NC-v2.2 MRc1.3: Building Reuse—Non-Structural

  • NC22_Schools_MRc1-2_Type3_BuildingReuse diagram
  • Refinish and reuse existing elements

    You may find on a renovation of an existing building that some interior elements, such as walls, ceilings and doors, are in perfectly good condition and do not need to be replaced. This credit awards you one point for refinishing and reusing 50% of these elements. Projects are only eligible for this credit if the gross built area of the final building is less than two times the existing built area.

    Check the calculation details

    The calculation for this credit is a function of the total interior elements present upon construction completion, including both the existing and the new non-structural building components used in the project. Note that this approach contrasts with the calculation method in MRc1.1–1.2: Building Reuse—Maintain 75% / 95% of Existing Walls, Floors and Roof, where the calculation compares the area of retained elements to that of existing components only. A project is eligible for the credit if it is reusing an existing structure and there is no new addition or the new construction that is no more than two times the gross floor areaGross floor area (based on ASHRAE definition) is the sum of the floor areas of the spaces within the building, including basements, mezzanine and intermediate‐floored tiers, and penthouses wi th headroom height of 7.5 ft (2.2 meters) or greater. Measurements m ust be taken from the exterior 39 faces of exterior walls OR from the centerline of walls separating buildings, OR (for LEED CI certifying spaces) from the centerline of walls separating spaces. Excludes non‐en closed (or non‐enclosable) roofed‐over areas such as exterior covered walkways, porches, terraces or steps, roof overhangs, and similar features. Excludes air shafts, pipe trenches, and chimneys. Excludes floor area dedicated to the parking and circulation of motor vehicles. ( Note that while excluded features may not be part of the gross floor area, and therefore technically not a part of the LEED project building, they may still be required to be a part of the overall LEED project and subject to MPRs, prerequisites, and credits.) of the existing floor area.

    For example, if a project has 1,000 ft2 of existing structural elements and 1,000 ft2 of existing nonstructural elements. The final design consists of 2,000 ft2 of structural elements and 1,200 ft2 of nonstructural elements. The project achieves MRc1.1 if it reuses 500 ft2 of structural elements, and achieves MRc1.3 if 600 ft2 of the completed nonstructural elements were pre-existing.

    Can be labor-intensive

    Building restoration may be labor-intensive, but reusing buildings and their interior components extends the life cycle of an existing structure and mitigates the impacts of extraction, manufacturing and transportation of raw materials when compared to new building construction. In addition to these environmental benefits, restoration often offers historic and cultural benefits.

    There are calculators available for evaluating credit eligibility and targets. The most time-intensive aspects of documentation for this credit are getting accurate measurements of the area of nonstructural building elements and tabulating the existing and restored areas in the InteriorReuse calculator. When measuring, it is important to note the method you have used to account for existing building elements.

    Use these questions to assess the potential for building reuse

    • Conduct a survey of the existing building to ascertain the current condition. What are the probable costs of structural reinforcements, building restoration, and demolition of unusable areas?
    • What is the cost of new construction if the whole building is demolished and replaced?
    • Is the project eligible to pursue this LEED credit? Any new addition must be no more than twice the existing square footage that is retained.
    • Would a renovation project be available for local historic incentives, or federal tax credits? Are there restrictions on demolishing the existing building and starting over?
    • Which nonstructural elements are most feasible to maintain? What level of restoration will be needed for each element?


  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip


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  • Determine whether the project is eligible for the credit based on existing floor area and total floor area. A project is eligible if the project is reusing an existing structure and there is no new addition or the new construction that is no more than two times the gross floor area of the existing floor area.

  • The project does not need to achieve MRc1.1-1.2:  Building Structure Reuse to pursue MR 1.3: Building Nonstructural Reuse.

  • Ineligible projects may apply the reused building area toward MRc2: Construction Waste Management, or MRc3: Materials Reuse, but not to both

Schematic Design

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  • Identify walls and ceilings that can be restored. The building owner and architect should evaluate the implications of renovation and restoration against those of demolition and new construction.

  • Assess the interior space to determine whether the program goals can be achieved while maintaining existing interior surfaces.

  • Elements that can be counted for reuse include all interior walls, ceilings, carpets, cabinetry, interior doors and windows. Exterior doors and windows, mechanical systems, and hazardous materials may not be included in calculations.

  • Develop a checklist of all interior elements and use this to make preliminary calculations anticipating the percentage of elements that can be reused. Pursue the credit only if these preliminary calculations show that at least 50% of interior elements in the completed building are reused, per the requirement.

  • Elements to be saved for reuse may be removed for protection during construction, and reinstalled for the same purpose. If being used in a new application (doors used as paneling, for example), the materials no longer qualify for this credit, but do qualify for MRc3: Materials Reuse.

  • Reusing building elements is often labor-intensive, due to restoration needs and needing contractors to work around these elements. However, avoiding the purchase of new materials while reducing construction waste can lead to significant cost savings. Doing a budget comparison between restoration and new construction costs will help building owners make informed decisions.

  • Local incentives and historic tax credits can make historic rehabilitation more attractive. The baseline definition of “historic” is typically an age of 50 years or greater. These incentives may require a certain level of preservation of interior spaces or finishes, in keeping with the building’s character and historic fabric, but do allow for a significant amount of adaptation.

Design Development

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  • Update the checklist assembled during schematic design to confirm that the project is still on track with 50% of reused interior elements for LEED compliance. For example, a wall initially assumed to be in good condition may be found to be in poor condition, and needs to be replaced with new materials. The checklist will help track credit compliance throughout the design and construction process.

  • Develop a renovation plan that outlines reuse, cleaning and restoration activities, and specifications for finishes. When possible use deconstruction, rather than demolition, so that elements that cannot be reused in the project may be reused offsite. This diversion contributes to MRc2: Construction Waste Management.

  • Tabulate reused surfaces of following elements: the surface area (one side only) of all finished flooring, finished ceilings, interior doors, exterior or party walls, visible surfaces of built-in case goods, and two sides of interior non-structural walls.

  • Design development may require community involvement in the case of an historic building undergoing renovation or addition.

  • Older buildings often contain hazardous materials, including asbestos, lead, and others. The building owner may need to conduct an ASTM E1527-05 Phase I Environmental Assessment by an environmental consultant, and if required, a Phase II assessment with a remediation plan to ensure a safe and healthy facility. These hazardous materials are not included in any MR credit calculations—so they count neither for nor against you.

  • Design style and aesthetics may be driving factors for preserving the interior finishes and elements.

  • Consider tradeoffs when reusing certain elements. Retaining existing interior partitions, for example, is a simple strategy which can help to attain this credit. However, depending on the placement of the existing walls, this must be weighed against the possible loss of daylighting and views. It should also be balanced against trade-offs related to energy efficiency and indoor environmental quality, too.

  • Fixed partitions and office furniture apply to MRc3: Materials Reuse and not to MRc.1.3 Building Nonstructural Reuse.

Construction Documents

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  • Architects should incorporate restoration specifications into the construction documents.

  • Confirm that construction and demolition drawings highlight clear distinctions between the elements being restored and elements that will be taken down.

  • Include details on preparation, protection and any special arrangement required during construction. Reused elements may need protective coverings and sheets from contaminants and construction dust


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  • The architect and construction manager work with the restoration contractor to establish appropriate demolition and restoration activities.

  • At the end of construction, the architect revisits the preliminary calculations to confirm that the percentage of reused building elements is above the 50% threshold required for the credit.

  • Draft a narrative describing your approach to building reuse, including the selection of elements preserved, and any outstanding project features.

  • Upload documentation to LEED Online.

  • Some historic elements may call for finishes or adhesives that do not comply with the low-VOC guidelines of EQc4: Low-Emitting Materials. Discuss these issues with subcontractors as they come up and seek substitutes.

  • Renovation and restoration are labor-intensive specialties and may represent added costs, although costs for new materials and for waste disposal may be reduced.

  • Some elements may require special protection during construction.  In cases where only a portion of a building is undergoing construction, special attention should be paid to isolating the otherwise clean or occupied areas and protecting the retained elements from dust and contamination.

Operations & Maintenance

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  • The restoration team should provide operations staff with a maintenance plan and guidelines appropriate to the specific finishes. Special finishes or other measures used to preserve historic elements may also require special operations and maintenance procedures.


    Excerpted from LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations Version 2.2

    MR Credit 1.3: Building reuse - maintain 50% of interior non-structural elements

    1 Point


    Extend the life cycle of existing building stock, conserve resources, retain cultural resources, reduce waste and reduce environmental impacts of new buildings as they relate to materials manufacturing and transport.


    Use existing interior non-structural elements (interior walls, doors, floor coverings and ceiling systems) in at least 50% (by area) of the completed building (including additions). If the project includes an addition to an existing building, this credit is not applicable if the square footage of the addition is more than 2 times the square footage of the existing building.

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    Consider reuse of existing buildings, including structure, envelope and interior non-structural elements. Remove elements that pose contamination risk to building occupants and upgrade components that would improve energy and water efficiency, such as mechanical systems and plumbing fixtures. Quantify the extent of building reuse.


Design for Deconstruction: Material Reuse and Constructability

Pittsburgh Papers: Best of GreenBuild, November 12-14, Pittsburgh, PA, 74-81. Pulaski, M., Hewitt, C., Horman, M. and Guy, B. 2003.

How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built

A fascinating study of how buildings evolve or disintegrate after they're "finished," and how to design for their ongoing evolution. Great photos and anecdotes throughout illustrate Stewart Brand's theories, which are a compelling and easy read. A great book for lovers of old buildings, but also for those building new buildings that they wish to have a long, rich life.

Technical Guides

ASTM 1527-05: Phase I Environmental Assessment

ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services 1527-05 Phase I environmental assessment is a report prepared for the real estate holding that identifies potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities.

ASTM 1903-97: Phase II Environmental Site Assessment

ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services 1903-97 Phase II environmental site assessment is an investigation that collects samples of building materials to analyze for quantitative values for various contaminants.

Interior Reuse Calculations

Credit Documentation

Use this calculator to tabulate the reused interior components and assess credit compliance.

LEED Online Sample Template – MRc1.3


This template is the flattened, public version of the dynamic template for this credit that is used within LEED-Online v2 by registered project teams. This and other public versions of LEED credit templates come from the USGBC website, and are posted on LEEDuser with USGBC's permission. You'll need to fill out the live version of this template on LEED Online to document this credit.



Official LEED Online Forms

Construction Submittal

HardhatDocumentation for this credit is part of the Construction Phase submittal.


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Aug 27 2014
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