My question concerns what is and is not a building for LEED purposes.

We are currently involved in a LEED NC project on the vast working campus of a regional utility. The building which we wish to certify is about 30,000 SF, with 1500 SF of regularly occupied space. The rest of the building is circulation and support spaces (storage, data, etc.) and 25,000 SF of industrial process, not conditioned. The energy model will only include this building.

Our LEED project boundary, established by the area within the same contract, is several acres, and it contains lots of man-made stuff and structures with no occupied or conditioned space: sludge basins, switch gear yard, pads with tank storage on them, generators, etc. We are approaching all of this as if it were paving or infrastructure: that is, these objects only enter into the LEED project in terms of their materials, as if they were paving or landscape elements.

There is an existing switchear building, within the boundary but not part of the project.

The big conundrum is a 49,000 SF, single story structure, mostly enclosed space, but, excepting the 800 SF electrical room, it is not conditioned. None of it, not even the electrical room, is regularly occupied. It is all industrial process area. There is a concrete slab deck over this industrial process area, with no waterproofing assembly. The electrical room is perched on top of this deck, like a little cabin. No part of this building is being accounted for in the energy model.

It is our intention to NOT consider this a building, but rather a facility area, like all of the other ancillary equipment pads, storage and process areas. Is there a flaw in this logic, such as that an enclosed space of this size must be considered a building, regardless of occupancy?

And if it is not a building, how do we treat that deck? Since the space under it isn’t conditioned, in terms of the Heat Island credits, is it site paving?

I am eager to hear if anyone has ever tried to certify a similar project.