CI-2009 MPR3: Must use a reasonable site boundary

  • MPR3 Supplemental Guidance from USGBC

    This Bird's Eye View text is from USGBC's MPR Supplemental Guidance Revision #2. See the Credit Language tab for the MPR requirements.


    In order to ensure fair and consistent evaluation for all projects - particularly under the Sustainable Sites credit category - it is necessary to have guidelines for an acceptable LEED project boundary. All site conditions and impacts related to a building must be considered and addressed in the certification process to ensure a complete and thorough examination of the environmental impacts of a building.


    Land assigned to previous projects may be re-assigned to LEED-EB: O&M projects

    Any land associated with a previous LEED project may be re-assigned to a LEED-EB: O&M project with no restrictions.

    When non-contiguous parcels may be included in the LEED project boundary

    Non-contiguous parcels of land may be included within the LEED project boundary if the conditions below are met.

    a)    The parcel(s) where the LEED project building resides is separated by land that is owned or controlled by an entity different than the owner of the land associated with the LEED project building (e.g. a public right-of-way through the site controlled by the city).

    b)    Those parcels separated from the parcel on which the LEED building resides directly supports or are associated with normal building operations of the LEED building. See additional guidance on the following page of this document.

    c)    The non-contiguous parcels are no more than 1⁄4 mile (0.40 kilometer) walking distance apart.

    d)    There is a clear and safe walking path between the parcels.

    e)    In aggregate, the parcels meet the requirements of all MPRs, prerequisites, and attempted credits

    f)    All parcels share the same common regulatory jurisdiction and are owned, leased, or managed by the same organizational entity.

    g)    The project team provides a narrative and a map to demonstrate compliance with
    items (a) through (f) above.

    The Additional Details section of PIf1 LEED Online v3 should be used for this purpose.

    When land included in submittals may be excluded from the LEED project boundary Land described in this section is not required to be included in the LEED project boundary, and therefore is not subject to consideration for prerequisite, other credit, or other MPR compliance.


    Any land used solely to earn this credit, but not otherwise required to be included by MPR #3.


    Any land used solely to earn this credit, but not otherwise required to be included by MPR #3.


    Any land donated to a land trust to meet the requirements of option 2

    When facilities included in submittals may be excluded from the LEED project boundary

    Occasionally, project buildings use facilities (e.g. parking lots) that are outside of the LEED project boundary as part of their calculations the parking, bicycle storage, shower/changing rooms, and/or on-site renewable energy credits. This is allowable when the facilities serve the LEED project, and at least one of the following two conditions is met:

    a)    The facilities are not a part of the LEED project construction scope.

    b)    The facilities are physically separate from the LEED project by land not owned by the LEED project owner (or, if on a campus, physically separate such that the inclusion of the facilities in the LEED project boundary would be difficult or unreasonable).

    If the facilities meet one of these conditions, they may be excluded from the LEED project boundary, and therefore they will not be considered for other prerequisite, credit, or MPR compliance. However, those facilities also cannot be used to show compliance for other LEED projects, unless the sufficient capacity is present.


    There are showers in a building adjacent to the LEED project building. The showers may be excluded from the LEED project boundary even if they are used to show compliance with Sustainable Sites credit 4.2: Alternative Transportation, Bicycle Storage and Changing Rooms in LEED-NC, but they may not be included in the calculations for Water Efficiency prerequisite 1. In addition, the showers cannot be used to earn this credit for an additional LEED project unless the required shower-to- Full Time Equivalent (FTEFull-time equivalent (FTE) represents a regular building occupant who spends 8 hours a day (40 hours a week) in the project building. Part-time or overtime occupants have FTE values based on their hours per day divided by 8 (or hours per week divided by 40). Transient Occupants can be reported as either daily totals or as part of the FTE. Residential occupancy should be estimated based on the number and size of units. Core and Shell projects should refer to the default occupancy table in the Reference Guide appendix. All occupant assumptions must be consistent across all credits in all categories.) ratio is met for both projects.

    Real property no longer attributed to a certified building

    If a certified building is demolished, all property attributed to that LEED project may be assigned to another LEED project.

    When land not owned by the LEED project owner may be included

    Land that the LEED project owner does not own (i.e., leases, has an easement on, or has no claim to) may be included within the LEED project boundary if it can very clearly be shown to support building functions (this includes stormwater management strategies) or is a part of the construction scope. Otherwise, it should be excluded.

    Project boundaries that include other buildings

    There are many situations in which it is appropriate for the LEED project boundary to include another building. These include:

    • An addition to an existing building, when the entire structure is surrounded by land that supports the addition and therefore could be included within the LEED project boundary.
    • The site of the LEED project includes several smaller, supporting buildings.

    In such cases, the LEED rating will only officially apply to the project building, although the ancillary structures (other buildings) may have to be accounted for in the calculations for the LEED project. The following guidance addresses these situations, breaking them into two categories: 1) LEED-certifiable building on site and 2) not LEED-certifiable building on site.


    If there is another LEED-certifiable building on the same site as the LEED project building, it is not required to certify, but in order to take credit for aspects of the site that are shared between the buildings, the project(s) should refer to the 2010 Application Guide for Multiple Buildings and On-Campus Building Projects (AGMBC). The 2010 AGMBC describes the certification process for multiple building situations. It allows for all site attributes to contribute to LEED certification by the use of a Master Site project to document shared Campus Credit strategies. Note that this guidance can be applied to vertically attached buildings, in which case the master site boundary and the individual site boundaries can coincide on all edges.


    If there is a non-LEED-certifiable building within the LEED project boundary, the project team can include the non-certifying building within the project boundary in ALL relevant submittals that are allowed and appropriate for each individual credit and prerequisite, essentially treating the non-certifying building as an extension of the certifying building.

    Temporary structures

    Temporary structures erected for the purposes of supporting construction administration work that will be removed at construction completion, are not subject to this MPR and will not be required to certify.


    How to define land that is associated with and directly supports a building

    This MPR requires that ‘The LEED project boundary must include all contiguous land that is associated with and supports normal building operations for the LEED project building....’. This includes land altered in any way as a result of the LEED project construction, with exceptions as detailed above, and features enjoyed primarily by the building users, such as:

    • HardscapeHardscape consists of the inanimate elements of the building landscaping. Examples include pavement, roadways, stone walls, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios., such as parking and sidewalks
    • Septic treatment equipment
    • Stormwater treatment equipment
    • Landscaping

    Often, land is shared with other buildings, extends into large areas of land, or has other attributes such that it is unclear where the project boundary should be drawn. Although many of these situations are addressed in this document, there will always be unique circumstances that cannot be anticipated. In this case, it is the responsibility of the project team to determine a reasonable boundary that meets the intent of LEED and the available guidance as much possible.


    Two neighboring stores are being constructed, and one is pursuing LEED certification. A new parking lot with fifty spaces will be shared by the two stores. The certifying store estimates that it will use twenty parking spaces on a regular basis to serve its employees and customers. Therefore, the project team must draw its LEED project boundary to include twenty spaces and forty percent (20/50 = 40%) of the supporting hardscape (driveways, sidewalks, etc).


    A construction project on a college campus will result in a new student center and a new storm-water infrastructure, including drainage pipes and a retention pond. The infrastructure will serve the new building as well as other buildings on campus. It is at the project team’s discretion to include this infrastructure in their LEED project boundary or not.    However, if it is included it must be included consistently for all applicable prerequisites and attempted credits.

    Understanding gerrymandering

    Gerrymandering is defined in the document’s glossary below as ‘To divide and assign land in such a way as to give unfair, inconsistent representation to one parcel over another.’ Gerrymandering can also be described as the exclusion of site area from the LEED Project Boundary that is associated with or directly supports building functions in order to achieve a LEED prerequisite or credit.


    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Commercial Interiors

    MPR 3: Must use a reasonable site boundary



    New Construction, Core and Shell, Schools, Existing Buildings: O&M, Retail – New Construction, Healthcare
    1. The LEED project boundary must include all contiguous land that is associated with and supports normal building operations for the LEED project building, including all land that was or will be disturbed for the purpose of undertaking the LEED project.
    2. The LEED project boundary may not include land that is owned by a party other than that which owns the LEED project unless that land is associated with and supports normal building operations for the LEED project building.
    3. LEED projects located on a campus must have project boundaries such that if all the buildings on campus become LEED certified, then 100% of the gross land area on the campus would be included within a LEED boundary. If this requirement is in conflict with MPR #7, Must Comply with Minimum Building Area to Site Area Ratio, then MPR #7 will take precedence.
    4. Any given parcel of real property may only be attributed to a single LEED project building.
    5. Gerrymandering of a LEED project boundary is prohibited: the boundary may not unreasonably exclude sections of land to create boundaries in unreasonable shapes for the sole purpose of complying with prerequisites or credits.
    Commercial Interiors, Retail – Commercial Interiors

    If any land was or will be disturbed for the purpose of undertaking the LEED project, then that land must be included within the LEED project boundary.


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May 27 2015
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