This Bird's Eye View text is from USGBC's MPR Supplemental Guidance Revision #2.
The purpose of this MPR is to highlight the importance of environmental laws and regulations that apply to LEED projects. Such legislation establishes a baseline standard for sustainability.
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). will not immediately revoke a certification if a lapse in compliance with an environmental law resulting from unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances occurs. However, project teams must demonstrate a dedicated effort to return the building to compliance as soon as feasibly possible. As a precaution and at the project team’s discretion, the building owner may notify GBCI of any lapse in compliance and efforts to bring the building back into compliance. Use the Special Circumstances section of PIf1 in LEED Online v3 for this purpose. If the lapse occurs after certification (applicable only to LEED-EB: O&M certified projects), the project team may contact GBCI via the ‘contact us’ pages at gbci.org to receive additional guidance in this situation.
If governmental authorities exempt the project from a building-related environmental law for any reason, then that project is exempt from this MPR in regards to that particular law. In the event that this occurs, a description of the situation leading to the exemption and proof of the exemption (such as an official letter from the granting authority) must be provided in the Special Circumstances section of PIf1 in LEED Online v3.
It is recognized that, in the case of an alleged environmental law violation, building owners sometimes agree on a settlement with a governmental agency to make reparations for their actions. These situations are treated on a case by case basis in terms of compliance with this MPR. Please contact GBCI via the ‘contact us’ pages at gbci.org to receive additional guidance in this situation.
Only 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.) within the LEED project boundary of a LEED-CI project must comply with this MPR, NOT the building in which the project is located.
For projects with unfinished spaces (typically, LEED-CS projects), interior fit-out work conducted post-certification is NOT subject to this MPR unless strategies implemented in the fit-out space contribute to earned prerequisites or credits for that project via the tenant sales and lease agreement or owner letter of commitment path.
DEFINITION For the purposes of this MPR, an ‘environmental law’ is considered to be a statute, rule, treaty, convention, executive order, regulation, or ordinance that seeks to protect the natural environment and/or human health which may be negatively impacted by activities surrounding the design, construction, development, or operation of a building.
LOCATION This MPR applies to ALL LEED projects, regardless of location, and includes all existing building-related environmental laws in the jurisdiction where the LEED project is located. For US projects, this includes laws at the federal, state, and local level.
CATEGORIES Categories containing laws that fall under the purview of this MPR include, but are not limited to the following: wetlands, noise, runoff, asbestos, air quality, pollution, sewage, pesticides, safety, and forestry.
EXAMPLES This list includes examples of US federal building-related environmental laws and regulations that fall under the purview of this MPR. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, only illustrative. It is the project team’s responsibility to know which laws apply to the building and to verify that the project is in compliance.
This MPR includes new laws, regulations, and ordinances as they are enacted.
In the rare case that a building-related environmental law covered by this MPR conflicts with another MPR, a LEED prerequisite or credit, the law will take precedence. Project teams may still comply with the MPR and achieve the prerequisite or credit by requesting approval of an Alternative Compliance Path (ACP) during the regular review process, a Project CIR or, if desired, 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.. The ACP must satisfy both the environmental law and the intent of the LEED requirement.
By verifying that a LEED project complies with this MPR, USGBC, and GBCI assume that project owners are accurately and willingly attesting that the LEED project complies with applicable building-related environmental laws. LEED is a voluntary program that rewards exemplary building performance. In no way will USGBC or GBCI act as law enforcement. With this MPR, USGBC and GBCI are using established laws only to ascertain that the LEED project is meeting the appropriate environmental standards.
The intent and requirements of SSc1 Site Selection in whole building design and construction rating systems differ from that of this MPR. This MPR requires compliance with environmental laws, and SSc1 rewards voluntary land use choices. A point may be earned under SSc1 if the LEED project complies with a series of criteria. Projects that do not meet these criteria demonstrate unsustainable, but not illegal development practices. SSc1 essentially builds on the requirements of MPR #1.
Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Retail: New Construction and Major Renovations
The LEED project building or space, all other real property within the LEED project boundary, and all project work must comply with applicable federal, state, and local building-related environmental laws and regulations in place where the project is located. This condition must be satisfied from the date of LEED project registration or the commencement of schematic design, whichever comes first, up and until the date that the building receives a certificate of occupancy or similar official indication that it is fit and ready for use.
The LEED project building, all other real property within the LEED project boundary, any project work, and all normal building operations occurring within the LEED project building and the LEED project boundary must comply with applicable federal, state, and local building-related environmental laws and regulations in place where the project is located. This condition must be satisfied from the commencement of the LEED project’s initial LEED-EB: O&M performance period through the expiration date of the LEED Certification.
A lapse in a project’s compliance with a building-related environmental law or regulation that results from an unforeseen and unavoidable circumstance shall not necessarily result in non-compliance with this MPR. Such lapses shall be excused so long as they are remediated as soon as feasibly possible.
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LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser
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