What do the LEED Minimum Program Requirements Really Mean?

  February 1, 2011

Today's tip is about the LEED minimum program requirements, or MRPs. The MRPs spell out seven characteristics any project must have to be LEED certified. The MRPs differ from prerequisite credits in that the MRPs cover all LEED rating systems. In other words, they cover broader issues than hitting a specific Energy Star score or water reduction target. Let's take a look.

First, projects must comply with all environmental laws. Pretty self-explanatory here, but it's important that facility managers are familiar with these laws to save themselves more trouble than just not being eligible for LEED certification.

Second, the project must be a complete, permanent building or space. No temporary buildings or mobile structures are eligible.

Third, the project must use a reasonable site boundary. This one's a bit more complex, so let’s take a more in-depth look. What this MRP means is that the LEED project must include all contiguous land associated with and that supports normal building operations. The project can't contain land owned by a party other than the LEED project owner. LEED projects located on a campus must have boundaries such that if all the buildings on campus become LEED certified, 100 percent of gross land on campus would be included in LEED boundaries. Any given parcel of property may be attribute to only a single LEED project (not counting CI). And gerrymandering of a LEED project boundary is prohibited. In other words, the boundary may not unreasonably exclude sections of land to create boundaries in unreasonable shapes for the sole purpose of complying with credits.

Fourth, the project must comply with minimum floor are requirements, which is 1,000 square feet for all rating systems, except CI, for which the minimum is 250 square feet.

Fifth, projects must comply with minimum occupancy rates. This means one or more full time equivalent occupants. LEED-EBOM includes a few technicalities regarding this MRP.

Sixth, project owners must commit to sharing whole-building energy and water data for a period of at least five years. This is a huge deal, as it gives the US Green Building Council a built-in study for determining LEED building performance.

And seventh, projects must comply with a minimum building area to site area ratio. Gross floor area must be no less than 2 percent of the gross land area within the LEED project boundary.

For more information on the MRPs, visit USGBC.org and search "minimum program requirements."


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