Katherine Rainone

Get your LEED Volume Program questions answered.

We’ve all heard the age-old myth that more isn’t necessarily better. But when it comes to protecting and preserving our environment, you can throw that myth right out the door, because more is better. More LEED-certified buildings, that is. 

That’s the main idea behind LEED volume certification, a pathway created to streamline the LEED certification process by focusing on the similarities in building design, operations and delivery. In short, it’s a way to help participants certify more buildings more efficiently. 

Since the pilot launch of this program in 2011, USGBC has seen immense growth and is now host to 45 active participants. These owners and project teams are committed to making a huge impact in markets around the world by achieving LEED certification goals on a large scale and using the program in a way that best suits their individual needs. Today we’re tackling a few myths about the program to help clear up misconceptions or unknowns about the program in the green building market. 

Myth #1: Projects have to be the same size, occupant use and regional location to be eligible for volume.

This is just plain false. As long as projects registered for certification through the volume prototype fall under the same rating system, they can be different sizes, various uses and located across the globe. It all depends on the amount of variance captured in the prototype and how project teams control for those differences through their quality control and education efforts. 

Myth #2: A volume prototype is basically a building.

Building on myth #1, a prototype is the conceptual framework that represents a group of projects that have either major design and construction elements in common or a standard set of strategies, quality control measures and tools, along with similar management procedures. Volume prototypes house “pre-certified” pathways and approaches to LEED; each volume project is built off this prototype, but can be customized with individual credits as the participant wishes. 

Myth #3: Owner organizations have to manage all the work in-house.

It’s true that putting together and pre-certifying a volume prototype is a full team effort, but as the participant, you don’t have to do all the work. Many volume participants bring in LEED experts to manage the daily coordination of the program or help them get started before turning the program back over to the owner. 

Myth #4: A volume program can be started and implemented very quickly.

Setting up any robust program takes time. This is especially true with volume certification, which requires various milestones and metrics to be met for a team to be successful. Although teams may not be able to start certifying projects right away, USGBC and GBCI work very closely with new participants to help them understand timelines and dependencies based on their LEED experience and commitment to the program. 

Myth #5: Volume is the only certification program for organizations with multiple LEED projects.

USGBC is continuously working with our customers to find a program that best suits their individual needs. We have several offerings that can be applied to multiple LEED projects. Check out Proven ProviderLEED Campus, Arc, or contact us if you have a large batch of projects and you’re not sure which program to pursue. 

LEED volume is all about displaying a commitment to making a difference on a large scale. We’re so proud of the amazing work LEED Volume participants have accomplished so far. To learn more about the program and a list of current participants, see our Green Tools for LEED Users article and the Guide to LEED Certification: Volume supplement.