Schools-2009 MRc1.1: Building Reuse—Maintain Existing Walls, Floors and Roof

  • Schools MRc1.1 action path diagram
  • Existing building?

    If an existing building plays a starring role in your project, it’s a good candidate for this credit, which rewards the reuse of buildings and their structural components. In this way you can reduce the energy- and resource-intensive manufacturing of new materials, while prolonging the enjoyment of a building’s character and history. If the existing building plays only a small role, on the other hand, it is less likely to qualify for this credit, although it may contribute to materials reuse credits.

    If a project includes new construction in addition to building restoration, the project is only eligible for the credit if the floor area of the new construction is no more than two times the floor area of the retained existing structure. A LEED for Schools project can earn up to two points for reusing 75% or 95% of existing building, as well as being eligible for MRc1.2: Building Reuse—Maintain Interior Nonstructural Elements.

    Intensive calculations

    Evaluate credit eligibility and targets using the eligibility and building reuse calculators available in the documentation toolkit. The process of documenting this credit by accurately measuring the area of building elements and tabulating them in the Building Reuse calculator can be fairly time-intensive. When measuring, be sure to consistently follow the credit rules and not double-count elements. In addition, a structural survey must generally be performed  to confirm the integrity of the structures and identify any load restrictions. Non-structural elements may also require study by a qualified professional.

    Assess building reuse with these questions

    • Conduct a survey of existing building for current condition. What are the likely costs of structural reinforcements, building restoration, and demolition of unusable areas?
    • What is cost of new construction if whole building is demolished and replaced?
    • Is the project eligible to pursue this credit, with the new construction being less than two times the floor area of the retained existing structure?
    • Are there local incentives, or requirements, for restoration? Are there local restrictions on new construction that could be better negotiated with a renovation? Are there height limitations and historic standards affecting the façade?
    • What procedures may be involved in seeking approval of local historic authorities?
    • Is it likely that maintaining the existing building could mean remediating hazardous materials?  At what cost?

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Pre-Design

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  • If considering a site with an existing building, evaluate the drawbacks of renovation and restoration compared with demolition and new construction.


  • Building reuse maintains cultural and historic heritage in addition to extending the useful life of the building and materials. Tax credits and even grants may be available from local and federal authorities for rehabilitating historic buildings. These incentives usually require the redevelopment to be historically sensitive, and community input may also be required.


  • Hazardous materials such as asbestos and lead may be present in older buildings. The owner may benefit from conducting a Phase I Environmental Assessment, and if required, a Phase II assessment with a remediation plan to ensure a safe and healthy facility.


  • Large cost savings for the owner, along with reduced waste and resource use, can be benefits of building reuse. Perform a budget comparison of new construction versus restoration to make an informed decision.


  • You may find a tradeoff between building reuse and overall environmental performance, specifically in terms of indoor air quality and energy efficiency. Although many older buildings are energy-efficient compared to average new construction, it is typically more difficult to attain the highest levels of building performance due to the constraints of the existing building. Look for areas where this tradeoff may appear, and mitigate them by identifying measures most likely to result in improved performance. For example, an historic building with a load-bearing masonry wall may not be a good candidate for adding wall insulation. Try to improve thermal performance in other areas like roof insulation, reducing infiltration through windows, and using more efficient HVAC systems.

Schematic Design

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  • The architect determines project eligibility for the building reuse credit based on pre-design assessment. A project is eligible if it is reusing an existing structure with no addition, or if the total gross square foot of the final project with the new addition would be less than two times the gross floor area of existing floor area. Use the Documentation Toolkit calculator to determine eligibility.


  • Projects ineligible for the building reuse credit can count the reused building area towards MRc2: Construction Waste Management for recycling or otherwise diverting waste, or MRc3: Materials Reuse for materials that are reused on-site in a different application (such as door used as a countertop).


  • If a LEED project includes both existing structure and new construction, the LEED project boundary must encompass the entire existing building regardless of the scope of work within the existing building. The only instance where a portion of an existing building may be excluded from the LEED project boundary is if it functions independently with its own mechanical and electrical system.

Construction Documents

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  • Incorporate restoration specifications into the construction documents.


  • List and tabulate in the Building Reuse Calculator all of the exterior and structural elements being reused, restored and renovated in the project.


  • The Building Reuse calculator (see the Documentation Toolkit) helps in tabulating and obtaining a reuse percentage for credit targets. This data can be transferred to LEED Online after being finalized. Use these guidelines in carrying out the calculations for Building Reuse.

    • Include the following in the calculations as “existing elements”: the surface area of one side of all structural floors, roof decks, exterior walls, and party walls. Count the reused portions of these in “reused elements.”
    • In all calculations, count and include the surface area of one side of interior structural walls, for example an elevator shaft support wall in middle of a building.
    • Exclude the following from all calculations for this credit: hazardous materials, envelope materials that are structurally unsound, roof finish materials, window assemblies, and doors.
    • Exclude surface areas of structural supports like columns and beams from all the calculations, existing or reused. Larger wall and roof areas supported by columns and beams are included, so these structural members are excluded to avoid double counting. 
    • See the Documentation Toolkit for an example of how to calculate the surface area of existing structure elements.

  • Building elements removed because of hazardous materials do not count against you, because they are excluded from both the tally of existing elements, and from reused elements.


  • Many older buildings are energy-efficient compared with average new construction, but can be challenging to bring to a level of higher performance. Consult building science experts to avoid moisture and structural problems, and consult with historic preservationists to make sure that any solutions don’t conflict with historic standards, if relevant. For example, in buildings with load-bearing masonry walls, building scientists tend to want to insulate the exterior, while preservationists may object to changing the appearance of the building. Adding equipment like cooling towers may conflict with a building or neighborhood’s historic character.

Construction

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  • Work with the restoration contractor on appropriate demolition and restoration activities that support this credit and other resource reuse credits.


  • To document the credit, develop a floor plan showing the location of existing structural components, floors, roof deck, exterior walls, and internal structural walls, and identify each that are reused. See the Documentation Toolkit for an example floor plan and elevation.


  • Take photos of exposed cavities to document complicated structural systems and future use in installation of utilities or planning renovations.


  • Protect existing elements during demolition and construction so that they can be reused. Renovation and restoration may be labor-intensive; make realistic plans in advance.


  • Before completing LEED documentation, the architect or responsible party revisits the tabulation of existing and reused elements to confirm that the percentage of reused building elements is above the threshold required for LEED.

Operations & Maintenance

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  • The architect or responsible party drafts a narrative describing the project’s approach to building reuse, including the selection of preserved elements, and any outstanding project features.


  • Special finishes and materials may be used during construction to maintain a certain aesthetic or historic integrity. Be sure that operation and maintenance guidelines are developed that account for these factors.

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Schools New Construction and Major Renovations

    MR Credit 1.1: Building reuse - maintain existing walls, floors and roof

    1–2 Points

    Intent

    To 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.

    Requirements

    Maintain the existing building structure (including structural floor and roof decking) and envelope (the exterior skin and framing, excluding window assemblies and nonstructural roofing material).

    Hazardous materials that are remediated as a part of the project must be excluded from the calculation of the percentage maintained.

    The minimum percentage building reuse for each point threshold is as follows:

    Building Reuse Points
    75% 1
    95% 2



    If the project includes an addition that is more than 6 times (for Core & Shell) and 2 times (for New Construction and Schools) the square footage of the existing building, this credit is not applicable.

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    Consider reusing existing, previously occupied building structures, envelopes and elements. Remove elements that pose a contamination risk to building occupants and upgrade components that would improve energy and water efficiency, such as windows, mechanical systems and plumbing fixtures.

Publications

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.

Eligibility Calculator

Determining Project Eligibility for this Credit

Use these documents to determine eligibility for the project, if including an addition. The new construction must be not more than two times the existing floor area.

Building Reuse Documentation

For All Projects

The building reuse calculator helps in tabulating and obtaining a reuse percentage for credit targets. You can then transfer this data to LEED Online.

Floor Plan & Elevation

To document this credit you'll need a floor plan and elevation identifyng the structural components that are retained and those that are demolished. It verifies the accuracy of elements included in the building reuse calculations.

LEED Online Forms: Schools-2009 MR

The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each Schools-2009 MR credit. You'll need to fill out the live versions of these forms on LEED Online for each credit you hope to earn.

Version 4 forms (newest):

Version 3 forms:

These links are posted by LEEDuser with USGBC's permission. USGBC has certain usage restrictions for these forms; for more information, visit LEED Online and click "Sample Forms Download."

Construction Submittal

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

16 Comments

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Larry Turbes Architect TKDA
Apr 17 2014
LEEDuser Member
17 Thumbs Up

Building Reuse off Site

Our project has two building structures that will be moved for use on another property by a different owner. One is a greenhouse, the other is a prefabricated temporary classroom building. Does this fall under MRc1 or some other category?

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Nadav Malin USGBC LEED Faculty, President, BuildingGreen, Inc. Apr 17 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Hi Larry,

Those buildings would contribute to MRc2--Construction Waste Management. They would not count toward this building reuse credit.

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Eric Carbonnier Senior Environmental Analyst HMC Architects
May 19 2011
LEEDuser Member
108 Thumbs Up

Building Move and Reuse

Would this be the appropriate credit to pursue the move and reuse of a structure? When I do the calculations I can't get above 75% because the slab-on-grade is obviously not moved, which immediately drops the total and doesn't quality. Maybe pursue an Innovation Credit? Should there be an exception to slab-on-grad moves and reuse?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. May 19 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Eric, the place to get credit for this is in MRc2. For buildings that don't qualify for MRc1 for one reason or another, it is considered as construction waste management.

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Nicole Cavanaugh cox graae + spack architects
Oct 13 2010
Guest
364 Thumbs Up

Gross vs Net Square feet

Which would you use?

Thanks,
Nicole

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Anne Nicklin Executive Director, Building Materials Reuse Association Oct 13 2010 Guest 1574 Thumbs Up

Hi Nicole,

For the most part I would use gross square feet for the calculations, though make sure that the external walls exclude the windows and that no elements are double counted.

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Nicole Cavanaugh cox graae + spack architects
Oct 11 2010
Guest
364 Thumbs Up

MRc1.1 Building Reuse

I'm working on a project which is a renovation of an old power plant into a fitness center. The building had one existing floor, however, I am adding a second floor without changing the roof.

In regards to this credit (MRc1.1) I assume, the new floor addition square footage does not affect the building reuse calcs? Should I even mention that I am adding a new floor to the building?

I think this credit is tricky because Leed states "If the project includes an addition that is more than 6 times (for C+S) and 2 times (for NC and Schools) the square footage of the existing building, this credit is not applicable."

LEED does not define "an addition." It seems to me that an addition would apply to new construction OUTSIDE the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint.. What about completely new spaces within the building footprint?

Thanks,
Nicole

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David Posada Sustainability Manager, GBD Architects Oct 11 2010 LEEDuser Expert 17205 Thumbs Up

I think in the context of this credit the new square footage would not be considered an addition since you are not adding it outside the building footprintBuilding footprint is the area on a project site used by the building structure, defined by the perimeter of the building plan. Parking lots, parking garages, landscapes, and other nonbuilding facilities are not included in the building footprint. or envelope.

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Anne Nicklin Executive Director, Building Materials Reuse Association Oct 11 2010 Guest 1574 Thumbs Up

Hi Nicole,

If I'm understanding this right- you're increasing the Floor Area RatioFloor Area Ratio (FAR) is the measure of the density of non-residential land use. It is the total non-residential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for non-residential uses.  For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet of built building floor area.  On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet of built floor area; an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 built square feet and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 built square feet. (FAR) of the building, and questioning whether or not you need to declare the increase in determining basic eligibility for the credit. I'd say, yes, the new floor does count. It helped me when I started to think about a building that added ten floors on top of an existing floor- that made it look much more like a new addition despite the fact that you are maintaining the footprint.
Since you are only adding one floor though- it should not impact your project's eligibility for the credit, as it's highly unlikely that the second floor is twice the size of the first floor. Plus- the credit is based on reuse of existing materials, so no penalty there.

Hope that helps.
-Anne

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David Posada Sustainability Manager, GBD Architects Oct 11 2010 LEEDuser Expert 17205 Thumbs Up

Anne & Nicole -
The outcome might be the same in this case, but I think the question touches on whether you're adding the new floor inside the existing volume of the building or whether it's being added on top of the existing building and adding to it's height.

It might be a nit picky distinction, but we had a similar scenario converting a historic armory - a single volume shell - into a multi-level performing arts center. The exterior shell and roof remained intact, but several levels of program are were added within that volume. So even though the FAR did increase, both the footprint and the existing shell (and volume above grade) stayed the same. Make sense?

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Nicole Cavanaugh cox graae + spack architects Oct 11 2010 Guest 364 Thumbs Up

Perfect sense- this is the same scenario I was interested in. Thanks everyone for your help.

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Anne Nicklin Executive Director, Building Materials Reuse Association Oct 13 2010 Guest 1574 Thumbs Up

Thanks David- I agree that if you're not changing the envelope then the additional square footage should not keep you from applying for the credit.
thanks-a

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Nicole Cavanaugh cox graae + spack architects
Sep 28 2010
Guest
364 Thumbs Up

Transfer data to LEED online?

How do we go about transferring the data from the provided LEED template to the online form? (Assuming there is an easier way than re-entering all the info? )

Thanks for your help!

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Sep 28 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

Nicole, which template are you referring to?

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Nicole Cavanaugh cox graae + spack architects Sep 28 2010 Guest 364 Thumbs Up

The Building Reuse Calculator for MR c1.1 in the Documentation Toolkit. Specifically, I'm looking for an easier way once I have completed all the information in excel to be able to transfer the info to the online form? It appears that I need to re-create the same info again once I'm on the official LEED form.

Thanks!

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Sep 28 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

Yes, that's correct—unfortunately.

We provide the calculator for your convenience in evaluating compliance, but USGBC doesn't give us a way to export that data directly to LEED Online.

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Jul 31 2014
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