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A Guide to the Key LEED BD&C v2009 Addenda - NC, CS, Schools

Here is a review of key LEED 2009 addenda to date. The following covers BD&C systems: NC, CS, and Schools.
February 16, 2011

Update! See our ongoing coverage of LEED Interpretations and addenda here.

Here is a review of key LEED addenda to date. The following covers BD&C systems: NC, CS, and Schools. The addenda mix important changes in with some pretty irrelevant edits such as taking out an extra period—we all knew it was extra to begin with, right? Here’s a summary of those important adjustments. Our LEEDuser pages and guidance reflect these changes. You may also want to check our review of key LEED Interpretations.

Through 2014

The July 2014 release contained nothing noteworthy.

Befitting the trend of LEED 2009 seeing less significant addenda over time, there weren't any earth-shattering addenda in the April 2014 release, either. Here are three Healthcare items:

  • Bonus! In Healthcare IEQc4, projects that comply with all five material groups are eligible for exemplary performance credit.
  • For WEc3 in Healthcare (and equivalent credit in Retail), correct metric conversion of commercial clothes washers 34 liters/cf/cycle to 1,200 liters/m3/cycle
  • Also in WEc3, a correction to the equipment performance requirements table for steam cookers.

Key January 2014 Addenda

Officially there were no addenda in January 2014 (and I've been told to expect none in the second quarter either), but there is a key change to the global alternative compliance paths that doesn't really fit anywhere else so I'll mention it here.

A revision was made to the Global Alternative Compliance Path supplement to LEED 2009 BD&C—to the Implementation section of the Reference Guide, not to the credit language. This revision provides more options for credit compliance in locations where product manufacturing data is not readily available. The guidance introduces new strategies to achieve the credit requirements by including more guidance related to in-place testing, lab testing, and using data from a previous project to achieve the credit. The guidance also includes an expanded list of resources for global teams to reference when pursuing these credits.

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Key October 2013 Addenda

I wouldn't really call any of these "key," but for the sake of thoroughness, USGBC published 17 addenda (now also being called "corrections") in October, #100001789-100001805, including:

  • Revised metric equivalencies
  • The addition of Option 3 in Retail NC, EAc5 Measurement and Verification
  • Updated Table 1. in Retail NC, EAc1 Optimize Energy Performance
  • Removed “two points” requirement in Healthcare, IEQc8.1

Key April 2013 Addenda

There were no addenda release for January 2013, and this release was small. There are a couple noteworthy items, however.

  • ITE option: The ITE study option was added for mixed-use projects in SSc4.4. Already in place for non-residential projects, this option allows projects that have no minimum local zoning requirements to meet the credit requirements by providing 25% fewer parking spaces than the applicable standard listed in the 2003 Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) “Parking Generation” study.
  • Development footprint redefined: The development footprint is the total area of the building footprint and area affected by development or by project site activity. Hardscape, access roads, parking lots, nonbuilding facilities, and the building itself are all included in the development footprint. It was previously defined as "The development footprint is the area affected by development or by project site activity. Hardscape, access roads, parking lots, nonbuilding facilities, and the building itself are all included in the development footprint." [emphasis added]

Key October 2012 Addenda

This addenda release has been very quiet, with LEED's technical staff and volunteers focused on the fifth draft of LEED v4.

  • The LEED Reference Guide had been self-contradictory about whether it was required to install furniture and furnishings prior to IAQ testing or flush-out for IEQc3.2. With the insertion of a single word ("optionally") USGBC has clarified that furniture and furnishing installation is optional in both cases. (Note, requirements for ID&C projects are different.)
  • Several glossary definitions were updated. None of these appear especially meaningful as far as affecting LEED requirements—rather, they simply provide clearer, more technically rigorous definitions. The affected terms (roll over for definitions) are: attendance boundary, brownfield, blackwater, baseline building performance, chain-of-custody, CFCs, heat island effect, post-consumer material, sealants, solar reflectance (SR), U-value, urea formaldehyde, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Key July 2012 Addenda

The main feature of the July 2012 addenda release was the integration of International Alternative Compliance Paths into the LEED credit language. While most of the changes involve recognition of non-U.S. standards, there are some broader changes such as scrapping of a single 500-mile limit for MRc5.

  •  SSc1: Non-U.S. equivalents to definitions of flood plains, prime agricultural lands, etc, are now recognized in the Site Selection credit language. In another change to this credit, the definition of what buildings are exempt from the parkland prohibitition are broadened somewhat, in a common-sense manner.
  •  SSp2, SSc3: Non-U.S. equivalents to definitions of brownfields, and site assessments, are recognized.
  •  SSc4.1: Bus rapid transit stations and commuter ferry terminals are recognized under Option 1, which was previously reserved for rail. (This change affects all projects, not just non-U.S. ones.) In a new Option 3 available only to international projects, proximity to ride-share stations can contribute  to the credit.
  • SSc6.1: Has been restructured with the previous language relabeled as Option 1: Design Storms, and a new Option 2: Percentile Rainfall Events being added. This new option doesn't appear to alter the intent or likely implenentation strategies for this credit—rather, it presents a new set of options for performing the necessary calculations and documentation.
  • WEc1Option to base calculations on the "the month with the highest irrigation demand."
  • EAp2/EAc1: Non-U.S. projects may use an alternative standard to ASHRAE Standard 90.1‐2007 if it is approved by USGBC as an equivalent standard using the process located at www.usgbc.org/leedisglobal
  • EAc6: Green Power no longer has to be Green-e certified, but the project must demonstrate equivalence with Green-e on the basis of: 1) current green power performance standards, and 2) independent, third‐party verification that those standards are being met by the green power supplier over time.
  • MRc5: The familiar 500-mile radius is now Option 1 of this credit. There is a new Option 2, borne out of the International ACPs but affecting all projects, in which miles that projects travel by sea, rail, or inland waterway count less than miles traveled over land. The 500 mile total travel distance can be calculated using a weighted average: (Distance by rail/3) + (Distance by inland waterway/2) + (Distance by sea/15) + (Distance by all other means) ≤ 500 miles.
  • IEQp1, IEQp2, IEQc1, IEQc2, IEQc3.1, IEQc4.3, IEQc5, IEQc6.2, IEQc7.1, IEQc9: For these IEQ credits, allowance has been given to alternative standars for ventilation effectiveness, air filtration, product emissions, etc. The intent and key requirements of the credits are unchanged, but non-U.S. projects will have more latitude in using locally relevant standards.

Key April 2012 Addenda

USGBC introduced very few addenda in April 2012, and those are not especially noteworthy. But here are a couple interesting ones.

  • Must use EAc1 modeling for EAc6: If an energy model was used to document compliance with EAc1, the data from the energy model must be used as the basis for determining the electricity consumption for EAc6.
  • "Autocontrol faucets" defined: Autocontrol faucets have automatic fixture sensors or metering controls.
  • Part-time students: Part-time students must be included in Schools SSc4.2 calculations.

Key November 2011 Addenda

This set of addenda is all about definitions.

  • "Previously developed" defined: Of particular relevance to SSc1, SSc2, and SSc5.1, previously developed has been given a more specific definition. You can hold your mouse over the words in the last sentence to see the full definition, but the upshot is that simple grading of a site, or historical or agicultural uses, no longer constitute development. It was never clear that they did, but the previous definition left that open.
  • Link to cleaner cars updated: This useful link has been updated for SSc4.3: California Air Resources Board, Cleaner Car Guide.
  • Schools SSc9 clarified: In case you were wondering, projects where no future development is planned are not eligible for this master planning credit.
  • WEp1/WEc3 calcs clarified: USGBC has offered additional guidance on key WEp1/WEc3 calcs, with special relevance to hospitality. "For the purposes of the credit calculations, assume that hotel guests use the fixtures and fittings in their room, employees use back of house and / or common areas, and transient guests use common area restrooms." And: "For hospitality projects, FTE and transient occupants are calculated per the typical methodology for the respective occupancy types. Hotel guests may be determined based on the number and size of units in the project. Generally, assume 1.5 occupants per guest room and multiply the resulting total by 60% (average hotel occupancy per AH&LA information) to determine the total number of hotel guests. Alternatively, occupants may be derived from actual historical occupancy numbers. Fixture use assumptions for hotel guests follow the fixture assumptions for residential occupants. Accordingly, lavatories located in guest rooms are considered to be private lavatories. Additionally, day use guests at the hotel should be included in the value for transient / visitor occupants. Per typical fixture use assumptions, this category of occupants assumes zero shower uses throughout the day. Example: 123-room hotelTotal Hotel Guests = 123*1.5 * 60%Total Hotel Guests = 111."
  • "Occupied" and "Nonoccupied" defined: USGBC has defined occupied spaces and nonoccupied spaces formally (roll over the words for definitions), as relevant to IEQc1, IEQc7.1, and IEQc7.2. Occupied space is the general category into which other "occupied" space types fall—see below.
  • "Densely occupied" definition reworded: The definition was changed from "Densely occupied space is an area" to ""Densely occupied spaces are areas..." Better wording, not a change in meaning.
  • "Multi-occupant" redefined: In this case, USGBC has replaced a more detailed definition of multi-occupant spaces, as relevant to IEQc6.1, with something more vague. Here is the old definition: "Conference rooms, classrooms and other indoor spaces used as a place of congregation for presentations, trainings, etc. Individuals using these spaces share the lighting and temperature controls and they should have, at a minimum, a separate zone with accessible thermostat and an air-flow control. Group multi-occupant spaces do not include open office plans that contain individual workstations."
  • "Individual occupant" redefined: With relevance to IEQc6.2, Individual occupant spaces have been broadened. The old definition: "In individual occupant spaces, occupants perform distinct tasks from one another. Such spaces may be contained within multi-occupant spaces and should be treated separately where possible. Individual occupant spaces may be regularly or non-regularly occupied."
  • "Nonregularly occupied" defined: As relevant to IEQc8.1 and IEQc8.2, previously nonregularly occupied space has been redefined with a focus on the concept rather than a list of examples. The old version: "Corridors, hallways, lobbies, break rooms, copy rooms, office supply closets, kitchens, restrooms, and stairwells." Now, the definition reads, "Non-regularly occupied spaces are spaces that occupants pass through, or spaces used in pursuit of focused activities for less than one hour per person per day (on average)."
  • "Regularly occupied" defined: Similarly, regularly occupied spaces have been defined as a more general concept rather than the older, office-centric definition: "Regularly occupied spaces are areas where workers are seated or standing as they work inside a building. In residential applications, these areas are all spaces except bathrooms, utility areas, and closets or other storage rooms. In schools, they are areas where students, teachers, or administrators are seated or standing as they work or study inside a building.
  • Learning spaces redefined: Of relevance to Schools IEQp3, core learning spaces and ancilliary learning spaces have been redefined. These definitions have been fleshed out a bit, so we have a better sense of the logic behind the definitions, and examples are given. For example, ancillary learning spaces were defined as "Spaces for informal learning. These spaces include, but are not limited to, corridors, cafeterias, gymnasia and indoor swimming pools." Now the definition (roll over the text) is more elaborate.
  • On-site renewables clarified: Qualifications for onsite renewables under EAc2 have been clarified with this language added to the Reference Guide: "To qualify as an eligible on-site system, the fuel source must meet one of the following conditions: the fuel source must be wholly contained/produced on-site; the project team must demonstrate full ownership of the fuel source, including ownership of all its environmental attributes; or, if the fuel source is not owned, and in cases where use of a substitute, non-renewable fuel is possible, projects must enter into a 2-year contract for purchase of the renewable fuel source, with an ongoing commitment to renew for a period of 10 years total."

Key August 2011 Addenda

This set of addenda are the slimmest set yet, probably because LEED 2009 has been out for a while now, and USGBC is now putting more resources into developing LEED 2012. In case there is a very specific change that is relevant to your project, here's a direct link to the BD&C changes from August only. The ones I found most notable are as follows.

  • Parking garages matter: The SSc5.1 site protection buffer zones have been clarified: "40 feet beyond the building perimeter and parking garages."
  • New equations: SSc7.1 and SSc7.2 have new equations that don't change the requirements, but that clarify how to deal with multiple roofs. Also, skylights are explicitly considered an appurtenance in these credits with new language being added.
  • (Don't) Leave the lights on: Requirements for automatic shutoffs of interior lights for SSc8 are clarified with the following language newly added: "Controls can be automatic sweep timers, occupancy sensors, or programmed master lighting control panels. The design can also include manual or occupancy based override capabilities that enable lights to be turned on after hours." The question of whether occupants can turn lights on after hours has come up before on the LEEDuser forum—this seems to answer definitively "yes."

Key May 2011 Addenda

  • Easier time for additions: For additions to existing buildings, only the water fixtures within the project scope must be counted for WEp1.  To earn points under WEc3, all fixtures necessary to meet the needs of the addition occupants must be included, even if they are located within the  existing building.
  • Relaxed EAc2/REC requirement: If you have onsite renewables and you are selling RECs from them, you couldn't get credit under EAc2 unless you bought twice that many RECs that met some other conditions as well. Now you only need to buy the same number of RECs (but they still have to meet a few conditions, basically making sure they are equivalent to what you're selling).
  • MR credit scope: Were you wondering if the recycled metal in that baby grand should count for the MR credits? Question answered: "Exclude artwork, interior plants, and musical instruments," according to the new addenda.
  • IEQc1 monitoring relaxed: The following footnote was removed from the IEQc1 credit language: "Monitoring CO2 monitoring is required in densely occupied spaces, in addition to outdoor air intake flow measurement."
  • Changes to IAQ testing under IEQc3.2: A few changes have been made here. One, testing must be done in accordance with one standard; project teams may not mix requirements from the EPA Compendium of Methods with ISO standards. Two, a formerly vague requirement on the number of sampling locations has now somewhat less vague: you must include the entire building and all representative situations. The calculation method for the number of sampling locations has also been modified slightly.
  • For Schools IEQc4.4: Wood and agrifiber products shall be treated as walls within the classroom scenario when determining compliance. Anyone know what this means? Do these products fall under both IEQc4.4 and IEQc4.6, or are they saying that if they are part of walls they are only in the IEQc4.6 scope? Update: see the comment below on this.
  • IEQc8.1 section replaced: USGBC made a full replacement of the IEQc8.1 credit language and Reference Guide information, leaving us to spot the differences. Partly, the information was just reorganized slightly, but there were some other differences. The minimum footcandle number for simulation or measurement is now 10, not 25. Also the instructions for Option 2, Prescriptive were revised a bit, but I didn't spot any key changes. Can you?
  • Also relevant to IEQc8, movable furniture has been defined: "Movable furniture and partitions are those that can be moved to provide access to the view by the user without the need for tools or assistance from special trades and facilities management."

Key February 2011 Addenda

  • New EP option for CS, SSc8. Under CS, SSc8: Light Pollution Reduction, projects can now earn Exemplary Performance by  require and enforce installing automatic lighting controls within 100% of the tenant space.
  • Detail on kitchen and lavatory sinks. Under WEp1, eligible fixtures have been further defined. "Kitchen sinks" includes all sinks in public or private buildings that are used with patterns and purposes similar to a sink in a residential kitchen; break room sinks would be included.
  • Commercial kitchen sinks are not included. Lavatory faucets refer to hand-washing sinks, regardless of location, but lab or healthcare sinks with regulated flow rates are excluded. Pot-filling sinks can be excluded.
  • Detail on WEc1 water. The following language was added to implementation technologies under WEc1: Water Efficient Landscaping. We're not sure what it means in practice—please give your thoughts below. "Additionally the credit can be met when landscape irrigation is provided by raw water (excluding naturally occurring surface bodies of water, streams, or rivers, and ground water) that would otherwise be treated specifically for nonpotable uses. Only ponds designed solely for the purposes of stormwater retention or detention can be used for this credit.
  • Limit on controller efficiency (CE). The measure used under WEc1 is vague and most people don't seem to use it, judging by our WEc1 forum, but it now has an outside limit. Gains from controller efficiency cannot exceed 30% in July.
  • CPG now more strenuous for small projects. Under EAp2, projects under 100,000 ft2 using the prescriptive Core Performance Guide weren't held to certain requirements; that is no longer the case.
  • Refrigerant management relaxed for small existing equipment. This piece has been added to EAp3, "Existing small HVAC units (defined as containing less than 0.5 pounds of refrigerant) and other equipment, such as standard refrigerators, small water coolers and any other equipment that contains less than 0.5 pounds of refrigerant, are not considered part of the base building system and are not subject to the requirements of this prerequisite."
  • Hybrid projects point scale specified. The Reference Guide already contained a note under EAc1 that existing buildings had a separate point scale. An addendum now clarifies the scale for buildings that combine new and old. (Detail under EAc1.)
  • MPR#6 as EAc5 option. Projects meeting Minimum Program Requirement #6 through energy reporting via Portfolio Manager now earn a point under a new EAc5 option for NC and Schools, or EAc5.1 for CS.
  • New EP option for CS under IEQc4. Core and Shell projects that require tenants to meet the IEQc4.1–4.4 requirements can now earn an Exemplary Performance point under IEQc4.
  • Desk fans allowed! It is now official: desk fans and other plug-in thermal comfort devices are allowed under IEQc6.2, as long as they are included in the design but not the baseline energy model in EAp2 and EAc1.

Key Addenda Released in November 2010 and Earlier

  • Units of measurement clarified. Units of measurement must be submitted in U.S. Standard units of measure to facilitate review by U.S. reviewers. Not every unit of measurement on every construction or facilities document must be translated, but all those relevant to LEED compliance must be converted.
  • Asbestos remediation under SSc3. Projects where asbestos has been remediated based on an acceptable standard (such as RCRA or NESHAPs) can earn SSc3: Brownfield Redevelopment. This is not a new development, but credit language allowing it is new.
  • New option under SSc4.4. SSc4.4: Alternative Transportation—Parking Capacity now has a 4th option for projects with no minimum local zoning requirements. They must provide 25% fewer parking spaces than the applicable standard listed in the 2003 Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) “Parking Generation” study. (See LEEDuser's guide to the ITE study.)
  • Land donation under SSc5.1. Now projects with few landscaping opportunities seeking SSc5.1: Site Development—Protect or Restore Habitat can choose to “donate offsite land in perpetuity, equal to 60% of the previously developed area (including building footprint), to a land trust within the same EPA Level III Ecoregion identified for the project site. The land trust must adhere to the Land Trust Alliance ‘Land Trist Standards and Practices’ 2004 Revision."
  • "Budget method" introduced under SSc5.1. A new "landscape budget method" (LEEDuser's term) has been added for this credit. This method could be very useful for teams that are close to meeting the buffer zone requirement, but having some difficulty. If a project is meeting 3 of 4 requirements but can't meet the fourth, it can do a calculation to demonstrate compliance.
  • Light pollution and flagpoles. Flagpole lighting is not exempt from SSc8: Light Pollution Reduction shielding requirements for exterior lighting. This was already understood by experienced project teams from CIRs, but now it's explicit.
  • Janitor sinks out. Water Efficiency credits WEp1 and WEc1 no longer include janitor sinks.
  • Showerheads standard raised. In the WEp1 table “UPC and IPC Standards for Plumbing Fixture Water Use” the EPA WaterSense Standard for showerheads has changed from 1.5-2.0b to 2.0b.
  • Private facilities defined. “Private or private use applies to plumbing fixtures in residences, apartments, and dormitories, to private (non-public) bathrooms in transient lodging facilities (hotels and motels), and to private bathrooms in hospitals and nursing facilities.”
  • Landscaping area clarified. Under calculations for WEc1: Water Efficient Landscaping, it has been clarified that any area being improved upon must be included in the landscaped area.
  • Schools process water. The requirements for the Schools credit WEc4: Process Water Use Reduction has been changed: “at least 4 process items” has been changed to “all appliances within at least 4 equipment types.”
  • EP for Green Power. Exemplary performance is now available to projects that purchase just 70% of their electricity from renewable sources under EAc6: Green Power—the threshold had mistakenly been set at 100% in the first edition of the Reference Guide.
  • Regional/recycled materials. For recycled materials qualifying under MRc4 also being applied to MRc5, it is “not necessary to track the origin of the raw material before it arrived at the point of extraction” which can include a “recycling facility, scrap yard, depository, stockpile,” etc. This addendum gives teams a fair amount of flexibility in setting the extraction location with recycled goods.
  • CoC under MRc7. Some clarification about CoC certification requirements has been offered “Entities that install an FSC-certified product on the project/building site” don’t require the certification so long as they “do not modify the product’s packaging or form except as is required for installation.” It is also noted that those who temporarily posses FSC-certified materials “should be careful not to mix or contaminate” them with non FSC-certified materials.
  • MRc7 calculations caveat. Under MRc7: Certified Wood products that are FSC Pure, FSC Mixed Credit, and those not FSC certified are valued at 100% of the product cost “unless the product is an assembly in which case only the new wood portion of the product counts for credit.” The new guidance for assemblies states: “to determine the value of the wood component(s), calculate the amount of new wood as a percentage of the total weight or volume and the amount of FSC certified wood as a percentage of the total weight or volume.”
  • Clarifications to IEQp1. For IEQp1 in NC, Schools, and CS you must meet the minimum requirements of Sections 4 through 7 of ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2007 and for mechanically ventilated spaces the systems must be designed using the ventilation rate procedure or the applicable local code, whichever is more stringent; for naturally ventilated spaces the buildings must comply with ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2007, Paragraph 5.1. For only CS mechanical ventilation systems installed during core and shell construction must be capable of meeting projected ventilation levels based on anticipated future tenant requirements.
  • Mineral-based flooring exempt. Under IEQc4.3: Low-Emitting Materials—Flooring Systems, mineral based finish flooring products such as tile, masonry, terrazzo, and cut stone qualify for the credit without IAQ testing, as long as they don't have integral organic-based coatings and sealants. This is good news for anyone who has been searching fruitlessly for good FloorScore-certified tile. However, associated site-applied adhesives, grouts, finishes and sealers must be compliant for a mineral-based or unfinished/untreated solid wood flooring system.
  • IEQc5 requirements eased up. In IEQc5: Indoor Chemical and Pollutant Source Control the MERV 13 requirement has been removed for return air circulation—it remains only for outdoor air intakes. Also, the vague hazardous chemical containment requirement has been removed.
  • Separate plumbing no longer waived. Under IEQc5 this vague sentence has been removed: “When local code does not require separate plumbing for the sink located within the segregated area for hazardous gasses or chemicals, the separate plumbing may be waived.”
  • Residential projects ineligible. Residential projects are not eligible for IEQc7.2: Thermal Comfort—Verification since they house occupants with a typically high degree of control over building systems.
  • Applicable spaces. Under the daylight requirements for IEQc8.1, the term "regularly occupied spaces" has been replaced by “applicable spaces.” We're not sure if this is significant—we have a question in to USGBC about it.
  • Pilot credits. A third path has been added to IDc1: Innovation in Design. The pilot credit library now offers a path, in which project teams try out a new LEED credit and can earn up to five points under IDc1 for NC and CS, and four for Schools. LEEDuser has a dedicated section for the pilot credit library on its site.

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January 20, 2014 - 5:30 pm

Tristan - Your comment above "and I've been told to expect none in the second quarter either)" seems unusual because my understanding from Theresa Backhus was that Addenda (now Corrections) were only to be posted in April and October (twice a year instead of quarterly). Can you check with your sources to confirm that if we miss April 2014, will no corrections be posted until October?

See Comment from Theresa Backhus under the January 2013 LEED Addenda and Interpretations Update: January 2013 - http://www.usgbc.org/articles/leed-addenda-and-interpretations-update-ja....

January 20, 2014 - 6:43 pm

That is what I was told by an associate at GBCI. I wasn't too surprised, as the pace of addenda on v2009 has slowed to a crawl already.

On the other hand, it seems like some v4 addenda would be expected by April. I will confirm this.

July 26, 2012 - 4:34 pm

Are LEED rules being followed? These changes since v2009 was issued sure don't feel like errors and corrections. It just feels like LEED is now treated as a living document.

"Substantive revisions to LEED may go through pilot testing but must undergo public comment and USGBC member ballot. Substantive revisions are considered anything other than simple errors and corrections to LEED."

"LEED Addenda - ...These are meant to clarify, correct, interpret and provide alternative language to aid in the implementation of LEED."

January 8, 2013 - 11:20 am

Hi Deon, or anyone else at USGBC.

Have you heard back from anyone yet about the SSc8 change? Or if the ACP's are intended for non-US projects?

October 1, 2012 - 2:18 pm

Hi Deon,

Have you heard back from anyone yet about the SSc8 change? Or if the ACP's are intended for International projects?

August 20, 2012 - 2:55 pm

Are you sure ACP's are not just for non-US projects?

Alternative Compliance Paths For Projects Outside the U.S. (ACPs)
As interest in the LEED rating system grew, the need to accommodate a growing number of international projects
became more apparent. In an effort to make achieving LEED certification more accessible to projects worldwide, the
U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has developed a series of Alternative Compliance Paths (ACPs) for projects
outside the U.S. These ACPs have been developed with guidance from international green building experts and
volunteers, and fully retain the integrity of LEED. The collective efforts of volunteers, subject matter experts, and USGBC staff resulted in the creation of ACPs for the LEED for New Construction, LEED for Core & Shell, LEED for
Schools, and for the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance rating systems. The ACPs – additional options - are substitute credit and prerequisite requirements that establish a new and different way to demonstrate compliance with the stated intent of a credit or prerequisite. Also, metric conversions for all current LEED
measurements are now available.
The credits for which Alternative Compliance Paths for Projects outside the U.S. (ACPs) are available are noted
throughout the rating system by the logo shown below.

"What is an Alternative Compliance Path?
An Alternative Compliance Path (ACP) is unique to the LEED rating system. It provides additional options or approaches to LEED credits that address unique project needs and advancements in science and technology. Alternative Compliance Paths allow LEED to be more flexible and applicable for projects and must be approved by the LEED Steering Committee."

I still say the Regional Materials revision from July 2012 is not based on an advancement in science and technology. It is also not addressing a unique project need.

August 20, 2012 - 11:23 am

Unfortunately I cannot speak to the SSc8 Addenda change as I oversee our international technical development but I will see if I can get someone at USGBC who can to reply.

August 20, 2012 - 11:16 am

I disagree with you but would still love to hear your opinion on the SSc8 item I mentioned.

August 20, 2012 - 11:13 am

Thank you for your thoughts Bill. The major difference between the EAc1 2-point mandate and the recently released MRc5 ACP is that, once approved by USGBC membership, the 2-point mandate was required by all LEED projects registering after the date of implementation. The MRc5 ACP is not required by any projects and provides a much more accurate way to acknowledge the difference in the environmental impacts resulting from different transportation methods.

Therefore, the ACP would fit the definition of LEED Addenda under the "provide alternative language to aid in the implementation of LEED" section you reference above in "Implementation & Maintenance of Current Version".

August 20, 2012 - 11:07 am

I concur with Bill.

Substantive changes were not changes like the new regional materials "radii equation" changes, or "applicable" versus "regularly occupied" spaces for daylighting and views.

For daylighting, the reason only regularly occupied spaces were addressed is that for LEED v2.0 a 25 footcandle limit had been set. The LEED IEQ Technical Advisory Group (TAG), I was vice-chair of, operated on rules from the steering committee that changes to a requirement, like 25 footcandles, would be deferred to the next version of LEED and a USGBC membership vote: a change greater than substantive.

The IEQ TAG, in team discussion, knew, well enough, that there were other space types that should be daylit in a building, such as atria. Daylighting values for these other types of spaces would not be the same as that for regularly occupied spaces. The minimum would be lower and maximum higher.

For of the people, those I have personally known, who have been on the LEED Steering Committee have never actually worked on a LEED project where they actually have to produce and defend the documentation during a review. The Steering Committee should have bounced many of these major changes, but they didn't seem to understand the impacts of what they were approving.

August 20, 2012 - 10:50 am

"LEED projects are required to use current addenda available at time of registration."

The above does not seem to apply to LEED Interpretations and updates to MPRs. Also, "recent" trends in energy efficiency. In the more than 13 years I have worked on LEED projects the rule was always been the rules in effect on the date of project registration. That has not been the case in the last year or so.

August 20, 2012 - 10:59 am

Hi Deon, Thanks for the reply.

The July 2012 change in Regional Materials allowing projects to claim much further distances than 500 miles by rail or sea does not fit any of the three addenda categories you listed.
1. It's not a correction.
2. Does not clarify a misunderstanding.
3. You seem to be trying to argue this is an ACP. It's not to address advancements in science and technology. It is also not addressing unique project needs when it is applied with a broad brush to all projects. (limiting to projects on islands not accessible by roads may be an understandable addenda)

This appears to be an effort to blur the line between Addenda and Updates. The document makes it very clear that these are different.

"Implementation & Maintenance of Current Version:
Implementation and Maintenance of the current version of LEED includes two primary types of activity:
1. LEED Addenda:
USGBC may issue periodic addenda to the LEED content. Addenda to LEED include both substantive and non-substantive changes to language. These are meant to clarify, correct, interpret and provide alternative language to aid in the implementation of LEED.
2. LEED Updates:
USGBC may issue periodic updates to LEED content. Updates include substantive changes to the rating system as part of the regular evolution of LEED and shall be done in accordance with the LEED balloting procedures."

The best example I can give of an Update is where v2.2 balloted the change to require a minimum of 2 points in EAc1.

I would love to get your opinion on all of the LEED addenda that have been issued in the past 3 years. I know they do not meet the requirement of addenda as described. A specific example I can think of right now is for SSc8 from November 2011. All projects are now required to use ASHRAE 90.1 addendum-i which lowers the Watts per square foot for lighting compliance. Then all online forms have been revised so that projects registered before that addenda date get pushed into using the new lower compliance wattage limits. They have to go out of their way and request an alternative compliance path to use the limits they should be allowed to use.

August 20, 2012 - 10:03 am

I'd like to make a few points of clarification about the July 2012 Addenda, specifically regarding the issue of what constitutes Addenda. According "Appendix 3: Changes" in the current Foundations of LEED (page 25 in particular & found at http://www.usgbc.org/ShowFile.aspx?DocumentID=6103):

"Addenda are changes to LEED that include both substantive and non-substantive changes. A request for addenda may come from USGBC staff, the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) or LEED committees and may be applied to the current version of LEED on a regular basis without following LEED balloting procedures. LEED projects are required to use current addenda available at time of registration.

Substantive Changes to LEED content include corrections, interpretations and alternative compliance paths that may substantively change the way a given requirement is achieved or meant to be achieved. All proposed substantive changes must be brought to the appropriate LEED committee for review and recommendation. Substantive changes will go into effect immediately, but will be subject to comment and ballot in the next available LEED ballot.

1. Corrections fix unintentional inaccuracies, errors and/or omissions in content.

2. LEED Interpretations define or expand upon existing content to provide clarity where a misunderstanding of language has occurred.

3. Alternative Compliance Paths (ACPs) provide additional options to content that address unique project needs and advancements in science and technology."

The July Addenda released fit the definition of ACPs and followed the process outlined above. These are considered substantive changes, but ACPs do not change what a project must do. Rather, they provide additional options and projects may choose the path that best fits their needs. This means that a project can go about pursuing certification without using any of the new language if they so wish, which is the difference between a revision requiring ballot and an ACP.

Additionally, these ACPs were brought to the LEED Steering Committee for approval after being reviewed by volunteers working on international LEED projects.

I hope this clears up how the ACPs fit into our continuous improvement to LEED.

July 27, 2012 - 11:13 am

Larry, we can only keep pointing the issues regarding LEED out on this forum.

I know from direct conversations with upper management at the USGBC/GBCI that process seems to operate on its own. This is very odd. Someone certainly has overall responsibility, and it is not the GBCI part of the process.

The people writing the rules seem to people actively working on LEED projects. While at the same time, having never documented a LEED credit themselves. That is my observation. This might explain "operates on it own." Multiple groups writing requirements. A separate group putting it all together without vetting the work.

Why this would exists I cannot figure out. Why is isn't corrected I cannot figure out.

July 27, 2012 - 1:13 am

We agree that USGBC has clearly blurred the definition/implementation with regard to Agenda and Updates. Be that as it may, USGBC, since LEED 2009, has been incapable of simple, effective messaging. By design, or otherwise, they communicate in ways where they can justify any decision or action. IMO, USGBC was ill-prepared for the rigors of LEED 2009 and needs to reconsider many of their policies and publications – prior to LEED v4. As such, the processes, almost in their entirety, appear haphazard and lacking of competent, professional oversight.

July 26, 2012 - 4:17 pm

Bill, I am quite familiar with the Foundations Document. The original version was written with a lot of input from Rob Watson. He was the primary author.

In my opinion, some of these changes are outside the scope of an of an addenda. When I was the vice-chair of the IEQ Technical Advisory Committee, the rules we played by were that some of these changes would automatically be deferred for consideration under the next version of LEED. That way the membership has the opportunity to provide comments.

Unfortunately, it looks like LEEDuser is the only place to question the changes and discuss what the changes actually mean.

I know the GBCI/USGBC do not like many of my comments here, but they need to understand that many long time LEED practitioners are asking for some control to be put back into the system.

July 25, 2012 - 6:06 pm

"Under the daylight requirements for IEQc8.1, the term "regularly occupied spaces" has been replaced by “applicable spaces.” We're not sure if this is significant—we have a question in to USGBC about it."

I am the person responsible for inventing "regularly occupied spaces" when I was the vice-chair of the EQ Technical Advisory Group (TAG).

The reason it was stated as occupied was to solve a reviewer problem created a term like "applicable" spaces. We were putting a control on the reviewers to not arbitrarily force space to be daylit if not required. And, to prevent projects from claiming daylit areas occupants could not functionally use.

The credit requirement was based on a footcandle level which was decided would allow the lights to be turned off, and where an occupant could do office work (read, write, etc.). So, obviously regularly occupied areas and no any other areas.

Applicable areas will take the clear line drawn and allow the reviewers to use "reviewer discretion" to force to add or exclude spaces from the documentation.

It is unfortunate to see the simple control we put into change to the problematic "applicable spaces."

July 25, 2012 - 5:54 pm

"Residential projects are not eligible for IEQc7.2: Thermal Comfort—Verification"

The USGBC needs to clarify this for mixed-use projects. Is this entirely banned for projects with any amount of residential certifying under LEED? Is there a percentage residential to other types of spaces that applies for EQc7.2 to be claimed?

July 25, 2012 - 5:48 pm

"the vague hazardous chemical containment requirement has been removed."

This is a layover from LEED v2.0. Rob Watson actually had a lot, if not everything, to do with this. I know this because I understand what is, or was, required. I documented this for the NRDC's Robert Redford Platinum Blond LEED project.

You were supposed to plumb sinks that might use hazardous chemicals in a way to prevent the chemicals from being dumped into the sewer lines without being treated first. We tried implementing into the Platinum Blond project's janitorial sink, just to be sure all the LEED requirements were met.

AND: "Separate plumbing no longer waived".

This is part of the above requirement. The two are in regards to the same issues.

July 25, 2012 - 5:38 pm

"For recycled materials qualifying under MRc4 also being applied to MRc5, it is “not necessary to track the origin of the raw material before it arrived at the point of extraction” which can include a “recycling facility, scrap yard, depository, stockpile,” etc."

This has indeed been the case for many years; at least for 9 years. I can no longer remember where I learned this. I have used this to help manufacturers properly claim the point-of-origin for recycled products used in their final products.

Maybe someone else can remember the original source and note how long this has been allowed to those who knew about this, but not those who did not.

July 26, 2012 - 4:29 pm

As I remove some rust from my memory, I recall that the a recycling center is a point of origin originated from a MR Technical Advisory Group (TAG) meeting minutes document. This was way back in time when a USGBC member was allowed to be a corresponding member of the TAGs. TAG corresponding members were done away with long ago.

July 25, 2012 - 5:32 pm

Water Efficiency credits WEp1 and WEc1 no longer include janitor sinks.

This has been required by reviewers in the past. For one of my projects, where the engineer completed the calculations without my involvement, we received the following comment in 2009:

"NOTE: In future applications, janitor's sinks should not be included in the credit calculations."

July 25, 2012 - 10:26 pm

"projects where no future development is planned are not eligible for this master planning credit."

I work on a lot of school projects. I am wondering what "is planned" actually means. My guess is, the Reference Guide addenda authors will add "commitment of funding" which is somehow binding. But, what happens if the funding is not secured later on?

July 25, 2012 - 5:08 pm

WEc1: Option to base calculations on the "the month with the highest irrigation demand.

The way the calculations for this credit work -- if you have a normal irrigation system, meaning one without reused stormwater capture -- it makes no difference which month is used. ETo appears on both side of the equation and disappears in the math.

The percentage reduction calculated will be same regardless, even if an Annual ETo is used, which is a documentation option allowed in the Reference Guide.

July 25, 2012 - 5:02 pm

In nearly all cases grouts used for ceramic tile installation are are cementitious and zero VOCs.

This is of course not the case for elastic grouts.

It does not make any sense why a product application with zero VOCs is required to be documented. What is the point?

July 25, 2012 - 4:58 pm

(Distance by rail/3) + (Distance by inland waterway/2) + (Distance by sea/15) + (Distance by all other means).

The sea distance converts to 7,500 miles. This is 30% of the circumference of the earth.

Is this transportation actual miles traveled? It will be difficult to get this data from shippers and suppliers.

Or, is this still a straight line calculation. What if the ship travels north and rail travels east, and a "truck" travels south?

Would each separate path be calculated and added together?

Unfortunately, these changes requires an addendum to the Reference Guide. Preferable a v3 book with tracked changes. Preferable provided free of charge to those that already own an earlier, out-dated, version.

July 25, 2012 - 11:55 am

Tristan, this service is greatly appreciated and yet another reason for sustainable professionals to support and promote LEEDuser!

July 25, 2012 - 11:45 am

An amazing number of changes. A greater deal of complexity.

This seems to be a USGBC response to the deferral of LEED v4. If addenda are now like this massive change there is less of a need for LEED v4 at all. Why bother with LEED v4 at all?

September 12, 2011 - 10:10 am

I asked GBCI about the changes to IEQc4.4 with your same questions, and the reponse was: The language in the addendum is meant for product manufacturers or project teams that are performing chamber testing for their products. It is meant to explain how to document compliance in the test, not how to document the credit for LEED.

August 29, 2011 - 3:43 pm


Is there going to be an update for the August addenda? I would appreciate it, thanks!

September 14, 2011 - 10:56 am

Thank you!

September 12, 2011 - 10:58 am

Lauren, the August 2011 addenda have been integrated into LEEDuser's credit language and guidance, but I haven't yet compiled this type of update. It was a pretty quiet release, though—not a lot of notable changes.

June 29, 2011 - 3:46 pm

Hi everyone, please note that we here at USGBC are going to be discussing the revisions to the Daylight section in our upcoming webinar:

Thank you for all of the feedback!

May 16, 2011 - 4:53 pm

Does anyone know how to apply an Addenda to a credit, if the Addenda was issued AFTER the project was registered? Do I simply write a narrative explaining that I have applied an Addenda? Any guidance would be appreciated. I am looking to apply the Addenda relaxing the requirement to filter both return and outside air with MERV 13 filters, to only requiring outside air be filtered with MERV 13. Thanks!

November 2, 2011 - 9:29 pm

Anya, if an addendum came out after your project was registered, you are not bound by it, unless you choose to be.

November 2, 2011 - 6:52 pm

Correction: November 2010 addendum cancelled out a previous CIR that allowed flag pole lighting.

November 2, 2011 - 6:51 pm

Alternately, if an addendum came out AFTER your project was registered, can you propose that your project should be exempt from that addednum? We have flag pole lighting for a project that was registered in Oct 2010, and the November 2011 addendum cancelled out a previous CIR that allowed flag pole lighting (for the American Flag).

May 20, 2011 - 11:42 am


Yes, that is what I had to do on a LEED for Schools project. Be explicit about the issue date of the addenda and include the exact language to make it easier for the reviewer. I found on my project that the LEED Reviewer was not familiar with the Addenda revision I was referencing. Gluck.

March 18, 2011 - 11:43 am


Great job pulling all this information together. I would like to add that the 2/2/11 Addenda states that for EAc5: Measurement & Verification that if you are pursue Option 3 in addition to either Option 1 or Option 2, then you are eligible for exemplary performance. So they are giving you a point if you register your project in ENERGY STAR's Portfolio Manager and share the project file with the USGBC master account.

I am on my 2nd and 3rd LEED projects using the 2009 rating system and it has been one roller coaster of a ride. I am happy to say though that I am seeing great progress being made every day.


July 25, 2012 - 1:31 pm

David, "Energy Star Portfolio Manager" is a program of the U.S. EPA.

July 25, 2012 - 12:29 pm

Is the Energy Star Portfolio Manager the same as the Enviornmental Protection Agency (EPA) portfolio manger process? In California, registering buildings under the EPA Portfolio Manager is mandatory (under certain circumstances) for private business owners.

March 28, 2011 - 8:47 pm

John, great item, thanks for noting it. As for the roller coaster ride, I hope you'll share your experiences and lessons learned on the forum here!

February 16, 2011 - 3:50 pm

Tristan-It is so helpful to have LEED User interpretation for these addenda. Incidentally, have errata now been combined into the quarterly addenda? Thanks again!

July 25, 2012 - 4:56 pm

"subject to the LEED rating system as it exists on the date you register."

I, and others, have found that the above, although it how LEED is supposed to work, is not what actually occurs in a review.

July 25, 2012 - 2:49 pm

Thank you. For projects registered after the addenda, will the changes be incorporated into the LEEDonline interface, i.e. will the credit forms themselves reflect the addenda that were incorporated before its registration date?

July 25, 2012 - 2:21 pm

Kacy, you are subject to the LEED rating system as it exists on the date you register. Any addenda published after that date are optional. Since some addenda, are beneficial for credit achievement, you may want to exercise that option at times.

July 25, 2012 - 2:16 pm

Thanks for the great summary of the changes. Are the addenda effective for all projects currently registered under the relevant LEED rating systems, or do they only apply to projects newly registered after the release of the addenda?

July 25, 2012 - 12:10 pm

Thanks Tristan and LEED User for this information. I especially appreciate the information on errata, addenda and their applicability to registered projects. I have taken over a few older LEED projects (LEED for Schools V 2.0 and LEED NC v2.2) that were on hold due to financing, and I will have to carefully investigate the addenda /errata for each as I work on these projects.

June 20, 2011 - 9:47 pm

Shillpa, yes I do—thanks for the correction, which I have made above.

June 20, 2011 - 8:37 pm


Under LEED NC, IEQ 8.1, do you mean that the minimum threshold is now changed to 10 and not 25?