We are carrying out LEED certification of an office building. We have an atrium (similar to an indoor courtyard) in our building, which is mainly used as a corridor (passage) between adjacent buildings, although this atrium also serves as the entry and exit points of the offices in our building). We also have in the atrium a number of food court restaurants and a few stores. According to ASHRAE standard, if we assume this atrium as shopping center, the default number of occupants results in a very high number (since it assumes it’s a full scale shopping center), which in turn results in higher ventilation, cooling and heating requirements. Is it possible to reduce the number of people in this atrium space and make it exempt from ASHRAE standard’s default occupancy figures for retail spaces (maybe with a justified explanation by the designers)? After all, it’s not a shopping center and, therefore, it should not be designed as a shopping center.

Thanks in advance!