the
foundation come from, which cement did we use and why? What if we used a different
cement, and what impact would that have on the LCA model?
The last step in the assessment would be taking the baseline results and making design
decisions based on the environmental impacts. Again you are aiming for a 10%
reduction in global warming potential and two of the five other impact categories, while
not exceeding any other category by 5%. This is often the case with LCA projects, where
many impacts get reduced but others end up going up.

One of the trends in construction is the use of large timber structural projects. Instead of
steel and concrete, timber and large scale laminated timber products are being used.
When you look at the LCA of these timber products they look pretty good in terms of
reduced carbon impacts, and reduced global warming impacts. Note that if you arent
using FSC certified timber, you may be negatively impacting habitats.

In principle, building information modeling (BIM) ought to provide designers with the
detailed bill of materials necessary to perform a Life Cycle Assessment during project
delivery. But in practice, elements in BIM models often do not reflect the actual volume
of materials, requiring a more refined definition of architectural products than expected.
How are you going to do a whole-building LCA quickly?
With demand for whole-building LCA increasing, a partnership of architects, LCA
experts, and software developers has worked to release Tallya new tool that allows
designers to track environmental impacts in real time while creating models in the
popular BIM software Revit.
What becomes fascinating is that as you start to make these decisions you can start to ask
what is the impact increase if I change the floor area or does this increase in terms of if I
had a different dimension to it. Also you can start to play scenarios with the clients where
you can say, if I start to look at the energy crisis in the future, what is going to happen to
this building performance. What will actually happen if I add more insulation? To save


the client money in the future you can look at the life cycle cost and the life cycle impact,
and use this data in a number of scenarios to really understand the building and give the
informed view to the client to realize what is going on.

Building Product Disclosure and Optimization Credit Suite

The next set of three credits are freshly organized in LEED v4 to address building
product disclosure and optimization (BPDO). Disclosure is knowledge-seeking and
means transparency of product supply chains, ingredients, and life-cycle impacts. Its
about building a body of publicly available knowledge. Optimization seeks to reward
products that have met thresholds or benchmarks for performance based on impact
Youll find that each of these credits has two options. Option one for each credit is going
to address the transparency and disclosure of materials. The second option will address
optimization, or the performance part of the material.
The disclosure option is really where that transparency mechanism is. What does
transparency mean? Well if you look on the side of a box of cereal or a bottle of ketchup,
you can see what ingredients are in it. Do you want the ketchup that has high-fructose
corn syrup, real sugar, or just tomatoes and salt? You get to read the label and decide.
Transparency in materials is giving you the information so you can decide. It doesnt say
whats better for you the high fructose corn syrup, the real sugar, or neither, it just tells
you so you can pick. LEED also doesnt give more points or value based on what has
been disclosed. Its just reporting. Disclosure also helps verify claims from labels, such
as recycled content, BPA-free, zero-VOC and so forth.
LEED uses different transparency standards for each disclosure option, depending on
what the goal of that particular credit is. Then LEED takes it a step further to say, What
would the performance metric be to demonstrate optimization for the product? Thats
an additional point for using products that are really going to have a better health impact.
Any new concept introduced to an existing industry will take time to become fully
integrated. There is potential for fear that these next few credits are too complex and too
big of a jump from previous reporting metrics. Its not impossible, its just new. These
BPDO materials credits, which include EPDs and HPDs, are going to take a while for
everyone to get educated and the market to catch up. But in order to continue to
transform the industry, the USGBC and its membership approved these additions to
LEED v4.


BPDO Scope and Details

The scope of all three Building Optimization and Disclosure credits includes permanently
installed building products and excludes active mechanical, plumbing, electrical and
specialty equipment. However, passive MEP such as piping, wiring, ductwork and
mechanical insulation are included in the scope of the credits. Similar products from the
same manufacturer can be counted as separate products if they have distinct formulations,
but not if they are aesthetic variations or reconfigurations.
Option 1 of each credit rewards teams for selecting a number of products that disclose
environmental attributes. The idea is to increase manufacturer participation in
transparency. It rewards producers who voluntarily disclose their process and ingredients.
Those may seem like reasonable benchmarks, but until very recently, it was not common.
This is a new metric in LEED, and each credit has different weightings for a product
depending on the stringency of the transparency program.
Option 2 of each credit seeks products that exhibit superior characteristics. Products may
be double-counted across these three credits and the options within the credit. Option 2 is
calculated by cost, which may be a more familiar metric for project teams who have used
previous versions of LEED. For each credit, structure and enclosure materials may not
constitute more than 30 percent of the total value of compliant building. Once that 30
percent cap is reached, the value of the structure and enclosure materials cannot count
toward the cost of the compliant products, but their value must still be included in the
total product costs. This encourages demand for sustainability of less expensive materials
or those where large environmental gains have not yet been made. For BD+C projects
only, teams may also use a default value of 45 percent of total construction costs for their
total materials cost.
Look for products that cover multiple credit criteria to help increase the likelihood of
earning these credits. A single product, with full disclosure and optimized performance,
can contribute up to six points in the MR section. All three of these credits are best
approached early on during the design phase so that product research can help the team
capitalize on these opportunities for credit synergies. At this point, it may be appropriate
to use industry-wide and generic information to make high-level decisions, such as the
decision between steel and concrete. Later on, manufacturer-specific information is
desirable so that more granularities can be consideredsuch as the decision between
nylon carpet and polyester carpetand ultimately the decision among vendors that can
provide alternatives.


Its worth reviewing a few popular transparency and disclosure tools that can be utilized
to meet the new credits. Some, like LCA, we have already covered. Others will be
covered in more depth as we go on.
LCA is a technique used to measure product or building environmental impacts, such as
carbon footprint, throughout its life cycle. Typically, an LCA measures impacts from raw
material extraction, transportation, manufacturing, use and end of life. The LCA is the
backbone of an environmental product declaration (EPD).
Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) are a comprehensive disclosure of a
products impacts throughout its life cycle. EPDs are also known as Type 3 Eco Labels.
Like LCAs and PCRs, EPDs follow the International Organization of Standards
guidelines. They are used globally.
Product Category Rules (PCR) are like a recipe for producing an LCA and EPD. They
establish the methodology which all product manufacturers in a category must follow
when creating an EPD. PCRs follow the International Organization of Standards
guidelines. They are used globally.
Health Product Declarations (HPDs) - are a standard format for transparent disclosure of
building product ingredients and associated hazards. HPDs were created by the Health
Product Declaration Collaborative and are mainly used in North America.
Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a standard framework for reporting corporate
social responsibility information. To meet LEED v4 requirements, manufacturers must
report on raw materials sourcing practices.

MR Credit 2 | BPDO - Environmental Product Declarations

The first credit is Materials & Resources credit Building Product Disclosure and
Optimization - Environmental Product Declarations. The intent of this credit is to
encourage the use of products and materials for which life-cycle information is available
and that have environmentally, economically, and socially preferable life-cycle impacts.
Also, to reward project teams for selecting products from manufacturers who have
verified improved environmental life-cycle impacts.
In the effort to increase the transparency of product content, Environmental Product
Declarations are gaining momentum. EPDs identify the ingredients (feedstock) in a
manufactured product. It is a way to communicate in a brief compact form.

EPDs are most often linked to the concept of a nutrition label. An EPD addresses the
needs of both manufacturers and buyers seeking clear, credible and precise information
about the environmental impacts of a product family. In the commercial building
construction field, EPDs simplify the process of making informed direct comparisons of
similar products.
Keep in mind, an EPD is a statement of fact. It does not judge whether a product meets
any particular environmental quality standard. Instead, users are responsible for making
judgments about how the information presented impacts their project.

Two Options
Option 1 Environmental product declaration (EPD) can earn on point.
Option 2 Multi-attribute optimization can earn one point.

Product Category Rule

In order to declare the environmental impact of a product, whether it be concrete, carpet,
or a roof membrane, we need consistent parameters. This need created product category
rules. The idea is that the industry accept rules for any particular type of product; flooring
rules may be different from the rules for ceiling fans or the rules for looking at a whole
EPDs are based on Product Category Rules. PCRs specifically define what information is
to be reported in an Environmental Product Declaration so that it can accurately reflect a
products environmental impact
Product Category Rule documents define the requirements for EPDs of a certain product
category. They are vital for the concept of environmental declarations as they enable
transparency and comparability between different EPDs based on the same PCR. The
PCR is the standardized method for conducting and reporting the results of a life-cycle
assessment for a particular group (category) of products. The PCR ensures that all
products in its defined category (e.g. concrete products, flooring products, etc.) are
measured the same. It also assures that their environmental impacts are quantified in the
same way so comparisons can be readily made between different manufactured products
within the same category. The PCR defines the means for measuring and reporting out by
requiring that the same functional unit of measurement is used for all products within a
category (e.g. impact per cubic yard of concrete, or per 100 square yards of a flooring,


PCRs are developed using a consensus-based, collaborative, and fairly transparent

process by industry experts and stakeholders, following certain ISO guidelines. They are
then verified by an expert review panel.
To put it all together, the LCA is based on the product category rules. When you
combine the rules with the assessment, you put together the EPD, as required for this
Note that as a project team member, you arent doing any of this development, but its
helpful to understand the process so that when you put two or more EPDs side by side,
you have an idea of where they came from. As a project team member, youre just
collecting EPDs from manufacturers. The challenge is to work with suppliers who can
provide EPDs; some may not be on board yet.

Related Documents
The EPD summarizes the LCA in a more meaningful form which can be interpreted by
the average reader. It takes the technical information of a complex LCA, and creates
what amounts to a nutrition label for products.

Option 1 requires using at least 20 different permanently installed products sourced from
at least five different manufacturers with an EPD.
There are 3 types of EPDs, and each is weighted differently by LEED. There is an LCA
thats done by a manufacturer without a product category rule and without a third party
review that accounts for a quarter of a full product. You would need four times as many
of this weaker document to meet the credit requirement for 20 products.
A stronger EPD is a generic product done by an association lets say its for floor tile
counts as a half of a product. Teams would have to collect 40 of these to meet credit
The strongest EPD is created by a particular manufacturer, for a unique product, and
counts as a whole product relative to the credit on EPDs.
A Type III EPD is based on ISO Standards that use a life- cycle approach for evaluation.
This means that potential impacts to the environment are indicated for different phases of
a products life: Sourcing/ Extraction, Manufacturing, Installation, Use, and End of Life.
There are two classifications of Type III EPDs: Industry Wide EPDs, which are generic
to a product type, and Product Specific Declarations, which are manufacturer-specific for
a family of products.


Product Specific-Type I EPD

The first type is a lifecycle assessment disclosure is derived directly from the
manufacturer for a specific product. This is for cases when there is no product category
rule, the product category rule is not relevant, or the manufacturer doesnt have the
resources to produce a full EPD.
For these products you can earn of a product. The threshold for the credit is 20
different products, so this would count as one-quarter of one product.
These are products with a publicly available, critically reviewed life-cycle assessment
conforming to ISO 14044 that have at least a cradle to gate scope. Whats a critical
reviewer? Its defined by ISO as to who it can and cannot be.

Industry-Wide Type II EPD

The next type is an industry-wide (generic) EPD. In the marketplace a bunch of
manufacturers will get together and will produce an EPD for their industry. If the
manufacturer is recognized as a participant in the program the product is valued as of a
product. Usually an industry association will produce an EPD for an entire industry.
An example might be gypsum board. Any manufacturer of gypsum board that
participates in the industry EPD would have their product count. That will get you half
credit because its relevant to a product category or a product type, but its not productspecific.

Third Party Verified - Type III EPD

A product-specific type 3 EPD has the most value, and counts as one whole product
toward the 20 minimum. The EPD is a document created by a manufacturer to show the
results of the life-cycle assessment performed on its products in accordance with ISO
standards. Where appropriate, the relevant Product Category Rule should be used to
conduct the LCA and the completed Environmental Product Declaration should reflect
that. Before being published, the EPD needs to be verified and approved by an
independent entity such as UL Environment (ULE).
The fully vetted EPDs thus enable everyone involved to make accurate direct
comparisons of the environmental strengths and weaknesses of similar products, thus
providing a degree of transparency in terms of the environmental impacts of using
different building products. Many in the green products industry regard the EPD to be a
standardized tool used to communicate the environmental performance of a product. It
works in the same way that a nutrition label on a food product informs us about the fat,
sugar, and cholesterol in the foods we eat. Only in this case, it is an environmental impact


label informing us about energy, pollution, and resource depletion contained in the
products that we select and specify.

Twenty Products
Quarter points, half points, full points, 20 products, five manufacturers. That sounds
confusing. You are trying to get to 20 total products, but depending on which type of
EPD is available, the product may only provide partial credit. Lets say your project uses
all products from manufacturers that have created their own product specific EPD. You
need 80 products since they are all valued at one-fourth of a product. If you use 20
products that all have a type-3 EPD, you just need the 20 products. You can also use any
combination to get to the 20 total.
The important thing to recognize about Option 1 is it says nothing about how good the
results are in the EPD, unlike for Option 2 where the products actually demonstrate an
impact reduction. An EPD just informs you. They provide data from which the
manufacturer will hopefully in the future try to improve on. You as a buyer can take two
EPDs and compare products. The idea is by having to put out an EPD, a manufacturer is
going to have incentive to make their products and materials better than their competitors,
which will help transform the industry.

Option 2 Multi-attribute Optimization

As manufacturers, if you can show your products life cycle environmental impacts are
less than your industry LCA in at least three of the impact categories, you can contribute
to earning points within this credit. Currently there are many industry associations that
have published or are in process of publishing LCA data so these comparisons can soon
be completed. To earn this credit project teams must use products with reduced life-cycle
environmental impacts for 50% by cost of the products installed. Products that are
extracted, manufactured and purchased within 100 miles (160 km) of the project site are
valued at 200% of their cost. So you can double it.
Impact categories for measuring reduction
Resource depletion - the consumption of non-renewable resources including
those used for energy (oil, gas, coal, metals, etc.)

Acidification potential- the potential for the product to contribute to acid rain

Eutrophication potential - the product's contribution to water or soil nutrients that

cause algal blooms

Global warming potential - the emissions of carbon dioxide or methane that

affect the earth's atmosphere

Ozone layer depletion potential -the reduction in beneficial environmental ozone

caused by chlorofluorocarbon emissions


Photochemical ozone creation potential - the contributions to smog caused by

hydrocarbon emissions

It is important to recognize that all of the parts of the process as discussed above are
inherently tied together. PCRs for a specific product type or category are developed
following the guidelines authored by ISO. An LCA is then performed by an independent
entity for a specific product or material according to the PCR and the specific minimum
impact categories that indicate what must be measured and accounted for. The results of
the LCA are then used to publish an EPD that comes from the manufacturer. When
architects, engineers, or others request this EPD, then, it is a representation that the
proper process has been followed to produce it. It is the EPD that ultimately is used by
the design team to assess different products and materials for sustainability and to
provide documentation for green building certification programs.

MR Credits 3 | BPDO - Sourcing of Raw Materials

Materials & Resources credit Building Product Disclosure and Optimization Sourcing of
Raw Materials. The intent of this credit is to encourage the use of products and materials
for which life cycle information is available and that have environmentally,
economically, and socially preferable life cycle impacts. Also, to reward project teams
for selecting products verified to have been extracted or sourced in a responsible manner.
Rather than focusing on a single attribute, this credit rewards multi-attribute products to
push products towards better performance.

Two Options
Option 1 Raw Materials and Extraction Reporting can earn one point.
Option 2 Leadership Extraction Practices can earn one point.

Corporate Sustainability
Option 1 focuses on corporate sustainability, and having a published report is a wellestablished voluntary system that is common among large corporations.
The reporting component of this option rewards the use of at least 20 permanently
installed building products from manufacturers that have made information available,
such as supplier locations, commitment to long-term ecologically responsible land use,
reducing environmental harms and meeting applicable responsible sourcing programs.
Similar to EPDs, p
roject teams receive credit depending on the type of report the manufacturer provides. For
example, a third-party- verified corporate sustainability report is valued higher than a
disclosure report that is not verified.

For this option you are looking for five different manufacturers that have publicly
released a report on their raw materials and their raw materials suppliers as well as a
long-term commitment to good land-use and a commitment to reducing carbon from
emissions and in their manufacturing process.
Here LEED is not only tracking the product contents, but how that product is made and
the companies they are coming from. What policies do the companies have in place and
if they are a responsible manufacturer.

Global Reporting Initiative

Existing reporting frameworks that contribute toward this credit are used by many
Fortune 500 companies and include the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Sustainability
Report, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the U.N. Global Compact Communication of
Progress, and ISO 26000: 2010 Guidance on Social Responsibility.
The GRI is the most common framework. In practice what this means is that
manufacturers are going to have to incorporate CSRs from their raw material suppliers in
order to make sure that the impacts of the specific products are now included in the
corporate sustainability report.

Leadership Extraction Practices

Option 2: Leadership Extraction Practices rewards the use of products (25 percent of total
products, by cost) that come from an extraction process showing leadership in
minimizing environmental impact.
This option references FSC certification, materials reuse, and recycled content without
notable changes from past versions of LEED. The biggest change is in bio-based
materials: the credit newly requires Rainforest Alliance certification under the umbrella
of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) to certify bio-based materials that may not
fall under the wood or bamboo category, such as cotton, wool, straw, soy, or corn-based
polymers. The SAN standard ensures that crops are responsibly sourced according to ten
categories, including everything from wildlife protection to occupational health.
Additionally, reuse and materials with recycled content contribute toward achievement of
this credit, as the credit intent is met by avoiding extraction and the use of virgin
materials altogether through the use of recycled feedstock.


Extended Producer Responsibility

Extended producer responsibility or EPR, is better known as a take-back program. EPR
means that a manufacturer has established measures to reclaim its products at the end of
their useful life and to recycle them into the same product in a closed loop. It has
become common to see building products advertised as recyclable, but some
manufacturers have stretched that term to the limit, using it as a label for new product
lines for which established, closed-loop recycling processes havent made it out of
research and development. LEED v4 requires compliant EPR products to have
established programs that include program literature and contact information.
Products meeting this criteria are valued at 50% of their cost.
Projects should have more luck finding products that meet EPR criteria. More than half
of the states in the U.S. have some laws requiring EPR for certain categoriesoften for
products with concentrated toxic content like cell phones and fluorescent lamps. For
building projects, carpeting is the most commonly applicable area that might amount to
significant dollar value. Carpet companies have worked to establish ways to take back the
large, uniform quantities of product that are discarded, with some carpet companies
taking back any kind of carpet and recycling it into backing, for example.
There is more carpeting in U.S. landfills than almost any other product, and most of it is
toxic, according to the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. Interface, one of the
worlds largest carpet manufacturers and a pioneer in sustainable business, anticipates
eliminating PVC from its entire product line by 2020.

Certified Wood
Wood products must be certified by FSC or USGBC-approved equivalent. These
products are valued at 100% of their cost.
Why FSC? The Forest Stewardship Council is a great role model of abiding by the triple
bottom line. Forest management certification is awarded to responsible forest managers
after their operations successfully complete audits of forestry practices and plans.
Chain-of-custody (COC) certification is awarded to companies that process, manufacture,
and/or sell products made of certified wood and who successfully complete audits to
ensure proper use of the FSC name and logo.
The use of certified wood, like most of your building materials, should be selected in the
design phase. It may take longer to order and to find suppliers. Additionally you can't
count on meeting the credit percentages unless you know if you can even get certified
wood for your project.


Certified wood is the same material as other wood, it was just cut down responsibly. The
wood can be used anywhere non-certified wood is used:
structural framing

general dimensional framing



wood doors


Understand the chain of custody requirements. Basically everybody that touches a

product needs to be a part of this chain of custody, except for the end user. This includes
the transport company taking the wood from the forest all the way to the vendor that sells
the wood. All these different people contribute to this chain of custody, and each of them
have chain of custody certification numbers that you would log as part of this credit.
Collect all vendor invoices for all permanently installed wood on the project. Vendor
invoices must have the vendor CoC number. All vendor invoices must be collected from
the project contractors and subcontractors for permanently installed wood products,
whether the wood is FSC certified or not. Vendors are defined as those companies that
sell products to the project contractor or subcontractor. The invoices are how you
compute this credit. CoC documentation is required for transport, suppliers and
manufacturers, and vendors. The project contractors and subcontractors (the end users)
are not required to have CoC certification. The vendors CoC certificate number would be
included on any invoice that includes FSC wood products.

Bio-based materials are valued at 100% of their cost. Bio-based products must meet the
Sustainable Agriculture Networks Rainforest Alliance Standard. What SAN does is
certify bio-based materials that many not fall under the old wood or bamboo categories,
including cotton, wool, straw, soy, or corn-based polymers.
What are examples of bio-based materials? Things like bamboo, cotton, linoleum,
sunflower, wool, soy, and cork are bio-based. Brick, stone, cement, are not. If it grows
from the earth, its probably bio-based. If its mined in the earth, its probably not.

Recycled Content
Recycled content must meet the definition set by ISO 14021-1999 for environmental
labels and declarations. Recycled content is the sum of postconsumer recycled content
plus one-half the pre-consumer recycled content, based on cost. Products meeting


recycled content criteria are valued at 100% of their cost for the purposes of credit
achievement calculation.
Knowing what is entailed in the content is very important for these calculations. Postconsumer is if you have a plastic soda bottle, recycle the bottle, and the plastic ends up in
If it's pre-consumer, which is also known as post-industrial, that might be where a lumber
mill takes some sawdust generated from cutting lumber, applies a binding agent to the
sawdust and turns it into particle board. The sawdust is a material that never made it to a
consumer prior to being turned into another product.
LEED is essentially saying postconsumer recycled materials are harder to get because
consumers are less likely to recycle than a company in which theres more profit
involved. Thats why LEED counts only half of the pre-consumer and all of the
postconsumer recycled content.

Materials Reuse
Reuse includes salvaged, refurbished, or reused products. Products meeting materials
reuse criteria are valued at 100% of their cost for the purposes of credit achievement
Some common reused materials are
Beams and posts



Doors and frames

Cabinetry and furniture


Projects can reuse both fixed and finish materials for this credit. Determine the
preservation cost, life-cycles, and project timeline when selecting materials.
When you are selecting products, you are again looking to the manufacturer to supply
you with the information you need to make an informed choice. In your design process
start thinking early on about what type of materials you want to include in the project.
For materials reuse, its much easier to reuse materials found on site unless you're going
to a salvage yard, buying a product, drawing it into the drawings, and having the salvage
yard store it. A salvage yard is never going to say, Oh, yes, were going to have that in
6 months. They don't know, and it could get sold. To use salvage items, you have to


procure them early or at least be guaranteed that you're going to get them. Otherwise,
you draw them in to the plans and then they disappear because somebody else bought

MR Credit 4 | BPDO - Material Ingredients

The occupants of the average office building may have no idea what makes up the
building products that surround them every day, and often, the project teams that
specified them know just as little - unless that information is voluntarily made available
by the manufacturer. This credit aims to support manufacturers that disclose information
about the ingredients in their products, allowing project teams to make more informed
Products can contribute to one point by declaring all ingredients more than 0.1 percent by
weight, and another point if companies can prove that they are avoiding some of the most
hazardous chemicals as determined by several governmental lists. This credit is
rewarding manufacturers based on their material ingredients.

Three Options

Option 1 Material Ingredient Reporting can earn one point.

Option 2 Material Ingredient Optimization can earn one point
Option 3 Product Manufacturer Supply Chain Optimization can earn one point.

Option 1 is again transparency. Material Ingredient Reporting is based on using at least
20 permanently installed products that provide a chemical inventory through one of a
variety of third-party programs, such as a Health Product Declaration, a Manufacturers
Inventory that must meet a number of criteria, or Cradle to Cradle v2 Silver certification.
This will require manufacturers to have documentation on the whole product preparation
and to use a standard program to inventory the name, chemicals, attributes, structures,
and number of ingredients in the product.
The manufacturer inventory involves publishing Chemical Abstract Service Registration
Numbers (CASRN) for all ingredients in the product; some ingredients may be kept
proprietary, but their hazard potential based on the GreenScreen benchmarking system
must be disclosed. This inventory is very similar to the Health Product Declaration


Corporations such as Google, and dozens of architecture firms have banded together to
create the Health Product Declaration, a hazard-based standard format for reporting
ingredients and health warnings, which is recognized by LEED v4.
Health Product Declarations are a big topic, but they are essentially a standardized format
for manufacturers to disclose ingredients and hazards. An HPD has two parts, an
inventory of ingredients and an assessment. The HPD reviews the ingredients against an
authoritative list. HPDs build on and incorporate the data from the EPD but goes on to
combine it with trustworthy and verifiable measures of ingredients that impact
ecotoxicity and human toxicity. As such, it creates a disclosure document that truthfully
indicates the toxicity impact of a product on the people who live with it, and the natural
environment that it exists within. As envisioned, the HPD will create a single standard
that can be used to create an apples-to-apples comparison of products based on their
Cradle-to-cradle has been around for some time. The difference is cradle-to-cradle
products are assessed and optimized against health criteria. What they assess is fully
disclosed so you understand what each level of cradle-to-cradle certification actually
means in regards to the product.
Really manufacturers have two options for this credit. With an HPD, youre going to
disclose everything thats in your product. For cradle-to-cradle, a third-party assessor is
going to have that information and provide it for those of us that are using the
certification. With cradle-to-cradle in order to get certified, the manufacturer does not
have to publically disclose their ingredients or secret sauce. The disclosure is instead
done to the certification program and its certifiers and auditors.
To qualify for LEED, however, the HPD must include all ingredients down to 0.1%
(1,000 ppm) and full disclosure of health hazards from ingredients, based on the
GreenScreen assessment criteria. Companies can choose to leave some proprietary
ingredients unnamed as long as they still report health hazards for those chemicals. An
HPD is several pages long; the summary page on front indicates the level of disclosure
and checkboxes for the manufacturer to indicate Full Disclosure of Known Hazards for
every ingredient.


The HPD is a format for reporting product contents and health information about
products and materials. An HPD informs users how the product affects their body. EPDs
are a standardized way of quantifying the environmental impact of a product or system,
including raw material acquisition, energy use and efficiency, emissions to air, soil and
water and waste generation. HPDs are complementary to EPDs. Think of the difference


between how the manufacturing of a ceiling tile affects air and water (EPD), versus how
the VOC content and emissions from that ceiling tile affect your lungs and skin.

Material Ingredient Optimization

Option 2: Material Ingredient Optimization involves using at least 25 percent by cost of
products that have assessed and optimized their material ingredients against pre-approved
USGBC programs such as GreenScreen v1.2 Benchmark, Cradle to Cradle v2 Gold or
Platinum Certification.
Remember in Option 1 is just revealing what the ingredients are, good or bad. Option 2
you get credit for optimization, and looking for ingredients that meet certain standards.
For international projects you can also work with the European Union REACH list,
which is methodically identifying and screening thousands of chemicals that are in
commerce. They are identifying certain ones as being on whats called an authorization
list, which means that companies have to get special authorization to use them.

Product Manufacturer Supply Chain Optimization

Option 3 Product Manufacturer Supply Chain Optimization.
Use new building products for at least 25% at cost of the total value of the permanently
installed fixtures that are sourced from manufacturers that engage in validated and robust
safety, health hazard and risk programs, which at a minimum document at least 99% by
weight the ingredients used to make the material or product.
Many companies dont know what is in their supply chain when they are selling someone
elses component as part of their product. An example might be a wooden door where
the door supplier is using hinges and doorknobs from some other company.
Manufacturers get to learn about their products and they may discover there is something
in them that they dont like, and they find an opportunity for change.

Local Materials
One final point for these 3 credits. In each of them, locally sourced building materials are
recognized as a multiplier for optimization. In the past there was a 500 mile radius for
regional materials, now v4 only recognizes a 100 mile (160 km) local radius. First you
have to meet the sustainability criteria, for example FSC wood, then if the product is
extracted, manufactured, and purchased within 100 miles (160 km) it counts as double
towards the cost in the credit calculation.


Comprehensive Strategy
Now that we have looked at those three material credits, it is important to note that the
disclosure for a product does not take place of the typical performance achievement type
labels. Disclosure and optimization is actually meant to work together.
In reality, you have transparency in production and transparency in performance working
together to complete the picture. Because what you want to know is that it is a good
performing product, and you also want to know what is in the product. That is why these
strategies have so much in common, because they both work together very well - they are
not meant to replace each other.
Likewise LCA doesnt do everything - it can tell you what your product effects, but it
doesnt tell you what kind of forest that wood came from. It can also tell you how many
substances are in your product, but not necessarily how good or bad those substances are
for your body.
So remember that when you are picking materials, its disclosure and optimization, not
one or the other. Taken together is where the best choices are made for your project.
Transparency by itself is not going to tell you if it is a good product.

Rating System Adaptations

Healthcare projects have an additional prerequisite and several additional credits.
MR Prerequisite PBT Source Reduction Mercury
MR Credit PBT Source Reduction Mercury
MR Credit PBT Source Reduction lead, cadmium, and copper
MR Credit Furniture and Medical Furnishings
MR Credit Design for Flexibility
PBT is a generic identifier for any chemical that is a persistent bio-accumulative toxin.

MR Healthcare Prerequisite | PBT Source Reduction - Mercury

The intent is to reduce mercury-containing products, devices, and mercury release
through product substitution, capture, and recycling. This is going to be an extension of
the buildings recycling program. As part of the projects recycling collection system,
identify the following:
types of mercury-containing products and devices to be collected

criteria governing how they are to be handled by a recycling program

disposal methods for captured mercury

Here you are basically trying to minimize the quantity of mercury contained in lamps.
The types of lamps and each of their maximum contents are listed in the reference guide.


MR Healthcare Credit | PBT Source Reduction Mercury

The prerequisite also has a corresponding credit which requires specifying and installing
fluorescent lamps with both low mercury content and long lamp life. The many different
lamp types, maximum mercury content, and lamp life are defined in the requirements.
This adds onto the prerequisite not by changing the mercury content of the specific
lamps, but by specifying a minimum lamp life.

MR Healthcare Credit | PBT Source Reduction Lead, Cadmium, and

The intent of this credit is to reduce the release of PBTs associated with the life cycle of
building materials.
For lead, address your fittings and soldering. Roofing and flashing must be lead free, as
well as all paints. Electrical wire has to have a minimum amount of lead as well.
For cadmium, specify no use of interior or exterior paints containing intentionally added
cadmium. Greeneal certified paint is required to contain no cadmium.
For copper pipe applications, reduce or eliminate joint-related sources of copper

MR Healthcare Credit | Furniture and Medical Furnishings

The intent of this credit is to enhance the environmental and human health performance
attributes associated with freestanding furniture and medical furnishings.
Use at least 30% (1 point) or 40% (2 points), by cost, of all freestanding furniture and
medical furnishings (e.g., mattresses, foams, panel fabrics, cubicle curtains, window
coverings, other textiles) that meet the criteria in one of the following three options.

Option 1 Minimal chemical content

Option 2 Testing and modeling of chemical content
Option 3 Multi-attribute assessment of products

Option 1 | Minimum Chemical Content

Option one is the minimum chemical content. It requires all components that constitute at
least 5% by weight of a furniture and medical furnishing containing less than 100 points
per million of at least four of the five chemical groups specified:


heavy metals
Chromium in plated finishes
Stain and nonstick treatments derived from prefluorinated compounds
Added antimicrobial treatments

Option 2
Option 2 requires all components of a furniture or medical furnishing assembly, including
textiles, finishes, and dyes, must contain less than 100 parts per million (ppm) of at least
two of the five chemicals or materials listed in Option 1.
New furniture or medical furnishing assemblies must be in accordance with the
ANSI/BIFMA standards, and you have to model the test results using the open plan,
private office, or seating scenario in ANSI/BIFMA M7.1. Therefore, computer modeling
is required for this option.

Option 3
Option 3 requires using products that meet at least one of the defined criteria. Each
product can receive credit for each criterion met. The scope of any environmental product
declaration (EPD) must be at least cradle to gate.
Product self-declaration covering at least cradle to gate scope
Materials reuse
Recycled content
Take back program
Bio-based materials
Certified wood
For any of these options the credit compliance is based on percent of total cost either
30% or 40%. To hit that goal make sure your project team is selecting products early on
in the design to make sure the products are compliant.

MR Healthcare Credit | Design for Flexibility

The intent of this credit is to conserve resources associated with the construction and
management of buildings by designing for flexibility and ease of future adaptation and
for the service life of components and assemblies.


Implement 3 of the following strategies to earn this credit:

Using interstitial space. Interstitial space is an intermediate space located

between regular-use floors, commonly located in hospitals and laboratory-type
buildings to allow space for the mechanical systems of the building. By
providing this space, laboratory and hospital rooms may be easily rearranged
throughout their lifecycles and therefore reduce lifecycle cost.

Provide program soft space. Soft space is an area whose functions can be easily
changed. For example, hospital administrative offices could be moved so that this
soft space could be converted to a laboratory. In contrast, a lab with specialized
equipment and infrastructure would be difficult to relocate.

Providing a soft shell space. Shell spaces are areas designed to be fitted out for
future expansion. Shell space is enclosed by the building envelope but otherwise
left unfinished.

Identifying horizontal expansion capacity for diagnostic and treatment or other

clinical space.

Designating space for future above-ground parking structures,

Using demountable partitions

Use movable or module casework


Key Terms
Single Attributes
Hazardous Waste
Waste Stream Audit (Retail)
Waste Reduction
Source Reduction
Impact Categories
Passive Mep
Environmental Product Declarations (Epds
Product Category Rules (Pcr)
Health Product Declarations (Hpds)
Global Reporting Initiative (Gri)
Product Category Rule (Pcr)
Corporate Sustainability Report (Csr)
Extended Producer Responsibility (Epr)
Closed Loop
Persistent Bioaccumulative And Toxic (Pbts)


Chapter 8 Indoor Environmental Quality

When you look at these credits, look for ones that connect. If you think back to energy
and atmosphere for instance, fundamental refrigerant management and enhanced
refrigerant management are two that you can study together just like fundamental
commissioning and enhanced commissioning.
In this category there are also a few you should study together. For instance minimum
indoor air quality performance should be studied with Enhanced Indoor Air Quality
Daylight and views are very different and its very easy to confuse them but study them
together so you understand how they overlap and how they differ. Acoustical
performance will go with the prerequisite for Minimum Acoustical Performance for
School projects.

The Indoor Environmental Quality credit category has 2 prerequisites and 9 credits. The
credits and prerequisites are:

IEQ Prerequisite 1: Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance

IEQ Prerequisite 2: Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control

IEQ Credit 1: Enhanced Indoor Air Quality Strategies

IEQ Credit 2: Low-emitting materials

IEQ Credit 3: Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan

IEQ Credit 4: Indoor Air Quality Assessment

IEQ Credit 5: Thermal Comfort

IEQ Credit 6: Interior Lighting

IEQ Credit 7: Daylight

IEQ Credit 8: Quality Views

IEQ Credit 9: Acoustic Performance

IEQ Prerequisite 1 | Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance

The intent is to contribute to the comfort and well-being of building occupants by
establishing minimum standards for indoor air quality (IAQ).

Reference Standards
ASHRAE 62.1 is the key here. Like any ASHRAE standard, its a little bit challenging
to read the standard yourself and understand it-leave that to the mechanical engineers.
The main point here is that ASHRAE 62.1 identifies minimum ventilation rates for the
IEQ prerequisite baseline, whereas ASHRAE 90.1 identifies minimum construction
specifications for the EA prerequisite baseline. If the local code is more stringent, follow
the local code. For Core & Shell any ventilation systems installed must meet the future
ventilation needs of tenants. The thinking behind that is considering the base building
and being able to expand and provide outside air quality once tenants move in. Install the
ductwork and registers within the tenant spaces with growth in mind.
In addition, naturally ventilated spaces must comply with ASHRAE 62.1. There is also a
helpful flow diagram project teams can use to verify that natural ventilation is appropriate
for their design. Project teams must reference the Chartered Institution of Building
Services Engineers (CIBSE) Applications Manual AM10 to confirm minimum outdoor
air opening and space configuration requirements.
Projects outside the U.S. may instead meet the minimum outdoor air requirements of
Annex B of Comit Europen de Normalisation (CEN) Standard EN 152512007, Indoor
environmental input parameters for design and assessment of energy performance of
buildings addressing indoor air quality, thermal environment, lighting and acoustics; and
meet the requirements of CEN Standard EN 137792007Ventilation for nonresidential

The requirements are very clear that the teams must meet certain standards. The strategies
focus on achieving those standards.
The climate and local outdoor air quality will help determine what type of ventilation is
appropriate for the project. An area with high outdoor air pollution may not want to
choose natural ventilation if the air is going to require a lot of filtering.
Determine what type of ventilation your project will use:
Active ventilation is for buildings that use mechanical ventilation

Passive ventilation is for buildings that use natural ventilation

Mixed-mode means a combination of mechanical and natural ventilation

Teams must review the ASHRAE standard and ensure their projects meet or exceed the


In pursuit of this prerequisite, teams must balance the needs of IAQ performance with the
demand for energy that certain systems use. The ideal is a system that meets the
requirements, but does not waste energy. This is a big tradeoff that you're going to hear
mentioned a few times. Its a classic tradeoff in green building where someone says,
What would you rather have, a more energy efficient building or one with better indoor
air quality? And you say, Well, I want both. The struggle with having both is if
you're bringing in a lot of outside air, generally its hot or cold out, and you need to
temper that air. You need to either raise or lower the temperature of the air coming in.
This takes energy. To bring in a lot of outside air generally requires using more energy there is the tradeoff.

Key for the calculations is using the ventilation rate procedure in the ASHRAE 62.1
guide. The calculations are performed for the worst case scenario which is usually when
the supply air flow is at its lowest and the supply air temperature is highest for the critical
zone-highest density of people.
To determine the ventilation strategy, each room and space must be identified with net
occupiable space, type of occupancy, and the design case occupancy.
For prerequisite compliance, document ventilation rates per the Minimum Indoor Air
Quality Performance Calculator for projects with single-zone or 100% outside air HVAC
systems. The calculator includes assumptions for occupancy categories from ASHRAE
62.1-2010. Upload the completed calculator to LEED Online.
The mechanical design engineer is the responsible party to complete this documentation.
The calculations should be performed concurrently with the overall system design.
Historically, buildings were often over-ventilated and wasting energy pumping
unnecessary fresh air into indoor spaces. The ASHRAE standard actually helps designers
specify efficient systems by providing target rates for outdoor air intake. The reference
guide supplies detailed guidance on these calculations and advises project teams to revise
mechanical system design to meet the outdoor air requirements.

Airflow Monitoring
For both naturally and mechanically ventilated spaces, airflow monitoring is required.
This step ensures that your ventilation system is taking in appropriate volumes of fresh
outdoor air to mix with recirculated air. For mechanically ventilated spaces, the key
numbers are measuring for an accuracy of plus or minus 10%, and sounding an alarm
upon a variation of 15% or more. Youre monitoring the minimum outdoor air intake
flow with an accuracy of plus or minus 10% of the design minimum outdoor airflow rate.


If your systems doesnt take in enough outside air, it could have negative health effects.
If it takes in more outside air than needed, it could have excessive energy use.
Indoor air quality procedures are defined by ASHRAE. LEED distinguishes between
variable air volume systems and constant volume systems. When you talk about VAV
systems versus constant systems, you must measure and have a device capable of
measuring the minimal amount of air intake. Constant volume systems must balance the
outdoor airflow to the design minimum outdoor airflow rate as defined by ASHRAE.
For residential projects carbon monoxide monitors must be installed on each floor or unit.
Any indoor fireplaces must have solid glass enclosures or doors that seal when closed.
Basically you cant have an open fireplace.

Natural Ventilation
For naturally ventilated spaces CIBSE AM10 manual includes a flow chart for
determining if natural ventilation is feasible for a project. Once you find out if natural
ventilation will be effective, start collecting information about the rooms to be used for
the calculations including:
Minimum ceiling heights

Location of openings

Size of the openings

Run the calculations to determine if any design modifications are necessary. ASHRAE
62.1-2010 requires that all spaces with natural ventilation must have mechanical
ventilation backup unless they are either:
An engineered system approved by an authority with jurisdiction
The natural ventilation openings have controls that prevent closing during
occupied hours, or if the zone isnt served by heating or cooling equipment
For naturally ventilated spaces (and for mixed-mode systems when the mechanical
ventilation is inactivated), comply with at least one of the following strategies.

Provide a direct exhaust airflow measurement device capable of measuring the

exhaust airflow. This device must measure the exhaust airflow with an accuracy
of plus or minus 10% of the design minimum exhaust airflow rate. An alarm
must indicate when airflow values vary by 15% or more from the exhaust airflow

Provide automatic indication devices on all natural ventilation openings intended

to meet the minimum opening requirements. An alarm must indicate when any
one of the openings is closed during occupied hours.


Monitor carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations within each thermal zone. CO2
monitors must be between 3 and 6 feet (900 and 1,800 millimeters) above the
floor and within the thermal zone. CO2 monitors must have an audible or visual
indicator or alert the building automation system if the sensed CO2 concentration
exceeds the setpoint by more than 10%. Calculate appropriate CO2 setpoints
using the methods in ASHRAE 62.12010.

Healthcare projects have an additional reference standard to face thats covered under
ASHRAE 170 2008. This standard addresses minimum air quality for operating rooms.

IEQ Credit 1 | Enhanced Indoor Air Quality Strategies

This credit improves the air quality beyond the prerequisite basics.
Option 1 Enhanced IAQ strategies can earn one point.
Option 2 Additional enhanced IAQ strategies can earn one point.
This is a type of hodgepodge credit. Between the two options there are a total of 10
different strategies. Depending on what type of ventilation the project uses mechanical,
natural, or mixed and which options the project team selects, the requirements vary.
The basic concept is there are multiple sources of contamination in your building, from
people, to cars, or equipment. The requirements try to control the pollutants.

Area of Awareness
Mechanically ventilated spaces must address:
entryway systems

interior cross-contamination prevention


Naturally ventilated spaces must address:

entryway systems

natural ventilation design calculations

Mixed-mode systems must address:

entryway systems

interior cross-contamination prevention


natural ventilation design calculations

mixed-mode design calculations


Entryway Systems
Install a permanent entryway at least 10 feet long in the primary direction of travel.
Grills, grates, and slotted systems that can be cleaned underneath are good choices. Rollout mats can be used if they are cleaned at least once a week. Permanent entryway
systems are considered most effective. The systems must be installed at all regularly
used exterior entrances to the building-including employee entrances and loading docks.

Interior Cross-Contamination Prevention

Sufficiently exhaust each space with hazardous gases or chemicals, such as garages,
housekeeping, copy or print rooms, or science labs. This is accomplished by
Preventing air from exfiltration of the space

Creating negative pressure to adjacent spaces

Providing self-closing doors

Installing deck-to-deck partitions or a hard lid ceiling

Exhausting at a rate of at least 0.50 cubic feet per minute per square foot, with no
air recirculation

During your design identify all spaces that could cause cross contamination. Ventilate
rooms with hazardous gases or chemicals. Ensure the rooms have doors, because the
project cannot earn credit for a room with no doors. Locate chemical storage rooms, such
as janitorial rooms, away from highly occupied areas.
Open garages-meaning access to free exchange of fresh air are exempt from the
requirements, as are copy and print rooms with convenience equipment.
A common troublesome scenario is a garage under a building. To qualify for this option
the garage would need:
A self-closing door to occupied areas

Deck todeck partitions sealing the building from garage

Make up air to maintain negative air pressurization

Separate exhaust to the outside with no air recirculation

If anything is drawing air into the room and not pushing air out, then separate exhaust is
needed to the outside. The air from that room must be fully separated both mechanically
and through doors and open spaces from other air in the building.

MERV 13 (F7) filtration is required for HVAC systems that supplies outdoor air to
occupied spaces. During your design make sure to account for the extra resistance in air


flow that results from using better rated filters in the system. Plugging in better filters
into an air flow system that cant handle it results in greater energy use and an inefficient
system. All of the filters must be replaced after construction and before the building is

Natural Ventilation Design Calculations

Here youre just proving your design follows the CIBSE AM10 standard Natural
Ventilation in Non-Domestic Buildings. Review the standard and prepare diagrams or
narratives describing how guidance from the standard was considered as part of the
design. For Option 1 the room-by-room calculations are not required.

Mixed-mode design calculations

Here you are proving your design follows the strategies from the CIBSE Manual 13
standard for Mixed Mode Ventilation.

Additional Enhanced IAQ Strategies

Depending on the type of ventilation, incorporate one of the following strategies into the
For mechanically ventilated spaces, select one of the following four strategies
exterior contamination prevention

increased ventilation

carbon dioxide monitoring

additional source control and monitoring

For naturally ventilated spaces, select one of the following three strategies:
exterior contamination prevention

additional source control and monitoring

natural ventilation room by room calculations

For mixed-mode systems, select one of the following four strategies:

exterior contamination prevention

increased ventilation

additional source control and monitoring

natural ventilation room-by-room calculations


Exterior Contamination Prevention

For this strategy the project team is designing the outdoor air intakes to minimize
pollutants coming in. Intakes located one third of the way up the side of the building are
the best choice. This choice is going to require modeling of the system.
Reference the pollutants regulated by National Ambient Air Quality Standards
(NAAQS), and dont allow them to exceed the maximum concentrations. To test the
contaminant levels, one of the project team members will need to ensure through the
results of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling, Gaussian dispersion analyses,
wind tunnel modeling, or tracer gas modeling.
The model is used to perform a worst case scenario level 1 screening. If the level 1
screening indicates a noncompliant system, a level 2 screening with more detailed inputs
is required.

Increased Ventilation
Increase breathing zone outdoor air ventilation rates to all occupied spaces by at least
30% above the minimum rates as determined in IEQ Prerequisite Minimum Indoor Air
Quality Performance.
What you're doing for this credit is improving on the prerequisite levels. For
mechanically ventilated spaces, projects must increase outdoor airflow rates by 30%.
The minimum rate is set by ASHRAE 62.1-2010. Instead of just meeting the
prerequisite, go 30 percent beyond it. This is very similar to minimum energy
performance and optimized energy performance. One is a prerequisite and one is a credit
option for going a certain percent beyond the standard.
Design the building to provide occupants optimal IAQ. Most of the design will come
from meeting the standards and recommendations based on the type of ventilation being
put in. The engineers and design team will have to meet the requirements in the
standards. Make sure you check outside the building and evaluate what is around the
building and the area to prevent poor quality air from coming in.
For the calculations the engineers and design teams must build to these standards. For
mechanical systems the ventilation rate procedure will be used to show a 30% increase in
ventilation to all occupied spaces at all times the space is occupied.
Any increase in the ventilation will impact the energy use calculations in EA Credit
Optimize Energy Performance.


Carbon Dioxide Monitoring

The idea is if you are going to provide a certain amount of outside air for the prerequisite,
you should be able to monitor that air to prove in an objective sense the ventilation
system maintains the design minimum requirements.
To ensure that occupants receive the air supply that was designed, install CO2 sensors in
occupied spaces at 3 to 6 feet (900 to 1,800 milimeters) above the floor. Thats the
breathing zone. You are measuring the density of CO2, and if more outdoor air is
For mechanically ventilated spaces, monitor CO2 concentrations in densely occupied
spaces. A densely occupied space has 25 people or more per 1,000 square feet. What
you usually find is CO2 monitors are necessary in multi-occupant spaces like conference
Monitor CO2 concentrations in all naturally ventilated spaces. Theres no thermostat in
there, you just turn off the radiator or open the window or some combination. Install a
CO2 sensor that could be tied back to a building management system, or that could alarm
locally within that room to tell when CO2 concentration levels exceed a certain amount.

CO2 Sensors
Determine space density and occupancy type. Measure to detect when the system is
10% below the designed outdoor air rate. Accurately put the CO2 sensors in the
breathing zone and then calibrate the building automation system to signal an alarm when
the ventilation is out of range. An alarm has to be triggered if the CO2 concentration
exceeds the setpoint by more than 10%.
The idea here is to make it quite a tangible system where you say, Okay, this system
knows that theres a problem. It doesnt need to be a siren but some sort of alarm to the
building operator to know that something is not in the acceptable limits.
Building commissioning connects to this credit because the CO2 sensors are included in
the commissioning process.

Additional Source Control and Monitoring

If your project has spaces where there might be other contaminants other than CO2, come
up with a plan to reduce the likelihood of contaminant release, and install monitoring
systems with alarms that get triggered when the thresholds are exceeded.


Natural Ventilation room-by-room

The last strategy is natural ventilation room-by-room calculations
Follow CIBSE AM10, Section 4, Design Calculations, to predict that room-by-room
airflows will provide effective natural ventilation. This is usually going to require a
macroscopic, multi-zone, analytic model.
Very simply, natural ventilation is more complex than mechanical ventilation. You're
looking at CIBSE for natural ventilation design. Evaluate local climate, building
magnitude, orientation, purpose, and future operational needs.
For naturally ventilated spaces think of it this way: Consider a room with a window and
a radiator beneath it. Its easy to say that room will be ventilated. Its a little bit harder to
say that the room is going to get increased ventilation. What you have to do is prove
through diagrams or calculations how the cross-ventilation is going to provide this room
with more outside air than a conventional design.

Rating System Adaptation

There are additional guidelines for warehouses, distribution centers, healthcare and data
centers and residential projects.
Warehouse projects pursuing the entryway systems strategy do not have to put the
entryway systems in doorways from the exterior into loading decks or garage areas.
However, they must be provided from the loading docks and garages into interior spaces
like offices. Consider the intent to separate exterior contaminants from interior spaces.
Healthcare projects pursuing the entryway systems strategy must provide pressurized
vestibules, in addition to entryway systems, at high-volume building entrances.
Data centers pursuing filtration strategy are only required to provide enhanced filtration
to regularly occupied spaces. Consider the intent to serve building occupants. LEED
recognizes the economic impact of enhanced filtration and balances their use with
programmatic needs.

Testing the Concept

It sounds like a good idea in concept, but enhanced occupant health often bears a tradeoff
with energy efficiency. How can the additional energy needed for increasing the
ventilation in a building be mitigated? The most direct factors are within the system
design. Heat-recovery ventilation and/or economizer strategies in your mechanical
ventilation system help reduce the extra energy needed for increased ventilation.


IEQ Prerequisite 2 | Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control

The intent is to prevent or minimize exposure of building occupants, indoor surfaces, and
ventilation air distribution systems to environmental tobacco smoke.

This prerequisite has different options depending on the type of project. First however,
every project must prohibit smoking inside the building. Thats no smoking under any
conditions-even separately exhausted isolated smoking rooms, like in an airport.
Outside the building, smoking is prohibited except in designated smoking areas located at
least 25 feet (7.5 meters) from all entries, outdoor air intakes, and operable windows.
Projects must also prohibit smoking outside the property line in spaces used for business
purposes. If your local code allows the smoking areas to be closer than 25 feet (7.5
meters) than you have to document the codes to allow your project to not meet this
At all building entrances, there must be signs indicated the building has a no-smoking
policy. The signs must be posted within 10 feet (3 meters) of all building entrances.
Projects that do not designate smoking areas will find that people are going to smoke
anyway, and unfortunately they dont know where to go. It is better to designate a space,
otherwise people just end up smoking where they please and leaving cigarette butts for
the maintenance crew to clean up. Not designating a space is not going to stop people
from smoking.

Residential Compliance
Residential projects sometimes allow smoking in the individual units. Especially in
situations where individuals purchase condos, the building owner cannot stop the
residents from smoking inside their unit. For residential projects you can meet the
prerequisite by having a no smoking policy that meets the requirements just described,
thats Option 1. Option 2 is compartmentalizing the smoking areas.
For option 2, if you allow smoking within the residence, provide ETS rooms that are
separately ventilated and have negative pressure and exhaust. Thats important the
ventilation and exhaust cant connect to the ventilation and exhaust from non-smoking
What you are essentially designing is a room thats separated from every other room. Air
won't leak out through the doors, and that air won't mix with other ventilation air in the
building. There are full height walls so the air won't travel above the acoustical ceiling
and then mix in with other areas. You are fully segregating this area.

In residential projects, LEED asks that you to take it a step further because you're dealing
with peoples residences where smoking is allowed. Smoking in common areas is
prohibited. These next requirements are all related to keeping the smoke in the rooms
and from ex-filtrating to other areas. Weather strip doors and operable windows, weather
strip doors in common hallways, and seal penetrations. Once the space is sealed, you
have to prove the spaces wont ex-filtrate the smoky air by conducting a blower door test.
For this case you again need to prohibit smoking within 25 (7.5 meters) of entries, air
intakes and operable windows and provide signage to allow smoking in designated areas.
For verifying compartmentalization of rooms a contractor will usually conduct a blower
door test that follows one of several standards: RESNET, Energy Start Multifamily
Testing Protocols, ASTM E779-03 or ASTM E1827-11.
For this prerequisite, first you need to prohibit smoking in all common or public area.
Install signage to appropriately locate smoking areas. Properly design, test, and verify
interior smoking room compliance. This prerequisite must be enforced, so the owner and
facility manager must draft policies to enforce smoking regulations, and the facility
manager must enforce them.

IEQ Credit 2 | Low Emitting Materials

The intent of this credit is to reduce concentrations of chemical contaminants that can
damage air quality, human health, productivity, and the environment. Contaminants are
measured as either VOC content or air emissions. Emissions are typically a result of the
VOC content, but vary in concentration related to manufacturing and use. VOC content is
normally self-declared by the manufacturer. For the emissions tests, there are third-party
certifiers. It is not feasible to eliminate all VOCs from your project, but by following the
guidelines presented in this credit, project teams can significantly reduce occupant
exposure to harmful chemicals.
For all projects with the exception of healthcare and schools, you are considering all
products inside the weatherproofing membrane. For healthcare and schools, you include
the exterior applied products as well.

This credit has two options. Each can earn 1 to 3 points.
Option 1 is product category calculations-a prescriptive path for selecting materials that
meet the thresholds of compliance. Option 2 is a budget calculation method for using
materials that exceed threshold requirements.


For option one, there are seven material categories to comply with; they are:
Interior paints and coatings that are applied on site
Interior adhesives and sealants that are applied on site
Composite wood
Ceilings, walls, thermal, and acoustic insulation
Furniture, if within your scope of work
Exterior applied products, healthcare and school projects only
For option two, there are six assemblies to organize compliance:
thermal and acoustic insulation
exterior applied products (Healthcare, Schools only)

Option 1: Product Category

The threshold of compliance varies depending on the product category. The important
numbers to remember are 90% and 100%.
VOCthreshold EmissionsThreshold





















Option 2: System Assembly

Option 2 is a budget calculation method. If some of the products in a category dont meet
the criteria for option one, project teams can use the budget calculation method. Product
calculations can be demonstrated in an assembly with multiple layers: exterior, structure,
interior, and then as a total of all systems. Use information from the manufacturer.
At least 50% of the assembly must be compliant to count towards the credit, otherwise it
counts as 0% compliant. If 90% of the assembly meets the criteria it can count as 100%,

allowing the project to show a higher overall compliance. Because of the way the
calculation method works project teams might be able to earn more points with this
Part of what makes this complicated, is you have to look at the surface area of each layer.
If youre doing flooring for example you have to look at the subfloor, and the adhesive
and the finished floor each as separate layers. Calculate those separately, and then take
the average of the assemblies.

During your design, research potential low or non-emitting finishes and furniture for the
project. The design team and contractor will be responsible for specifying what to buy
and gathering the necessary material safety data sheets, test reports, or third party
certificates to document compliance. During construction review, select products to
make sure they meet the requirements, and ensure that any substituted products comply
as well. Review the products to make sure they meet the 90% or 100% category
thresholds for option 1. For any wet applied products they must meet the 90% emissions
criteria as well as the 100% VOC criteria. This includes interior paints and coatings, or
adhesives and sealants applied onsite.
If there is a standard in your local jurisdiction that has been adopted that is more
restrictive than the LEED standard then you are allowed to use that standard. Project
teams will need to demonstrate why its more restrictive. An example is carpeting in

3rd Party Certification

USGBC provides a Low-Emitting Materials Third Party Certification table that lists
acceptable certifications for the LEED v4 EQ Credit Low-Emitting Materials. This list
will be updated often to add programs as they become eligible. Note that the LEED v4
credit also requires reporting on TVOC levels. The programs deemed acceptable may
already include this information - if they do not, project teams must request this
additional information.
Collaborative for
High Performance
Schools (CHPS)

BIFMA level (if
7.6.1 and/or 7.6.2
were achieved)

SCS Indoor
ULEF label or
CARB Exempt


Greenguard Gold

SCS Indoor


All manufacturers data stating VOC content must adhere to the guidelines in CDPH SM
V1.12010, Section 8. Laboratory testing verifying emissions claims must be accredited
under ISO/IEC 17025 for the test methods they use.

When you are calculating for low-emitting materials, USGBC provides a tool that project
teams can download. Use the Low-Emitting Materials Calculator to track and document
purchases offline. The calculator includes VOC content limits from reference standards.
Use the summary tab in the calculator to complete the form in LEED Online.
The calculator covers both options for achieving the credit. If the products that you are
using meet the standards, they can be listed in the spreadsheet. If the product goes over
the standard or allowable limits, you can do a budget calculation method where you
evaluate the assembly of the products and hopefully parts of the assembly will be low
enough to meet the overall budget requirements.

IEQ Credit 3 | Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan

The intent of this credit is to promote the well-being of construction workers and building
occupants by minimizing indoor air quality problems associated with construction and
Credit requirements apply only to the construction phase. The general contractor
implements an IAQ plan that complies with the SMACNA guidelines. The SMACNA
guidelines apply to a number of areas, and applying them depends on the specifics of the

For your implementation, the first step is to create the IAQ management plan before
construction. Contractors and field personnel need to be educated about the plan and
how to implement the plan.
SMACNA guidelines address indoor air quality in 5 major areas:
HVAC protection
Source control
Pathway interruption
HVAC protection implies keeping new ductwork free form dust until first use. When
ductwork is delivered to the site, seal the ends and protect from contaminants prior to

install and use. This means using plastic to cover the ductwork so it does not collect dust
Source control addresses keeping high VOC materials out of the building in the first
place. If there are materials with VOCs, the plan must address how the VOCs are to be
controlled. This could be anything from sealing paint cans when not in use, or specifying
no-VOC paint. The precise directive depends on what the project reauires.
Pathway interruption is ensuring that contaminants don't spread into occupied or finished
areas. If cutting or sanding occur in a certain area, consider blocking it off from other
areas to prevent spreading dust or debris everywhere. Projects can isolate areas and
prevent occupied areas from being contaminated by:
Ventilating using outside air

Providing temporary barriers between work areas and non-work areas

Depressurizing the work area to contain dust and odors

Projects must think about housekeeping, such as how much you sweep and how much
you clean up. Ideally, it occurs daily to prevent accidents as well as accumulation of
Scheduling considers practical space issues related to deliveries as well as potential
exposure to indoor air contamination. Conduct high pollution activities during off hours
such as weekends or evenings. For instance if you're going to be spray painting, that is a
task that should be done at the end of day so workers dont need to be exposed to
lingering smells. This keeps the paint vapors from being inhaled by the building
In addition to SMACNA guidelines, LEED adds the following three requirements.
Protecting absorptive materials from moisture damage. Moisture infiltration during
construction can lead to very dangerous conditions during occupancy. This strategy
prevents mold. Pay close attention to storing materials inside the building before it is
enclosed and weatherproof. Sealing in mold will cost you a lot more than replacing
water-damaged materials.
If you plan to operate air handlers during construction, replace the filters often, because
they will get clogged up sooner than under normal operating conditions. The key here is
using MERV 8 filtration media (or F5 or higher) during construction. If part of the
building is occupied, and part under construction, MERV 8 filtration media would be on
the return air ducts. The air leaving the site is filtered to not send construction dust to
other areas of the building. All of these filters must be replaced prior to occupancy.
ASHRAE 52.2 addresses the filtration media in depth.


Finally, prohibit smoking inside the building and 25 feet (7.5 meters) from building
entrances once the building is enclosed. This speaks to the contractors working in the
building. Regardless if it doesnt have a roof, the ETS can penetrate into materials and off
gas while the building is occupied.

For healthcare projects, especially renovations where part of the building remains
occupied, there are enhanced requirements to protect occupants from construction
disturbance. First, engage the owner, design, and contractor in an infection control risk
evaluation. Next, create an environmental quality management plan (EQMP). It must
addresses moisture, particulates, VOCs, outdoor emissions, tobacco, noise and vibration,
and infection control. If sound levels exceed 85 dB, contractors must wear ear protection.
Maintain consistent circulation paths and reduce equipment idling time.

IEQ Credit 4 | Indoor Air Quality Assessment

The intent of this credit is to establish better quality indoor air in the building after
construction and before occupancy. This credit is designed to verify that air is clean
before people regularly occupy the building.
The window of time between construction and occupancy is very slim, so there are two
options that can be done in either two hours or two weeks.
Option 1 flush-out can earn one point.
Option 2 air testing can earn two points.

The first option is a flush out. The goal is to introduce 14,000 cubic feet of 100%
outdoor air per square foot (4,267,140 liters per second) of floor area. The idea is that the
building interior contains lingering contaminants from construction activities and
material off gassing, which is dramatically reduced after two weeks of installation, and
this practice flushes out the contaminants. The strategy uses fresh outside air, and
pushes it through the building while maintaining temperature and humidity as noted: at
least 60F (15C) and no higher than 80F (27C) and relative humidity no higher than
60%. This is the general approach.
Knowing that people often want to move in and don't want to sit with their building
flushing out for two weeks, the second path for option one allows the spaces to be
occupied after flushing out with 3,500 cubic feet per square foot (1,066,260 liters) of air.
Once a quarter of the flush out is done, people can occupy the building. LEED requires a
minimum rate of 0.3 cubic feet per minute per square foot (or 1.5 liters per second per

square meter) of outside air throughout the day until a total of 14,000 CFM per square
foot has been reached. When doing a flush out when the building is occupied, the flush
out must begin at least 3 hours prior to occupancy and continue during occupancy.
The key numbers to remember are 14,000 CFM per square foot prior to occupancy for
path 1, and 3,500 for path 2, continuing up to 14,000 while an occupied flush out occurs.
In both paths, the internal temperature must be at least 60F (15C), no higher than 80F
(27C) and relative humidity no higher than 60%.

Air Testing
The second option is air testing. From a practical standpoint, testing is quick and easy,
but requires special equipment. You call an IAQ tester and he or she is going to come in,
sit in your site for about four hours, and they are going to check that the air doesnt
exceed maximum concentrations of the listed contaminants. This is done prior to
occupancy after interior finishes are installed. The test needs to be conducted during
normal occupied hours while the ventilation system is running at the minimum outdoor
air flow rate throughout the test.
Testing may sound easier, but its harder to obtain acceptable results. Moreover, if the
test results fail, then a flush out of that space is going to be needed prior to re-testing.
Project teams will need to determine where the testing locations in the building are going
to be, typically those areas with the least ventilation and highest concentration of VOCs
the worst case scenario.
At least one test per floor must be completed, and at least one location per ventilation
system for each occupied space type. Testing locations occur in the breathing zone,
between 3 and 6 feet (900 and 1,800 millimeters) above the floor. Once the testing is
complete an IAQ report is generated for documentation.
Look carefully at the contaminants listed below, as they are related to other credits. For
instance, formaldehyde is related to the composite wood credit threshold in low emitting










PM10:50micrograms/m ; 20micrograms/m
















This credit cannot be documented until ALL construction work, punch-list items, and
final cleaning have been completed. Finalize all cleaning, and balance and test the
HVAC system. Commissioning can occur during the flushout but only if the
commissioning activities dont introduce contaminants in the building.
MERV 13 (F7) or better filters should be installed prior to a flush out if the project is
pursuing enhanced indoor air quality strategies.
Projects may have a harder time scheduling Option 1, depending on how the contracts are
setup. The mechanical engineer can generate a preliminary estimate for the flush-out
duration before the construction schedule is set. Many contractors dont want the building
owner setting foot in the building until the keys are handed over. Its hard to install all
the furniture and furnishings required for the flush-out when the contractor or insurance
company wont let the stuff be moved in because of liability. In that case, consider the
occupied flush-out.

How do you calculate how much air is needed? You must know the square feet of the
building area, and the required metric of 14,000 cf/sf.
Lets look at an example of a building that is a 60,000 square foot office. For a nonphased flush-out multiply 60,000 by 14,000 which comes out to 840,000,000 cubic feet
of air needed before occupancy.
Now, how long before the building can be occupied? You need to know how much air
the air handler is capable of moving. In this case, lets assume yrou mechanical design
engineer let you know that the system is capable of pumping 20,000 cubic feet per


840,000,000 cubic feet divided by 20,000 cubic feet per minute equals 42,000 minutes.
That comes out to 29.1 days of flush-out before the occupants can move in. A typical
building flushout takes twenty to thirty days. Thats a long time for a building to be idle
which is why a phased flushout would most likely occur. Some teams would rather
pursue air quality testing because its even faster to complete. The duration can depend
on the region the building is located in if the region is humid or cold.

IEQ Credit 5 | Thermal Comfort

The intent of this credit is to promote occupants productivity, comfort, and well-being
by designing for high quality thermal comfort and providing occupant controls.
Projects have to meet the requirements for both thermal comfort design and thermal
comfort control. For the design of the system there are two options.
Option 1 is ASHRAE 55-2010
Option 2 is ISO and CEN standards

Referenced Standards
For option 1, design the HVAC system to meet ASHRAE 55-2010. Thermal comfort is
defined by ASHRAE 55-2010 demonstrated by curves of target factors. The
measurement includes air temperature, radiant temperature, air speed, humidity and
personal factors such as clothing and activity.
Projects that have natatoriums (typically schools or health clubs) must demonstrate
compliance with Typical Natatorium Design Conditions in ASHRAE Handbook.
Its important to know the six comfort factors according to ASHRAE 55.
Understand that peoples activity (metabolic rate) and clothing impact thermal comfort as
much as obvious factors like air temperature, thermal radiation, air speed, and humidity.
Imagine a worker in a naturally ventilated warehouse that is manually moving boxes
around on a hot summer day. The person has different thermal needs than an office
worker in a wool suit. Those are all things that you want to anticipate in the design.
For option 2, youre designing the system to the ISO 7730:2005, Ergonomics of the
Thermal Environment or the CEN Standard EN 15251:2007, Indoor Environmental Input
Parameters for Design and Assessment of Energy Performance of Buildings. CEN
standards are intended for use in international projects.

50% Individual Thermal Controls

Thermal comfort controls are required to serve at least 50% of building occupants, as
well 100% of all multi-occupant spaces. If the building has natural or mixed mode


ventilation that includes operable windows, the operable windows count as an individual
A question you may have is How would you give thermal comfort controls to 50 percent
of the occupants? Projects can put that many thermostats around, and its easy to
control zones like that, but sometimes that strategy necessitates too many thermostats and
too many zones for economic balance. Generally, this is done through under floor air
distribution. Occupants can have more or less air directed to their stations. In addition,
radiant panels or plug in humidifiers also meet credit requirements. The control can
adjust any comfort parameter, not just temperature or air speed, although those are
common practices.

The comfort of occupants can be impacted by something as simple as the orientation of
the building. Evaluate the building orientation and solar heat gain. An occupant sitting
in the sun all day will probably be much warmer than a person in the shade all day. Start
with operable blinds to help balance energy efficiency as well as occupant comfort.
If operable windows are used to provide control, you must evaluate site specific
conditions, such as wind, sound, and odors. If you provide an operable window but the
window is 30 feet from a busy street, the comfort problem is solved but now there is a
noise issue. If the building is downwind from a landfill or a paper mill, odors can come
in through the windows. You see that there is more to it than just installing a window
that opens.
Some controls and systems to consider are
Individual thermostat controls

Individual control of radiant panels

Radiant heating

Natural ventilation actuators

Ceiling fans

Under-floor air distribution systems

IEQ Credit 6 | Interior Lighting

The intent is to promote occupants productivity, comfort, and well-being by providing
high-quality lighting. Most buildings are over illuminated. They dont take into account
available daylight or sunlight, and they illuminate spaces that are vacant. Projects end up
with a lot of fixtures that just waste energy. Automated lighting controls not only save


energy, but helps people be more productive and comfortable. Lighting systems should
be studied at the same time as thermal comfort.

There are two options for this credit, each worth one point.
Option 1 Lighting control
Option 2 Lighting quality

90% Individual Lighting Controls

For Option 1, 90 percent of the building occupants must have task lighting, and the
building must have three-way lighting controls for all shared multi-occupant spaces.
Lighting controls are the primary way to save energy on lighting. First by reducing
operating hours in other words switching the lights off. Light control also saves energy
by reducing the wattage of the lights while they are on. Dimming lights saves energy for
instance. Secondly, lighting control also reduces cooling levels. When you reduce light
in a space you put out less heat in that space, therefore you dont need to cool the space
as much. The rule of thumb is for every three watts you save on lighting load you save
about one watt on the cooling load.
Also when you control artificial lighting, you also look at controlling the natural daylight
entering though windows and manage the sunlight to make sure it is not a source of solar
heat gain and glare. Lighting control strategies help to maximize the effectiveness of

Lighting Levels
An upgraded requirement in LEED v4 is that the individual lighting controls must have at
least 3 lighting levels on, off, and a mid-level. So no more on-off switches only. What
they are getting at is allowing each occupant to be able to dim-their personal lighting to
their own preferences. In these spaces they want to make sure that you dont necessarily
always want to turn on every light, maybe you only need 2 of the 4 lights on.
The midlevel must be between 30 to 70 percent of the maximum illumination level.
Occupants that have personal control of their lighting, meaning the ability to select
different light levels for the task they are working on, maintain their autonomy and
efficiency throughout the day, whereas occupants that dont have personal control have
lower productivity. Other studies have shown that people that have control of their lights
are more satisfied with their jobs, and are less likely to leave.

Lighting Quality
For option 2 lighting quality, projects must meet four of the following strategies:


For lighting system strategies, recessed fixtures have to all be glare-free recessed
luminaires in regularly occupied spaces

The entire project must have a CRI of greater than 80, except for special uses

For lamp strategies, 75 percent of the connected load must have a lamp life
greater than 24,000 hours

For indirect luminaires only, less than 25 percent of the connected load can be
direct-only in regularly occupied spaces. Again - lighting everything up with the
same two by four, plugging in, and reflect from the ceiling

For finish strategies for the walls, ceilings, floors, or furniture, reflectance levels
should be approximately 80 percent on the ceiling, 50 percent on walls and 20
percent on floors.

If furniture is included in the scope, the average surface reflectance must be 45%
for work surfaces and 50% for movable partitions.

For illuminance strategies, for at least 75 percent of regularly occupied floor area,
ceilings or walls should have a 1 to 10 threshold to achieve occupant comfort

The last few are the reflective values of the walls, ceiling, floors, as well as the work
surfaces. It's not enough now to just look at the types of lighting that we're including, but
the actual reflection values of the finishes that were putting on the furnishings. Were
not just looking at the lighting fixtures or bulbs, but the systems furniture and the finishes
of the space.

Start by having the design team consider the owner and occupants needs for lighting
controls. The energy model and engineers can define optimum design parameters. Be
sure to include things like automatic sensors for turning off the lights when they arent
needed in unoccupied rooms.
For lighting quality, from the list of eight strategies, pick four to implement on the
project. The first two strategies are more technical, but they are pretty easy given general
practices. One of the strategies is that 75% of your connected load has to have a lamp
life greater than 24,000 hours. Lamp life is fairly easy to get. For a linear florescent
lamp thats not much of a problem. When you look at a lamp life, it usually has a life
given for 12 hour starts, or 3 hour starts. LEED is only looking at the 3-hour startup. For
LED lights it means looking at the rated life information which is available for most


The other point of the strategy is a color rendering index (CRI) greater than 80. In
general practice an 80 threshold is not that hard. A CRI of 80 makes the lighting look
For the lighting system choices projects can choose either recessed or indirect. For
recessed lighting you are trying to light the space well and not have any uncomfortable
space. The fixtures need to have a certain threshold for brightness. For a lighting
designer this is called luminance and you are looking for a luminance of less than 2,500
per meter squared. LEED does allow for some exceptions.
Only 25% of the lighting can be direct, so you will need to work with a lighting designer
in your space to figure that out. This may be the toughest requirement, based on
conventional design, but it will have significant positive impacts for your occupants.
The last couple of quality strategies have to do with the finishes of the spaces. High
reflectance on your finishes make the spaces feel brighter, and they are more uniform.
Reflection off the surfaces always helps make things feel brighter, and you get more bang
for your buck. Since it is a weighted average and 75% of the regularly occupied floor
area has to meet the requirements, the project can still have accent walls.
The last strategy has to do with luminance. This is how much light is on the plane of the
surface. If you can't meet the other strategies outright, because you have a little bit more
direct light or you don't have that recess option, this is the option to consider. Run the
calculations and see how it meets the criteria. To meet those criteria you have to pay
attention to the surface reluctance of the surfaces and the values.
If you do the illuminance strategies, you are required to meet the finished strategies
which means there are your four strategies for one point. When you light your ceilings
and your walls you're going to compare the ceilings or walls to the values of your
surfaces. You're going to need calculation software to do this. We are just looking for a 1
to 10 average ratio. Again, you pick if you want to compare your ceilings to your work
surface or if you want to compare your walls to the work surface.

For the calculations figure out what percent of workstations have individual controls, as a
percentage of all of the workstations. Individual workstation is the term LEED uses for
private offices and cubes. Bear in mind that term workstation doesnt mean a desk.
Remember the individual task lighting and the shared occupant space lighting needs at
least 3 lighting levels.


Rating System Adaptations

Retail projects only have one option. For at least 90% of individual occupant spaces in
office and administrative areas provide lighting controls. In sales areas provide dimming
controls. It makes sense for this different requirement because with a retail project the
retailer is going to want to have bright displays for products most of the time.
For hospitality projects, guest rooms are assumed to have adequate lighting and arent
included in the credit calculations.
For healthcare projects, provide 90% of patients lighting controls from their beds.

IEQ Credit 7 | Daylight

The intent of this credit is to connect building occupants with the outdoors, reinforce
circadian rhythms, and reduce the use of electrical lighting by introducing daylight into
the space.
Its going to be very difficult on your project to get the maximum points available in
LEED without any type of lighting control or daylight harvesting. If you are shooting for
LEED Gold or LEED Platinum, you definitely have to look at reduced artificial lighting.
Not because of the points available in this credit, because what you save in lighting costs
from daylight or lighting control, you save in cooling load, which also helps with overall
building management.

The biggest problem with daylighting is glare control, so the first requirement is to
provide manual or automatic (with manual override) glare-control devices for all
regularly occupied spaces. LEED is concerned that designers would just leave windows
without any glare control, any window shades or any exterior louvers or anything like
that. In this case, LEED asks you to bring in light, but bring it in a thoughtful way.
Consider reflecting the light off of louvers or bringing it in through sun tubes as opposed
to just straight through the windows.

There are 3 options for this credit:
Option 1: Spatial Daylight Autonomy (2 to 3 points, 1 to 2 points for Healthcare)
Option 2: Illuminance Calculations (1 to 2 points)
Option 3: Measurement (2 to 3 points, 1 to 2 points for Healthcare)


Spatial Daylight Autonomy

The first option is a computer simulation. Well cover the daylighting terms here, but
keep in mind this is something that project teams should coordinate with a lighting
designer or experienced architect.
The credit awards the most points for a sophisticated and dynamic metric called spatial
daylight autonomy, or sDAthe percentage of the work plane that is above 300 lux
(28 footcandles) at least 50% of the time during occupied hours over the course of a
whole year. Because this metric alone might encourage overglazing, the credit also
requires glare simulations (in the form of annual sunlight exposure, or ASE) as a
The concept of "daylight autonomy" means designing a space such that it maximizes the
amount of useful daylight, thereby minimizing the need for electric light. In mathematical
terms, daylight autonomy is the percentage of annual work hours during which all, or
part, of the lighting needs can be met through daylighting alone.
By understanding the way daylight autonomy is measured and implemented, architects
and lighting designers can use shading and lighting control strategies that work together
to create greater daylight autonomy while emphasizing aesthetics, maximizing owner
investment, and minimizing energy use in their buildings.
The success of a building's daylight design can be evaluated using daylight autonomy
metrics. Each metric has a slightly different method of performance evaluation, but they
all are used to quantify either the daylight harvesting potential, glare mitigation, or both.
Three metrics that are particularly useful will be addressed.
Spatial Daylight Autonomy (sDA) is the percentage of floor space where the required
light level can be met completely with daylight for 50% of work hours. Based on the idea
that more light is better, this metric indicates quantity of daylight available. A higher sDA
yields greater autonomy from electric lighting.
Annual Sunlight Exposure (aSE) is the percentage of work hours during which the light
level from direct sun alone exceeds a predefined threshold (often 100 fc). This metric
indicates quality of light related to direct sun glare, the worst type of glare. It does not,
however, address issues related to potential glare from bright sky and reflections.
Daylight Autonomy max (DAmax) is the percentage of work hours that the light level
exceeds 10 times the required light level (often 300 fc). This metric is another indicator
of quality, this time related to all types of glare.
Only dynamic fenestration, such as automated shading solutions, will improve the latter
two daylight autonomy metrics that evaluate quantity and quality of daylight. No passive


systems can do this. For example, changing the tint on a window or adding overhangs
and light shelves will reduce glare, but these methods will also reduce available daylight.
These strategies can improve the aSE and DAmax metrics but do not improve the
quantity of daylight penetration in the space characterized by sDA. Increasing window
size will improve daylight availability but also increases the potential for glare and
therefore only improves the sDA metric.
For this option demonstrate through annual computer simulations that 300 lux are
achieved for 50% of the hours between 8am and 6pm local time for a full calendar year.
Basically, if you are going to do this simulation you have to show that the project is
bringing in 300 watts of daylight for the regularly occupied floor.
When you are measuring or modeling, you have to measure two times during the year. In
the past you could measure at certain times to get an ideal situation, but now you are
given two time periods during the year to measure. You are also taking into
consideration the climate the annual sunlight exposure and spatial daylight. In its basic
form, the annual sunlight exposure is a measurement of area that exceeds 1,000 watts of
direct sunlight, for more than 250 hours throughout the year. This evaluates glare. Your
project has to be below 10% of the area that meets this template. Thats across all

Illuminance Calculations
Option 2 is also a computer simulation, using illuminance calculations. This simulation
is modeling at 9am and 3pm on the equinox. There is a bit of a difference here but its
still based on the time of year data. A daylighting consultant will determine the
simulation inputs, including the exterior building geometry, site plan, floor and furniture
plan, interior finishes, glazing, and local climate data. This data will be input into an
illuminance simulation to determine the illuminance values for all regularly occupied
floor areas and to verify the project does not exceed the credit requirement values. It is
more simplified than option 1 and yields fewer points.

With Option 3 you can do a physical measurement where you are measuring the daylight
illuminance levels in the space at a certain time of year, and then four months later take
the measurements again. By doing this, you can prove the project is bringing enough
daylight into the space. The lighting designer will determine where the measurements
will be taken, and then use a lighting measure in the actual space to record the data. The
IES lighting handbook provides more information about light meters.


Daylight Modeling for Ideal Results

Many of the challenges already outlined can be overcome with a detailed daylighting
analysis or daylight modeling. Daylighting analysis is an essential component of any
attempt to incorporate natural lighting into a design. It is used as a way to predict
available daylight, and as a result the lighting energy used in a space or an entire
building. A daylighting analysis or model is best developed before a design is
implemented based on assumptions about local climate conditions and building
operations rather than actual data. A daylighting analysis will take into consideration
factors such as light levels in different locations; the effects of various features such as
overhangs, glazing types and placements, space configurations, ceiling heights, and
window treatments; as well as schedules for use of the space.
The goal of such an analysis is to establish the optimal combination of fixtures, features,
and architectural design elements across multiple points during the day, week, or month
in order to produce the maximum uniform daylight (measured in design lux levels) with
minimum negative heat transfer for two-thirds of the daytime. To accomplish this task,
designers will use either physical modeling or computer modeling software.

Building Orientation
Would you rather have your office window facing North, South, East, or West? What
about your bedroom window?
Perhaps one of the most important factors in achieving effective daylighting results is
building orientation. We already know that the sun tracks from east to west in the sky,
which impacts how much sunlight glazing receives depending on their location within the
building. As a result, building orientation must be considered early on in order to achieve
effective daylight design results.
To start, for buildings constructed in the northern hemisphere, the orientation should be
along the east-west axis if at all possible. This will ensure glazing receives as much
daylight exposure as possible along the north and south faces of the building. Next, its
important to locate those spaces which will get the most use and can benefit the greatest
from daylighting so that their windows face either south or north, especially if side
lighting will be a large part of the design rather than top lighting.
If budget is a concern, a single story building will be more affordable in terms of
daylighting designs. Its always more expensive to install systems such as atriums,
courtyards, and advanced optical lighting systems. Though buildings with fewer floors
require more land, they allow for the maximum use of side lights and roof monitors
without complex and expensive systems for bringing daylight deep into the building.


Account for Shading from Landscaping and Adjacent Buildings

Neighboring buildings and landscape features can also either help or hinder your daylight
harvesting efforts. For instance, if adjacent buildings are taller and/or positioned in such a
way as to create shade, daylight results will be substantially lower. The same is true for
large trees and other landscaping features. Its therefore important to consider the overall
site layout including next door sites to avoid unintentional shading.
That said, strategic use of landscape designs and shade from adjacent buildings can
benefit a daylight scheme if they provide shade during summer months but (because of
the angle of the sun throughout the year) permit more daylight penetration during winter
months. Careful consideration of the suns orientation from season to season is extremely
important when contemplating the impacts of these neighboring structures and features.

Account for Reflectance from Adjacent Surfaces

How light is reflected off of surfaces external to a building will have an impact on the
effectiveness of a daylighting design. Too much reflectance will result in unwanted glare;
not enough will diminish the potential to reduce reliance on electric lighting. Therefore,
any daylight design should take the adjacent surfaces into consideration.

Technology and Trends

We mentioned thinking about things like glare control or heat gain, building in things like
atriums and skylights, and using shallow floor plates. Thats what they ask that you
design so light comes in well. If you look at buildings designed 120 years ago, everybody
was smart about this design because there werent light switches on the wall, and
everyone was taking advantage of daylight. Weve gotten away from that because its
been so easy to put a light here or there.

Once the construction project is complete and all hammers and nails have been put away,
its important to test and measure the results of a daylighting design. Often referred to as
a post-occupancy analysis, this step involves evaluating the combination of physical
designs and human interaction with them in order to tweak the system with modifications
to the physical features and/or changes in human behavior. Normally this type of analysis
involves measuring light levels at various times of the day and different times of the year.
A good method for accomplishing a post-occupancy analysis is to go through a formal
project commissioning, which is a systematic method for ensuring all of the daylighting
systems perform as expected both individually and collectively. These systems are
measured against the contract, design intent, and operational requirements. Going
through this step helps to guarantee that quality work is done on your project, that all


systems are calibrated properly, and often provides an opportunity for the installers to
orient building occupants on the use of the daylighting systems.
A typical model of limited complexity will take anywhere from two to three weeks once
your analyst has all the required information. This includes floor plans, site plans, roof
plan with elevations and sections, plus information about the kinds of materials,
fenestration visual transmittance, surrounding buildings, site conditions, location and the
structures intended use.

Case Study
From a visible, tangible aspect, the most sustainable feature the LEED certified HKS
headquarters in Dallas, Texas has is an LED lighting system thats fully integrated with a
window shade system. It is a complete daylight autonomy system. There are daylight
sensors and occupancy sensors. The conference rooms are set with vacancy sensors, so
you have to physically turn on light if you want light.
HKS did a lot of computer studies for their site. The energy modeler looked at glare
issues and daylighting issues. The existing building had a lot of single pane glass, which
was a big concern in Texas in the summer. There was also concern about having a lot of
glass on the lower level. Originally the plan had a lot of workstations on the lower level,
and the glare would have hit the workstations, as well as those on the upper levels. The
energy study made the team realize having shades on all four sides of the building would
be necessary. The energy study influenced the design decisions by showing it wasnt so
much the direct sunlight that would cause the glare, but the sunlight bouncing off the
adjacent buildings around the project site.
The daylight harvesting is gradual and built into four segments for the room, where
automated shades are built into the daylighting system. The shades and daylighting
system are all controlled by an iPad app from Lutron. The app allows manual changes to
the lights and shades. Sensors on the windows monitor the daylight and cloudiness.
Wireless sensors dropped down from the ceiling talk to the system and dim the lights
throughout the day. When someone walks in the office in the morning all of the lights
are off. The occupancy sensors kick everything on.
One of HKS impressive energy achievements is reducing the lighting power density
down to 0.6 watts per square foot. The hard work to get this number came from smart
lighting design and using all LED lighting about 95% LED through the entire project.
However the lighting runs at about 75% of that because the employees said they could
work with less light. Each desk has task lighting with built in sensors. When the light
doesnt sense any motion it turns itself off, further saving energy.


IEQ Credit 8 | Quality Views

This credit can earn one point. The intent is to give building occupants a connection to
the natural outdoor environment by providing quality views. Where daylighting is getting
light in, you get views looking out.

75% Direct Line of Sight

The requirement is to achieve a direct line of sight to the outdoors via vision glazing for
75% of all regularly occupied floor area.
Your view glazing in the contributing area must provide a clear image of the exterior, not
obstructed by frits, fibers, patterned glazing, or added tints that distort color balance.
In addition, direct line of sight also means not obstructed by furniture, doors, or
partitions. Site lines can be drawn through interior glazing, such as glass partitions.

Quality of Views
On top of that quantity requirement, 75% of views must meet at least 2 of the following
quality requirement:
Multiple lines of sight to vision glazing in different directions at least 90 degrees
Views that include at least two of the following: (1) flora, fauna, or sky; (2)
movement; and (3) objects at least 25 feet from the exterior of the glazing
Unobstructed views located within the distance of three times the head height of
the vision glazing. What that means is if you have a window that is seven feet
tall, you have to have views from at least 21 feet inside the building to the
outdoors. Unobstructed horizontal distances equal to three times the head height
of windows.
Views with a view factor of 3 or greater, as defined in the standard Windows
and Offices; A Study of Office Worker Performance and the Indoor

Interior Design
Identify sight lines from regularly occupied space to exterior views. As weve seen in the
definitions, this means areas with direct line of site to the perimeter of the buildings
glazing - basically windows or transparent parts of the building walls. Teams must
include full height partitions and other fixed construction items in their drawings, and any
items that are in the building before it is furnished. Teams must identify all regularly
occupied rooms or areas and determine the total floor area in square feet or square


Then teams should use a floor plan and construct sight lines for each window or glazing
and determine what areas have direct lines-of-sight to the outdoors.
Remember that movable furniture and partitions may be included in this credit, but are
not required.

For healthcare projects inpatient units must meet the view requirements. And the
building floor plates need to be arranged in a particular way to support views to both staff
and patients.
For warehouses the requirements need only be met by the office portion of the building.

IEQ Prerequisite Schools | Minimum Acoustic Performance

Schools is the only rating system that requires acoustical performance as a prerequisite.
In k-12 schools, there is a direct correlation between how quiet a room is, and how good
test scores are. Its that simple.
The prerequisites and credits in LEED are considered minimum good practice for
acoustics, according to acoustical consultants and experts in learning environments.
Green building teams and occupant groups may choose to go beyond these credits to
create better sound quality and noise control based on the use of spaces and functional
The prerequisite is based on three parameters: HVAC background noise, exterior noise,
and reverberation time. For the scope of this prerequisite, only look at typical classroom
spaces. Natatoriums, auditoriums, performance spaces, and special education classrooms
are exempt because they all have unique acoustic requirements.

Referenced Standards
Among the reference documents most valuable for design is the 2011 ASHRAE
Handbook HVAC Application, which covers sound and vibration control precepts as
well as reference noise criteria (NC) and room criteria (RC) in various types of interior
spaces. Best practices can also be found in ANSI Standard S12.602010 and AHRI
Standard 8852008; or a local equivalent for projects outside the U.S.

Background Noise
HVAC systems may only have a maximum of 40 decibels in classrooms and learning
areas. Designers can analyze sound pressure levels from HVAC equipment. Other


equipment, like plumbing, electrical, and lighting systems are exempt. Field testing must
be done after construction and before occupancy.

Exterior Noise
High-noise sites are defined as having a peak-hour noise level of 60 dB. Projects at least
one-half mile (800 meters) from any significant noise source (e.g., aircraft overflights,
highways, trains, industry) are exempt. Otherwise, project teams should design acoustic
treatments and other measures to minimize noise intrusion from exterior sources. In
addition, design classrooms and other core learning spaces to control sound transmission
between spaces.

Reverberation Time
Reverberation time is a measure of how long a sound continues to reflect off surfaces
after the source has stopped emitting the sound. In a school environment, a short
reverberation time improves understanding of speech and removes unnecessary barriers
to learning. The design strategy to reduce reverberation time is to install sound absorptive
finishes on the walls, ceilings, and floors.
Reverberation time is basically a function of room volume or size divided by the
absorption of the surfaces and construction assemblies. The bigger the volume, the longer
the reverberation time; the better the absorption of surfaces, the shorter the reverberation
time. A large concert hall with wood wall panels and a concrete floor will have long
reverberation time results, while a small office with carpet and a suspended acoustical
ceiling will have reverberation times on the shorter end of the range.
Short reverberation times (RT) of 1 second or less are better for spaces requiring high
levels of speech intelligibility, such as classrooms. In concert halls and theaters, it is the
opposite: Long RT times add resonance and increase perceived loudness in the spaces.
RTs of 1.5 seconds or greater are typical in these performance spaces.
There are two different sets of referenced standards and requirements for reverberation
time based on the size of the room.
Path 1 is for small rooms less than 20,000 cubic feet (566 cubic meters).
Path 2 is for large rooms over or equal to 20,000 cubic feet (566 cubic meter).
Path 1 contains two options. Option 1 is a prescriptive path. Project teams design the
total surface area of acoustic wall panels, ceiling finishes, and other sound-absorbent
finishes to meet or exceeds the total ceiling area of the room. The goal is to specify
materials with a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of 0.70 or higher. Compliance can
be met by providing 100% acoustical ceiling tiles, exempting the surface area of diffusers
and lights.


Path 1: option 2 is to confirm through calculations that rooms are designed to achieve
reverberation time guidelines stated ANSI Standard S12.60-2010.
Path 2 requires calculations demonstrating achievement of recommended reverberation
times for classrooms and core learning spaces described in the NRC-CNRC Construction
Technology Update No. 51, Acoustical Design of Rooms for Speech.

Program Design Strategies

The school concept and classroom layout also impact acoustics, and while there are many
novel teaching approaches, not all are good for speech intelligibility. Open-plan
classrooms can improve student-teacher interaction but they also impede proper
acoustical design. Some open classrooms use space dividers, which can improve visual
privacy and concentration but are poor acoustical isolators. Schools with hard-surface
walls and resilient floors cause echoes and reverberation, which limit speech
understanding and only get worse when the teacher raises his or her voice.
Consult with an expert or the ANSI standard. The key is to specify products that reduce
sound transmission. Architects are quite good at this. Be able to identify the materials
that will help you qualify for these reverberation times and acoustical performance
requirements. These decisions could reach to the building envelop to improve the
thermal insulation.
One of the least costly and fastest ways to achieve proper classroom acoustics is by using
sound-absorbing lay-in ceiling tiles (NRC of 0.70 or better) and a low-pile carpet, which
limits noise created by students. Furniture and bookcases can cut back wall echoes.
Larger lecture halls with theater-style seating benefit from absorptive fabric panels,
acoustical tiles and plasters on the walls; the ceiling can be used as a hard, reflective
surface to project the teachers voice to the back of the hall.

IEQ Credit 9 | Acoustic Performance

For too long, green buildings sacrificed acoustic quality for other benefits like open space
planning, daylight, and efficient HVAC design. The intent of this credit is to provide
guidelines for all building types to enhance occupants comfort, productivity, and
communications through acoustic design. Building upon the School prerequisite, the
principles of good classroom acoustics are also relevant to meeting rooms, conference
rooms, and auditoriums for business and especially healthcare facilities.


Project teams will look at each occupant space to address the needs of the users, and what
privacy or sound requirements are needed. There are four performance areas which must
be evaluated for this credit:
HVAC background noise
Sound isolation
Reverberation time
Sound reinforcement and masking

Background Noise
Permissible HVAC background noise is defined in the 2011 HVAC Application
ASHRAE Handbook, chapter 48, Noise and Vibration Control. Consider strategies like
locating noise generating equipment over corridors rather than conference rooms. In
addition, calculate and measure sound pressure levels per AHRI Standard 885-2008, or a
local equivalent. In drawings, highlight sound transmission paths and identify
adjacencies for sound isolation.

Sound Isolation
For sound isolation, meet the composite sound transmission class (STC) ratings listed.
Sound isolation can be achieved through published manufacturers data, calculating the
values for the assemblies, or measuring the STC rating for all assemblies. When using
published data select wall and door assemblies that meet the requirements.
For the calculations, identify the STC ratings for all the assemblies during the design
phase to make sure the averages comply with the requirements. Calculations allow
choosing materials where some may have higher or lower STC ratings, as long as they
average out. If measurements are done, they must occur after substantial completion.
Measure the noise isolation class for all assemblies.

Sound Reinforcement and Masking

For all large conference rooms and auditoriums seating more than 50 persons, evaluate
whether sound reinforcement and AV playback capabilities are needed. Exterior windows
must have an STC rating of at least 35, unless outdoor and indoor noise levels can be
verified to justify a lower rating.
For projects that use masking systems, the design levels must not exceed 48 dBA. Ensure
that loudspeaker coverage provides uniformity of plus or minus 2dBA and that speech
spectra are effectively masked.
For school projects, HVAC background noise must be reduced to 35 decibels.
Design classrooms and other core learning spaces to meet the sound transmission class
(STC) requirements of ANSI S12.602010 Part 1, or a local equivalent.

Reverberation Time
Projects must meet the time requirement table in the reference guide. Room type and
application organize spaces such as office teleconference versus laboratory testing.

Rating System Adaptation

There is an adaptation for healthcare projects, where acoustics play an important role.
There are two options for the goal of either speech privacy or material selection. The
LEED requirements are adapted from the 2010 FGI Guidelines for Design and
Construction of Health Care Facilities.

Key Terms
Ashrae 62.1
Chartered Institution Of Building Services Engineers (Cibse)
Active Ventilation
Passive Ventilation
Mixed-Mode Natural Ventilation
Entryway Systems
Cross Contamination
Merv 13
Densely Occupied
Greenguard Certified
Scs Indoor Advantage
Collaborative For High Performance Schools (Chps)
Bifma Level (If 7.6.1 And/Or 7.6.2 Were Achieved)
Tpc List Carb Ulef Label Or Carb Exempt
Greenguard Gold
Scs Indoor Advantage
Ashrae 52.2
Flush Out
Ashrae 55
Lamp Life
Color Rendering Index (Cri)
Spatial Daylight Autonomy (Sda)


Work Plane
Daylight Autonomy
Annual Sunlight Exposure (Ase)
Background Noise
Reverberation Time
Sound Transmission Class (Stc)


Chapter 9 - Innovation

Innovation is a flexible category used to award points for performance and creativity. The
category is flexible because the points in this section are not necessarily earmarked for
specific items completed or designed, there is total user control. The Innovation credit
category has 2 credits:
LEED Accredited Professional

Three Approaches
Option 1 is called Innovation, and can earn 1 point. This option rewards projects for
achieving significant, measurable environmental performance using a strategy not
addressed in the LEED green building rating system. You can think of this as outsidethe-box thinking. The goal is to invent an idea that isnt part of LEED, but has a
measurable environmental impact.
Option 2 is to achieve one of the pilot credits from USGBCs pilot credit library. This
option can earn one point. Look at for current pilot credits, as they change
Option 3 is Additional Strategies. Additional strategies allow project teams to earn 1 to 3
points for Innovation, defined in Option 1, 1 to 3 points for Pilot credits, and 1 to 2 points
for Exemplary performance. Project teams can use any combination of innovation, pilot,
and exemplary performance strategies.
Exemplary performance is when a project meets the exemplary performance threshold in
a credit. The exemplary performance point is typically earned for achieving double the
credit requirements or the next incremental percentage threshold.

The first option innovation is where you can use your creativity. Think about your
project, your project situation, where its situated, your project team, the project owner,
and what the unique conditions are. What are the environmental issues that exist outside
of the LEED rating system? The LEED rating system cannot cover every green building
idea or be revised to cover every new technology so the system allows for innovative
performance. Innovation is used to describe new and unique ways of exceeding green
building or operating goals in a significant and, most importantly, measurable way that is
not covered in the LEED system.

Innovative strategies must meet three criteria:

The strategy must demonstrate a quantifiable environmental performance benefit

The strategy must be applied comprehensively (i.e. wherever possible on the

project). For example, one project used a snow melting system to eliminate the
use of chemicals to melt snow. Using the snow melting system on 10% of the
walkways and chemicals on the remaining 90% would not be considered
comprehensive. The snow melting system would need to be used for 100% of
the walkways.

The strategy must be a superior design choice compared to standard building


The requirements for compliance include defining what the threshold of achievement is
and proposing submittals to demonstrate how those requirements are met. When
proposing how an Innovation credit is going to be achieved, project teams must describe
the design strategy and approaches for implementing those strategies. Look at the
structure of an existing LEED credit to design your own.

Borrowing Credits
Innovation points can also be earned by achieving selected credits from other LEED
rating systems, as long as the credit isnt already part of the projects rating system. For
example implementing Indoor Water Efficiency credit from one of the ID+C rating
systems isnt innovative, since the BD+C rating systems already have that credit.
Implementing the Design for Flexibility option from the Interiors Life-Cycle Impact
Reduction credit of the ID+C rating system might be an option.

Pilot Credits
The Pilot Credit Library facilitates the introduction of new credits to the LEED rating
systems. The process allows projects to test more innovative credits that haven't been
through the complete drafting and balloting process.
It is developed as a component of USGBC's existing process of ongoing credit research
and evaluations. Pilot credits are great for learning opportunities. Pilot credits provide
focused, real-world credits which create a professional and experiential feedback
opportunity for the volunteers who serve as LEED credit authors. Pilot testing allows one
to make informed decisions about the technical merit and feasibility of LEED ideas and
helps promote the development of smarter and more effective LEED strategies.
It is a crucial step in recognizing whether the ideas are appropriate to be integrated into
LEED in the future or not. If, after certain evaluations, the LEED pilot credit is deemed
ineffective, it can either be modified or completely removed.


All registered projects may apply for a pilot credit. There are individual credit documents
which will determine if the credit is available for the project types.
To apply for a LEED pilot credit, project teams can register at the USGBC website.
Project teams can register for multiple pilot credits. For an effective registration, be sure
to have your project ID, project name, rating system, project type, and project
administrator's information.
Pilot credits are part of the Innovation credit were talking about here. The pilot credit
uses the IN credit template when applying for the credit in LEED-Online. This template
and the documentation must be uploaded to LEED Online for review.
Pilot credits in the Innovation section are worth one point each. Project teams can earn up
to the maximum allowable number of points available in the Innovation credit. If the
project points are already used for other innovation strategies, only the remaining IN
credits will be available for pilot credit use.

Case Study
Before we leave the topic of Pilot Credits, lets look at and example - the Ergonomics
Strategy pilot credit. Ergonomics is something most people have heard about.
The requirements of this pilot credit are to identify the activities and building functions
which can benefit from its application in ergonomics by selecting proper ergonomic
furnishings and equipment, and providing ergonomics education. Consult current
ergonomics standards and guidelines that are relevant to the tasks that will be performed
in the building. The requirements list several referenced standards.
Before designing the interior such as the lighting, thermal environment, office layout,
individual workstation and design, workstation and equipment, consult and analyze
occupant needs first. Review potential design options with occupants.
Analyze occupant needs through the following criteria:
User characteristics such as age, size, weight, shape, gender, and

Tasks performed in terms of its importance and priority of tasks, and the
frequency of the duration.

Equipment materials used along with the storage requirements.

Demonstrate that the key principles were incorporated in the interior design which
promotes occupant well-being in terms of health, performance, and satisfaction.


Provide ergonomics education and training to all users when installing furniture and

Exemplary Performance
Performance above and beyond the LEED requirements is rated exemplary. An
example of exemplary performance is to meet the next incremental step of the
requirements. The exemplary performance point is typically earned for achieving double
the credit requirements or the next incremental percentage threshold.
If a credit requires 20% or 30% for points, achieve 40% for exemplary. If a credit
requires 50%, the next threshold is likely 95%, or 100%.

The most important part of successfully achieving the Innovation credit is planning early.
As early as the pre-design phase any team member can start thinking about how
exemplary performance can be achieved, or what new technologies are available that
might be beneficial for an innovation or pilot credit strategy.
Project teams should confirm early on the eligibility for an Innovation credit. A note on
the basic criteria - projects must exude a significantly better standard than the standard
sustainable design practices. This is outside but inside the box in regards to designer
creativity. Ask yourself - what can we implement and execute to have building
performance benefit the occupants and the environment?

LEED Accredited Professional

This credit encourages the team integration required by a LEED project and to streamline
the application and certification process
At least one principal participant of the project team must be a LEED Accredited
Professional (AP) with a specialty appropriate for the project.

A LEED Green Associate does NOT count for this credit.

A LEED AP without specialty legacy LEED APs do not qualify for this

The LEED AP submitted for the credit must have an active credential at the time
of the certification review.

Principal participant is defined as a person who is working on all aspects and

contributing to the total project.

A landscaper who is a LEED AP and shows up at the very end of construction to plant a
few trees is NOT the spirit of this credit though some projects in the past get away with
this approach just to earn this point.
This has to be one of the easiest points to earn on a project. On a LEED v4 project you
can almost guarantee there is a team member that has the appropriate LEED AP with
specialty on the project.

Specialty Designation
With LEED v4 the LEED AP credit requirements changed to require the LEED AP have
the specialty be appropriate for the LEED rating system being used for the project. A
New Construction project requires a LEED AP with a BD+C specialty to earn the LEED
AP credit.

The LEED AP will help streamline the process, so its a good idea to have them on the
project anyway. Engage the LEED AP to participate during the certification application
process, and/or hire a LEED AP consultant for project support.
The LEED AP should:
Participate in the LEED application and certification process

Be knowledgeable about green building principles and practices

Be familiar with LEED requirements, resources, and processes

Assist with the design and construction process

A LEED AP is not required for projects but the presence of a LEED AP will significantly
aid in any LEED project.
People new to LEED and the LEED rating system will often ask if having more LEED
APs will earn a project more points. This is not true. One and only one - point is
awarded for having a LEED AP on a project who is acting in the role of a principal


Chapter 10 Regional Priority

Because some environmental issues are unique to a locale, USGBC regional councils
have identified distinct environmental zones within their areas and allocated six credits to
encourage design teams to focus on regional priorities. A project that earns a Regional
Priority credit automatically earns one point in addition to any points awarded for that
credit. Up to four extra points can be earned in this way.
For the area that your project is located, 6 credits have been identified as regional
priorities, but only 4 of those points can be achieved. So while you have 6 to choose
from, a project can earn a maximum of 4 bonus points.
Regional priority credits and points are for normal LEED credits. They are not new
credits written for each region. Project teams dont have to do anything special to attempt
and earn them, such as getting exemplary performance. When a project is registered with
LEED online the projects location is used to automatically credit the project with any
regional priority credits that are earned, up to 4 points.

When a project is in the pre-design stage, identify what regional priority credits are
available for the project. By determining the regional priority credits early on it may help
guide the project team on what credits the project should pursue. This will help the project
team estimate how many points the team is targeting, and learn which credits USGBC
deems particularly important in your projects location.

What LEED credits are priorities in your area? Visit and try out the search
tool. Early on in your project design, review the credits that can earn your project extra
points and discuss if achieving these credits should be a project goal. Wherever your
project is located, check the website and find out which Regional Priority Credits have
been identified by the Regional Chapter as important credits.
Note that each rating system may have different RP credits associated with it.