Design for active occupants | U.S. Green Building Council
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LEED BD+C: New Construction | v4 - LEED v4

Design for active occupants

Possible 1 point


Pilot Credit Closed

This pilot credit is closed, however, a similar credit is available for use through the innovation catalog.

Improve the health of building users through physical activity while reducing environmental impacts.


All projects: Meet the following requirement:

Buildings must have at least one main stair that enables occupants to travel between the building entrance floor(s), occupant’s own destination floor and common use floors. Access to floors may be restricted by use of security devices, such as card keys, codes or other access devices.


Include seven or more of the following features* within the project:

For primary staircase(s)** identified above:

  1. Classify all regularly occupied floors for re-entry, allowing all building users to have access to and from these floors. Service floors do not need access for all users.
  2. Make accessible staircases visible from the corridor by either:
    • providing transparent glazing of at least 10 square feet (1 square meter) at all stair doors or at a side light
    • providing magnetic door holds on all doors leading to the stairs.
    • providing unenclosed stairs.
  3. Provide accessibility to at least one open or interconnecting staircase to at least 50% of the tenant/occupant floors for convenient pedestrian vertical circulation.
  4. Locate a main staircase to be visible from main building lobby and within 25 foot (7.5 meters) walking distance from any one edge of the lobby. Ensure that no turns or obstacles prevent visibility of or accessibility to the qualifying staircase from the lobby.
  5. Locate a main staircase to be visible before an occupant visually encounters any motorized vertical circulation (elevator/escalator). The staircase must be visible from the principal point of entry at each building floor.
  6. Install architectural light fixtures that provide a level of lighting in the staircase(s) consistent with or better than what is provided in the building corridor.
  7. Provide daylighting at each floor/roof level of the stair(s) using either windows and/or skylights of at least 8 square feet (1 square meter) in size.
  8. Place signage encouraging stair use for health and other benefits at all elevator call areas, next to escalators and outside stairwells on each floor.
  9. Use inviting sensory stimulation such as artwork and/or music in stairwells.
  10. Elsewhere within the project:

  11. Provide exercise equipment or exercise opportunities for at least 5% of FTE occupants that can be used at employee workstations to allow workers opportunities for physical activity while working at their desks. Examples of appropriate exercise equipment include but are not limited to tread-desks, desk stationary bicycles, exercise ball chairs, desk stepper and others. A checkout system can be put in place to allow employees to check out equipment.
  12. Provide a dedicated or multi-use space to act as an on-site exercise room, which includes a variety of exercise equipment, for use by at least 5% of FTE occupants.
For LEED for Homes multi-family and LEED for Schools projects:

Provide an onsite recreation space with exercise opportunities for both adults and children that is open and accessible to all residents. The space must be at least 400 square feet (37 square meters) for all buildings that have greater than 10 units or classrooms. Include adult exercise and children’s play equipment for a minimum of 5% of building occupants. Gardening activity space and equipment can also count as adult active recreation space and equipment.***

* None of the above features can be counted more than once, even if implemented more than once within the project.
** Note: Ramps or other means of pedestrian vertical circulation also qualify for this category.
*** Note: By complying with this requirement the project will automatically satisfy feature 11 listed above, which will then count as one of the seven features that need to be met to achieve this credit.

General Pilot Documentation Requirements

Register for the pilot credit

Credits 1-14

Credits 15-27

Credits 28-42

Credits 43-56

Credits 57-67

Credits 68-82

Credits 83--96


Credit Specific:
  • Floor plan indicating:

    • location of the main stair(s)
    • minimum number tenant floors with accessibility to the staircase
    • staircase visibility and walking distance
    • staircase location along the principal path of travel
  • Based on the measures selected, provide the following:
    1. Signage indicating that the floors are classified for re-entry.
    2. Photographs or diagrams depicting the glazing or magnetic door holds
    3. Lighting diagrams indicating the light level equivalent between the stair-case and main building corridor,
    4. Stairwell diagrams indicating the size and location of windows and/or skylights.
    5. Lists of exercise equipment or exercise opportunities provided to FTE occupants and calculations indicating that the amount purchased can simultaneously serve than 5% of FTE.
    6. Floorplan showing recreation space provided to occupants.,
Additional Questions
  • To what extent would you have included these features if they were not rewarded via this Pilot credit?
  • How did the credit requirements change the floor plan layouts and other space distri-bution considerations?
  • Did the local building codes and/or zoning impede your achievement of any require-ments? If so, which and how?
  • How might project teams monitor the use of the stairs and/or exercise equipment or spaces?
  • What other design considerations would you suggest and/or have your included to motivate increased building occupant activity?
  • Did the local building codes and/or zoning codes facilitate your achievement of any requirements? If so, which and how?
  • 11/01/2013:
    clarified that stair requirements can be met using multiple "main stairs" and do not need to be met for auxiliary (non-main) stairs.
  • 12/05/2016: pilot closed to new registrations, moved to innovation catalog for continued use
  • 5/3/2018: notes added to prevent double counting and clarify application of the special requirement for Homes/Schools
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