EBOM-2009 SSc4: Alternative Commuting Transportation

  • SSc4 diagram
  • Reduce conventional commuting

    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.

    Public transit not required

    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 fuel economy stickertransit 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.

    Doing your own survey is the most common approach 

    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.

    Balance your commuting program and credit documentation efforts

    Some elements of a commuting program that can help your building occupants improve their use of alternative forms of transportation include:

    • providing incentives to reduce conventional commuting; 
    • providing physical and programmatic infrastructure to facilitate use of alternative transportation;
    • and educating building occupants about the benefits of alternative transportation. 

    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.

    Costs may vary

    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.

    Consider these questions when approaching this credit

    • Does building management currently track alternative transport use as part of a local or regional government program? 
    • Does an alternative transportation program providing information, infrastructure, or incentives currently exist at the building? Could that program readily be enhanced in a manner likely to increase use of alternative commuting options? 
    • Do you have the means to distribute an occupant commuting survey and tabulate the results? You can use an online survey tool (which tabulates the results for you), an email survey, or a paper survey.

    FAQ's for LEED-EBOM SSc4

    The LEEDuser survey template asks for the occupant’s home zipcode. Some of our occupants won’t want to provide this sort of personal information. Do we have to collect this data?

    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.

    Do we need to attach unique identifiers to survey respondents? Some occupants will not want to be identified.

    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.

    The LEED Reference Guide says that the survey should not be announced in a way that might generate skewed responses or encourage unrepresentative behavior. We’ve been educating our occupants for several months on the LEED process. What should we do?

    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.

    The LEED Reference Guide says that survey results can be extrapolated to all nonrespondents if the survey response rate is 80%, but I also saw this was true for a 60% response rate. Which is correct?

    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.

    Do we need to document that we reduced commuting trips compared to our baseline? For example, our survey results show that conventional commuting is reduced by 25%. To get the points for meeting the 25% threshold do we need to reduce conventional trips by another 25%?

    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%.

    My project is a retail center. Do we need to survey shoppers? What about the retail employees?

    Shoppers are considered visitors, not regular building occupants, and should not be surveyed. Retail employees are regular building occupants and should be surveyed.

    My project is a hotel. Do we need to survey guests?

    Hotel guests are considered visitors, not regular building occupants, and should not be surveyed.

    My project is an educational building on a university campus. Do we need to survey students?

    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.

    Do motorcycles qualify as an alternative means of transportation? What about scooters?

    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 LEED Reference Guide says we need to account for seasonal variations in commuting behavior, but doesn’t offer any guidance on how to do this. What should I do?

    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:

    • Conduct the survey in a "shoulder season" (fall or spring) to assess the “average” level of alternative commuting at the project building.
    • Conduct two surveys—one in the summer and one in the winter—and average the results.
    • Develop additional survey questions that can help quantify seasonal differences and provide clues on how to make a reasonable adjustment to your findings to account for seasonal variation.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Before the Performance Period

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  • 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:

    • Participate in a formal commuting reduction program (described in Options 1 and 2 below). Use Option 1 if the program follows SCAQMD standards. 
    • Conduct a commuting survey of your building occupants (described in Option 3 below). Follow SCAQMD procedures to implement your survey.

  • 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:

    • telecommuting;
    • compressed workweek;
    • mass transit;
    • walking;
    • bicycling;
    • carpool;
    • vanpool;
    • and low-emitting, fuel-efficient or alternative-fuel vehicles.

  • 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:

    • Infrastructure service: Secure bicycle storage, shower facilities, or preferred parking permits for fuel-efficient vehicles.
    • Financial subsidies: Mass transit passes, or nonfinancial incentives like employee recognition programs.
    • Program management: Shuttle service, “free ride home” programs, rider-matching programs to bring together co-workers interested in carpooling.

  • 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.) 


  • Options 1 and 2: Participation in a Local or Regional Commute-Reduction Program


  • 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.


  • Option 3: LEED-EBOM Occupant Commute Survey


  • 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:

    • Step 1: Assess your current level of compliance by conducting the survey.
    • Step 2: Evaluate your results. If you’re happy with them, you can stop here. If you want to improve the level of alternative commuting, go on to Step 3.
    • Step 3: Implement changes to the commuting program and incentives offered to building occupants to promote increased levels of alternative transportation.
    • Step 4: Reassess your new level of compliance and decide whether to document it as-is or continue to implement changes to your commuting program.

  • 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.

During the Performance Period

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  • If occupancy is below 50% during the performance period the audit cannot be conducted during that time.


  • Option 1: Participation in a Local Commute-Reduction Program Meeting SCAQMD 


  • 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.


  • Option 2: Participation in a Local Commute-Reduction Program Using Alternative to SCAQMD


  • 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.


  • Option 3: LEED-EBOM Occupant Commute Survey


  • 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.

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance

    SS Credit 4: Alternative commuting transportation

    3-15 points

    Intent

    To reduce pollution and land development impacts from automobile use for commuting.

    Requirements

    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:

    Demonstrated percentage reduction in

    conventional commuting trips
    Points
    10% 3
    13.75% 4
    17.50% 5
    21.25% 6
    25.00% 7
    31.25% 8
    37.50% 9
    43.75% 10
    50.00% 11
    56.25% 12
    62.50% 13
    68.75% 14
    75.00% 15


    1 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.
    2 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.

    Alternative Compliance Paths (ACPs)

    Credit substitution available

    You may use the LEED v4 version of this credit on v2009 projects. For more information check out this article.

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    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.

    FOOTNOTES:

    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.

Publications

American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) annual vehicle rating guide

A comprehensive list of vehicles that score 40 and above in the rankings. These vehicles are considered LE/FE vehicles. 


California Air Resources Board, Definition of Zero-Emission Vehicle

 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. 


SCAQMD, Rule 2202

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


California Certified Vehicles List

This site lists all vehicles certified by the California Air Resources Board. 


Online TDM Encyclopedia – Commute Trip Reduction Programs

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. 

Organizations

Smart Commute

Smart Commute is a program of Research Triangle Park that has valuable information about telecommuting and carpool programs useful for any organization. 

LEED Gold Project Documentation

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.

Commuting Survey – Survey Results Calculator

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.

Commuting Surveys

Option 3: Occupant Commute Survey

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.

LEED Online Forms: EBOM-2009 SS

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."

270 Comments

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Wendy Lao LEED Sustainability Intern County of Santa Clara
Jul 15 2014
LEEDuser Member
79 Thumbs Up

Conducting Survey: Mid-Week OK?

SSc4 requires the survey to be conducted either (1) each day over 5 consecutive workdays) or (2) at the conclusion of 5 consecutive workdays.

Our project wants Option #2 (on Friday for the end of a M-F workweek), but this excludes many people who telecommute or have a compressed workweekA compressed workweek rearranges the standard workweek (5 consecutive 8-hour days in a week), increasing the daily hours and decreasing the number of days in the work cycle. For example, instead of working 8-hour days Monday through Friday, employees work 10-hour days for 4 days per week, or 9-hour days for 9 of 10 consecutive days.. Would it be okay to conduct the survey on a Wednesday, for the previous 5 workdays? (Ex: Conduct survey on W 7/23, for dates T 7/22, M 7/21, F 7/18, and Th 7/17).

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Dan Ackerstein Principal, Ackerstein Sustainability, LLC Jul 21 2014 LEEDuser Expert 8742 Thumbs Up

Hi Wendy - Indeed it would be OK. The intent of the survey timing is to ensure that respondents are asked to recall transportation choices that they made very recently, so as to (hopefully) ensure accurate recall of those choices. It's been observed that the more time elapsing between the behavior and the survey, the more likely respondents are to inaccurately recall their behavior, which is not terribly surprising I guess. In your case, if you have a large number of folks scheduled to be out of the office on a Friday, surveying on Thursday (to include the preceding Friday) or the following Monday are both completely sensible and viable options. Your proposal for surveying on a Wednesday is reasonable as well. I wouldn't expect any trouble from GBCI, particularly if you articulate your reasoning in your initial submittal.

Hope that helps,

Dan

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GBC Council CL Chile GBC
Jul 14 2014
LEEDuser Member
37 Thumbs Up

Exemplary Performance for SS c4

The Reference Guide establishes that projects may earn an EP point by demonstrating a minimum 95% reduction in conventional commuting trips while in the leeduser graphic of this credit it is indicated that the percentage of achievement must be only 80% (of single-occupants commuting trips). Is there a mistake or is any other calculation not included in the LEED Reference Guide for Operations and Maintenance?. Thanks so much in advance for any help!!!

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 14 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Yes, this was an addendum made by the USGBC on 5/9/2011. The current EP threshold is 80%.

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Saum Nour
Apr 21 2014
Guest
7 Thumbs Up

SSC4 Transportation Rule 2202

In one question: If ride share and van pool adds up to 87. However, in another question, the number of ride shares 2, 3, 4, 5 is 112. Do you go with 87 and ignore the 112?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 14 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Saum, I'm not sure I understand the question. Are you referring to an exam prep question?

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Saum Nour
Apr 21 2014
Guest
7 Thumbs Up

SSC4 LEED EB:OM 2009 Alternate Transportation

If you survey building with 3000 multi-tenants, the individuals absent or on jury duty or telecommuting cannot fill out the response. Do you go with National Labor Statistics? Since if some one is absent, they cannot give you their transportation status. Your thoughts on my dilemma.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 14 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Saum, the LEEDuser guidance above, as well as the LEED reference guide, provide a pretty good guide to how the deal with the survey. Absences are an issue in any building, of course.

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Emmanuel Pauwels Owner Green Living Projects s.l.
Apr 09 2014
LEEDuser Member
2083 Thumbs Up

number of working days

We are surveying building occupants which consist of 2 groups. Group A of the building occupants works 5 days per week. Group B has a 6 day workweek. Would we need to survey group A for their 5 days and group B for the 6 days or do we have to ask everyone about their communting trips for 5 weekdays?

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Matthieu Delegrange
Mar 10 2014
Guest
4 Thumbs Up

Survey alternative : counting vehicles

Hi,
My project is an office tower near Paris in France. The building is located in the business area of the town, it have its own underground parking and it's close to public transportation.
Is it possible to achieve this credit with counting the number of cars entering the building every day for a week, and compare it with the number of people entering the building?
To achieve the calculation, we assume that people who are entering the building without accessing the parking are using public transportation system.
Thank you in advance.

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Ralf Lehmann M.Sc. | Dipl.-Ing. (FH) | LEED AP BD&C ALPHA Energy & Environment GmbH
Jan 23 2014
Guest
488 Thumbs Up

Survey for a religious association

My customer is a religious association, that want's to certify their own building.
The building is only used on Saturday by the members of the assotiation. There are no FTEs.
Is it enough to survey all members only for that one day of the week.
As all occupants are visitors I can't ask for days of absence, compressed workweekA compressed workweek rearranges the standard workweek (5 consecutive 8-hour days in a week), increasing the daily hours and decreasing the number of days in the work cycle. For example, instead of working 8-hour days Monday through Friday, employees work 10-hour days for 4 days per week, or 9-hour days for 9 of 10 consecutive days., etc.
I will only ask for how they got there on that single day.
Is that the right way?

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Jeann Cunha Vieira Mr, Sustentech Jan 23 2014 Guest 12 Thumbs Up

Ralf, pay attention to the Minimum Project Requirements, since section 5 requires existing building to have at least 1 annualized 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. occupant.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 23 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Jeann, while MPR5 calls for at least 1 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., it doesn't prevent LEED certification—only earning of IEQ credits.

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Jeann Cunha Vieira Mr Sustentech
Dec 02 2013
Guest
12 Thumbs Up

Alternative fuel vehicles

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?

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Heather Holdridge Sustainability Coordinator, Lake/Flato Architects Dec 04 2013 LEEDuser Member 1286 Thumbs Up

Please see the question posted by Patricia Fuertes in this forum on April 8, 2013.

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Helen Samuel Staff Ernst & Young
Oct 15 2013
LEEDuser Member
140 Thumbs Up

Taxis- considered "alternative transportation" or "drive alone"?

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.

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Jenny Carney Principal, YR&G Oct 15 2013 LEEDuser Expert 7782 Thumbs Up

Hi Helen,

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.

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Magda Aghababyan CEO Co-Energi (Pvt) Ltd.
Sep 03 2013
LEEDuser Member
488 Thumbs Up

Calculation error

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.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Sep 08 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

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.

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Martha Norbeck President C-Wise Design and Consulting LLC
Aug 16 2013
LEEDuser Member
158 Thumbs Up

small public library

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!

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Julia Weatherby Senior Mechanical Engineer, Lindgren & Sharples, P.C. Sep 03 2013 LEEDuser Member 1308 Thumbs Up

Hi-
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.

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Hil Curtis
Jul 26 2013
Guest
65 Thumbs Up

Method for surveying in an academic setting

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!

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American University Sustainability, American University Jul 30 2013 LEEDuser Member 867 Thumbs Up

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.

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Hil Curtis Jul 31 2013 Guest 65 Thumbs Up

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.

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American University Sustainability, American University Aug 02 2013 LEEDuser Member 867 Thumbs Up

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 - curley@american.edu.

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Sara Hendricks Senior Research Associate, USF Center for Urban Transportation Research Aug 25 2014 LEEDuser Member

Hello : May I have a copy of your LEED-EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems. commute survey? I saw your response to Hil Curtis who asked the best way to survey students. I think we would like to figure out a way to certify multiple projects under one project registration. That is Part II of the 2010 Application Guide for Multiple Buildings and On-Campus Building Projects. Do you know if Part II has been published yet? We have been doing a campuswide survey of students, staff and faculty.

Thank you.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Aug 25 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Sara, see this page for more information on LEED campus guidance.

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Prachee Mishra
Jul 11 2013
Guest
34 Thumbs Up

Residential Building - How to go ahead without using a survey?

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?
Please advise.

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Michael DeVuono Senior Staff Designer, T&M Associates Jul 11 2013 LEEDuser Expert 2504 Thumbs Up

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.

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Prachee Mishra Jul 11 2013 Guest 34 Thumbs Up

Hi Michael,

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?

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Michael DeVuono Senior Staff Designer, T&M Associates Jul 11 2013 LEEDuser Expert 2504 Thumbs Up

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.

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Prachee Mishra Jul 11 2013 Guest 34 Thumbs Up

This makes sense. I'll definitely talk to the owners about this and see what they can do.
Thanks!

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Sep 02 2013 LEEDuser Expert 1519 Thumbs Up

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!
Trista

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Eddie Cuevas
Jun 20 2013
Guest
42 Thumbs Up

Regular building occupants at research institution

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?

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Jun 21 2013 LEEDuser Expert 1519 Thumbs Up

Hi Eddie,

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.

Thanks!

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Erin Nuckols Sustainable Building Associate Institute for the Built Environment
May 14 2013
Guest
134 Thumbs Up

Unusual FTE

Hello,

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?

Thanks!

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 31 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Erin, if you haven't resolved this (sorry for the slow response), can you be more specific about your difficulty with the form?

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Kevin Kelly
May 08 2013
LEEDuser Member
327 Thumbs Up

Eliminating Multiple Responses From One Person - Survey Changes

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?

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Jul 09 2013 LEEDuser Expert 1519 Thumbs Up

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.

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Patricia Fuertes
Apr 11 2013
LEEDuser Member
276 Thumbs Up

Trips for survey nonrespondents in option3

Good afternoon,

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.

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Karin Miller Sustainability Manager, YR&G Apr 23 2013 LEEDuser Member 119 Thumbs Up

Hi Patricia,

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.

Karin

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Aurélien Graux
Apr 09 2013
Guest
18 Thumbs Up

Survey methodology

Hi,
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 ?

Thank you.

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Jenny Carney Principal, YR&G Apr 11 2013 LEEDuser Expert 7782 Thumbs Up

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.

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Aurélien Graux Apr 11 2013 Guest 18 Thumbs Up

Thank you for your suggestion.

I going to consider them.

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Patricia Fuertes
Apr 08 2013
LEEDuser Member
276 Thumbs Up

Vehicles models different from the American Council's guide

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?

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Apr 08 2013 LEEDuser Expert 1519 Thumbs Up

Hi Patricia, here's LI #10229, hope it helps!

Inquiry

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....

Ruling

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.

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Sheryl Swartzle LEED administration TLC Engineering for Architecture
Mar 13 2013
LEEDuser Member
655 Thumbs Up

Zero Emissions Vehicles

Are all ZEVs considered to have an ACEEE mininum green score of 40?

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Karin Miller Sustainability Manager, YR&G Mar 29 2013 LEEDuser Member 119 Thumbs Up

Hi Stephen,

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.

Karin

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Jason Cocek
Feb 26 2013
Guest
101 Thumbs Up

Rule 2202 Mobile Source Emission Reduction Credits

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?

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Dan Ackerstein Principal, Ackerstein Sustainability, LLC Feb 27 2013 LEEDuser Expert 8742 Thumbs Up

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,

Dan

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American University Sustainability American University
Feb 08 2013
LEEDuser Member
867 Thumbs Up

Carpooling and Alternative Vehicle Double counting?

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.

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Jenny Carney Principal, YR&G Feb 08 2013 LEEDuser Expert 7782 Thumbs Up

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".

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Markus Henning M.Eng Facility Management LEED AP BD+C Alpha Energy & Environment
Feb 04 2013
Guest
160 Thumbs Up

SSc4 how i must count residents

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?

Thanks

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Karin Miller Sustainability Manager, YR&G Mar 29 2013 LEEDuser Member 119 Thumbs Up

Hi Markus,

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."

Karin

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Dan Ackerstein Principal, Ackerstein Sustainability, LLC Apr 11 2013 LEEDuser Expert 8742 Thumbs Up

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.

Hope that helps,

Dan

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Alicia Silva CEO Revitaliza consultores
Jan 30 2013
LEEDuser Member
1437 Thumbs Up

Zero employees did not commute due to an absence

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

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Dan Ackerstein Principal, Ackerstein Sustainability, LLC Jan 31 2013 LEEDuser Expert 8742 Thumbs Up

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!

Dan

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Alicia Silva CEO, Revitaliza consultores Jan 31 2013 LEEDuser Member 1437 Thumbs Up

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

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Lothar Lustich Dipl.-Ing.
Jan 21 2013
Guest
48 Thumbs Up

survey - regular building occupants or FTE?

We need a hint for using the correct occupants.

For Example:
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?

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Dan Ackerstein Principal, Ackerstein Sustainability, LLC Jan 29 2013 LEEDuser Expert 8742 Thumbs Up

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.

Hope that helps,

Dan

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Tiffany Moore LEED Documentation Consultant Built Kansas City LLC
Aug 09 2012
LEEDuser Member
784 Thumbs Up

Regular building occupant definition

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?

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Jason Franken Sustainability Professional Aug 13 2012 LEEDuser Expert 7187 Thumbs Up

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.

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Derek Bernard LEED Green Associate Sellen Sustainability
Jul 27 2012
Guest
29 Thumbs Up

Survey done outside Performance Period

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?

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Jason Franken Sustainability Professional Jul 30 2012 LEEDuser Expert 7187 Thumbs Up

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.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser BuildingGreen, Inc.
Jul 20 2012
LEEDuser Moderator

ridesharing now a recognized alternative commuting option

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.

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Jane Smith
Jul 20 2012
Guest
38 Thumbs Up

Before the survey

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?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jul 20 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

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.

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Chris Miller Chief Mechanical Engineer Design Alaska
Jun 20 2012
LEEDuser Member
871 Thumbs Up

CxA and AP are employees of the owner

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.

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Dan Ackerstein Principal, Ackerstein Sustainability, LLC Jun 21 2012 LEEDuser Expert 8742 Thumbs Up

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.

Dan

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Karen Cochran Real Estate Sustainability Lead PG&E
Jun 19 2012
LEEDuser Member
69 Thumbs Up

Using SOV to public transportation

Many people drive a car a short distance to the train or bus in our area. How is this counted in the survey?

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