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New and Improved Way to Certify Multiple Buildings

Published on Written by Posted in LEED

In 2005, USGBC developed the application guidance for multiple buildings and buildings on a campus. Since then, we’ve continued to refine and expand both the document and the supporting tools.

The newest update includes two key features.

The first is Group Certification, which allows project teams with separate buildings that are substantially similar to certify as one project that shares a single certification. This is now available in addition to the existing Campus approach, which allows buildings to take credit for shared attributes on a site and achieve separate LEED certification for each project, building space or group.

The second feature comes in the form of LEED Online for Campus. Project teams using LEED 2009 for Campus Program projects have the added support of an interface that will:

  • Support a faster workflow
  • Streamline processes and approval across several projects
  • Provide a more flexible structure that facilitates collaboration across multiple project team members
  • Feature forms designed specifically for Campus projects based on the guidance provided in the Application Guide for Multiple Buildings and On-Campus Building Projects

Together, these new features add more flexibility and save project teams time as they certify multiple buildings.

Getting started (projects using LEED 2009)


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    Melissa Baker made 10 contributions in the last 6 months

Melissa Baker

Vice President, Technical Solutions U.S. Green Building Council
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22 commentsLeave a comment

Fentress Architects
I am looking for additional clarification on the "substantially similar" criteria for buildings in a Group Certification. Could someone point me in the right direction please. Thanks.
LEED Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
Hi Deborah, Please note that buildings within a Group only have to be 'substantially similar' in the EBOM rating system/s In the D+C rating systems the buildings/spaces just have to qualify for the same particular rating system to pursue Group (along with the other qualifications listed in the AGMBC). The Glossary of the AGMBC ( defines it thusly: Substantially similar – For EBOM group certification, projects must contain buildings that function as a cohesive facility, such as a collection of dormitories or a corporate headquarters. In these cases, it is expected that all building are the same space type, but exceptions may be made for some projects with limited deviation, such as a corporate headquarters that has a separate cafeteria building that falls under the same central management and can legitimately be included as part of the group certification.
Project Manager, LEED Specialist, Interior Designer, SL+A INTERNATIONAL ASIA INC.
I am interested in the new LEED Online for Campus platform (I have worked with LEED Campus projects in LEED Online v3 already), however would like to know if the following example project is an appropriate LEED Group project: A multi-building Resort comprised of one main building (with services, amenities, restaurants, retail) surrounded by individual villas without kitchens. We believe this would be a LEED Group project, sharing a Master Site. Is this correct? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Sustainable Consultant, Architectural Technologist, Aurecon
Hi Elizabeth, Did you have a response to your query? We are working on a similar project and battling to figure out the rating approach.
Project Manager, LEED Specialist, Interior Designer, SL+A INTERNATIONAL ASIA INC.
Hi Meghan, We received the following guidance (similar to the comments on this page from Mr. Anderson): <<<<< Hotel/motel rooms are eligible to be considered 'commercial' building spaces for rating system selection purposes, and are, thus, eligible for LEED commercial building rating systems, such as LEED-NC, in that respect, regardless of the number of stories of the hotel room buildings. Some resort buildings can also be certified using LEED for Homes, but only if they have all the necessary components, which include cooking facilities, as explained more fully in the LEED for Homes Eligibility Guidelines ( Please note that resort buildings being constructed as part of this project's scope of work with a "gross floor area" of 25,000 square feet (sf) or less (per building) may be eligible to be combined and treated as if they were a single building LEED project in accordance with LEED Interpretation (LI) 10203. Please refer to the full interpretation ( to verify whether or not the project (or some portion of it) can comply with all 6 eligibility requirements. Any single building containing more than 25,000 sf of 'gross floor area' would have to be considered a separate building for LEED certification purposes. That said, the Master Site &/or Group certification approaches defined in the Application Guide for Multiple Buildings and On-Campus Building Projects (AGMBC - could also be used for buildings eligible to meet all the MPRs on their own merits (e.g. MPR 4 - which requires that each building have at least 1,000 sf of 'gross floor area'). The Master Site or Group certification approaches could also work for a situation where several structures would qualify to be treated as 'one building' per LI 10203, and one or more others would have to be considered separate buildings because they contain over 25,000 sf of 'gross floor area'. >>>>>
Architect / LEED Administrator, Integrated Environments + Architecture

Hi, We registered for LEED-New Construction for one dining building in a campus setting awhile back and have not submitted for design review. The Owner has added one pavilion building (with lighting, sink & electrical outlets) by which the Full-time employees from the main building will serve this pavilion as well. How do we proceed, can we migrated on LEED Online to the Group Certification or do we have to re-register?

LEED Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council

Hi Natalie, If the pavilion contains at least 1,000 sq ft of space that would qualify as "gross floor area" per the definition of that term in the LEED 2009 MPR Supplemental Guidance (, and you want to certify both buildings as a single LEED project, please use the GBCI Contact Us page ( to request a migration to the new LEED Online for Campus platform. Likewise, if you want to take credit for most shared aspects of the site when certifying one or both of these buildings (but you want separate ratings), you must use the 'campus credit' (master site) approach, which would also require transferring/migrating the existing project to the new LEED Online for Campus platform. Again, you may simply contact us to submit that request.

If the pavilion has over 1,000 sq ft of "gross floor area" but the owner/project team does not wish to certify it, you may define a separate site area for that pavilion and exclude the pavilion and its portion of the site consistently from this LEED project's application, in which case it is not necessary to migrate to the new platform.

If the pavilion contains less than 1,000 sq ft of "gross floor area" (either because it is very small or is not enclosed), the project team may include it within the main building's LEED project boundary and applicable calculations as a "non-LEED-certifiable building" that is essentially treated like an extension of the certifying building. (See page 26 of the MPR Supplemental Guidance.)

Green Building Consultant, Baumann Consulting


The new LEED Online for group projects is much better- more streamlined and a better overall platform.

However, I have a question- I'm trying to submit a group project and cannot see how to submit it, and have not heard back from USGBC/GBCI that I have reached out to. Please advise!

Thank you,

LEED Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council

Hi Shiva, I'm sorry no one responded to your post here earlier. There should be a cyan/blue "Submit for Review" button in the lower right of the Credit page (aka 'scorecard'). If you cannot find it or it does not appear, please use the Feeback button (also typically in the lower right of the screen) to notify our IT team, who will be happy to help you.

LEED Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council


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