- What are the advantages of using LEED for multifamily facilities?
- What issues are unique to multifamily projects?
- How many multifamily projects are registered and certified under LEED?
- How do multifamily facilities earn LEED certification?
- How does the latest version of LEED address the unique challenges of multifamily projects?
- How can multiple buildings and structures in a campus setting earn LEED certification?
- How does the LEED performance platform relate to multifamily?
- What are the various LEED resources available for multifamily projects?
- Where can I find more owner profiles and case studies on multifamily projects?
- Does USGBC offer any education for project teams wanting to learn more about multifamily facilities pursuing green building measures?
- Who can I contact for more information?
- Is there a document I can download and send to my team?
What are the advantages of using LEED for multifamily facilities?
LEED‐certified multifamily facilities are the triple bottom line in action; benefiting people, planet, and profit. LEED certification leads to healthier, more productive places, reduced stress on the environment, impressive savings through reduced utility costs, and enhanced building value.
LEED-certified homes enhance the health and well-being of their occupants by providing clean indoor air and incorporating safe building materials to ensure comfort and safety. They are designed to save critical resources and use less energy and water, and therefore, they can lower utility bills each month and provide other financial benefits.
What issues are unique to multifamily projects?
Unlike buildings that are not residential in nature, multifamily projects have occupants 24-7. Having full-time residents in a building introduces different demands on energy and water and unique health impacts. Since most occupants of multifamily buildings pay their own utility bills, achieving LEED certification for these buildings can help reduce the cost of living for occupants. The average certified LEED home uses 30% to 40% less electricity and saves more than 100 metric tons of CO2 emissions over its lifetime. Modest investments in energy-saving and other climate-friendly technologies can make homes and communities more healthful, comfortable, durable, energy-efficient, and environmentally responsible places to live.
Homeowners are just beginning to realize the link between their health and their homes. Hazardous household pollutants include carbon monoxide, radon, formaldehyde, mold, dirt and dust, pet dander, and residue from tobacco smoke and candles. Many homeowners also store various chemicals inside their homes, including pesticides, fertilizers, solvents, grease, oils, degreasers, gasoline, antifreeze, strong detergents, thinners, and oil-based paints. Preventing indoor air quality problems is generally less expensive than identifying and solving them after they occur. The residential LEED rating systems take a proactive approach to indoor air quality and promote health for multifamily residents and occupants.
How many multifamily projects are registered and certified under LEED?
As of December 2022, there are 14,354 LEED‐certified and registered multifamily projects representing approximately 2.37 billion square feet of built spaces. This includes projects certified as individual stand-alone buildings and those certified through multiple building applications such as bulk registration and batch certification.
How do multifamily facilities earn LEED certification?
Whether you are pursuing v4 or v4.1, there are several different pathways to choosing the rating system that is the right fit for your multifamily project. Use the summary table below to help select the best rating system for your project. The LEED Residential Guide to Certification also includes more detailed rating system selection guidance for residential projects. Please note that some rating systems under v4.1 are not yet approved for use in the US and Canada.
Table 1: LEED v4 Certification Pathways for Residential Projects
Table 2: LEED v4.1 Certification Pathways for Residential Projects
Green Rater and Provider requirements for US/North America based projects
The LEED for Homes program requires onsite verification which is delivered by a Green Rater and overseen by a Provider. Your Green Rater and Provider will help ensure your project is registered correctly, complete a Preliminary Rating for your project to ensure that all prerequisites can be met and identify which credits will be pursued, determine the targeted LEED award level, and perform a mid-construction and final site inspection. They will also help coordinate and review documentation and submit the project for certification. Your first step is to contract with a Green Rater and Provider directly.
Green Rater requirements for International based projects
A LEED Green Rater is required for all residential projects to provide the required on-site verification and complete the LEED application for GBCI review. Your first step is to reach out to a Green Rater for your project. Note that projects outside of the US and Canada are not required to use a Provider organization.
How does the latest version of LEED address the unique challenges of multifamily projects?
LEED v4.1 presents a new approach to residential projects, that pulls the most relevant language from BD+C and all residential focused rating systems and merges it with the priorities of the residential market. With the release of the new multifamily options in LEED v4.1, Residential BD+C becomes the required rating system for all single family and multifamily projects. Residential projects using LEED v4.1 may not use the commercial LEED BD+C rating systems.
The updated Residential rating system is designed to address this and make the decision to implement LEED much easier for the residential market.
USGBC believes that all buildings should be green buildings—especially homes—because LEED-certified homes are built to be healthier, more efficient, and more cost-effective. LEED-certified homes enhance the health and well-being of their occupants by providing clean indoor air and incorporating safe building materials to ensure comfort and safety. They are designed to save critical resources and use less energy and water, and therefore, they can lower utility bills each month and provide other financial benefits. LEED v4.1 Residential is designed to revitalize our approach to the housing market.
Through a streamlined and simple approach, LEED credits such as health and well-being, improved comfort, energy and water savings, and green and healthy materials, which have a higher value to homeowners and residents, are also prioritized. For example, the following credits hold more weight in residential rating systems:
- EQ credit Enhanced Indoor Air Quality Strategies
- MR credit Environmentally Preferable Products
- EQ credit Low Emitting Products
- EA credit Annual Energy Use (energy savings over a baseline)
- WE credit Indoor Water Use
Options have also been added to existing LEED credits to lower both hard and soft costs to achieve certification. By recognizing the unique circumstances of international projects, LEED v4.1 Residential is also now more applicable in this key market which continues to grow. We have further localized the rating system to meet the unique needs of different markets. For example, v4.1 Multifamily includes approaches for both natural and mechanical ventilation strategies.
How can multiple buildings and structures in a campus setting earn LEED certification?
Multifamily projects often operate on a larger scale with multiple buildings spread across a single site. All ofthese buildings, people, and processes are interconnected with each other.
Projects using LEED for Homes v4, including Multifamily Lowrise and Multifamily Midrise,and LEED v4.1 Single Family, can use the bulk registration and batch certification approach for projects with multiple buildings. This allows multifamily projects using the same rating system to submit for certification using one workbook with the worst-case set of credits. The Residential Verification and Submittal Guidelines also include specific guidelines for group projects.
- Bulk registration: Bulk registration allows you to register a group of buildings in a single registration, given that all buildings in the bulk registration are:
- Under the responsibility of one builder/developer
- Located in a single country
- Pursuing certification under the same rating system
- Batch certification: Within a bulk registration group, you may submit multiple projects in one batch for certification, given that all buildings in the batch:
- Meet bulk registration requirements
- Are part of a single metropolitan area and within the same country
- Are in the same climate zone
- Are of the same construction type, using the same envelope systems
- Earn the same certification level under the same LEED rating system. Projects must utilize the “worst-case” set of LEED credits: this means if some units earn more credits than others, the batch is reviewed at the lower level of credits achieved
- Have the same designer and builder/developer
If you have a group project pursuing LEED v4.1 Multifamily in the meantime, please reach out to email@example.com for guidance from our team of residential experts on how to best pursue certification for your project.
How does the LEED performance platform relate to multifamily?
The LEED v4.1 O+M rating system offers a unique performance-based pathway to certify your existing buildings and interior spaces. This rating system uses Arc, a state‐of‐the‐art platform designed to collect, manage and benchmark your building across five performance categories: energy, water, waste, transportation, and human experience.
And what does this mean for multifamily? LEED v4.1 can be used to compare multifamily projects to other similar facilities pursuing high-performance measures from around the world. Facility managers and owners can continuously monitor the data and make informed decisions to optimize the building performance based on real-time data and analytics. This performance pathway can then be used to certify and recertify the project every 3 years. Learn more.
We recommend that Lowrise multifamily projects (especially those with less than 20 units/building) first create a free test project to learn more about the Arc platform and see how your project may score. For more details see the FAQ "How should a project team decide between using v4 or v4.1 O+M?"
What are the various LEED resources available for multifamily projects?
- Overview of LEED v4.1 Residential
- Overview of LEEDv4
- LEED in Motion: Residential
- Residential: Guide to Certification
Where can I find more owner profiles and case studies on multifamily projects?
Does USGBC offer any education for project teams wanting to learn more about multifamily facilities pursuing green building measures?
USGBC education courses that focus on multifamily:
- LEED v4.1 Residential Multifamily Overview
- Zero Energy Multifamily Housing
- Controlling Air Movement in High-Rise Multifamily Buildings
- Saying Goodbye to the Office—and Hello to Housing
- Insights and Analysis on Moisture Control in Mid- and High-Rise Multifamily Buildings
- Intro to All Electric Multifamily Housing Design
Who can I contact for more information?
Is there a document I can download and send to my team?
Yes! Click the link below.