Designing Efficient Schools: LEED MEP Related Credits

A Project Checklist and the Impact of MEP Related LEED Credits


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LEED MEP Related Credits

Table: Impact of MEP Related LEED Credits to Total Score

LEED 2009 for Schools New Construction and Major Renovation

Project Checklist

Sustainable Sites

Possible Points:


Credit 8

Light Pollution Reduction


This credit is reasonably achievable with careful building perimeter security and site lighting as well as advanced digital lighting controls.

Water Efficiency

Possible Points:


Prereq 1

Water Use Reduction - 20% Reduction

Use of low-flow toilets, urinals, and metering faucets typically meets the requirements of the prerequisite. Advanced systems such as waterless urinals and dual-flush technology water closets are needed for the credit #3 points.

Credit 3

Water Use Reduction - 30% to 40%


Energy & Atmosphere

Possible Points:


Prereq 1

Fundamental Commissioning of Building Energy Systems

This has become standard for all LEED projects.

Prereq 2

Minimum Energy Performance

The minimum threshold has been raised in V3 to exceed ASHRAE 90.1 baseline model by 10% for new buildings and 5% for major renovations.

Prereq 3

Fundamental Refrigerant Management

Building systems are CFC-free.

Credit 1

Optimize Energy Performance from 12% to 48% better for new buildings & 8% to 44% better for building renovations.


This is where the joint efforts of architects and engineers are required to achieve improvements above 25%—30%.

Credit 2

On-Site Renewable Energy (1 to 13% renewable energy)


Install and use on-site renewable energy systems to offset building energy use.

Credit 3

Enhanced Commissioning


This requires commissioning through a third-party Cx agent, performing at least one design review, and reviewing contractor submittals with the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) and Basis of Design (BoD). Additionally, develop a Cx Systems Manual to assist in optimally operating the commissioned systems, document that user equipment training has taken place, and perform a follow-up with building O&M staff regarding building operation 10 months after substantial completion.

Credit 4

Enhanced Refrigerant Management


Minimize the use of refrigerants with high Lifecycle Ozone Depleting Potential and high Lifecycle Direct Global Warming Potential (primarily R-22 and R-123).

Credit 5

Measurement and Verification


Provide mechanisms for ongoing accountability of building energy consumption for at least 1 year of post-construction occupancy.

Credit 6

Green Power


This is a test to the building owner’s long-term commitment to macro-level sustainability by contracting to purchase at least 35% of the building’s electricity from renewable sources for at least two years.

Materials and Resources

Possible Points:


Indoor Environmental Quality

Possible Points:


Prereq 1

Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance

Meet the minimum requirements of ASHRAE 62.1-2007.

Prereq 2

Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Control

Prohibit smoking in the building.

Prereq 3

Minimum Acoustical Performance

Minimally, achieve a maximum background noise level from HVAC systems in classrooms and other core learning spaces of 45 dBA and ensure that the total ceiling or a combination of wall panels and ceiling treatments equaling at least the total ceiling area are finished with materials with a Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) of 0.7 or higher.

Credit 1

Outdoor Air Delivery Monitoring


Provide the capacity to monitor actual system ventilation rates.

Credit 2

Increased Ventilation


Exceed ASHRAE 62.1-2007 minimum ventilation rates to all occupied spaces by at least 30%.

Credit 5

Indoor Chemical and Pollutant Source Control


Employ permanent entryway systems at least 10 ft into the building, maintain spaces with hazardous gases or chemicals in a negative pressure zone, install new MERV 13 filters for all return and outside air entering the supply airstream prior to building occupancy, and provide containment for hazardous liquid wastes where water and chemical concentrate mixing occurs.

Credit 6.1

Controllability of Systems - Lighting


Provide a high level of lighting system control by at least 90% of individual occupants and provide adjustability of the lit environment for groups in multi-occupant spaces to meet group needs and preferences.

Credit 6.2

Controllability of Systems - Thermal Comfort


Provide a high level of thermal comfort by at least 50% of individual occupants and provide adjustability of the thermal environment for groups in multi-occupant spaces to meet group needs and preferences

Credit 7.1

Thermal Comfort - Design


Design the HVAC system to meet the requirements of ASHRAE 55-2004 and demonstrate design compliance.

Credit 7.2

Thermal Comfort - Verification


Provide for the assessment of building occupants’ thermal comfort within 6—18 months after occupancy through surveys or other mechanisms.

Credit 8.1

Daylight and Views - Daylight (75 to 90% of classrooms & 75% of other spaces)

1 - 3

Through computer simulation, prescriptive design, field measurement, or a combination of these techniques, achieve daylighting in at least 75% to 90% of classroom spaces and/or 75% of all other regularly occupied spaces.

Credit 8.2

Daylight and Views - Views


Achieve direct line of sight to the outdoor environment between 30”–90” AFF in 90% of all regularly occupied areas.

Credit 9

Enhanced Acoustical Performance


Design the building shell, classroom partitions, and other core learning space partitions to meet Sound Transmission Class (STC) criteria of ANSI Standard S12.60-2002, except window, which must achieve an STC rating of 35. Additionally, the background HVAC noise level in these spaces cannot exceed 40 dBA.

Credit 10

Mold Prevention


Reduce the potential presence of mold by achieving credits IEQc3.1 (Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan–During Construction), IEQc7.1,  IEQc7.2.

Innovation & Design Process

Possible Points:


Regional Priority Credits

Possible Points:



Possible Points:


Certified 40 to 49 points. Silver 50 to 59 points. Gold 60 to 79 points. Platinum 80 to 110 points.



Continue to Designing Efficient Schools: Case Study


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