Building Design and Construction

Credit Language

OP 3: Building Design and Construction – version 2.2

Frequently Asked Questions

How has this credit changed between STARS 2.1 to 2.2?

Substantive changes have been made to this credit. Under this version, green building codes, policies/guidelines, and rating systems are classified as either multi-attribute and single-attribute, and scoring has been simplified based around the multi-attribute/single-attribute classification. A comprehensive list of differences can be found in the 2.2 Summary of Changes.

What campus buildings qualify and should be counted?

This credit focuses on buildings for which construction was completed within the five years prior to the anticipated date of submission (usually a small proportion of the total campus building footprint). Buildings for which certification is pending should not be counted as certified space, and these buildings may be excluded from the institution’s profile for up to 2 years following registration with a rating system.

What’s the difference between the LEED BD+C certification and the less-common LEED O+M standard??

This credit recognizes the LEED BD+C certification, rather than the less-common LEED O+M standard, which is recognized under the Building Operations & Maintenance credit.

For more information, see the LEED v4 minimum program requirements.

How can I determine if the LEED certified project on my campus received LEED BD+C certification rather than the less-common LEED O+M standard?

This credit only recognizes LEED BD+C certified projects. LEED ratings are often documented in the LEED Projects Database. You may also consider reviewing your institution’s buildings web pages or checking with your campus facilities representatives.

What are some examples of multi-attribute and single-attribute green building frameworks that count for this credit in STARS 2.2?

AASHE’s guide on Examples of multi-attribute and single attribute building rating systems lists rating systems, policies and programs that qualify for each Buildings credit. A list of Green Building Council (GBC) rating tools is available from the World Green Building Council.

Resources, Templates & Tools

Example Responses

  • Bentley University – Concise response referencing a LEED Platinum arena and another building constructed to LEED standards. An upload of the arena’s LEED scorecard is included. 
  • Dickinson College – Description is clear and comprehensive, and clarifies inclusion of a  building that was constructed over 5 years ago but was recently certified. Links to a Sustainable Buildings page that lists all LEED-certified projects, and includes a PDF upload of all building projects and certifications.
  • University of California, Berkeley – Clear and concise documentation. A summary of certified buildings is listed in the descriptive response, along with a more detailed upload. The institution’s Sustainable Buildings website includes additional details.
  • University of California, Davis – Concise responses. Includes an uploaded list of certified green buildings, and a more detailed uploaded list that also includes buildings that are not certified but are built in accordance with a multi‐attribute green building standards.
  • University of New Hampshire – Description is detailed and comprehensive, and a detailed list of green building projects is uploaded. Good reporting example of an institution pursuing a “LEED equivalent” strategy.   

Common Issues Identified During Review

  • Data outlier: Amount reported under “Total floor area of newly constructed or renovated building space (include projects completed within the previous five years)” should reflect only space that was “constructed or underwent major renovations in the previous five years”. Data outliers, such as reporting a number that is consistent with OP 3 or PRE 4 gross square footage should be avoided or clarified.
  • If claiming any square footage under Certified Projects, response under “A list or inventory of new construction and major renovation projects…” should include detail on the buildings, rating systems and dates of project completion. Detail on any reported uncertified space (multi-attribute or single attribute rating systems) should be included in this descriptive field. See 2-page guide on Examples of multi-attribute and single attribute ratings.

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