Frank advice from LEED experts
LEED is changing all the time, and every project is unique. Even seasoned professionals can miss a critical detail and lose a credit or even a prerequisite at the last minute. Our expert advice guides our LEEDuser Premium members and saves you valuable time.
© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.
All rating systemsAll LEED projects must be designed for, constructed on, and operated on a permanent location on already existing land. LEED projects shall not consist of mobile structures, equipment, or vehicles. No building or space that is designed to move at any point in its lifetime may pursue LEED Certification.
New Construction, Core & Shell, Schools, Retail – New Construction, HealthcareLEED projects must include the new, ground-up design and construction, or major renovation, of at least one commercial, institutional, or high-rise residential building in its entirety.
Commercial Interiors, Retail – Commercial InteriorsThe LEED project scope must include a complete interior space distinct from other spaces within the same building with regards to at least one of the following characteristics: ownership, management, lease, or party wall separation.
Existing Buildings: O&MLEED projects must include at least one existing commercial, institutional, or high-rise residential building in its entirety. See all forum discussions about this credit »
What does it cost?
Cost estimates for this credit
On each BD+C v4 credit, LEEDuser offers the wisdom of a team of architects, engineers, cost estimators, and LEED experts with hundreds of LEED projects between then. They analyzed the sustainable design strategies associated with each LEED credit, but also to assign actual costs to those strategies.
Our tab contains overall cost guidance, notes on what “soft costs” to expect, and a strategy-by-strategy breakdown of what to consider and what it might cost, in percentage premiums, actual costs, or both.
This information is also available in a full PDF download in The Cost of LEED v4 report.Learn more about The Cost of LEED v4 »
Frequently asked questionsSee all forum discussions about this credit »
We are requesting a ruling on the application of NCv2.2 to a partial building renovation and addition project. We currently have two projects that require clarification. The first is an 11,542 sf urban office building. Project scope includes renovation of the 5,771 sf second floor and a new rooftop addition of 576 sf, for a total of 6347 sf. We intend to use this area consistently across all credit calculations. The rooftop addition will house meeting space available for city and community groups to showcase sustainable building techniques. Major components of the project include installation of a geothermal heating system throughout the building, a new green roof on 69% of the site, envelope improvements including skylights for daylighting, energy efficient lighting, and photovoltaic electricity generation. The second project is a private school of 130,687 sf. It includes renovation of 17,000 sf and an 11,000 sf addition, total project area is 28,000 sf. Strategies include replacing the current boiler system with a geothermal system, enhanced natural ventilation, photovoltaic panels and a possible wind turbine for alternative energy. A living machine will provide graywater reuse for greenhouse plants. A green roof for the addition and renovation areas, rainwater capture, and bioswales will help to improve stormwater management. For both projects, the owners intend to bring the remainder of the buildings up to LEED standards in the future, as funds become available. We feel that the Administrative CIR dated 6.1.04 relates to our question, and clarifies that LEED-NC is applicable to a partial building renovation. Their emphasis appears to be on the project scope rather than the building. We also feel that the Administrative CIR dated 2.24.05 is related, as are numerous Site Selection CIRs which reinforce the definition of project scope. These include CIRs dated 5.16.03, 2.6.03, and 8.2.01. In summary, we feel that LEED-NC is the best product for this project type for the following reasons: - LEED-NC acknowledges the extensive site, building envelope, and building systems emphasis of the projects, while LEED-CI does not. - Previous rulings indicate that LEED-NC has been used on numerous occasions for this project type, suggesting that applications should be based on the project scope, rather than the building. - The projects can achieve a higher rating under LEED-NC than LEED-CI. Since LEED for Interiors doesn\'t fit the projects, our alternative would be applying LEED-NC to just the additions. This would substantially reduce the overall LEED certifiable area, thereby reducing the environmental benefits by a considerable extent.
The applicant is requesting a ruling on whether or not LEED-NC applies to a partial building renovation project and an addition project. LEED for New Construction is intended to be used as a whole-building Rating System. All NC applications should include data for the entire building regardless of the scope of work. The one exception to this case is an addition. Additions may be certified independently, provided that the project title clearly identifies the project as an addition. Prior to the release of LEED for Commercial Interiors in 2004, many partial building projects were given the guidance to pursue NC because an appropriate Rating System did not exist. For your urban office building and school project, you have the following options: 1. LEED-NC (entire building) - To certify the entire building as NC, you would have to include data from the entire building in your application. For example, if pursuing EQc8, you would have to include the unrenovated spaces in your calculations. 2. LEED-NC (addition only) - To certify the addition as NC, you would include only data from the addition in your application. Therefore, the renovated and unrenovated spaces of the existing building would not be included and would not be certified. 3. LEED-CI - You can pursue CI for any portion of the building that can be clearly defined as an independent tenant space. Internationally applicable.UPDATE July 1, 2012: The applicability matrix for this LI was revised 7/1/12 to change NC v2009 & SCH v2009 from "not applicable" to "applicable". CI, CS, EB, Retail: CI, Retail: NC were changed from "undertermined" to "applicable". EBOM, ND, and Homes were changed from "undetermined" to "not applicable". For v3/2009 rating systems, projects using the LEED Building Design and Construction (BD+C) rating systems must either include or exclude the entire existing building (both renovated and un-renovated portions) when certifying an addition. They cannot just include renovated portions of the existing building with the addition in a single LEED BD+C project. Please note that vertically-attached additions must meet additional criteria to seek separate certification, as indicated in the LEED 2009 MPR Supplemental Guidance Applicable Internationally.
May parking garages pursue LEED certification?
Parking garages may not pursue LEED certification. More specifically, buildings that dedicate more than 75% of floor area (regardless of whether or not they are covered, enclosed, and/or conditioned) to the parking and circulation of motor vehicles are ineligible for LEED.UPDATE August 12th 2011: Parking garages for cars and trucks may not pursue LEED certification. More specifically, buildings that dedicate more than 75% of floor area all square footage, to the storage and circulation of cars and/or trucks are ineligible for LEED. Square footage should be considered even if it is not covered, enclosed, or conditioned. This LEED Interpretation does NOT apply to vehicle maintenance shops of any kind, airport hangers, border facilities, car salesrooms, transit centers, or other buildings that deal with cars and trucks in a capacity other than parking, OR with vehicles other than cars and trucks.UPDATE October 1, 2012:So as not to penalize projects for consolidating parking in garages, and to make this LEED Interpretation more consistently applicable across a broad spectrum of project types, please note that the specific limit on the amount of parking a project may include is hereby removed. Instead, the USGBC wishes to clarify that parking areas themselves are not now, nor have they ever been eligible for LEED-certification. It is the "gross floor area" of a project (which, by definition excludes parking areas) which is the basis for determining LEED certification fees and the focus of the certification analysis. Like other features of the site or location, parking, whether structured or at-grade, has an impact on certain credits, but it does not actually receive LEED certification.Applicable internationally.
Our project consists of a new hotel in its entirety. It is a stand-alone building with its own separate entrance, restrooms, lobby, and amenities. The owner is considering connecting the hotel to an existing casino, where smoking is allowed. The Supplemental Guidance to the LEED MPR specifically mentions casinos and EQp2, and indicates there will be no exceptions to this MPR to allow for partial building certification. We do not believe this applies to us since we are building a new stand-alone hotel in its entirety, not a partial building. EQp2 indicates that if there is a smoking room within a LEED building, it shall be operated under an average negative pressure of 5 Pa, etc. We are seeking clarification on whether or not it is acceptable to connect our new hotel to an existing building with smoking, and if yes, what rules need to be followed regarding the connection. If a connection to a smoking building is allowed, we would prohibit smoking in the existing building within 25 feet of the new hotel building entrance. If a connection to a smoking building is allowed, can it have an open area, in which we maintain a high air velocity to eliminate smoke migration between the two buildings? Or does it require doors between the two buildings and maintenance of 5 Pa of pressure similar to a smoking room?
The applicant would like to confirm if a new hotel building pursuing LEED Certification can be connected to an existing casino that allows smoking. The project is a stand-alone hotel with its own separate entrance. The hotel project does not fall under the "no exceptions" for projects with IEQp2 conflicts found in the LEED 2009 MPR Supplemental Guidance as it is not an attempt to certify only a portion of the building, nor is it attempting to exclude a portion of the building from the LEED project boundary.It is acceptable to provide a connection between the new hotel building and the existing casino building, provided the applicable criteria for certifying Attached Buildings separately, from pages 14-17 of the LEED 2009 MPR Supplemental Guidance, revision 2, dated September 2011, are met. In addition, measures must be taken to ensure that Environmental Tobacco Smoke from the existing casino building does not enter the new hotel building. There must be self-closing doors and impermeable deck-to-deck partitions separating the hotel building from the casino. Furthermore, there must be an exhaust system sufficient to create a negative pressure differential between the hotel building and the casino building (or connecting corridor) of at least an average of 5 Pascals (Pa) and a minimum of 1 Pa when the doors between the hotel building and the casino are closed. Performance of the required air pressure differentials must be verified by conducting 15 minutes of measurement with a minimum of one measurement every 10 seconds. Note that we are essentially requiring isolation of the connected casino space with mechanical exhaust as if it were a designated smoking room with respect to the LEED-certifying building. Please refer to Option 2, Case 1, of IEQp2 for additional details on how to properly isolate, and verify the performance of, a designated smoking room. Smoking must also be prohibited within the existing casino building within 25ft of the connection to the LEED building. All other requirements of IEQp2 must also be met for the new hotel building pursuing LEED Certification. Applicable Internationally.
May projects using LEED rating systems other than LEED for Core and Shel include incomplete spaces at the time of their final LEED certification application? Are we able to pursue LEED 2009 Core and Shell certification and exclude small, incomplete spaces from the LEED submittals?
Buildings and spaces that receive LEED certification should be completed by the time they have submitted for their final LEED certification review. Complete means that no further work is needed and the project is ready for occupancy. For LEED for Commercial Interiors and LEED for Retail: Commercial Interiors projects, spaces are considered incomplete if they do not include the furnishings, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E) intended for regular operations of the space. This LEED Interpretation clarifies the requirements of MPR #2: MUST BE A COMPLETE, PERMANENT BUILDING OR SPACE for projects using LEED 2009 rating systems (other than LEED for Core and Shell) that contain incomplete spaces at the time they are submitted for final certification review. No more than 40% of the certifying gross floor area of a LEED project may consist of incomplete space, unless the project is using the LEED for Core and Shell rating system. Additionally, projects that include incomplete spaces must utilize Core and Shell Appendix 1 in the LEED 2009 Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction to establish the occupant counts for incomplete spaces. For projects using a rating system other than LEED for Core and Shell that contain incomplete spaces the project team must provide the following supplemental documentation:Mandatory for all projects with incomplete spaces: All projects containing incomplete spaces must be accompanied by a Letter of Commitment, signed by the Owner, indicating that the remaining incomplete spaces will satisfy the requirements of each prerequisite and credit achieved by this project if and when completed by the Owner. This letter may cover the commitment in general terms and need not address each prerequisite or credit individually. It should be uploaded along with a brief narrative of the project\'s special circumstances in the Additional Details section of Project Information Form 1 in LEED Online v3. For credits and prerequisites with established baselines, such as WEp1 and EAp2 (performance path only), and the other credits dependent upon the calculations in these two prerequisites, the proposed (i.e. design) case must be held equivalent to the baseline for the incomplete spaces. For all other prerequisites and credits, project teams may either demonstrate that the present LEED project\'s scope of work is sufficient to satisfy the requirements for the incomplete space(s), or indicate that the Letter of Commitment ensures that future fit-outs by the LEED project Owner will comply with these requirements. Future fit-outs by Tenants (i.e., parties other than the Owner) are not bound by this Letter of Commitment. Additional requirement for projects with incomplete spaces that are intended for future fit-out by Tenants: In addition to the mandatory requirements described above, any project containing incomplete space(s) intended to be fit-out by Tenants (i.e. parties other than the Owner) must be accompanied by a set of non-binding Tenant Design and Construction Guidelines. Criteria for acceptable Tenant Design and Construction Guidelines can be found in the LEED 2009 Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction, in the section for LEED Core and Shell SS Credit 9: Tenant Design and Construction Guidelines. These guidelines must provide project-specific strategies and information concerning how the future fit-out of the space can fulfill the LEED for Commercial Interiors rating systems and how the future fit-out of the space can fulfill the requirements of prerequisites and credits achieved by the completed portions of the project. These guidelines should also be uploaded as documentation of Special Circumstances in the Additional Details section of Project Information Form 1 in LEED Online. No Innovation in Design points will be awarded for providing these guidelines.It is understood that in some cases the Owner will not be certain about whether the incomplete space(s) in the LEED project will be fit-out by the Owner or a Tenant. In the special circumstances narrative for Project Information Form 1, the project team must explain the basis for their assumptions about who will be fitting-out the incomplete space and then provide the appropriate supplemental documentation as per the requirements above. Applicable internationally.
Additional guidance for projects where up to 10% of the building gross square footage or 20,000 gsf (whichever is smaller) contains incomplete space.
LEED 2009 BD+C (except LEED Core & Shell 2009) and LEED 2009 ID+C
For the ease of documentation, project buildings where up to 10% of the building gross square footage or 20,000 gsf (whichever is smaller) contains incomplete space, will not be required to provide an Owner’s Letter of Commitment or Tenant Guidelines during the LEED certification submittal. These projects are required to comply with all other provisions outlined in this LEED Interpretation.
LEED 2009 Core & Shell
Incomplete space up to 10% of the building’s gross square footage or 20,000 gsf (whichever is smaller) is exempt from providing binding Tenant Sales and/or Lease Agreements for the purpose of demonstrating compliance with the following prerequisites and credits listed in LEED CS 2009 Appendix 4 Case C: EAp3 Fundamental refrigerant management, EAc4 Enhanced refrigerant management, IEQp1 Minimum indoor air quality performance, IEQc1 Outdoor air delivery monitoring, IEQc2 Increased ventilation, IEQc5 Indoor chemical and pollutant source control, IEQc6 Controllability of systems - thermal comfort, and IEQc7 Thermal comfort - design.
The project consists of an 82,000 sf horizontal distribution center/warehouse addition to a 69,000 sf existing distribution center/warehouse building. The addition will be physically distinct and will have its own unique address. All MEP systems will be separate from the existing building. The demising wall, or party wall, will be 2-hour rated and will have openings for forklift travel to move product between buildings. Openings will be limited to forklift travel and will have rapid open/closing doors on fusible link for fire separation. With minimal party wall openings, with doors that are designed to be normally closed, we assume this complies with the MPR for additions. Please advise.
The project team has inquired whether or not an addition to existing building can exclude the existing building from the LEED project boundary if they are separated by a party wall with minimal openings. \'Party wall\' is defined in the MPR Supplemental Guidance as "A wall without openings erected as a common support to structures on both sides." While the project\'s party wall does have openings this is acceptable as long as they are minimal and comply with local codes. Since the party wall openings are neither significant nor regularly used and the MEP systems are distinct, the project should be considered physically distinct. In addition, the project must comply with the rest of the MPR Supplemental Guidance for MPR #2 for when the project was registered, including having proper signage clearly indicating the LEED certified addition separate from the existing building and having a unique address or name. Applicable internationally.
The motherlode of cheat sheets
LEEDuser’s Documentation Toolkit is loaded with calculators to help assess credit compliance, tracking spreadsheets for materials, sample templates to help guide your narratives and LEED Online submissions, and examples of actual submissions from certified LEED projects for you to check your work against. To get your plaque, start with the right toolkit.
Get the inside scoop
Our editors have written a detailed analysis of nearly every LEED credit, and LEEDuser premium members get full access. We’ll tell you whether the credit is easy to accomplish or better left alone, and we provide insider tips on how to document it successfully.
© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.