Building Design & Construction (3.0)

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OP 1: Building Design & Construction – version 3.0


  • 1.1. Percentage of new floor area designed and constructed to green building standards

Questions & Answers

How has this credit changed between STARS Version 2 and Version 3?

  • The distinction between green building council standards and other green building standards has been removed. A list of qualifying standards will be maintained in the STARS Help Center rather than included in the Technical Manual.
  • Floor area figures must be provided in square meters.
  • A comprehensive list of differences can be found in the STARS 3.0 Summary of changes.

What campus buildings qualify and should be counted?

This credit focuses on buildings for which construction was completed within the previous five years (usually a small proportion of the total campus building footprint). Include all new buildings and major renovation projects completed within the previous five years, parking structures included. Building space that is yet to be occupied or commissioned, temporary and mobile structures, de minimis projects (e.g., less than 500 square meters in size), and projects that are otherwise ineligible for certification may be excluded.

How do we determine whether our building standards are comprehensive (Indicator 1.1.A and 1.1.B)? 

  • To qualify as comprehensive building standards under Indicator 1.1.A, the building space must be third-party certified to a comprehensive green building standard that addresses energy, IEQ, materials/waste, transportation, water, and the ecological aspects of the site. 
  • Less comprehensive building standards (Indicator 1.1.B) are also third-party certified, but the standards address some, but not all of the attributes listed above.
  • See the Qualifying Green Building Standards resource for more information. 

What are some examples of comprehensive and less comprehensive green building standards?

To qualify as comprehensive, a standard, code or rating/certification system must address energy, indoor environmental quality (IEQ), materials/waste, transportation, water and the ecological aspects of the site. Examples in a US context include:

  • BREEAM International New construction
  • California Green Building Standards Code (CALGreen Code)
  • Green Globes for New Construction (NC)
  • International Green Construction Code (IgCC) – ASHRAE Standard 189.1
  • LEED Building Design and Construction (BD+C)
  • Living Building Challenge Core, Petal, and Living Certifications
  • Parksmart

Less comprehensive green building standards include those that are focused on a subset of the attributes listed above, for example, energy efficiency or IEQ. Examples in a US context include:

  • EDGE
  • EPA Indoor airPLUS
  • Fitwell Design
  • ILFI Zero Carbon and Zero Energy
  • Passive House
  • Phius New Construction
  • WELL

An extensive list of green building certifications and rating tools – both comprehensive and less than comprehensive – may be found on the World Green Building Council (WorldGBC) website. Custom green building standards that have been adopted by an institution may also qualify.

What’s the difference between the LEED BD+C certification and the LEED O+M standard (Indicator 1.1.A)?

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. LEED ratings are often documented in the LEED Projects Database. For more information, see the LEED v4 minimum program requirements.

Resources, Templates & Tools

Suggestions for Institutions

  • Include documentation, including construction/certification dates, to affirm that only new campus buildings and major renovation projects completed within the previous five years have been counted. 
  • Floor area figures must be reported in square meters. Institutions that typically report in imperial units should convert to square meters before reporting. To convert square feet, multiply by 0.09290304.

Potential Data Quality Issues

  • If reporting square footage under any category, supporting documentation in descriptive, URL, and/or upload fields must be provided. For space claimed as certified under a comprehensive green building system (Indicator 1.1.A), sufficient documentation must be provided (e.g., name of the building standard and/or summary of how the standard addresses energy, IEQ, materials/waste, transportation, water, and the ecological aspects of the site. 
  • Data outlier: Amount reported under “Total floor area of newly constructed or renovated building space” 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 similar to gross floor area (as reported under PRE 3) should be avoided or clarified.

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