- What are Minimum Program Requirements (MPRs)?
- What are the Minimum Program Requirements (MPRs) for LEED v4.1?
- Do LEED projects require a minimum number of occupants / FTE?
- Minimum Program Requirement (MPR) 1: Must be in a Permanent Location on Existing Land
- Can project teams use LEED if the owner intends to disassemble or relocate the certifying space or building? If so, is there a minimum time a space or building must exist in a particular building or on a specific site to seek certification?
- Minimum Program Requirement (MPR) 2: Must Use Reasonable LEED Boundaries
- Can project teams certify a portion of a structure (e.g. a new construction addition or an office or hotel tower that rests on a retail podium) as a separate LEED BD+C v4 project?
- What kind of connections qualify buildings or structures to be considered a single building?
- Can multiple buildings fall within the LEED project boundary (LPB) of a LEED v4 BD+C Individual Project registration?
- According to the MPR 2 Additional Guidance, it says "If another building or structure within the LEED project boundary is ineligible for LEED certification, it may be either included or not included in the certification of the LEED project." What makes a building "eligible" or "ineligible"?
- Can I certify multiple, non-contiguous spaces within a single building under one LEED v4 ID+C Individual Project registration?
- The certifying building shares the site with another building. How do we deal with shared parking and shared indoor & outdoor spaces?
- Minimum Program Requirement (MPR) 3: Must Comply with Project Size Requirements
- In v4.1 O+M: Interiors, which parts of MPR 3 apply?
- If a project is too small for BD+C can it use ID+C?
What are Minimum Program Requirements (MPRs)?
MPRs are the minimum criteria used to determine whether a given project is eligible for LEED certification. Every v4 or v4.1 project, in BD+C, ID+C, O+M, and ND, must comply with same three MPRs. See our website for more details.
NOTE: If after reviewing the MPRs, their additional guidance, and these FAQs, a project team still feels they would like additional feedback about their specific project's circumstances and compliance, we encourage them to send their question(s) via email to LEEDinfo@usgbc.org along with supporting documentation (such as clearly labeled site/floor plans, exterior views/elevations, etc.) as PDF attachments, and we'll be happy to help you.
What are the Minimum Program Requirements (MPRs) for LEED v4.1?
For the purposes of the LEED v4.1 Beta, the existing v4 MPRs should be used. Modifications to the MPRs may be implemented for LEED v4.1 at a later date, but teams will only be held to the MPR guidance that is in effect as of the date they registered. Note that for projects using v4.1 O+M: Interiors, the minimum gross floor area for "Interiors" projects, 250 square feet (22 square meters), applies.
Do LEED projects require a minimum number of occupants / FTE?
No, according to the LEED v4 MPRs, there is no minimum required number of occupants or full-time equivalents (FTEs) for which a building must be designed to be considered eligible to pursue certification.
Keep in mind, however, even if eligible, buildings designed for low or no human occupancy may find it more difficult to achieve certain credits (and/or prerequisites in the case of O+M). For instance, if a project, let's say a utility building, does not include bathrooms, while the project would be considered compliant with the WE prerequisite Indoor water use reduction by default, no points could be achieved for the associated WE credit. Similarly, the same building could not achieve the EQ Thermal Comfort credit if there were no occupied spaces to address.
Please note that LEED O+M does have requirements pertaining to the percentage of full occupancy (occupancy for which the project was designed) that must be maintained over the performance or reporting period, and these occupancy requirements vary to some degree based upon the building type and other factors. Please refer to the O+M rating system documents and associated reference and beta guides for more details.
If your O+M project faces challenges with low occupant counts or rates, you are welcome to contact us with details about your project and situation for further assistance.
Updated October 6, 2022
Can project teams use LEED if the owner intends to disassemble or relocate the certifying space or building? If so, is there a minimum time a space or building must exist in a particular building or on a specific site to seek certification?
If it is a 'mobile structure' (e.g. a mobile home, trailer-based building, vehicle, boat, or similar structure that is not anchored to a particular site with a permanent type of foundation and is designed to be moved about from time to time) it is NOT eligible to seek LEED certification. However, If it will be anchored to a particular site, and constructed according to codes applicable to permanent buildings, it is an acceptable candidate for LEED certification, even if it is later deconstructed or relocated. While LEED does not encourage certification of short-lived buildings (i.e., buildings that are temporary in some sense), there is no specific minimum period of use or life-span stated for a building to qualify for certification.
However, several LEED prerequisites and credits are based upon location and site attributes, and, as noted in the Intent of this MPR, "...LEED projects are evaluated as permanent structures". Thus, if a certified LEED project is relocated, disassembled, and/or relocated the LEED certification will no longer be considered pertinent and you may not advertise the building as being LEED certified, as explained in the Certification Agreement.
Can project teams certify a portion of a structure (e.g. a new construction addition or an office or hotel tower that rests on a retail podium) as a separate LEED BD+C v4 project?
The LEED Rating System Selection Guidance indicates that projects using the LEED v4 BD+C Rating System "Must include the entire building’s gross floor area in the project". Generally, spaces that are physically connected by contiguous (i.e., touching), programmatic gross floor area are considered parts of a single building for LEED purposes. That said, the Additional Guidance for this MPR also notes the following: "Buildings that are physically connected by programmable space are considered one building for LEED purposes unless they are physically distinct and have distinct identities as separate buildings or if they are a newly constructed addition. If separated, the projects should also have separate air distribution systems and water and energy meters (including thermal energy meters)".
Therefore, for any portion of a whole building new construction or major renovation project that seeks a separate BD+C certification would have to satisfy four criteria:
- They must be physically distinct from the non-certifying portion of the building/complex. The term "physically distinct" is not specifically defined for LEED v4, though teams should apply a common sense definition to that term that would include separation by floors, walls, and/or doors. When applied to a BD+C project, this would usually involve some kind of external differentiation as well, such as different massing, materials, colors, etc. In BD+C, projects that pursue this exception usually have a separate main entry/lobby.
- They must have a separate identity from the non-certifying portion of the building or complex. Distinct identities are often shown by having a different name or address, but other distinctions will also be considered.
- They must have their own separate air distribution system(s). This usually means separate air-side equipment and distribution for the HVAC system(s) serving the certifying portion of the building or complex.
- They must have their own, separate metering for all water and energy uses (including thermal energy meters, if applicable). However, in the case of a new construction addition project, if separate metering is not feasible, please contact us with an explanation of the project's circumstances for additional evaluation.
New construction addition projects seeking separate certification need only satisfy the last two criteria.
Ideally, the project name should indicate the extents of the certifying portion of the building or complex (e.g., include the word "Addition", or indicate the name of the specific "Wing", "Department", etc. being certified). If that is not feasible, it should at least indicate in some way that the entire building/complex is not included in the certification. Furthermore, as noted in the Requirements language of MPR 2, "The LEED project must accurately communicate the scope of the certifying project in all promotional and descriptive materials and distinguish it from any non-certifying space." Therefore, teams should be prepared to submit documentation/explanation of how the project's name and signage are designed to differentiate certified from non-certified portions of the building or complex.
If you elect to certify a portion of the building/complex as a separate project, you must define a portion of the shared site as pertaining to the certifying portion's LEED Project Boundary (LPB) and assign the rest of the structure and site to the portion of the building/complex. This entails separate tracking of parking spaces, materials costs, energy-using systems and equipment (such as site lighting), and so on. The project team must be prepared to explain how these various aspects of the certifying and non-certifying portions of the building/complex have been separately tracked. Note that allowances for factoring-in features falling outside the LEED project site boundary are included in certain credits. Please see this FAQ on how to deal with shared parking and shared indoor & outdoor spaces.
Updated September 2, 2023
What kind of connections qualify buildings or structures to be considered a single building?
"Buildings that are physically connected by programmable space are considered one building for LEED purposes..." This refers to buildings that are connected by contiguous programmable GFA on any floor (including underground levels). To illustrate this idea, two buildings that are contiguously connected by programmable GFA spaces (such as gyms, restrooms, bowling alleys, etc.) that happen to be located underground could still be considered a single building for LEED purposes. Spaces dedicated to circulation, parking, mechanical or storage uses do not qualify as programmable GFA for this purpose.
Two structures that have programmatic gross floor area on directly opposite sides of a common (party) wall are eligible to be treated as one building (i.e., may register as a single, Individual Project) for LEED BD+C purposes even if there are no direct circulation links through the shared wall. On the other hand, if the project team prefers to treat such structures as two separate buildings for LEED purposes, as long as the two structures are physically distinct, the team would just need to show that the two structures have distinct identities as separate buildings and that they also have separate air distribution systems as well as separate metering for all water and energy uses. Distinct identities are usually confirmed by having a different name or address, but other distinctions will also be considered.
Can multiple buildings fall within the LEED project boundary (LPB) of a LEED v4 BD+C Individual Project registration?
There may only be one building within a LEED BD+C project and its LEED project boundary (LPB), with the following exceptions:
- Buildings or structures related to the certifying building(s) and containing less than 1,000 square feet (93 square meters) of gross floor area (i.e., buildings ineligible for LEED BD+C certification in their own right) may be included within the LPB.
- Certain primary and secondary school projects, hospitals (general medical and surgical), hotels, resorts, resort properties, and retail projects are permitted to treat multiple buildings as parts of an ‘individual project’ in BD+C and O+M rating systems, as explained in the Buildings section of the Additional Guidance for this MPR.
- Multiple buildings containing at least 1,000 square feet (93 square meters) of gross floor area may be included within the same LEED project site boundary if they are registered as part of the same Group Project and following the group approach described in the LEED Campus Guidance.
- For other cases such as buildings that have programmatic dependency (spaces – not personnel – within the building cannot function independently without the other building) or architectural cohesiveness (the building was designed to appear as one building), project teams are encouraged to contact USGBC to discuss their project prior to proceeding.
Note: multiple buildings can be included within the LEED campus boundary of a master site in accordance with the campus approach explained in the same LEED Campus Guidance document cited above. Please also note that neither the group or campus approaches are not presently available in for projects registered under LEED v4.1 or any Residential adaptation.
According to the MPR 2 Additional Guidance, it says "If another building or structure within the LEED project boundary is ineligible for LEED certification, it may be either included or not included in the certification of the LEED project." What makes a building "eligible" or "ineligible"?
If a building meets the Minimum Program Requirements, then it is considered to be certifiable. So, if the building is permanent and on permanent land (per MPR 1) and is larger than 1,000 square feet (93 square meters) of gross floor area (per MPR 3), then the building is considered to be certifiable.
Can I certify multiple, non-contiguous spaces within a single building under one LEED v4 ID+C Individual Project registration?
Yes, as long as each space complies with the MPR 2 Additional Guidance for Interiors. Note that teams should try to define a LEED project boundary (LPB) that is as coherent as possible--ideally, one that aligns with separate lease, departmental, and/or HVAC system boundaries. In doing so, it is acceptable to include some space that is not undergoing renovations or fit-out to arrive at a more reasonable and contiguous LPB, as long as it does not comprise more than 40% of the total certifying gross floor area and you account for its existing characteristics in all pertinent LEED prerequisite and credit calculations. If you have concerns about your LPB, please email us at LEEDInfo@usgbc.org with plans illustrating your proposed LPB (in PDF format) and an explanation of the project's scope of work.
The certifying building shares the site with another building. How do we deal with shared parking and shared indoor & outdoor spaces?
When multiple buildings share a site, whether they are physically connected or not, you must define a portion of the shared site as pertaining to the certifying building's LEED Project Boundary (LPB) and assign the rest of the structure and site to the other building(s).
"The LEED project boundary must include all contiguous land that is associated with the project and supports its typical operations. This includes land altered as a result of construction and features used primarily by the project’s occupants, such as hardscape (parking and sidewalks), septic or stormwater treatment equipment, and landscaping. The LEED boundary may not unreasonably exclude portions of the building, space, or site to give the project an advantage in complying with credit requirements."
Furthermore, as noted in the Requirements language of this MPR: "The LEED project must accurately communicate the scope of the certifying project in all promotional and descriptive materials and distinguish it from any non-certifying space." Therefore, teams should submit documentation and explanation of how the project's name and LEED signage and advertising are designed to differentiate certified from non-certified portions of the building.
Regarding shared (or pooled) parking
The most appropriate approach to the shared parking is for the certifying project to include in the LPB and the certification, only the portion of the parking spaces that serve the certifying project directly.
That said, we understand that this type of division could pose challenges, for instance making material tracking difficult for MR credits, particularly when it comes to structured parking. If this is the case, the following options are also be acceptable approaches:
If the parking primarily serves the certifying building, it is acceptable to include all of the parking in the LPB and certification, assuming that it's all part of the scope of work of the certifying project.
If the parking primarily serves the other building(s), it would be acceptable to exclude the entire parking garage from the LPB and certification. Even if excluded, the portion of the parking that serves the certifying building will have to be accounted for in the LT credit calculations, per the LT Overview section. When using the Campus approach, this is often a good way to deal with shared parking structures, where the parking garage is not primarily serving a single building. In this case, the parking garage would still usually fall within the LEED Campus boundary (LCB).
If the project has a parking garage that is aiming to be Parksmart certified, the entire garage would need to be included in the Parksmart certification, and in that case the entire parking garage would need to be contained with the LEED project boundary in order to benefit from the synergies. For more information on Parksmart, the world’s only certification system designed to advance sustainable mobility through smarter parking structure design and operation, please visit Parksmart webpage. For more information about Parksmart and LEED synergies, please see this document. (at this time GBCI will assess v4.1 applicability on a measure by measure basis. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate the measures the team would like to use)
Whether a given parking area is included in or excluded from the LPB, the LPB should be treated consistently across all credits, unless otherwise noted as in the LT Overview section, mentioned above.
Regarding outdoors shared spaces
The project team can choose to divide outdoor spaces in various ways as long as they do so in a reasonable, logical manner and the boundary is treated consistently across credits. As a general rule, shared site amenities like pools, sidewalks, etc., should be part of the LPB of the certifying project if these amenities primarily serve the certifying project and its occupants.
These spaces can be excluded from the LPB if they are not part of the certifying project's scope of work, or they also serve buildings other than the LEED project building(s). When using the Campus Approach explained in the LEED Campus Guidance, such shared outdoor spaces should usually still fall within the LEED Campus boundary (LCB), and therefore can contribute to campus-eligible credits.
Regarding indoor shared spaces
In the case of a certifying building that is physically connected to one or more other buildings with which it shares common indoor spaces, such as MEP rooms, exercise rooms, storage areas, restrooms, etc., often in a common podium or parking structure, we suggest the following approach.
Teams should evaluate each room or physically distinct space separately to determine whether it should be included in, or excluded from, the project's LPB. The most logical way to decide whether a given room should be included in, or excluded from, the LPB is to determine whether the room itself (i.e., its own lighting, HVAC, plumbing fixtures, etc.) is served by the same energy and water services/systems/metering as the certifying building or not. If so, you should include that space in the LPB. If it is served by its own separate service/systems/metering it may be included or excluded, as long as you treat it consistently throughout the LEED application. And if it is on service/systems/metering that serves buildings other than the LEED certifying building project, the space itself should be excluded, although energy and/or water consumption within that space that serves the certifying building may still be required to be accounted for in the LEED project application--see credit requirements and guidance.
Whether a given shared indoor/outdoor space is included in or excluded from the LPB, the LPB should be treated consistently across all credits, unless otherwise noted.
Updated September 2, 2023
In v4.1 O+M: Interiors, which parts of MPR 3 apply?
The minimum gross floor area for "Interiors" projects, 250 square feet (22 square meters), applies.
If a project is too small for BD+C can it use ID+C?
No. Eligibility for ID+C is also dependent upon the scope of work of the project.