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Good to know: Minimum program requirements for LEED

Published on Posted in LEED

It's pretty simple - all projects applying for LEED certification must meet a set of minimum program requirements (MPRs). If a project doesn’t meet the MPRs, it’s not eligible for LEED certification. As you determine if LEED is right for your project, become familiar with these basic project requirements and know that they determine project eligibility for LEED.

Why are there minimum program requirements?

Minimum program requirements define the types of buildings that LEED was designed to evaluate. Taken together, they serve three goals: to give clear guidance to customers, to reduce complications that occur during the LEED certification process and  to protect the integrity of the LEED program.

What are the LEED v4 minimum program requirements?

Minimum Program Requirement #1: Must be in a permanent location on existing land

Intent: The LEED rating system is designed to evaluate buildings, spaces, and neighborhoods in the context of their surroundings. A significant portion of LEED requirements are dependent on the project’s location, therefore it is important that LEED projects are evaluated as permanent structures. Locating projects on existing land is important to avoid artificial land masses that have the potential to displace and disrupt ecosystems.

Requirements: All LEED projects must be constructed and operated on a permanent location on existing land. No project that is designed to move at any point in its lifetime may pursue LEED certification. This requirement applies to all land within the LEED project.

Minimum Program Requirement #2: Must use reasonable LEED boundaries

Intent: The LEED rating system is designed to evaluate buildings, spaces, or neighborhoods, and all environmental impacts associated with those projects. Defining a reasonable LEED boundary ensures that project is accurately evaluated.

Requirements: 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. 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.

Minimum Program Requirement #3: Must comply with project size requirements

Intent: The LEED rating system is designed to evaluate buildings, spaces, or neighborhoods of a certain size. The LEED requirements do not accurately assess the performance of projects outside of these size requirements. 

Requirements: All LEED projects must meet the size requirements listed below.

LEED BD+C and LEED O+M Rating Systems

The LEED project must include a minimum of 1,000 square feet (93 square meters) of gross floor area.

LEED ID+C Rating Systems

The LEED project must include a minimum of 250 square feet (22 square meters) of gross floor area.

LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating Systems

The LEED project should contain at least two habitable buildings and be no larger than 1500 acres.

LEED for Homes Rating Systems

The LEED project must be defined as a “dwelling unit” by all applicable codes. This requirement includes, but is not limited to, the International Residential Code stipulation that a dwelling unit must include “permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.”

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9 commentsLeave a comment

I'm a homeowner in California, in a particularly hot part of the state. The home is a spanish colonial style with cement tile roof with stucco walls. It's my first home. I want to replace the roof as the existing roof offers almost no insulation, or reflectivity. The existing roof has lived its full life. Anyhow, is a simple roof replacement on a single family residential building enough of a project to meet LEED requirmens? If so, is there a minimum SRI I must achieve with the new roof to qualify for a LEED credit. I plant to remove everything down to the trusses, have an HVAC contractor do all new duct work and modern insulation. Then have the roofers return, sheet over the trusses w/ appropriate insulation or barrier products, then lay emplace the roof tile. I'd like to find a clear gloss coating to increase reflectivity that's also extremely hydrophobic. I've selected a roofing tile which is asthetically pleasing and fits well with the neighborhood, but it's SRI is only 51. I think based on some browsing I've done that the SRI has got to be at least 79 for LEED credits. Is this correct? With respect to materials under the tile and outside the trusses, what products are good choices to use to improve the energy efficiency of the home?
LEED Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
Hi Joe, there are a lot of questions here. Firstly, a single construction activity is not sufficient to certify a project, whether it be a home or any other type of building. LEED Homes requirements can be found here: For Heat island reduction, the roofing requirement is for a vegetated roof or Energy Star approved products as noted on page 99 of the LEED Reference Guide for Homes Design and Construction LEED v4 and available in the Credit library if you have purchased on-line access. I'm not aware of hydrophobic and reflective clear coatings but would caution against using materials that might void the roofing warranty. That's a topic to discuss with the manufacturer of a project you are considering. Lastly, I can only make general comments about the whole roofing system. 1. Insulation in the roof has a better payback than insulation anywhere else in a house. 2. Most roofing products require ventilation between them and the insulation. (metal is an exception). And metal is available with a low-albedo finish. 3. Building on that, you need to decide if the roof will have a ventilated attic space or not. 4. If there will be a ventilated attic space, that this opportunity to seal around wire or pipe penetrations of the wall using a fire-rated (usually red) caulk product. 5. Lastly, if you are considering skylights, new wiring or cable or any other penetrations, those should be done before the insulation is installed.
Architectural Assistant, City and County of San Francisco
Are stand-alone parking garages included in LEED v4?
Hi Viviana, Unless its a mixed use garage development (with some other functional uses like retail/office space as part of it), I believe dedicated parking garages as a whole are still ineligible for certification (as introduced by LEED 2009). The 10/1/2014 LEED v4 BD+C reference guide addenda included clarifications to the MPR (pgs 28-29), including the statement ....."Buildings or structures primarily dedicated to parking are not eligible for LEED certification. Parking that serves an eligible LEED project should be included in the certification." FYI- the issued addenda can be found here:
Architect - Interior Designer, Freelance
So like I understood LEED V4 has only 3 MPR's now and those are the one's valid for taking the leed v4 green assoc. exam not the one's from the 2009 version correct? Since Usgbc integrated MPR's 2,3 and 7 into: Must use reasonable LEED boundaries.
LEED Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
Yes. That's correct, Carmen.
President/CEO, LeadingGreen Training and Consulting
Great summary. Were the other 4 MPRs from the 2009 rating system scrapped? If so, just wandering why?
U.S. Green Building Council
Hi Lorne, for the most part, the requirements conveyed by the LEED 2009 MPRs aren't changing. However, the rating system has evolved with LEED v4 and minor structural changes to the MPRs were needed to maintain alignment. For example, requirements like energy and water reporting, MPR 6 in LEED 2009, are now prerequisites in the LEED v4 rating system. Also, MPRs 2, 3, and 7 from LEED 2009 are now all incorporated into: "Must use reasonable LEED boundaries."
President/CEO, LeadingGreen Training and Consulting
Makes sense! Thanks Corey

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