This credit requires you to document your building occupants’ commuting habits and reduce the number of conventional commuting trips made to your building. There are a lot of points at stake, so it’s worth taking a close look at the credit and assessing your building.
In order to earn the credit, you must be able to document that your building’s occupants make at least 10% fewer conventional commuting trips than the LEED baseline. The baseline assumes that all occupants drive alone in a conventional vehicle to and from the building each day of the week.
If your building already meets the 10% credit threshold, you are not required to make further improvements—but if you do so, you can earn more points (a lot more). For example, if your initial commuting assessment shows that 4% of commuting trips use alternative transportation, you only need to improve that number to 10% to meet the first threshold for this credit and earn three points. You are not required to improve 10% on top of your original assessment.
Some teams assume that they can’t earn this credit if their building doesn’t have public transit access. It’s true that urban projects with good public transit access will have a better chance of earning more points under this credit, but don’t forget about some of the less-obvious alternative commuting options; telecommuting, compressed work week, and low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles can all help you earn points here.
Begin your documentation process with an assessment of your occupants’ current commuting habits. You can complete this assessment by participating in a formal commute-reduction program (Options 1 and 2) or by conducting your own occupant survey to determine how many are using alternative commuting methods (Option 3). Most projects choose Option 3, because good local commute-reduction programs with sound methodology are not widely available.
When developing your survey, make sure that it adheres to SCAQMD Rule 2202 procedures, a set of guidelines that help you to structure your survey properly and ensure that the results accurately assess occupant commuting behavior. The LEED-EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems. Reference Guide provides a thorough summary of these procedures, so you should be able to use that as a resource rather than spending time reviewing the original SCAQMD rule.
Some elements of a commuting program that can help your building occupants improve their use of alternative forms of transportation include:
Don’t allow your efforts to document the current levels of alternative commuting at your project building overshadow the importance of developing incentives and helping people use alternative transportation.
The time and costs associated with implementing commute-reduction programs and the commuting survey will vary depending on your approach. Good commute-reduction programs typically require staff infrastructure, good oversight of compliance and tracking, and a financial incentive of some kind to encourage participation. There will also be some staff time involved in creating, distributing, and tabulating the results of a commuting survey. However, there are many no-cost strategies that can boost the use of alternative transportation, such as distributing bike maps, promoting smart phone apps that map bike routes, and setting up an employee carpool program.
Gathering zipcode information is optional. It’s included in the survey template because it’s a useful data point for organizations that are thinking of implementing more ambitious or targeted transportation planning for employees. Zipcode data would allow an organization to identify demand for targeted programs addressing geographic areas that are underserved by existing alternative transportation options.
No, being able to identify survey respondents is not a credit requirement. However, you must develop a way to prevent getting multiple responses from the same person.
Occupant education is an important piece of the LEED program, and you’re unlikely to be penalized for your efforts in this area as long as you don’t tip-off occupants that a survey is coming up during a specific time period.
Addendum number 10000092, released 5/9/2011, addresses this question. The Addendum for SSc4 applies to Option 3, Approach 1 where survey data is solicited from the entire population of regular building occupants. Previously, a project needed to achieve an 80% response rate to extrapolate the survey results to the entire building. New guidance from the Addendum lowers the survey response rate to 60%. The Addendum also offers a discounted extrapolation factor based on survey response rate levels between 30% and 60%. See the Addendum for additional information. A new USGBC calculator is available to assist in using the survey results to assess LEED compliance. Download the calculator from USGBC or from the LEEDuser Documentation Toolkit tab.
No, reduction in conventional commute trips is measured against a baseline of 100% conventional vehicle use, not on a reduction of trips compared to your previous performance. Assuming your survey method and other credit documentation are compliant, you have already earned 7 points by reducing conventional trips by 25%.
Shoppers are considered visitors, not regular building occupants, and should not be surveyed. Retail employees are regular building occupants and should be surveyed.
Hotel guests are considered visitors, not regular building occupants, and should not be surveyed.
There is some debate about this. The LEED-EBOM Reference Guide Glossary states on page 508: "Transient users are occupants who do not use a facility on a consistent, regular, daily basis. Examples include students in higher education settings, customers in retail settings, and visitors in institutional settings."
However, page 29 of the LEED-EBOM Reference Guide states: "For buildings with many visitors or transient occupants (e.g., a museum or campus center), the project team is required to survey only the regular building occupants; visitors can be excluded from surveying if they represent more than 80% of the total anticipated commuting trips (visitors’ trips plus regular building occupants’ trips) to the building on an average day. However, the team must also document the infrastructure or programs intended to facilitate visitors’ use of alternative transportation."
These statements raise several questions. What if students are less than 80% of the total commuting trips? Are they then not counted as visitors and need to be surveyed (going against the glossary definition)? What if a project thinks the students will raise the level of alt commuting? Are they allowed to include students at their discretion? A LEED InterpretationLEED Interpretations are official answers to technical inquiries about implementing LEED on a project. They help people understand how their projects can meet LEED requirements and provide clarity on existing options. LEED Interpretations are to be used by any project certifying under an applicable rating system. All project teams are required to adhere to all LEED Interpretations posted before their registration date. This also applies to other addenda. Adherence to rulings posted after a project registers is optional, but strongly encouraged. LEED Interpretations are published in a searchable database at usgbc.org. or Addendum is probably required to clear up these questions definitively. If you have project experience with these issues, please post about it in the forum below.
No—they do not qualify under the ACEE definition for this credit. Also, while motorcycles can get better gas mileage than cars, the tailpipe emissions are often higher. There may be merit to some motorcycles qualifying under SSc4, but for now, that appears to be in the future.
Scooters were explicitly addressed under LEED Interpretation #1959, and while that Interpretation is only officially applicable to NC-v2.2, it provides a good indicator for other projects. It states that "While the provision of scooters for employee use is a laudable strategy, it does not meet the intent of the SSc4.3. There are concerns that scooters do not have the same emissions control requirements as low-emitting cars and that, due to safety worries, some employees will be unwilling to use the scooters even in good weather."
The geographic location of your project will determine how this will be addressed, and that is why the Reference Guide leaves room for project-specific approaches. Consider how the weather influences commuter choices in your area, and how you can modify your survey timing or strategy accordingly. For example, if you have plenty of parking capacity, occupants may switch their commuting mode per weather conditions or season. A few ideas to consider are as follows:
The intent of this credit is to reduce the number of occupants commuting to and from your project building by themselves in a conventional car. This may be accomplished through education about the benefits of alternative transportation and incentives for reducing conventional commuting, enhancing infrastructure for facilitating transit, and communicating the availability of these resources to building occupants.
Credit compliance is measured using “reduction in conventional commuting trips,” or RCCT. RCCT measures how much a project building reduces the number of conventional commuting trips from a LEED baseline. The baseline is calculated by assuming that each regular building occupant drives alone to and from the project building twice a day, five days a week, in a conventional vehicle.
To earn points, your building occupants must make at least 10% fewer conventional commuting trips than the calculated baseline. If some alternative commuting is already taking place at your project building, the credit does not require you to improve that rate by an additional 10%. For example, if your initial commuting assessment shows that 4% of commuting trips use alternative transportation, you only need to improve that number to 10% to meet the first threshold for this credit and earn three points. You are not required to improve 10% on top of your original assessment.
There are two primary ways you can document your compliance with this credit:
South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is the air pollution control agency for all of Orange County and the urban portions of Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties—the smoggiest region of the U.S. SCAQMD’s survey methodology to accurately assess commuting behavior is the best available model for LEED purposes.
Alternative commuting transportation options include the following:
Project teams often assume they can’t earn this credit because the building isn’t located near public transportation, but there are plenty of less-obvious alternative commuting options, such as telecommuting and the use of low-emitting, fuel-efficient, conventional cars, that may help you earn credit points.
A hybrid vehicle only counts as alternative transportation if it has an ACEEE Green Score of 40 or above. Not all hybrids meet this criteria, so be sure to check the ACEEE score of each hybrid that shows up in the survey responses.
ACEEE offers a free downloadable spreadsheet of all model year 2000–2009 cars that meet the LEED requirements. You can also subscribe to ACEEE’s online database to research qualifying cars. A 30-day trial subscription is $8.95; an annual subscription is $19.95. The subscription is more useful because it will allow you to search the entire database for any vehicle type to get more detailed information on the ratings of various vehicles.
Some formal programs use a different metric, called “average vehicle ridership” (AVR). This is the number of occupants who report to the project building, divided by the number of vehicles that arrive at the building during a typical, consecutive five-day period. If you’re using one of these programs, you need to convert the AVR value to an RCCT value for LEED documentation. To do so, you can use the following table. These values have been calculated based on the LEED credit requirements, but this table is more complete than the one included in the LEED Reference Guide:
Employ effective incentives to promote greater use of alternative forms of commuting transportation at your project building.
Don’t allow your efforts to document the current levels of alternative commuting at your project building overshadow the importance of developing incentives and helping people use alternative transportation. Incentives can take many forms—including, but not limited to, the following:
It is important to be creative and responsive to the unique, specific needs of your occupants when considering new incentive programs to improve alternative commuting. Incentive suggestions can be found online at SmartCommute.org or in the LEED Reference Guide. (See Resources.)
Determine whether there is an available local or regional commute-reduction program that you can participate in to comply with this credit. You can search online for these programs or check with whichever local government office handles transportation issues. If the program follows SCAQMD procedures, you must use Option 1; otherwise, use Option 2. The program description should make it clear whether or not it follows SCAQMD procedures, but be sure to confirm the methodology with a program administrator before you begin to participate.
For a formal commute-reduction program to qualify for LEED, it must assess commuting activity specific to your project building. There are programs out there that calculate average commuting levels for a group of buildings. These programs don’t help with this credit.
Formal commute-reduction programs typically require you to submit data about your project building on a regular basis (usually every two years). The program analyzes your level of alternative commuting and provides you with a calculated performance level.
Depending on your location and the size of your company, you may be required to participate in a local commute-reduction program. For example, the Durham Commute Trip Reduction Program requires businesses located in Durham County, North Carolina that employ more than 100 people to participate in an annual employee commuting survey.
Typically, there are no fees associated with participation in an organized commute-reduction program; minimal costs for staff time may be incurred in the process of gathering data and completing required paperwork.
Use Option 3 when there is no available SCAQMD-compliant commute-reduction program. Most project teams that attempt this credit use Option 3.
There are up to four steps involved in documenting your project’s alternative commuting using an occupant commute survey:
Begin the assessment process as early as possible to give yourself time to implement changes to your program. Survey results remain valid for two full years before the end of your LEED performance period, so the initial survey may be distributed well before you finalize your performance period and submit your application.
Base your occupant commuting survey on the survey methodology and data collection procedures of SCAQMD Rule 2202. (See Resources for link.) The LEED Reference Guide summarizes these procedures very well, so you should be able to use that as a resource rather than spending time reviewing the original SCAQMD rule.
The commuting survey should collect commuting data from regular building occupants for a consecutive five-day period. Implementing the survey on a Friday to capture behaviors for that week is a common approach. A sample survey that may be customized for your project building is available in the Documentation Toolkit.
There will be minimal to moderate costs for staff time associated with developing the survey and procedures for proper implementation.
Surveys can be conducted in a variety of ways. For guidance on developing and distributing your occupant survey, please refer to LEEDuser’s Alternative Commuting Transportation Survey strategy. Consider which approach will yield the highest response rates. Online surveys, email or hard-copy distribution of surveys, or posting surveyors at entryways on the survey date are all acceptable approaches.
Investigate the option of partnering with a local nonprofit or educational institution studying transportation or congestion issues to assist with the survey implementation. Outside help may allow you to delegate some of the workload and possibly reduce your costs.
If you are also attempting IEQc2.1: Occupant Comfort Survey, consider distributing this commuting survey at the same time or in combination. This may help to improve your overall response rates and minimize the demands on your building occupants.
If occupancy is below 50% during the performance period the audit cannot be conducted during that time.
Participate in a formal local or regional commute-reduction program that meets SCAQMD data collection and analysis procedures.
These programs measure the amount of alternative transportation used in your project building, but also analyze the amount and quality of commuting incentives offered by employers or building managers.
Gather documentation, including a summary of commuting data for your building and a certificate of program completion, which can be used for the LEED application.
Typically, there are no fees associated with participation in an organized commute-reduction program; you may incur minimal staff-time costs in the process of gathering data and completing required paperwork.
Participate in a local or regional commute-reduction program that uses data collection and analysis procedures other than those specified by SCAQMD.
If you use one of these programs, you must be able to describe the program comprehensively and demonstrate the technical soundness of the data collection procedures and analysis methodology used to determine performance rates. LEED allows you to provide technical data and promotional materials produced by the program for this purpose.
Gather documentation, including a summary of commuting data for your building and a certificate of program completion that can be used for the LEED application.
Typically, there are no fees associated with participation in an organized commute-reduction program; minimal staff-time costs may be incurred in the process of gathering data and completing required paperwork.
This option is seldom pursued. Unless you are confident of the technical soundness of the local or regional program, it may be easier to document compliance via Option 3.
If you conducted the initial survey within two years of the end of your LEED performance period and you’re happy with those results, you can document them now. If you’ve been implementing changes to your commuting incentive program, you can reassess the commuting levels by conducting another survey at any time within the two-year period preceding the end of the performance period.
If you have not sent out the initial survey yet, try to distribute it early in the performance period to give yourself enough time to implement changes to your commuting program if you’re not happy with the survey results.
For guidance on conducting your occupant survey, refer to the Alternative Commuting Transportation Survey strategy.
Tabulate the survey results and calculate the RCCT for your project building.
Create a summary of the survey results for LEED documentation.
The costs associated with staff time to conduct the survey and tabulate results will vary according to the size of your project building’s population.
Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance
To reduce pollution and land development impacts from automobile use for commuting.
Reduce the number of commuting round trips made by regular building occupants using single occupant, conventionally powered and conventionally fueled vehicles. For the purposes of this credit, alternative transportation includes at a minimum, telecommuting; compressed workweeks; mass transit; rideshare options1; human-powered conveyances; carpools; vanpools; and low-emitting, fuel-efficient2 or alternative-fuel vehiclesAlternative-fuel vehicles use low-polluting, nongasoline fuels such as electricity, hydrogen, propane, compressed natural gas, liquid natural gas, methanol, and ethanol. In LEED, efficient gas-electric hybrid vehicles are included in this group.; walking or bicycling.
Performance calculations are made relative to a baseline case that assumes all regular occupants commute alone in conventional automobiles. The calculations must account for seasonal variations in the use of alternative commuting methods and, where possible, indicate the distribution of commuting trips using each type of alternative transportation.
Points are earned for reductions in conventional commuting trips during the performance period according to the following schedule:
When developing an alternative transportation program, consider the opportunities and limitations of different options, based on the building’s location.
Provide space and infrastructure features, such as bicycle racks, changing facilities, preferred parkingPreferred parking, available to particular users, includes designated spaces close to the building (aside from designated handicapped spots), designated covered spaces, discounted parking passes, and guaranteed passes in a lottery system., access to mass transit or alternative-fuel refueling stations. Offer employees incentives for using alternative transportation, such as additional vacation days, cash rewards or pretax options. Distribute free or discounted public transportation passes, bicycling equipment or telecommuting equipment to individuals committed to using them.
Encourage the use of alternative commuting methods by guaranteeing free rides home for employees who must unexpectedly leave work early or late. Utilize organization resources to communicate with building occupants about alternative transportation options and benefits, and facilitating communication among building occupants for coordinating ride sharing.
1 Low-emitting vehiclesLow-emitting vehicles are classified as zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by the California Air Resources Board. and fuel-efficient vehiclesFuel-efficient vehicles have achieved a minimum green score of 40 according to the annual vehicle-rating guide of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. are defined as vehicles that are classified as zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by the California Air Resources Board or that have achieved a minimum green score of 40 on the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy annual vehicle-rating guide.
2 Rideshare is a transit service that involves sharing a single vehicle with multiple people, excluding large-scale vehicles such as buses and trains. The rideshare transit facility must include a signed stop and a clearly defined waiting area. Additionally, the rideshare must include an enclosed passenger seating area, fixed route service, fixed fare structure, continuous daily operation, and the ability to pick up and drop off multiple riders.
A comprehensive list of vehicles that score 40 and above in the rankings. These vehicles are considered LE/FE vehicles.
A zero-emission vehicle (ZEVZero-emission vehicles.) meets the standards of the California Air Resources Board (CARBThe California Air Resources Board, part of the state government, is charged with maintaining clean air. This agency is unique at the state level: California was the only state that had such an agency before the passage of the federal Clean Air Act, and was allowed to keep it.). These standards require zero emissions of regulated pollutants—nonmethane organic gases, particulates, hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides—when the vehicle is either stationary or operating. Most ZEVs are powered by electricity, fuel cells, or hydrogen.
South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) provides extensive guidance on collecting information about workers’ commuting behavior. Rule 2202, On-Road Motor Vehicle Mitigation Options Employee Commute Reduction Program Guidelines (February 2004), Chapter II, establishes practices that meet LEED for Existing Buildings: O&M standards for this credit. The Rule 2202 document can be found online here. For additional information on survey techniques and tools for compliance, see Rule 2202, Employee Commute Reduction Program AVR Survey Support Guide (July 29, 2005), available online here.
This site lists all vehicles certified by the California Air Resources Board.
The Transportation Demand Management Encyclopedia website is maintained by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute and thoroughly explains the details of many effective commute-reduction programs.
Smart Commute is a program of Research Triangle Park that has valuable information about telecommuting and carpool programs useful for any organization.
Complete LEED Online documentation for achievement of SSc4 on a certified Gold LEED-EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems. 2009 project in Denver, Colorado.
USGBC provides a free calculator to assist in using the survey results to assess LEED compliance. You can download it from the USGBC LEED-EBOM Resources page—scroll to the "Sustainable Sites" heading on the page.
These sample survey may be tailored to meet your project building’s needs. Use them to gather occupant commuting data if following Option 3. One of these templates is intended for electronic distribution; one is intended for gathering information in the building's lobby.
The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems.-2009 SS credit. You'll need to fill out the live versions of these forms on LEED Online for each credit you hope to earn.
Version 4 forms (newest):
Version 3 forms:
These links are posted by LEEDuser with USGBC's permission. For more information, visit LEED Online and click "Sample Forms Download."
In Brazil, many cars are ethanol powered. Can I consider ethanol powered cars as alternative-fuel vehiclesAlternative-fuel vehicles use low-polluting, nongasoline fuels such as electricity, hydrogen, propane, compressed natural gas, liquid natural gas, methanol, and ethanol. In LEED, efficient gas-electric hybrid vehicles are included in this group. for the purpose of the credit SSc4 of LEED EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems. 2009?
Please see the question posted by Patricia Fuertes in this forum on April 8, 2013.
In order to implemente an occupant commute survey in a hotel, do I have to apply the survey to the guests and to the hotel staff or just to the hotel staff?
This is the FAQ posted above:
My project is a hotel. Do we need to survey guests?
If my LEED project is a hotel, do my survey need to take into account the hotel occupants or would it suffice to only focus on the staff and employees of the hotel?
Chang, there is an FAQ above that addresses exactly this question.
Tristan, I have the same doubt, but I cannot find the FAQ mentioned. Can you please show me the FAQ or answer the question again? thanks for your patience.
Jeann, from FAQ:
Is a taxi considered to be "alternative transportation"? I would think that it is closer to "drive alone" since it would be a single user, and therefore wouldn't meet the credit intent. However, since the survey breaks is out separately from "driving alone," I wanted to double-check.
Taxi trips should not be counted as alternative transportation. The survey does break it out, mainly because respondents may get confused how to respond if an answer that is very specific to their situation is not offered as an option.
Hi, Do we have to count the number of absentees in to the total number of regular occupants responded to the survey?
Right now I'm getting an error "The total number of commuting trips may not be greater than the total number of maximum theoretical commute trips" because the calculation adds absentees to calculate total number of commuting trips.
I think it is logical to add them. Please advise.
I'm not sure I completely follow you but I think what you're suggesting is logical. If absentees are added in one part of the calculation then they should also be in the other.
I am working on a small library project in Iowa. They have only three staff members and not everyone works every day of the week. The library hours are in the afternoon for 4 days per week and in the morning on Saturday. I am wondering how to administer the survey so it meets the methodology requirements. It says that the survey should identify how the employee got to work during a 4 hour period between 4 and 11 a.m. Since there is only one day of the week where they are even open at 11 I am looking for suggestions for an alternative documentation path. Thanks!
I don't have a lot of experience with this particular credit, but in your case I would just explain the needed adjustment based on the specifics of your building. You might need to include a Special Circumstances narrative or an Alternative Compliance Path narrative. Or more likely you could just use the Methodology narrative space in the credit form to justify any deviations from the Rule 222 methodology.
Our building is located on a college campus in a large metropolitan area 5 miles from the downtown core. The building houses the college of liberal arts and the administrative offices of the dean.
Is there any insight on the best strategy to use when conducting surveys for SSc4? Would the survey be administered to only full-time faculty, staff and PhD students? Would undergraduate students be classified as transients and therefore excluded from the count? Could a selection be included if the majority of the students walk to class but the full-time occupants are estimated to drive/not use alternative methods to commute?
Any feedback would be very helpful! Thank you!
It's my understanding that transient students with classes in the building can be excluded from the survey, however that approach might artificially worsen your score as administrators are probably more likely to drive than students using the building.
On our campus, we are attempting to document this credit by using a campus-wide survey of all students, faculty, staff, and then using the results across all buildings. So residence halls where 100% of students walk are averaged with the president's office where, say, 80% of people drive.
If you are able to identify all of the students in the building over a week, I think you could include them all or none but not a "selection" of them. I could see identifying them and surveying them as being difficult.
Thank you Emily!
I agree that by excluding students our percentage of alternate commuters to the building would be reduced. Do you have any advice on the best way to survey students? Perhaps the in-person route would be best – but we would need to make sure to catch every student entering the building. Would students who do not want to participate (I’m thinking of those late to class, etc) be counted as single-occupant/conventionally fueled drivers? Alternately, for an electronic strategy, what if we asked all students entering the building (say, on one day) for their e-mail address and then followed up with a survey? I'm wondering if this would be representative of regular occupancy numbers.
Would your strategy of surveying the whole campus be acceptable for a single building on the campus undergoing certification or would the strategy only apply to a campus project? (The total student population on our campus is over 12,000.)
Lots of questions. Thanks again.
In person may be best, although there would be different students in the building on different days so you would have to capture everyone in the building during your survey week. Perhaps the registrar could give you emails of all the students with a class in the building over the course of the week. You would also have to filter out and exclude trips that those students aren't making since those days shouldn't be counted as an alternative commute.
You're correct that anyone you can't get to respond is counted as a conventional driver. If you're not confident that you can't get a majority of the students, your score may worsen anyway since you'll just have more non-responders to count as driving alone. Although the intent of including students seems better, you still may be better off just including regular occupants as suggested.
Take a look at the multi-building/campus guidance for more info about how to count campus-level initiatives at the building level. The commute survey isn't "pre-approved" so to speak as a campus approach, but I think it can make sense and we plan on doing a campus survey for our LEED Volume efforts. http://www.usgbc.org/Docs/Archive/General/Docs7987.pdf.
Happy to share our survey if you want to email me - firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am helping a residential development in New York City see if they can get LEED certification. The project is located in downtown Manhattan with close proximity to subway lines, ferry, bus lines. Also since it is located very close to the financial district, most people walk or bike to work. They also have bike racks for the residents. They can definitely score a lot of points on alternative commuting, but the property managers have said that it would be difficult for them to conduct a survey. Is there another way to gain credits for this without the survey? For example use available city data to calculate how many residents of that zip code use public transit to get to work?
This credit requires that you document the building users personal transportation modes. I'm not sure how you do that without conducting a survey of the occupants. Honestly, it is not very hard to conduct an online survey of all the occupants of the building.
If you want to achieve this credit, the owners have to put in some effort.
I understand that a survey would help the most in this case. Its a multifamily residential building and the leasing company is worried that the tenants might not be willing to fill out the surveys. We would still go ahead with one. Just in case we do not get a good response rate, is it possible to use the commute modal share census data for the corresponding census tract and use that to generate commute patterns? We do have census data for that tract which shows that 50% people from that area use public transit and 35% walk to work. Does this seem feasible?
I do not definitely know the answer to your question regarding using census tract data. This seems like it would need to be a statistics problem, and you would need to demonstrate that the demographics of your building were in line with the demographics of the census tract.
My gut (and my former stats professor) tells me that you can not simply apply the commuting patterns of an entire census tract to one building (unless your building is the entire census tract, or your building is an equivalent demographic representation of the tract).
Perhaps you are barking up the wrong tree with this. Can the property owner offer some incentive to complete the survey? Maybe a few dollars off rent? A movie night in the lobby? Offer them different means to complete the survey: online, paper, phone, in-person.
This makes sense. I'll definitely talk to the owners about this and see what they can do.
Hi Prachee, I just want to chime in and agree with Michael that census data wouldn't be sufficient to document this credit. In fact the survey must be for a specific five-day period. In other words, you can't ask the residents for information on their general commuting habits or how they commute during a "typical week" - you need ask about a specific consecutive five-day window.
Let us know how it goes!
I am working on a project at a research university. We are seeking to obtain certification for a building on campus that consists of research, classroom, and office spaces. I had a question regarding the graduate students that work in this building. They are assigned a lab space within the building and work on their research on a daily basis. Would they, therefore, be considered regular building occupants?
This is one of those issues that continues to be a bit unclear (check out the FAQ above that covers university buildings). Since you mention that the graduate students have assigned workspaces and travel to the building on a daily basis, I would go ahead and consider them regular occupants and include them in the survey. If the reviewer takes issue with this, its always easier to remove them from the survey results than to go out and conduct a new survey.
I am working on a residence hall and we have a total of 12 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., 3 Transients, and 654 residence. I requested information from GBCI regarding our need to include residence for this credit and they indicated that we should only count people who work in the building. So we surveyed 50 people, because we have several residence that live and work in the building along with the 12 FTE staff.
I am having great difficulty determining how to calculate this information in the LEED form. Is it worth attempting Alternative Compliance?
Erin, if you haven't resolved this (sorry for the slow response), can you be more specific about your difficulty with the form?
I have been certifying many large office buildings in NYC and would like some help on the below:
I provide a survey to building occupants in multiple forms (e.g. online survey, in-person, emailed attachment), how can i ensure that no double-counting of occupants has occurred?
In previous buildings we would ask for some unique identifier (e.g. first initial and last name, ID card #, etc.). However, we encountered many people that understandably did not want to provide this information, even though we informed them that the purpose was only to remove duplicate entries from the results. I would like to remove these unique identifier questions from the survey to increase the response rate, and have been racking my brain on how to do this.
My best alternative is: at the top of the survey place a check box next to the following statement: "This is the first and only time that I have filled out this survey and I confirm that I am a regular building occupant."
Does anyone think this route would work in the eyes of the GBCI reviewers? Does anyone have any alternate suggestions?
This sounds like a good approach to me. It would be great to hear any reviewer feedback you get after you test this out. You may have already tried this, but another route to consider is the "lobby blitz" approach, which is a pretty reliable way to ensure that people only respond once.
We have conducted a survey with option 3 for 21 regular building occupants but there is two peoplo that have not answer to the survey because they were sick. Do we have to assumed its trips as conventional single-occupancy vehicle? or we do not have to do this because the response rate is 90,47% which is more than 80%? how do we have to count their trips? or can we count their trips according to the mail commuting behaviour of the respondents? in our case the common behaviour is fuel efficient vehicles. Thank you.
The easiest approach is to use the SSc4 Calculator which you can find here: http://www.usgbc.org/resources/ssc4-calculator
Just input the responses that you collected through the survey and the calculator will account for the non-respondents.
Concerning the survey, i would like to have your opinion about the stastiscal viability of my method. The building population (1000) is made up of different departments with their own area in the building. We have defined a number X of individuals to interview per derpartements depending its workforce. During the last day of the week, we want to travel in the building and submit the survey to X persons randomly seleced in each departments (X depending of the departement).
According to you, Does this method seem acceptable ? Does the test population enough choose in a random way ?
Aurelien, can you provide more information about how you plan to choose which people to survey? Your plan for splitting up the number that are posed to a given tenant sounds good, but the other key thing is how you are choosing individuals (e.g., don't walk up to the people who are wearing bike helments or look like alternative transportation users). Good options would be to randomize a list of names using Excel or a similar tool, or alphabetizing the names and surveying every 10th person, etc.
Thank you for your suggestion.
I going to consider them.
I have a problem because I do not know where can I find the green score of our project vehicles.
Our models do not appear in the annual vehicle-rating guide of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. This vehicles are Opel, Peugeot and Renault and they do not appear in the list so we have not the green score.
I wrote to the GBCI they recommend me to read the LEED InterpretationLEED Interpretations are official answers to technical inquiries about implementing LEED on a project. They help people understand how their projects can meet LEED requirements and provide clarity on existing options. LEED Interpretations are to be used by any project certifying under an applicable rating system. All project teams are required to adhere to all LEED Interpretations posted before their registration date. This also applies to other addenda. Adherence to rulings posted after a project registers is optional, but strongly encouraged. LEED Interpretations are published in a searchable database at usgbc.org. (LI) ID# 10229 , dated 10/1/2012, for Brazil.
But I do not know in which web I can see the LEED Interpretations, would you help me to find this LEED interpretaion please?
Hi Patricia, here's LI #10229, hope it helps!
Many cars in Brazil are fuel efficient and low-emitting yet do not meet the requirements of two credits (BD&C SSc4.3: Alternative Transportation: Low Emitting and Fuel-Efficient VehiclesFuel-efficient vehicles have achieved a minimum green score of 40 according to the annual vehicle-rating guide of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. and O&M SSc4: Alternative Commuting Transportation) because the vehicles have not been evaluated by CARBThe California Air Resources Board, part of the state government, is charged with maintaining clean air. This agency is unique at the state level: California was the only state that had such an agency before the passage of the federal Clean Air Act, and was allowed to keep it. or ACEEE. This hinders the ability of many Brazilian projects to achieve the credit. We propose that the following Brazilian standards be included in determining whether a vehicle is considered fuel-efficient or low-emitting:
a. Any vehicle achieving Four Stars in the IBAMA Nota Verde (Green Note) system, the ratings for vehicles in this system can be found at: http://servicos.ibama.gov.br/ctf/publico/sel_marca_modelo_rvep.php. This system awards stars based on a vehicle\'s emissions reductions and fuel type. The first three stars are earned via relatively low emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbons. The fourth star is awarded for vehicles that have a CO2Carbon dioxide emissions rate of less than 80g/km (128 g/mi). The fifth star is awarded for vehicles using alternative fuels (gasoline-ethanol mix, hybrid electric, and all-electric).
b. Any vehicle receiving an A or B in the Brazilian Energy Program (PBE) of INMETRO (National Institute of Metrology, Quality and Technology) of the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade. This program uses many of the same techniques that the U.S. EPA has used to evaluate fuel efficiency in American vehicles. A full description of the program is available at http://repositorios.inmetro.gov.br/bitstream/10926/1290/1/2010_Novgorodc....
The applicant has requested that vehicles in Brazil receiving Four Stars in the IBAMA Nota Verde (Green Note) program or vehicles receiving an A or B in the INMETRO Brazilian Labeling Program for Vehicles (PBEV) be classified as low-emitting and fuel-efficient for the purposes of LEED NC 2009 SSc4.3 and LEED EB 2009 SSc4. Vehicles in Brazil may qualify as low-emitting and fuel-efficient by earning both of the following conditions:
1. A score of Four Stars or above from IBAMA. This is the highest score for vehicles that are low-emitting but not necessarily fueled by alternative fuels (as research indicates that not all alternative fuels ensure improved environmental performance).
2. An A from INMETRO. INMETRO uses relative criteria for different vehicle classifications. This differs from the absolute standards used by the ACEEE methodology. Since, in this instance, the USGBC preference for absolute metrics cannot be met, only the highest INMETRO score is accepted. This will ensure that the credit rewards the best fuel-efficiencies in current and future vehicles.
Because the Brazilian labeling programs measure emissions differently, both programs are required to verify that a vehicle meets the low-emitting and fuel-efficient requirements. Vehicles receiving a qualifying score from one agency but not the other will not be considered eligible.
Applicable Internationally; Brazil.
Are all ZEVs considered to have an ACEEE mininum green score of 40?
Not necessarily, ACEEE calculates the green score of vehicles using a number of factors, you can find the methodology here: http://www.greenercars.org/greenbook_method.htm
However, for this credit low-emitting vehiclesLow-emitting vehicles are classified as zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by the California Air Resources Board. and fuel-efficient vehiclesFuel-efficient vehicles have achieved a minimum green score of 40 according to the annual vehicle-rating guide of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. are defined as vehicles that are classified as zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by the California Air Resources Board ---OR--- that have achieved a minimum green score of 40 on the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy annual vehicle-rating guide.
I have a project in California that is purchasing Mobile Source Emission Reduction Credits in order to comply with Rule 2202. They purchase offsets for VOC, NO2, and CO in terms of lbs per day based on the number of commuters at the building. Has anyone ever used this approach to achieve SS Credit 4?
The act of purchasing the credits won't help you with SSc4 but the commute data you are collecting for that purpose may be helpful. If the means you use to assess how many credits you need approximate the survey strategy prescribed by the Reference Guide, you may already have the commute numbers you need to document compliance with the credit.
Hope that helps,
How are you supposed to handle carpool trips that also occurred in an alternatively-fueled or fuel efficient vehicle? Is it additive so should be counted twice for a carpool AND alternative vehicle? Or, if someone carpools should they not be counted in the alternative fuel car column; or should they be considered alternatively fueled but not a carpool to avoid double counting? Thanks.
Emily - you'll need to avoid double counting, but you should also take the most credit for which you are eligible. In this case, that would mean counting all the buildings users in the low-emitting/fuel-efficient car pool as "low-emitting/fuel-efficient".
Hi, in my project 10% oft the total building area are residential in the top floor of a office/retail building. My question is, how i must include the residents in the survey?
There's an addendum that might be useful for you, ID# 100001166, which elaborates on the procedure for residential/mixed projects. Given that your project is only 10% residential, I think you can conduct the survey using the non-residential approach and exclude the residents.
From the addendum:
"Projects containing both residential and nonresidential occupants should use a combination of the approaches listed above if the majority building occupancy type (residential or employee) comprises less than 90% of the total building occupancy."
Hi Markus - I would agree with Karin completely; you have the option to exclude the occupants of up to 10% of the building floor area. That being said, if you did want to include the residents, the survey procedure is the same - you simply ask them how they got from home to work and back. A commute is a commute, no matter if you're being surveyed at home or at the office.
We did the transportation survey to a huge building none of the persons responding the survey noted that they did not commute to the building due to absence, our reviewers noted that this is unlikely to have happened, do we need to apply the survey again to just ask one question!!!!! is there any other way to respond this
Shall we just provide a narrative confirming that no absences occurred at least with the survey respondents, how would you explain this further
Alicia - I think this is actually a reasonable clarification on the part of the reviewer; it does seem quite surprising that noone in a huge building would report having missed a day of work in a given week. That being said, assuming that there are no glaring inadequacies with your survey tool or methodology, the results you have are the results you have. Unless the reviewer identified inadequacies, or directed a specific course of action, I think your narrative acknowledging the unexpected result but noting that this was indeed the data received, is about all you can do. (One other idea, if you do indeed suspect a problem with the survey itself, might be to try to dig up some kind of national absenteeism rate and discount your findings by that rate.)
Interesting problem - Please let us know how its resolved!
I will ask each company to give me their absenteeism rates to be more accurate hope this works and will document with that, the survey does not reflect a correct answer for that question
We need a hint for using the correct occupants.
10 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. occupants are generated out of 20 regular building occupants (4h/day).
Shell we take the FTE occupants or the number of regular building occupants for the survey results calculator?
Because the intent of the credit focuses on transportation emissions, its essential that you survey everyone who commutes to/from the building, whether that commute results in a 4 hour stay, an 8 hour stay, or something in-between. So regular building occupants is likely to be the better number.
I may have yet another question that falls under the larger issue of vague occupant definitions, but I'm going to ask anyway.
I have a client with very detailed reporting of employee transportation habits. The question we are attempting to clarify is the difference between FTEs and regular building occupants as it applies to the alternative transportation survey and reporting for this credit.
If we use the definition of regular building occupants found in IEQc2.1 of having a permanent office or workstation and spending at least 10 hours per week in the facility, it seems the regular building occupants number is different than the FTE calculations.
Some of the categories that we are unsure of include interns, staff employed by the developer that are outside the control of the tenant (i.e. security staff and building engineers), and contract employees that also cannot participate in the incentive programs offered by the tenant. Each of these categories is accounted for in the FTEs, but may negatively impact the transportation survey due to their unique employment parameters. Are they "regular" or not?
I can't clarify this in terms of the official USGBC definitions, but after working with this credit fairly closely over the last 5 years, I would consider each of the categories you mentioned above as someone who should be included in the SSc4 survey.
The company in which we are the LEED consultant for conducts an annual survey regarding alternative transportation of its occupants....would a survey done outside the performance period be allowed or eligible for a CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide?
Derek, remember that your performance period can extend back up to 24 months from the date of your preliminary LEED application. Depending on how you coordinate the performance periods for your other prerequisites and credits, you should pick the most recent commuter survey completed by your client.
A 7/6/12 LEED addendum from USGBC has recognized ridesharing programs as an alternative commuting option here. For the exact language and to see how USGBC defines ridesharing, see the credit language tab above.
Are you allowed to advertise to building occupants that you will be conducting this survey beforehand? Can you offer incentives during the survey week for people who use alternative transportation?
Jane, that's a great question, and it's covered in one of our FAQ's above under the Bird's Eye View tab. Hint: encouraging alternative commuting in whatever way is great, but don't let it skew your survey results.
Any guidance on how to appropriately certify your own firm's building? The survey credits (SSc4, EQc1.1, EQc2.1, EQ3.2) could have potential conflict-of-interest issues if the LEED AP (as a building occupant) participates in the surveys. Is it acceptable for the AP to participate objectively in these surveys, or should (s)he abstain?
Similarly, can a CxAThe commissioning authority (CxA) is the individual designated to organize, lead, and review the completion of commissioning process activities. The CxA facilitates communication among the owner, designer, and contractor to ensure that complex systems are installed and function in accordance with the owner's project requirements. perform the Commissioning credits (EAc2.x) for their own firm's building? The reference guide (p. 171) states that the commissioning "may be conducted by an external commissioning agent or by members of the building operations staff. An external or independent third-party audit is not required for credit compliance." But what about an 'internal commissioning agent'? If the building is small and there is not a facilities management staff, can a CxA be considered a "member of the building operations staff" for the purposes of this credit?
This comment is also posted in EAc2.1 forum.
No problem with either credit. You can survey your own building and perform your own retrocommissioning in EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems.. The details still have to be right, but there is no requirement for an outside party to do either.
Many people drive a car a short distance to the train or bus in our area. How is this counted in the survey?
Your survey should explain that, if two or more transportation modes are used for a one-way commute, the mode that represents the majority of the trip (by distance) is the one that should be reported.
For instance, let's say that you live 20 miles from your office. Every morning you drive 5 miles to the train station and then take the train 14.5 miles into the city before walking the last 0.5 miles from the train station to your office. On the commuting survey, this would be reported as using public transportation (train) for one trip.
Thank you for the clarification, Jason. I hope we don't need that detailed calculation from each person. They would simply need to assure that the majority of the trip was using public transportation, yes?
Thanks to everyone that posted about their troubles with the commuting survey calculator. This is a USGBC produced calculator, and LEEDuser is sending your feedback to USGBC so they can take steps to fix it. Thanks for your patience in the meantime!
This question is concerning how to determine if my building occupants' vehicle is a ZEVZero-emission vehicles.. Can someone tell me if the term ZEV means a Calif. Air Resources Board Smog Score of 10 out of 10? Or can a vehicle be Partial Zero Emission Vehicle with a score of 9 and comply with the LEED requirement?
Can someone explain the LEED intent for a ZEVZero-emission vehicles.? Are the only cars considered ZEV ones that score a 10 on the Calif. Air Resources Board Smog Score?
LEEDuser members -- we have updated the survey templates we offer in our documentation toolkit to take into account the recent review comments we've been seeing asking that teams record the number of people in the carpool for each day. We're also now offering two templates: one for electronic surveys, and one for a "lobby blitz" method.
Our cilent has conducted the survey and it mirrors the Lobby blitz method but does not show the make/model/year of the cars. Is this required?
Well, if you want to claim alternative commuting trips that occupants are making using fuel-efficient vehiclesFuel-efficient vehicles have achieved a minimum green score of 40 according to the annual vehicle-rating guide of the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. (FEV), you'll need to explain to the GBCI reviewer how you determined that someone's car qualified. Since the survey is already finished, I'd calculate the RCCT including the FEV and then without the FEV to see how much it affects the overall performance level. If it is an insignificant difference, go ahead and assume that those are actually single-occupancy drivers in conventional cars. If you lose a lot of points when you don't count the FEV drivers, then you may have to either conduct a new survey or track down those respondents who indicated that they are FEV drivers and get some supplemental information. Ultimately, you should be able to show that each car that you consider an FEV has an ACEEE Green score of at least 40.
I have read the instruction for SS Credit 4 and choose option 3. However, I wonder if conducting survey is the only way that can help to earn the points.
Our building has around 2000 occupants. We have various means of transportation to the building (car, motobike, bicycle, bus, etc). The thing is we have all these data captured in details such as number of cars, motobike per day or how many people go by bus, etc. Can we just document those data for the calculation rather than conducting the survey?
How-to and best practices for developing, distributing, and conducting your commuting survey.
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