Schools-2009 WEc3: Water Use Reduction

  • NC_CS_Schools_WEc3_Type3_Water Use Reduction Diagram
  • Things have gotten harder

    Water-use reduction is a good opportunity for all projects to earn points. If you’re familiar with this credit from earlier versions of LEED, though, keep in mind that it’s gotten harder. LEED 2009 introduced WEp1: Water Use Reduction as a prerequisite, calling for a 20% reduction for all projects. In contrast with NC-v2.2 WEc3, which used to award one point for a 20% reduction, the points for 2009 now start with a 30% reduction with for two points, and go up to four points for a 40% reduction. 

    The baseline for measuring water savings has also become more demanding. The LEED 2009 baseline for commercial lavatory faucets is 0.5 gallons per minute (gpm), whereas the previous baseline was 2.5 gpm.

    It’s still very doable 

    Even with these more stringent requirements, both the credit and the prerequisite should still be fairly easy to achieve with careful fixture selection. You also have the option of replacing potable waterPotable water meets or exceeds EPA's drinking water quality standards and is approved for human consumption by the state or local authorities having jurisdiction; it may be supplied from wells or municipal water systems. with non-potable sources—for example using captured rainwater, or reusing lavatory water, to flush toilets. 

    Since you will already be designing fixtures to meet the 20% prerequisite, it is not much of a stretch to meet the 30% threshold to start earning points under this credit.

    Solutions are simple and widely available

    If you pay close attention to the flow rates of the water fixtures you select (gallons per minute for flow fixtures and gallons per flush for flush fixtures), you should be able to achieve a 30% reduction in water use by using widely available efficient fixtures—at a minimal cost premium and without compromising comfort. 

    Uppercut valveDual-flush options like Sloan's Uppercut dual-flush flushometer are a common way to help earn this credit. Image – Sloan Valve Co.Some typical approaches here include low-flow faucets with sensors, low-flush or dual-flush toilets, and low-flush or waterless urinals. Use of graywaterGraywater is untreated household waste water which has not come into contact with toilet waste. Graywater typically includes used water from bathtubs, showers, bathroom wash basins, and water from clothes-washer and laundry tubs, though definitions may vary. Some states and local authorities also allow kitchen sink wastewater to be included in graywater. Project teams should comply with the graywater definition established by the authority having jurisdiction in the project area. and rainwater for toilet flushing is also a fairly common way to contribute to the credit.

    Combining several of these strategies can bring your water savings within the 30%–40% range, maxing out your points for this credit. A 45% reduction makes you eligible for an exemplary performanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements. point under IDc1. 

    Take note: both WEp1 and this credit address interior water use only, but certain strategies that apply to this credit—like graywater reuse—can also be applied to outdoor water use reduction. It is also important to understand that the prerequisite and credit only cover water closets, urinal, lavatory faucets, showers, kitchen sink faucets and pre-rinse spray valves. Other water using appliances and irrigation are not included.

    Try it—you’ll like it

    When water-efficient fixtures first appeared in the 1990s, they often didn’t perform very well, creating a lot of doubts that still may be harbored by some project team members. Research and development as well as new testing protocols have really changed things since then, so make sure these doubts are put to rest. Providing hands-on experience with efficient fixtures by visiting another LEED building is a good way to do this. 

    Follow these key steps

    1. Set goals for interior water-use reduction. 
    2. Determine full time equivalent (FTE) occupancy and fixture usage groups. 
    3. Determine the baseline water use budget for indoor water use. 
    4. Choose fixtures and water reduction or reuse strategies. 
    5. Estimate the project’s water usage by creating a design case water use budget. 
    6. Use the LEED Online form to compare baseline and design-case water budgets to determine the water reduction percentage for the project. 
    7. Complete the LEED Online credit form.

    Consider these questions when approaching this credit

    • What occupancy patterns are expected? 
    • What are the highest-intensity water uses? How can you target these for savings?
    • Is rainwater collection feasible on your site? What are potential sources of graywater for your project? Does the municipality or local water utility supply reused water through a purple pipe? 
    • Are rebates or incentives for water-efficient fixtures available in your area?
  • FAQs for Water Use Reduction

    Will the reviewers accept a spreadsheet as a plumbing fixture schedule in lieu of the plans from the Construction Documents?

    A copy of the plumbing fixture schedule from the project's construction documents, outlining detailed information for each flush and flow fixture specified (including fixture manufacturer, model number and flow rate) helps the review team verify that those fixtures are part of the construction contract. In the absence of such documentation, a copy of project-specific specifications and details or a project-specific contractor’s submittal with manufacturer’s cut sheets highlighting flush and flow rates for each fixture specified can be provided.

    In LEED review comments I've been referred to the Water Use Reduction Additional Guidance document. I didn't know this was a required reference document.

    USGBC originally created this guidance document to address common questions project teams encountered when documenting WE credits. The calculations in these forms are fairly complex and are generally not addressed in the reference guide. The guidance document is intended to guide the user through the process of filling out the form, but is not intended to create any new requirements.

    Should I include bar sinks? What about mop sinks or janitor sinks? Swimming pools? Safety showers? Bidets? Tub spouts?

    If the bar sinks installed have a similar usage pattern and are similar fixture type as for those in kitchens then these should be included.

    Mop sinks, janitor sinks, swimming pools, bidets, and safety showers are considered process waterProcess water is used for industrial processes and building systems such as cooling towers, boilers, and chillers. It can also refer to water used in operational processes, such as dishwashing, clothes washing, and ice making. and are not included. Consider only the showerhead and not the tub spout.

    Additionally, commercial kitchen sinks and bar sinks including pot sinks, prep sinks, wash down, and cleaning sinks are considered process water and are not included.

    However, pre-rise spay valves must be considered. If your project is registered after the 11/1/2011 addenda release then the pre-rinse spray valve flow rate must be 1.6 gpm or less in order to comply with the prerequisite. If your project has a pre-rinse spray valve that has a higher flow rate than 1.6 gpm, then the project is not in compliance and the pre-rinse spray valve would need to be revised in order to be eligible for LEED certification.

    We provided showers to comply with the alternative transportation credit. Should they be considered in WEp1 calculations?

    Yes. Once you enter the project occupancy the WEp1 form calculates the default daily FTE shower uses.

    If those fixtures are outside the LEED Project Boundary, they should only be included if your project is LEED-CI, however.

    Can you explain the 12-second duration for metering faucets?

    This duration is intended to prevent LEED projects from claiming credit for reducing the duration below 12 seconds; durations less than 12 seconds are not permitted for LEED calculations as shorter intervals are insufficient for typical hand washing

    Can I use a nonpotable water source to contribute to WEp1 compliance?

    Yes. Although the focus is water efficiency of the installed fixtures, onsite sources of nonpotable water such as captured rainwater, graywaterGraywater is untreated household waste water which has not come into contact with toilet waste. Graywater typically includes used water from bathtubs, showers, bathroom wash basins, and water from clothes-washer and laundry tubs, though definitions may vary. Some states and local authorities also allow kitchen sink wastewater to be included in graywater. Project teams should comply with the graywater definition established by the authority having jurisdiction in the project area., air conditioner condensate, cooling tower bleed off water, etc., can be applied via an alternative compliance path. Refer to the Water Use Reduction Additional Guidance document for further information.

    Our project does not have any eligible water fixtures in the project boundary. Can we comply with WEp1?

    Yes, per 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. #10214: "A project without eligible water fixtures in the LEED-NC project boundary is exempt from WEp1. Should such a project wish to pursue points under WE Credit 3, they may do so by evaluating WEc3 performance based upon all of the fixtures that are necessary to meet the needs of the project occupants, even if they are located outside the project boundary."

    We are having trouble finding EPAct-compliant fixtures. Is that a problem?

    Not for individual fixtures. You only have to meet the LEED requirements for your fixtures as a group.

    Where can I find a clear meaning of "public" and "private" as relevant to lavatory faucets?

    Private usePrivate use applies to plumbing fixtures in residences, apartments, and dormitories, to private (non-public) bathrooms in transient lodging facilities (hotels and motels), and to private bathrooms in hospitals and nursing facilities. applies to plumbing fixtures in residences, apartments, and dormitories, to private (non-public) bathrooms in transient lodgingLodging are facilities that provide overnight accommodations to customers or guests, including hotels, motels, inns and resorts. facilities (hotels and motels), and to private bathrooms in hospitals and nursing facilities. Any fixtures that are not in one of those more residential-focused situations are considered to be public fixtures.

    Our project is a factory with historically a 95% male workforce. The restroom design accounts for this. Can I argue that the male/female gender ratio is different than 50/50?

    LEEDuser has seen numerous comments on our forums suggesting that reviewers are providing little leeway for situations like this, even in a case just like you describe. Even a 10% bump toward women to account for possible future trends was not deemed sufficient. At this point (February 2013), LEEDuser is not aware of clear guidance on when a nonstandard gender ratio would be accepted, nor are there any applicable LEED Interpretations for LEED 2009 projects. If you have any relevant experience on this, please let us know!

    Are shower duration controls an acceptable water-saving strategy?

    LEED assumes a baseline of 300 seconds for a shower, and LEEDuser has heard of review comments rejecting controls that would shorten this duration for the design case. A CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide or LEED Interpretation would likely be needed to make a case.

    Can I include process water savings in order to earn an Exemplary Performance point?

    Yes—refer to LEED Interpretation #5819, issued 8/31/2004 and modified 4/1/13 to apply to NC-v2.2 and NC-v2009 projects. Quoting the relevant text from LI #5819: “A whole building approach to process water must be used (including washing machines, dish washers, drinking fountains, cooling towers, etc.) The project must demonstrate a process water savings that is equal to or greater than 10% of the regulated water usage as calculated in WEc3. The project should obtain information on the average amount of water use for each type of equipment to determine an appropriate baseline and demonstrate that the increased efficiency compared to the baseline exceeds the 10% WEc3 threshold. Required submittals for this innovation would include: 1) A narrative explaining what strategies were used and how the baseline was developed. 2) Calculations demonstrating performance compared to the baseline. 3) Cut sheets showing water usage of equipment used.”

    NC projects have also had success using Schools WEc4 as an ID credit. Also see LEED Interpretations #808 (issued 7/8/2004) and #5752 (issued 5/13/2005) for some history on this issue. You can also earn an EP point for 45% savings under the Water Use Reduction credit, but it appears, based on the most recent ruling, that the 45% savings should be based on regulated (non-process) fixtures alone.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Pre-Design

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  • Include goals for water-use reduction in the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) for EAp1: Fundamental Commissioning. Reduced use of hot water with efficient fixtures can save a lot of energy. 


  • Perform a water-balance study for the entire project to inform decisions about where to focus water-saving efforts. Understand which end uses require the most water, identify all alternative water sources available onsite—such as rainwater and graywater—and note opportunities for using that water for interior water use and/or irrigation.  


  • Outdoor water use is not part of this credit. But looking at the whole system to understand how indoor water use compares to outdoor use can help you gauge where to focus reduction efforts for the greatest benefit. Some water-saving strategies can address both indoor and outdoor water needs holistically. For example, graywater collected from interior sink fixtures can be used for landscape irrigation, benefiting WEc1: Water Efficient Landscaping. However, this strategy will not contribute to a water reduction for this credit.


  • Process water use from clothes washers, dishwashers, ice machines, food steamers, and pre-rinse spray valves are addressing under WEc4: Process Water Use Reduction is not under this credit. 


  • Appliance and process water uses such as clothes washers, dishwashers, cooling tower makeup, and others, need not be included in the LEED water use reduction calculations for this prerequisite and credit.


  • You can earn an Exemplary Performance point through IDc1 for a 45% reduction. To help you meet this threshold, you can include appliance and process water in the calculations, even though that’s not allowed for the standard credit calculations. 


  • Establish preliminary goals for water-use reduction. Consider setting water-reduction goals higher than the 40% reduction required by this credit, and aim for a reduction greater than 45% or higher for exemplary performance under IDc1. You are likely to need rainwater or graywater reuse to reach this threshold. 


  • Up-front costs for a 30% reduction may be minimal, since project teams will already be integrating water-saving techniques for the 20% reduction prerequisite.


  • Target your efficiency efforts at fixtures that use the most water.


  • For residential projects, showers typically use more water than other fixtures due to the duration of use.


  • For commercial projects, toilets and urinals typically use more water than other fixture types. 


  • When water-efficient fixtures first appeared in the 1990s, they often didn’t perform very well, creating a lot of doubts that still may be harbored by some project team members. Research and development as well as new testing protocols have really changed things since then, so make sure these doubts are put to rest. Providing hands-on experience with efficient fixtures by visiting another LEED building is a good way to do this. Providing information on testing results of products is another good way to sway hesitations (see GreenSpec’s related products in the right-hand column for more information).


  • Are composting toilets an option? While not common, composting toilets are waterless fixtures that go a long way toward achieving this credit. However, they do affect programming and layout, so consider them early in the planning stage.


  • Consider replacing potable water use with alternative sources such as collected graywater, rainwater, municipally supplied treated wastewater, or wastewater treated onsite for reuse.


  • Well and pond water are not considered “reused” for the purposes of this credit and must count as potable water—so you don’t get credit for substituting them for conventional water sources. Water types that do count as reused are: 

    • Rainwater;
    • treated wastewater supplied by the municipality or water utility;
    • graywater coming from onsite lavatories, sinks, and showers;
    • treated blackwater;
    • rejected water from a reverse-osmosis treatment process;
    • sump-pump water;
    • air-conditioning and cooling tower condensate.

  • Graywater and rainwater collection systems can offer a potential non-potable water source for interior applications. However, you may find that it is easier—based on code issues and simplicity of system design—to direct reused water to an irrigation system or cooling tower. All solutions should be viewed in the context of finding the best whole-system approach for building and site water use.


  • Consider occupants when debating whether to use graywater or waterless and/or dual-flush fixtures. Cultural perceptions of these types of applications may need to be evaluated to gauge whether they will be successful in your building. It is also a good idea to have education outreach in order for building occupants to know how to use the new fixtures and to understand the importance of water reduction strategies.


  • Check local codes and restrictions. Throughout the U.S. there are widely varying laws addressing water use, and many states have very different approaches to rainwater collection and greywater/blackwater reuse. 


  • Check for local incentives through municipalities and utilities that reward or encourage water-saving strategies—as well as restrictions that may apply. Rebates are common, as are plumbing codes restricting certain water-savings technologies such as waterless urinals, graywater reuse, onsite wastewater treatment and reuse, rainwater harvesting, composting toilets, and other strategies. See Resources for more.

Schematic Design

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  • Determine the number and types of occupants in the building. The water-use calculations are based on occupant use and the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) occupants, including employees and visitors—not the number of water fixtures. 


  • The FTE occupancy number you use must be consistent with the FTE occupancy numbers used in all your other LEED credit submittals, including: 

    • WEp1: Water Use Reduction
    • WEc2: Innovative Wastewater Technologies
    • SSc4.2: Alternative Transportation—Bicycle Storage and Changing Rooms
    • SSc4.3: Alternative Transportation—Low-Emitting and Fuel Efficient Vehicles
    • SSc4.4: Alternative Transportation—Parking Capacity.
    • WEc4: Process Water Use Reduction

  • Determine user groups for the various water fixtures, as not all occupants may be using all fixtures. For example in an elementary school, teacher restrooms and student toilets have different usage patterns that would affect the water use calculations if the fixtures were different.  For example: 

    • 2 male teachers using a 1.6 gpf toilet 3 times per day each = 9.6 gallons a day.
    • 50 male students using a 1.0 gpf efficient toilet 0.5 times per day = 25 gallons per day.
    • 9.6 gallons from the teachers + 25 gallons from the students = 34.6 gallons daily.
    • If the teachers got the more efficient 1.0-gpf toilet and the students got the less-efficient 1.6-gpf model, you would have teachers generating 6 gallons and students generating 40 gallons = 46 gallons daily, an increase.

  • Run preliminary water use calculations to establish the baseline water use and confirm goals for water-use reduction. This should include clearly identifying target flow and flush rates for fixtures. 


  • Like the prerequisite, this credit only includes core water uses—bathroom sinks, toilets, urinals, showers, kitchen faucets and prerinse sprays. 


  • Janitors’ sinks, pot-fillers, and tub faucets can be left out, as they are used to fill containers with a fixed water volume regardless of the flow rate.


  • The baseline for commercial lavatory faucets has been changed in LEED 2009 to 0.5 gpm, from 2.5 gpm in previous LEED rating systems.  There are a handful of aerators and commercial faucets that perform better than 0.5 gpm, but the use of this low baseline means that you will probably need to focus on getting water reductions elsewhere.


  • Reductions in potable water used in flush fixtures can also contribute to the achievement of WEc2: Innovative Wastewater Technologies.


  • Project teams are permitted to include classroom sinks within their WEp1 and WEc3 calculations provided the flow fixtures installed have a similar usage pattern and are of a similar fixture type as for a regulated fixture type. For example, classroom handwash sinks would be similar to a standard lavatory sink.

Design Development

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  • Select water-efficient fixtures and strategies. Gather information on applicable fixtures, including manufacturer, model number, and flush or flow rates. 


  • Use the calculator built into the LEED Online credit form to help facilitate decision-making. Re-run comparisons between the baseline and design-case water budgets until the final selections of water fixtures and strategies have been made and the project’s water reduction goals are satisfied.  


  • Design and size graywater and rainwater systems to match non-potable water demand for needs such as toilet flushing, cooling tower makeup, and irrigation.


  • Untreated rainwater, graywater, and blackwater can corrode plumbing systems, or lead to biological growth. Teams should plan for water treatment, filtration, or using corrosion-resistant materials. The use of seawater for toilet flushing, which is less common, can cause similar problems.


  • Piping to interior water fixtures is doubled when graywater or rainwater is reused in addition to potable water. This is likely to add upfront costs, but can potentially reduce water and sewer charges.


  • Sensors on toilets and faucets are sometimes perceived as saving water. However, several studies have shown that while they may offer some hygiene or other operational benefits, they increase water use substantially, due to “phantom flushes” and faucets running longer than needed as they may interpret the flow of water as a solid object. If you do choose lavatory sensors, look for models with adjustable flow durations, and test the sensitivity of the sensor.


  • The LEED calculation estimates a standard 15-second use for faucets, so setting the flow duration to a shorter time of 10 seconds interval can help save water and contribute to earning the credit. 


  • Flow restrictors and aerators can cost only a few dollars per fixture and can help add efficiency to more conventional sink fixtures. This can also be an easy inexpensive way to retrofit existing faucets; however, make sure restrictors or aerators are compatible with faucet fixtures.


  • Many commercial toilets can be retrofitted with dual-flush flushometers, which can cost less than installing new dual-flush toilets. Check with manufacturers for retrofit compatibility. 


  • Toilet-lid-sink retrofits for standard toilets are one of the most basic and easy graywater reuse tools available, costing around $100.  When toilets are flushed, potable water first flows though the sink for handwashing before filing up the toilet tank for flushing.  

Construction Documents

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  • Specify efficient water fixtures in construction documents. Be sure to include specific flow and flush rates (gpm or gpf) for each type of fixture.


  • Specify signage for water fixtures or strategies that may require special instructions for use, or educate users on water savings. This may include signage for explaining proper operation of dual-flush toilets, waterless urinals, indicating non-potable water if supplied at faucets, and distinguishing pipes carrying reused water for operations and maintenance personnel.


  • If collecting rainwater or reusing graywater, ensure that the key system components, such as water treatment and cisterns, are not removed during value engineering.


  • Apply for any water-reduction incentives and rebates available through local municipal water authorities or utilities.


  • Fill out the LEED Online credit form and upload water fixture cut sheets to LEED Online. 

Construction

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  • The contractor should ensure that the correct fixtures have been purchased and that applicable water reuse systems or specified metering systems have been installed.  


  • Make sure supply pipes carrying non-potable water are clearly color-coded and labeled to avoid inadvertent connection with potable water lines.

Operations & Maintenance

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  • Provide building managers with manuals and guidance for all fixtures and fittings, water-reuse technologies, onsite water treatment systems and unconventional products.


  • Consider installing permanent water metering for ongoing monitoring of the project’s water use. A submetering system can help operations staff detect problems early and facilitate future LEED-EBOM certification.


  • Train cleaning and operations staff to maintain atypical fixtures such as waterless urinals, faucet sensors and other unconventional fixtures. 

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Schools New Construction and Major Renovations

    WE Credit 3: Water use reduction

    2-4 points

    Intent

    To further increase water efficiency within buildings to reduce the burden on municipal water supply and wastewater systems.

    Requirements

    Employ strategies that in aggregate use less water than the water use baseline calculated for the building (not including irrigation). The minimum water savings percentage for each point threshold is as follows:

    % Reduction Points
    30% 2
    35% 3
    40% 4


    Calculate the baseline according to the commercial and/or residential baselines outlined below1. Calculations are based on estimated occupant usage and must include only the following fixtures and fixture fittings (as applicable to the project scope): water closets, urinals, lavatory faucets, showers, kitchen sink faucets and pre-rinse spray valves.

    Commercial Fixtures, Fittings, and Appliances Current Baseline (Imperial Units) Current Baseline (Metric units)
    Commercial Toilets 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf)*

    Except blow-out fixtures: 3.5 (gpf)
    6 liters per flush (lpf)

    Except blow-out fixtures: 13 lpf
    Commercial Urinals 1.0 (gpf) 4 lpf
    Commercial Lavatory (Restroom) Faucets 2.2 gallons per minute (gpm) at 60 pounds per

    square inch (psi), private applications only (hotel

    or motel guest rooms, hospital patient rooms)

    0.5 (gpm) at 60 (psi)** all others except private

    applications

    0.25 gallons per cycle for metering faucets




    8.5 liters per minute (lpm) at 4 bar (58 psi),

    private applications only (hotel or motel guest

    rooms, hospital patient rooms)

    2.0 lpm at 4 bar (58 psi), all others except

    private applications

    1 liter per cycle for metering faucets




    Showerheads 2.5 (gpm) at 80 (psi) per shower stall **** 9.5 lpm at 5 bar (58 psi)
    For projects with commercial pre-rinse spray valves, the flow rate must comply with the asME a112.18.1 standard of 1.6 gpm or less.


    Residential fixtures, fittings, and appliances Current baseline (imperial units) Current baseline (metric units)
    Residential toilets 1.6 (gpf)*** 6 liters per flush (lpf)

    Except blow-out fixtures: 13 lpf
    Residential lavatory (bathroom) faucets 2.2 (gpm) at 60 psi 4 lpm

    8.5 lpm at 4 bar (58 psi), private applications only

    (hotel or motel guest rooms, hospital patient rooms)

    2.0 lpm at 4 bar (58 psi), all others except private

    applications

    1 liter per cycle for metering faucets




    Residential kitchen faucet
    Residential showerheads 2.5 (gpm) at 80 (psi) per shower stall**** flow rate ≤ 6.1 lpm

    (no pressure specified; no performance requirement)
    * EPAct1992 standard for toilets applies to both commercial and residential models.

    ** in addition to Epact requirements, the american society of Mechanical Engineers standard for public lavatory faucets is 0.5 gpm at 60 psi (2.0 lpm at 4 bar (58 psi)) (asME a112.18.1-2005). this maximum has been incorporated into the national uniform plumbing Code and the international plumbing Code.

    *** EPAct 1992 standard for toilets applies to both commercial and residential models.

    **** residential shower compartment (stall) in dwelling units: the total allowable flow rate from all flowing showerheads at any given time, including rain systems, waterfalls, bodysprays, bodyspas and jets, must be limited to the allowable showerhead flow rate as specified above (2.5 gpm) per shower compartment, where the floor area of the shower compartment is less than 2,500 square inches (1.5 square meters). for each increment of 2,500 square inches (1.5 square meters) of floor area thereafter or part thereof, an additional showerhead with total allowable flow rate from all flowing devices equal to or less than the allowable flow rate as specified above must be allowed. Exception: showers that emit recirculated nonpotable waterNonpotable water: does not meet EPA's drinking water quality standards and is not approved for human consumption by the state or local authorities having jurisdiction. Water that is unsafe or unpalatable to drink because it contains pollutants, contaminants, minerals, or infective agents. originating from within the shower compartment while operating are allowed to exceed the maximum as long as the total potable water flow does not exceed the flow rate as specified above.




    The following fixtures, fittings and appliances are outside the scope of the water use reduction calculation:

    • Commercial Steam Cookers
    • Commercial Dishwashers
    • Automatic Commercial Ice Makers
    • Commercial (family-sized) Clothes Washers
    • Residential Clothes Washers
    • Standard and Compact Residential Dishwashers

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    Use WaterSense-certified fixtures and fixture fittings where available. Use high-efficiency fixtures (e.g., water closets and urinals) and dry fixtures, such as toilets attached to composting systems, to reduce the potable waterPotable water meets or exceeds EPA's drinking water quality standards and is approved for human consumption by the state or local authorities having jurisdiction; it may be supplied from wells or municipal water systems. demand. Consider using alternative on-site sources of water (e.g., rainwater, stormwater, and air conditioner condensate, graywaterGraywater is untreated household waste water which has not come into contact with toilet waste. Graywater typically includes used water from bathtubs, showers, bathroom wash basins, and water from clothes-washer and laundry tubs, though definitions may vary. Some states and local authorities also allow kitchen sink wastewater to be included in graywater. Project teams should comply with the graywater definition established by the authority having jurisdiction in the project area.) for nonpotable applications (e.g., toilet and urinal flushing, custodial uses). The quality of any alternative source of water being used must be taken into consideration based on its application or use.

Technical Guides

Energy Policy Act of 1992 & amendments

This is a referenced standard for this credit.


Energy Policy Act of 2005

This is a referenced standard for this credit.


2006 editions of the Uniform Plumbing Code

This is a referenced standard for this credit.


2006 International Plumbing Code

This is a referenced standard for this credit.


EPA Water Sense

WaterSense label helps US consumers choose high-quality, water-efficient products.


LEED 2009 Water Use Reduction: Additional Guidance

This document from USGBC offers guidelines to help you properly set up fixture usage groups in the LEED Online credit form, avoiding common mistakes associated with the water-efficiency prerequisite and credit.

Web Tools

WATERGY v3.0

A spreadsheet model that uses water/energy relationship assumptions to analyze the potential of water savings and associated energy savings.


EPA Water Regional & State Links

A map with regional water information.


American Standard’s Rebate Locator

Search for local rebates for water efficiency products.


Toilet Rebate

Searchable national database of toilet rebates.

Publications

How to Conserve Water and Use it Effectively

This chapter addresses the following questions: What's the problem? What practices might be used to solve it? How effective are they? What do they cost? Where have they been used successfully? Practices for system users residential, industrial/commercial, and agricultural are presented first, followed by practices for system operators.

Organizations

Alliance for Water Efficiency

An advocate for water-efficient products and programs. Provides information and assistance on water conservation efforts.


EPA Office for Water

Information and links to a range of water-related issues.


American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association

Offers web-based information exchange, workshops, and other educational opportunities.


Oasis Greywater Policy Center

Compilation of graywaterGraywater is untreated household waste water which has not come into contact with toilet waste. Graywater typically includes used water from bathtubs, showers, bathroom wash basins, and water from clothes-washer and laundry tubs, though definitions may vary. Some states and local authorities also allow kitchen sink wastewater to be included in graywater. Project teams should comply with the graywater definition established by the authority having jurisdiction in the project area. laws.

Product Cut Sheets

Carefully research products and examine cut sheets to find fixtures and fittings meeting the credit requirements, as shown in these examples.

LEED Online Forms: Schools-2009 WE

The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each Schools-2009 WE 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 on these forms; for more information, visit LEED Online and click "Sample Forms Download."

Design Submittal

PencilDocumentation for this credit can be part of a Design Phase submittal.

LEED Online Form

This sample LEED Online form from a LEED for Schools Gold certified project provides an example of how to document WEp1 in a school with multiple flush and flow fixture usage groups. LEEDuser thanks Viridian for providing this sample.

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Sadie Martin
Jan 21 2014
Guest
103 Thumbs Up

Water Usage vs FTE Classification

Hi,

We are working on sizing a rainwater tank for a new building on an urban high school campus. There are several buildings on this campus and we are questioning the water usage calculations that LEED assumes based on the 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.. With the students entered as students (not transients), they trigger the same flush water demand as FTE’s which results in much more flush water use and a much larger tank than originally anticipated.
LEED for Schools appears to approach “Students” as though they’re occupants of the building for the whole day, which is not really representative of the our school's model with multiple buildings and restrooms available throughout the day.

Has anyone had this situation or were you able to use an alternative compliance approach to argue that the occupancy be reclassified?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 07 2014 LEEDuser Moderator

Sadie, I don't have experience with this but I would suggest you contact GBCI and ask to discuss this credit with your reviewer. If you explain your approach and thought process and how you plan to document it, I think you could make a good case.

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Ara Massey Sustainable Design Manager SLATERPAULL Architects
Oct 17 2012
LEEDuser Member
215 Thumbs Up

Shampoo Bowls

I am working on a vocational high school that has shampoo bowls in the cosmetology classroom. Do these fixtures need to be included in WEc3 and if so as what type of fixture? Thanks!

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Oct 17 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Ara, to answer a question like this I always refer to the list of regulated fixtures that are covered in the credit language. If the fixture is one of those types (a sink, toilet, shower, etc.) then you should include them. If not, then don't.

In this case, my opinion is don't include them—they seem quite different from a lav sink or shower. Other opinions?

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David Mirabile LEED AP, BD+C
Sep 15 2011
Guest
870 Thumbs Up

FTE for Schools

When calculating the 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, what is typically done for summer months when school is not is session? Do you just figure your FTE's like school is in session, input the number of days of operation (200 or whatever for a school) and ignore the 10 or so FTE's that are their over the summer months (i.e. Janitors, Administrators, etc.)? Or would you include them as transients and just add them to your daily average? I am assuming I should figure my number of transients throughtout a full calendar year and take that daily average as additional FTE's to be spread across the school year (days of operation). Thanks.

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Crissy Tsai Sustainability Coordinator, Webcor Builders Nov 07 2011 LEEDuser Expert 863 Thumbs Up

David,

Not an expert on LEED for schools, but after conferring with some colleagues I believe you can take this approach.

The FTE can be based on the numbers of days the school is in session and you can ignore the 10 or so FTE from the summer. LEED calculates based on a ratio so the water reduction percentage should be the same if you added in the 10 or so FTE.

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Lauren Fakhoury Research Assistant Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC
Aug 11 2011
Guest
1131 Thumbs Up

Construction Add Alternates

In the State of Maryland, part of the construction project must contain a percentage of "add alternates" to a project. In this case, which is a schools 2009 project, the "add alternate" is an addition. With this add alternate, we will not know the exact 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., or concrete building square footage, until the project bids are accepted. With the possible added square footage, should we use the highest square footage and calculate all items, such as FTE, from the start? Thanks for any advice.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Sep 02 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Lauren, it seems like the practical path here would be to exclude the alternate during your initial LEED credit calcs, but add it in later if it becomes part of the project.

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Glen Boldt GBWorks
Jun 16 2011
LEEDuser Member
80 Thumbs Up

LEED for Schools 2007 version WEc3 Exemplary Performance

We are working on a LEED for Schools (v 2007 -- again, listed here because there's no v2 Schools section) that just had an exemplary performanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements. strategy denied for achieving >40% reduction. Any idea why this should be given it's the same threshold as NC v2 for this credit?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jun 16 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Glen, was there any reviewer comment with the denial? Any indication whether they don't think the EP point exists here, or whether there was something about your calcs that didn't pass muster?

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Larry Jones Associate, Atelier Ten Jun 17 2011 LEEDuser Expert 1805 Thumbs Up

I would like to add that my ID credit for WEc3 Water Use Reduction Exemplary PerformanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements. was also recently denied for my LEED for School 2007 project. The GBCI mentioned no special circumstances for this.

Their response: "However, there is no posted exemplary performance path for WEc3 in the LEED for Schools 2007 Reference Guide. TECHNICAL ADVICE: The project may apply for an alternative Innovation in Design credit for the Final Review." Water conservation is a priority in the school as well as in the region. Why wouldn't exemplary potable waterPotable water meets or exceeds EPA's drinking water quality standards and is approved for human consumption by the state or local authorities having jurisdiction; it may be supplied from wells or municipal water systems. savings be encouraged?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jun 17 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

I don't have a LEED for Schools 2007 Reference Guide, but I double-checked that the 40% threshold is available in NC v2.2.

Remember that these versions existed before the 2009 alignment of rating systems, so is it possible that the EP point simply isn't available for Schools 2007?

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Glen Boldt GBWorks Jun 17 2011 LEEDuser Member 80 Thumbs Up

The 2007 Schools Reference Guide does say there is no exemplary performanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements. point available for this credit. I assumed this is an oversight in the writing of the guide (we've seen others), given that ALL other v2 rating systems (NC, CS, CI) follow the 40% threshold for exemplary performance. Like the comment Larry received, GBCI gave no rationale other than to refer to the guide.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jun 17 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Is there a WEc4 in Schools 2007? Perhaps the WE TAGLEED Technical Advisory Group (TAG): Subcommittees that consist of industry experts who assist in developing credit interpretations and technical improvements to the LEED system. figured that some emphasis should be on that, and not on an EP point for WEc3? Just thinking out loud here... sometimes differences like that are oversights, but sometimes they are intentional. In any case, if it's now allowed per the Reference Guide, I don't have any suggestions for getting the EP point.

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Matthew Higgins Energy Project Manager Bridgers & Paxton Consulting Engineers
Apr 19 2011
Guest
69 Thumbs Up

Water Efficiency - Dual Flush Valve GPF Average Explanation

I'm currently working on a school renovation that's aiming to achieve a LEED Silver rating. One of the credits that we're after is Water Efficiency Credit 3 (35% water savings). We're currently achieving this with the use of .5 aerators on all lavatories, .125 GPF urinals, and 1.28 GPF water closets. Our current savings is roughly 37%.

Unfortunately, we have a "master plumber" on campus that is completely against the 1.28 water closets and has the backing of the owner. Without the 1.28 GPF water closets, our chance at achieving even a 30% savings is shot. With that said, I have proposed the use of a dual flush (1.1 and 1.6 GPF) valve, and both the "master plumber" and owner are on board.

I typically specify a 1.28 flush valve/fixture and I'm not too familiar with the GPF average of a dual flush valve. Could someone please explain the GPF average for a dual flush (1.6 and 1.1) flush valve to me? When you average the 1.6 and 1.1 together, you get 1.35… however I believe that LEED considers a dual flush valve to average 1.28 GPF or less, is this correct? Any information that can be provided is well appreciated.

Thank you,

Aaron Downing

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

Dual-flushA type of water-saving toilet that gives a choice of flushes depending on the type of waste — solid or liquid. toilets aren't averaged in LEED. Anticipated uses for each flush volume are counted. I think if you review and starting entering information on the LEED Online form (you can download a sample form in the Doc Toolkit tab above), this will become clear.

Please post back with more questions/clarification!

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Renee Shirey Apr 19 2011 LEEDuser Member 2815 Thumbs Up

When you are in WEp1, check out the Credit Resources. There is a file called WEp1 Additional Guidance.pdf that helps explain how the toilet flow rate should be calculated for dual flush fixtures. It's going to depend on if you are using them in conjunction with a urinal or if it is a stand alone fixture (like a private unisex bathroom) used by both men and women equally. Check out the link - it will help you with this calc.

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Keelan Kaiser Architect and Educator Serena Sturm Architects and Judson University
Jan 15 2011
LEEDuser Member
951 Thumbs Up

Science lab water use calcs

We are working on an addition which is half science labs, what role do the sinks in the labs play in the water consumption/reduction equation? How are they factored in since they are an intermittent use? Do manufacturers even offer water efficient fixtures in labs yet? We are using all potable waterPotable water meets or exceeds EPA's drinking water quality standards and is approved for human consumption by the state or local authorities having jurisdiction; it may be supplied from wells or municipal water systems. for this particular project.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 20 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

If you check the credit language, you'll see the list of fixtures that are covered by this credit. The only one I think you MIGHT see in a lab is a lavatory faucet, and that's doubtful. If that's the case, you'd want to do your best to get water efficient fixtures here as a best practice, but you're not required to for this credit.

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Kaui Lucas Sustainability Consultant, Marketing, Government Relations Hawaii Design Group
Jan 07 2011
Guest
38 Thumbs Up

WEc3 and water catchment

WEc3

This project is the renovation of a government facility. The RFP states that the project will not be LEED registered, or attempt any particular point count. It does ask for compliance with LEED standards in several areas. One is WEc3. The entire facility is run on catchment water. Since the intent of the credit is reduce potable waterPotable water meets or exceeds EPA's drinking water quality standards and is approved for human consumption by the state or local authorities having jurisdiction; it may be supplied from wells or municipal water systems. use from municipal sources, is it fair to say that this requirement has been met?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 10 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Use of rainwater as a substitute for potable waterPotable water meets or exceeds EPA's drinking water quality standards and is approved for human consumption by the state or local authorities having jurisdiction; it may be supplied from wells or municipal water systems. is a valid way of earning this credit, yes.

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Gendel Metlitsky Sustainability Project Manager NYC SCA
Nov 10 2010
LEEDuser Member
282 Thumbs Up

Water Use Reduction calculations - kitchen / food service sink

Has anyone experience how to enter calculations for school kitchen / food services sink – by how many people and how many times a day used should be entered into calculations?
I appreciate any advice and references.

Thank you.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 07 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

Sorry, I don't have a reference for this. I think it would be very dependent on the specific school and kitchen. Do you have an existing project you can monitor for a little while to see?

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Renee Shirey Mar 17 2011 LEEDuser Member 2815 Thumbs Up

Has there been any further progress on this issue? Just wondering, since on a Addenda (2/2/2011) it says that the Eligible Fixture wording on page 174 was changed to add "The "Kitchen sinks category encompasses all sinks... similar to a sink in a residential kitchen... However professional grade / commercial faucets such as those used in a commercial kitchen would not be included." I am assuming the veggie sink would be excluded, but the typical hand sinks would be included. I still am unclear of daily usage for this item though.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 29 2011 LEEDuser Moderator

Renee, I'm not sure exactly what you're asking? This credit focuses on only a specific set of water fixtures, which includes the basic kitchen sink, but not a commercial foodservice sink. That is pretty clear. In terms of establishing daily uses, I again would have to say that it depends on a lot on the project and the specifics of the sink. Sorry not to have more info.

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Tim Hoeft AIA, LEED AP Straughn Trout Architects, LLC
Nov 01 2010
Guest
533 Thumbs Up

Rainwater Harvesting & Cistern Sizing?

Can anyone recommend a resource to use for sizing a cistern?

By using the LEED Online forms, it is easy to determine the 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. and the daily or annual water use. By using climate data (annual rainfall) and roof catchment area, you can calculate how much rain is available. But how do you determine the appropriate, efficient, and accurate cistern size? If you don't have a large enough cistern, you run the chance of going dry in times of unexpected low precipitation levels, and if you size it too large, it becomes a budget killer and water gets stagnant.

Any suggestions?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 12 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

I don't know of a resource offhand, but there must be one. Have you looked around more?

Of course, having an engineer is probably the best answer.

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J W
Jun 11 2010
LEEDuser Member
271 Thumbs Up

FTE

The school that I am working on is in a rural community. There is a pre-enrollment taking place now, which is significantly less than the capacity and what is anticipated in the near future. Should I use the capacity for each classroom for 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. calculations or what they expect to enroll the first year open?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jun 11 2010 LEEDuser Moderator

Use the capacity for which the spaces were designed. (Since LEED for Schools is about design and construction, not operations.)

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Joanna Yaghooti Director of Sustainable Design PageSoutherlandPage
May 18 2010
LEEDuser Member
413 Thumbs Up

FTE calculations for Water Use Reduction and Bikes /Showers

We are working on a LEED for Schools 2007 version project. (Yes, I know I"m posting this under the LEED v2009 Schools, but there isn't a section of LEED USER which allows you to search on older versions. This is the only thing I know to do.)

Having said that, here's my question. I understand that LEED S 2007 calculates FTEs according to faculty, visitors, and students- but only students above the 3rd grade should be counted in the SS4.2 Bikes and Showers.

However, other FTE dependent credits, such as Water Use Reduction, use all building FTEs including younger students below the 3rd grade. That seems to be fairly clear, but yet it also says FTEs should be consistent across all credits. This seems like a contradiction to me.

Has anyone else run across this particular issue?

Thanks.

Joanna

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Mara Baum Healthcare Sustainable Design Leader, HOK May 20 2010 LEEDuser Expert 7275 Thumbs Up

You should always be consistent with numbers like building occupancy -- but LEED can still allow for using a tweaked 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. count for specific circumstances. In the credit narrative, be clear about how you derived the FTE count, why it's different from the full project FTE count, and if you're still concerned, cite the Reference Guide page number. I'm not very familiar with LEED for Schools, but other LEED systems allow occupancy count tweaks for this credit in certain circumstances. For example, inpatients in hospitals aren't considered to be biking.

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Rick Gehrke Consultant, A.C.E. AmBiental Jun 26 2010 Guest 373 Thumbs Up

The methods for calculating occupancy, including 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., vary by credit. So the reference guide instructions that FTE occupants are to be consistent across all credits aren't necessarily correct in all cases. For example, SSc4.2 is based on peak, while WEc3 uses annual average. Add in multiple shifts, and that changes it even more.

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