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.

    Consider using the LEED v4 version of this credit

    If you're a LEED-EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. v2009 project, you may want to consider pursuing the LEED v4 version of this credit. (See USGBC's credit substitution guidance.)

    In EBOM 2009, a project only earns points under SSc4 if they achieve (and document) a 10% reduction in conventional commute trips. In LEED v4, any project that simply conducts a LEED-compliant alternative transportation survey can earn a single point, even if they achieve less than 10% reduction in trips.

    This change creates a nice incentive for surveying and establishing a performance baseline, even in buildings that have not been terribly successful with alternative transportation.

    Public transit not required

    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 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 SCAQMDSouth Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is the air pollution control agency that regulates stationary air pollution sources in parts of southern California, including Orange County and most of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside County. 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-EBOM 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 (SCAQMDSouth Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is the air pollution control agency that regulates stationary air pollution sources in parts of southern California, including Orange County and most of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside County.) 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 systems. 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 website under Resources.

Commuting Surveys

Occupant Commute Survey

These sample surveys may be tailored to meet your project building’s needs. Use them to gather occupant commuting data. One of these templates is intended for electronic distribution; one is intended for gathering information in the building's lobby in a "lobby blitz."

LEED Online Forms: EBOM-2009 SS

Sample LEED Online forms for all rating systems and versions are available on the USGBC website.

316 Comments

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Melissa Merryweather Director Green Consult-Asia
May 16 2016
LEEDuser Member
3057 Thumbs Up

Motorbike transport

Project Location: Vietnam

I've checked the ACEEE list and it only includes cars. The main form of transport in Vietnam is a 50cc scooter and it is certainly fuel-efficient. Honda is the most popular brand here and models range from 50mpg-140 mpg averaging in the mid-70s. I will ask the reviewers what they propose but I'm wondering if anyone has experience with listing motorbike mileage or whether any 50cc motorbike was accepted or whether they were all rejected because they're not on the ACEEE list. My previous EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. project bused everyone from the nearest city so we didn't need to list motorbikes.....

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Kimberly Hosken LEED Fellow, subcontractor May 16 2016 LEEDuser Member 55 Thumbs Up

I'm sorry I don't have an exact response but the Manufacturers User Group (USGBC) was working on this issue in 2013. Because they have so many international facilities this was a common question. I'm no longer part of the group but suggest you contact GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). and ask if the MUG published anything on how to deal with scooter's.

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Kimberly Schlaepfer Sustainability Coordinator LEED AP O+M, BD+C, YR&G May 16 2016 LEEDuser Expert 439 Thumbs Up

Hi Melissa,
Unfortunately, LEED does not allow motorbikes to contribute toward alternative fuel trips. Therefore all motorbike trips must be counted as single-occupant vehicle trips and may not contribute toward credit achievement. The LEED rationale for this exclusion, I believe relates to the emissions from the motorbikes rather than their fuel-efficiency.

Note if the motorbikes hold more than one building occupant that trip would be considered carpooling, which, only then, would then allow it to contribute toward the alternative transportation trips.
I hope that helps!

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Melissa Merryweather Director, Green Consult-Asia May 25 2016 LEEDuser Member 3057 Thumbs Up

Hi Kimberly, for now at least you are right. They replied to me:

If the motorcycle/scooter is not classified as a zero-emission vehicle (ZEVZero-emission vehicles.) by the California Air Resources Board or has not achieved a minimum green score of 40 on the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy annual vehicle-rating guide, then it may not be considered a low-emitting/fuel-efficient vehicle. However, note that if there is more than one occupant traveling to the project building on the motorcycle/scooter, then these commuting trips could be counted as carpool trips as outlined in the LEED-EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. v2009 Reference Guide. Note that while motorcycles/scooters are often fuel-efficient, they are not always low-emitting.

thanks so much for your replies both. Given the dodgy emissions information from auto manufacturers in the past years I feel a little sad that we can't win on mileage alone but its not exactly unexpected!

Post a Reply
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Kimberly Hosken LEED Fellow subcontractor
May 09 2016
LEEDuser Member
55 Thumbs Up

Site visitors vs. FTE's

Project Location: United States

In v2009 we are required to survey only the regular occupants and not the visitors regardless of how many visitors there are correct? Our project has 520 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.'s but over 3000 regular visitors per day (it's a courthouse). The way I understand v4 is we can not get the single point for conducting the survey if we do not survey the visitors, is this correct? "Visitors must be surveyed if either the typical peak or daily average is greater than the number of regular building occupants." If we are using v4 and we survey all 520 FTE's we will not get any points regardless of how many are commuting alternatively.

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G May 10 2016 LEEDuser Expert 4168 Thumbs Up

Hi Kimberly, yes I think you've got it right. In v2009, visitors can be excluded from the survey if they represent more than 80% of the total anticipated commuting trips (page 29 of the Reference Guide has more details and outlines an additional requirement under this scenario). In v4, you have to survey visitors per the requirement you mentioned. If you used v4 and didn't survey visitors I'm not sure whether GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). would deny the entire survey and give you zero points, or if they'd adjust the calculations to assume that 100% of visitors are conventional commuters... but either way it would negatively affect your project.

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Kimberly Hosken LEED Fellow, subcontractor May 11 2016 LEEDuser Member 55 Thumbs Up

Thank you for the response. Ironically the visitors are using the public transportation extensively, buses, tram, carpooling, and walking but it would be impossible to survey them and they are different people every day.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser BuildingGreen, Inc.
Mar 16 2016
LEEDuser Moderator

earn a point using v4 credit

I wanted to note a key feature of this credit in v4, which was brought to my attention by Dan Ackerstein and Hannah Sokol.

In EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. 2009, a project only earns points under SSc4 if they achieve (and document) a 10% reduction in conventional commute trips. In LEED v4, any project that simply conducts a LEED-compliant alternative transportation survey can earn a single point, even if they achieve <10% reduction in trips.

This change creates a nice incentive for surveying and establishing a performance baseline, even in buildings that have not been terribly successful with alternative transportation.

This also touches on LEED 2009. USGBC has formally approved a pathway for substituting the v4 credit for the EBOM credit when pursuing EBOM certification; that is, EBOM 2009 projects who complete a LEED-compliant SSc4 survey can now earn 1 point even if they achieve a commute trip reduction of less than 10%. That opportunity is noted here: http://www.usgbc.org/resources/2009-v4-credit-substitution-om.

A survey is a big undertaking, and its great that we now have a mechanism for rewarding that process in and of itself. 

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Jennifer Webb Sustainability Coordinator Partner Energy
Jan 25 2016
LEEDuser Member
7 Thumbs Up

Miles per gallon

Project Location: United States

Hello,

We are conducting a survey with government employees and are trying to reduce the survey length as much as possible.

Do miles per gallon (mpg) need to be included in the survey or would make/model/year be enough?

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Jan 26 2016 LEEDuser Expert 4168 Thumbs Up

Hi Jennifer,

Collecting just the make/model/year is fine, since that's the information needed to cross check a vehicle against ACEEE. Miles per gallon as a stand-alone metric doesn't come into play for determining if a vehicle qualifies as low-emitting/fuel-efficient.

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Esteban Martinez LEED Consultant Green Loop
Dec 01 2015
LEEDuser Member
287 Thumbs Up

School LEED EBOM

Hi,

There are any special considerations for a project like a school? The documentation process it is the same for the diferents types of buildings in EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. v2009?

Thanks for your answers,

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Kimberly Schlaepfer Sustainability Coordinator LEED AP O+M, BD+C, YR&G Dec 02 2015 LEEDuser Expert 439 Thumbs Up

Hi Esteban,

Yes the documentation process is the same for different types of buildings in EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. v2009. The one consideration to keep in mind for schools is that all faculty, staff, and students that are of driving age must be included in the survey.

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Esteban Martinez LEED Consultant, Green Loop Jan 13 2016 LEEDuser Member 287 Thumbs Up

In this case the underage students should not be surveyed, and they not be included in the percentage of people who use alternative means of transport.

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Esteban Martinez LEED Consultant, Green Loop Jan 13 2016 LEEDuser Member 287 Thumbs Up

In this case the underage students should not be surveyed, and they not be included in the percentage of people who use alternative means of transport.

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Christian Bösselmann Senior Energy & Sustainability Consultant a°blue / atmosgrad GmbH
Oct 22 2015
LEEDuser Member
82 Thumbs Up

Option 3-Approach 2 Commuter Survey - representative selection

Project Location: Germany

In conducting the commuter survey according to Option 3 / Approach 2 I am would very much appreciate your feedback on the following topics.

The multifunctional building is occupied by 1250 regular occupants with 20 tenants.
1200 regular occupants are located in the office area, while 50 regular occupants are employed in the shops and restaurants.

The building is located in the very centre of Hamburg and we expect a RCCT reduction by >70%.

We will conduct an assessment using Survey Monkey and approach 470 regular occupants. There will be two different surveys for the office occupants and those employed in the shops and restaurants.

I have the following questions

1) Statistical validity of survey participants: would it be ok to approach one or two of the 20 office tenants and have them distribute the survey to all of their employees via a link to survey monkey? Since the tenants distribute the survey to all their employees the selection of participants is representative. The scope of business of the tenants does not indicate that their employees would have a preferred choice for the means of transport.
2) Since the return rate is crucial for the calculation of the reduced RCCT, I am wondering which other ´documentation´ than my statement regarding the number of employees is required when specifying how many regular building occupants received the survey? The online survey will be distributed via a link, the report generated by the software hence cannot document how many persons received this link.

I am looking forward to hearing from you
regards
Christian

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Nov 23 2015 LEEDuser Expert 4168 Thumbs Up

Hi Christian, I think if the 1 to 2 office tenants were somehow selected randomly that you’d be satisfying the statistical validity / randomness requirement. But I think you hit on an important point with your second question that ties in here. You have to be sure you get the minimum required number of responses, so you might want to select more than 1 or 2 tenants, just to be sure, since some folks that receive the survey link inevitably will not respond. And to your second point, you don’t have to provide any other documentation of how many people received the survey aside from the completed EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. SSc4 calculator / credit form. I'd ask the tenant reps to report back on how many people they send the link to, so you can keep a running total and complete the calculator and form correctly.

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Christian Bösselmann Senior Energy & Sustainability Consultant, a°blue / atmosgrad GmbH Nov 24 2015 LEEDuser Member 82 Thumbs Up

Dear Trista,
thanks for getting back to me. We have now decided to pursue Option 3 - Aproach 1 by distributing the survey to all building occupants. Convining major tenants to participate was one challenge, the other one is the issue of privacy protection.
best regards

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Michelle Bracewell-Musson Owner, LEED AP Green Expectations Sustainability Solutions
Oct 01 2015
LEEDuser Member
1428 Thumbs Up

Option on Survey of Fuel-efficient Carpool /Vanpool?

Project Location: United States

Hello,

I have used a survey that was accepted by GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). based on the Leeduser Template, however, I feel like it would streamline the process if I gave two additional options in the How You Travelled to Work section:
1.) Fuel-efficient Vehicle Carpool / Vanpool (shared a fuel-efficient vehicle with at least one other person).
2.) Drove / Rode alone in a Fuel-efficient vehicle.

Would this be acceptable? Your thoughts? Should I just stick with the LEEDuser template?

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Jan 04 2016 LEEDuser Expert 4168 Thumbs Up

Hi Michelle, I think you could capture your proposed changes by revising the existing question to say "If you drove alone or carpooled, what is your vehicle's make model year".

That way a respondent would be prompted to input their vehicle information if they drove alone or if they carpooled.

In general I'd steer away from using the term "fuel-efficient vehicle" because each vehicle must be checked against ACEEE's Green Score to confirm it meets the low-emitting/fuel-efficient requirement. If people just self-report that their car is fuel-efficient you're likely to get flagged by the reviewer for not confirming the ACEEE Green Scores.

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Michelle Bracewell-Musson Owner, LEED AP, Green Expectations Sustainability Solutions Jan 04 2016 LEEDuser Member 1428 Thumbs Up

Hello Trista,

I am glad I asked and will modify the survey accordingly!

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Zane Lichtneger Sustainability Analyst SAS Institute Inc.
Sep 24 2015
LEEDuser Member
78 Thumbs Up

Credit compliance using AVR as an alternative metric

Project Location: United States

I see some formal programs use “average vehicle ridership” (AVR) as an alternate metric. We are active participants with the Go Smart/Go Perks/Triangle Transit/Share The Ride program. In lieu of a survey, can we use AVR by monitoring the number of building occupants and divide by the number of vehicles in the parking lot at 10 am for 5 consecutive mornings and convert this to the RCCT value?
This building offers many alternative commuting transportation options such as infrastructure, incentives and programs. Among them include secure bicycle storage and showers, free electric vehicle charging stations, 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. for 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. (ACEEE score 40+), non-financial incentives for using alternative transportation, a database to facilitate carpooling, and participates in a regional transportation plan to ensure building occupants’ needs are considered.
Bottom line - is there any way to pursue this credit without a survey?

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Dan Ackerstein Principal, Ackerstein Sustainability, LLC Sep 25 2015 LEEDuser Expert 10101 Thumbs Up

Hey Zane,

I'm reluctant to say that there's simply no way to pursue the credit without a survey of some kind, but I'm having trouble thinking of one. Your approach has a lot going for it, but it overlooks the possibility that folks may park offsite in nearby lots, garages or street parking. Various situations make exceptions like that more or less likely, but the very existence of complicating factors (and the number of points in play) have led GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). to a position of insisting on a survey in almost all cases. I think that's the right position - a survey is itself imperfect, but its been proven to be the most effective instrument we presently have for what is a very difficult thing to measure. It sounds like your building will perform quite well in SSc4, so I hope a survey isn't out of the question.

Hope that helps,

Dan

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Erin Holdenried Sustainable Design Manager AECOM
Sep 01 2015
LEEDuser Member
168 Thumbs Up

carpool vs fuel efficent vehicle

Project Location: United States

How should a person carpooling in a fuel efficient vehicle be account for? As carpool trip or a FEV trip? Thanks!

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Sep 01 2015 LEEDuser Expert 4168 Thumbs Up

Hi Erin, you’ll get the most credit in this situation by counting all of the riders as fuel-efficient trips.

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Michelle Bracewell-Musson Owner, LEED AP, Green Expectations Sustainability Solutions Jan 20 2016 LEEDuser Member 1428 Thumbs Up

Hello Erin,

To create a survey question in order to capture the number of occupants car-pooling in a FEV, and get the biggest bang, how would you word the survey? Would you ask the person answering the survey to identify the vehicle's Model, Make and Year for ALL of the vehicles they were a passenger in as well as provide the same information for their own vehicle on days they did not car-pool? This could get tedious and people that car-pool with different people throughout the week, could get confused. I may be overthinking this, but your thoughts are appreciated.

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Julia Thielke Project Manager
Aug 11 2015
LEEDuser Member
214 Thumbs Up

Fuel-efficient vehicles - EURO 6?

Project Location: Germany

For the documentation of 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. in Germany, we were wondering if a vehicle meeting the EURO 6 limit is eligible?

Within the guidelines for ACP in Europe for BD+C, it is stated that for SSc4.3, "projects in europe may use the EURO 6 limit values [..] to meet the definition of low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles". We just checked the ACP guide for Europe for EB:OM, but there is no information regarding this topic.
Has anyone experience for the documentation of low-emitting vehiclesLow-emitting vehicles are classified as zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) by the California Air Resources Board. in Europe?

Thanks in advance, Julia

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 31 2015 LEEDuser Moderator

Julia, since this is accepted in BD+C, I think it would for for EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems.. However to be sure I would advise emailing GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). to double-check.

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Vivien Fairlamb Jun 14 2016 LEEDuser Member 1239 Thumbs Up

Hi Julia,
Have you made any progress with confirming whether using the EURO 6 limits is possible? I have a project in the UK and was hoping that this route might be open to us.

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Peter Gibney Construction & Sustainability Manager / Leed AP Bovis
Jul 16 2015
LEEDuser Member
68 Thumbs Up

Requirement to undertake a Survey

On our LEED project we are looking at Option 2 with our participation in a local, formal Commute Reduction Programme. The issue I have is that the Human Resources Department has squashed our plans to undertake a survey with no apparent possiblity to reverse their decision, meaning we must look at other means of data collection. Can we use entry point information as we have segregated entries and can obtain accurate information on a daily basis as to numbers of car and motobike uses (included those who carshare) and those who use alternative means of transport and enter through the building's main reception area? We can also obtain zip code information on all occupants and do the 5 continuos daily data collection as you would if a survey was carried out. Would be pleased to receive any insight on this matter and any tips that can be made with respect to undertaking the formal local/regional programme option. Many thanks.

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Kimberly Schlaepfer Sustainability Coordinator LEED AP O+M, BD+C, YR&G Aug 03 2015 LEEDuser Expert 439 Thumbs Up

Hi Peter,
Unfortunately I don't think the methodology you have mapped out above will be compliant with the LEED requirements for the survey. The data collection must be based on building occupant responses rather than observations of the commuting behavior. If the building does not participate in a formal commute reduction program, the only other option to earn points for this credit is to conduct an informal survey of the regular building occupants' commuting habits.

A possible way to do this would be to solicit commuting information from the individuals on a Friday as they enter the building from each entrance and ask them to quickly report their method of travel for the week, including car make and model when appropriate. This approach would be considered an informal survey and would have to be done according to the methodology and data collection procedures provided in SCAQMDSouth Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) is the air pollution control agency that regulates stationary air pollution sources in parts of southern California, including Orange County and most of Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside County. Rule 2202.

Is your project pursuing IEQc2.1: Occupant Comfort Survey? If so, another good strategy is to combine the transportation survey and the occupant comfort survey into one, so only one survey has to be distributed. This way valuable information can be collected about the occupants level of satisfaction with the building as well as their commuting habits.
Hope this helps!

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Charalampos Giannikopoulos Senior Sustainability Consultant DCarbon
Jun 23 2015
LEEDuser Member
1055 Thumbs Up

Credit documentation

For credit compliance using Option 3 - Approach 1 is any documentation other than the “EBOM SSc4 Alternative Transportation Survey Results Calculator” required?
In addition, the "Sample SSc4 Survey Results" under the documentation toolkit does not work. WOuld it be the same as the “EBOM SSc4 Alternative Transportation Survey Results Calculator”?

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Jun 30 2015 LEEDuser Expert 4168 Thumbs Up

Yes, the only documentation you need to provide is the completed EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. SSc4 calculator (and the credit form, of course).

Thanks for the heads up about the missing sample survey results file - we'll look into it!

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Helen Samuel Senior Tax Accountant Ernst & Young LLP
May 21 2015
LEEDuser Member
276 Thumbs Up

Can we administer survey on multiple days?

I have a project that has operations 7 days a week. About 75% of workers come to the site Mon-Thu, and the other 25% of the workers come to the site Fri, Sat and Sun. Therefore, this is no single day where all workers overlap at the site.

Would it be acceptable to administer the survey on two different days? For example, on a Thursday for the weekday group and on a Sunday for the weekend group.

The reason for my question is: we would like to administer the survey to all building occupants (approach 1), as opposed to sampling, so that we can capture any possible alternative vehicles, carpools, etc.

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Mar 09 2016 LEEDuser Expert 4168 Thumbs Up

That sounds like a good plan to me, as long as the week you're surveying for is the same for both groups.

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Jessica Hawley Sustainability Consultant EBI Consulting
Mar 26 2015
LEEDuser Member
1084 Thumbs Up

Duration for online survey

Project Location: United States

We are planning on sending out an emailed link to an online electronic transportation survey on a Monday to survey our building's entire tenant population about their commute for the prior week (M-F). We were thinking that we could leave the link open for survey responses for a few days. Is there any guidance or has anyone had any feedback regarding how long an online survey was open for responses? Would it be acceptable to leave the survey open for more than just one day to collect responses (i.e. for a week, or at least for a few days) in order to take into account those employees that may be away from their desk on the day the link is sent out? Also, is it acceptable to survey on a Monday for the prior M-F work week? We just think we may get better responses from tenants from an emailed survey on a Monday vs. sending it out on a Friday. Does anyone have any feedback about doing it this way?

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Jason Franken Sustainability Professional Mar 26 2015 LEEDuser Member 8187 Thumbs Up

Jessica, that approach sounds perfect and mirrors what I'm sure a lot of consultants in the field are doing at their own buildings. As far as how long to leave the survey open, I think you definitely need more than one day; we usually see a drop off (or total stop) in responses after around 5 business days. So, if the survey goes out on Monday, I'd suggest checking your results after Wednesday and then again on the following Monday to get the final tallies.

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Karen Cochran Real Estate Sustainability Lead, PG&E Mar 26 2015 LEEDuser Member 102 Thumbs Up

I agree. We send it out early on Monday, then a reminder late Tuesday or early Wed. We have also had an onsite sign up with laptops on that Wed or Thursday. Make clear how little time it will take to fill out. And we offer and incentive by entering each responders name into a drawing for an iPad mini. Seems to help –we have seen very good response rates.

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Jessica Hawley Sustainability Consultant, EBI Consulting Mar 26 2015 LEEDuser Member 1084 Thumbs Up

Perfect, thanks for the feedback!

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Miranda Lescaze
Feb 23 2015
Guest
11 Thumbs Up

Residents excluded?

Project Location: United States

A portion of our building is office space and a portion is multi-family senior residences. The alternative commuting survey guidance seems to refer to, and make sense to, implementation for the office employees only. Am I correct that only those commuting to the building for work must be surveyed, and that the residents of the multi-family section do not need to be surveyed (as they are not commuting - they live here!)? Thanks, Miranda

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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Mar 09 2016 LEEDuser Expert 4168 Thumbs Up

Hi Miranda, residents that commute should be included in the survey according to 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. 100001166 (http://www.usgbc.org/leed-interpretations?keys=100001166).

However, I think residential non-commuters (retirees, for example) should be excluded entirely from the population of regular occupants for the purposes of the survey. This is described in the EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. v4 Reference Guide in the "Project Type Variations" section of LTc1, and should be applicable for a v2009 project as well.

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Wendy Lao LEED Sustainability Intern County of Santa Clara
Jul 15 2014
Guest
169 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 10101 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 GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)., 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
182 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
33 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
33 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
3792 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
14 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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Trista Little Sustainability Manager, YR&G Mar 09 2016 LEEDuser Expert 4168 Thumbs Up

Hi Matthieu, sorry for the late response to your post! Unfortunately this approach wont work for LEED purposes. The credit requirements and approved strategies for assessing commuting habits are pretty specific and rigorous. While the counting cars approach could give a general idea of the level of single occupant car commuting, it doesn't drill down far enough into the different transportation modes like LEED requires, and many of the nuances included in the standard survey approach couldn't be assessed (e.g. telecommuting, out of office, carpooling, fuel-efficient vehicle trips, taxi trips, etc).

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Ralf Lehmann M.Sc. | Dipl.-Ing. (FH) | LEED AP BD&C ALPHA Energy & Environment GmbH
Jan 23 2014
Guest
647 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 32 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
32 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 systems. 2009?

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Heather Holdridge Sustainability Coordinator, Lake/Flato Architects Dec 04 2013 LEEDuser Member 1877 Thumbs Up

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

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Helen Samuel Senior Tax Accountant Ernst & Young LLP
Oct 15 2013
LEEDuser Member
276 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 9077 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
1009 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
384 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 President, Weatherby Design & Co. Engineers Sep 03 2013 Guest 2417 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
113 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 1349 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 113 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 1349 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 11 Thumbs Up

Hello : May I have a copy of your LEED-EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. 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
62 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 D. DeVuono Senior Staff Engineer, T&M Associates Jul 11 2013 LEEDuser Expert 5002 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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