ID Points: Exemplary Performance Made Easy


Why "next incremental percentage threshold" Doesn't Mean Anything

Exemplary performance points are an often overlooked component of possible IDc1 points. The good news about this is that they often come to you as a bonus points, which is always nice.

If you've taken the time to read your trusty reference guide (I'm reading from NCv2.2 first edition - damn right I'm old school!), the approach for determining exemplary performance reads as follows:

As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold.

Real Life LEED suggests you throw this advice out the door and just follow whatever it says under the "Exemplary Performance" section of the credit details. Every credit has this section in the reference guide, even if the credit in question doesn't have an exemplary performance option.

I've been struggling to find pictures for these post's lately, so I copped out and defaulted to motivational posters that only barely apply

"Incremental percentage threshold" is an interesting idea but doesn't really pan out to mean anything in practice. When you have 10%, 20%, X%, that X could easily be 30% (increasing by 10% each step) or 40% (doubling each step). For MRc4 Recycled Content it goes 10%, 20%, 30% and then for MRc5 Regional Materials (the very next credit!) it goes 10%, 20%, 40%... Go figure.

Similarly waste management would presumably go 50%, 75%, then 100%, but instead goes to 95% as it would be nearly impossible to achieve a 100% waste diversion rate. Finally, there are the credits where numbers aren't even a component or there's only one number to go by.

Lucky for you you're smart enough to read Real Life LEED, and I'm nice enough to provide you with a condensed list of the exemplary performance options and their thresholds right below! If a credit is not listed below that means there are no exemplary performance options available to you. This is based on LEED-NC 2.2 credits, and is just intended to be an at-a-glance guide you can paste on your cubicle.

HUMBLE PIE ALERT: Changes were made to the list of ID credits on 08/13/08 to reflect additional exemplary performance points found in CIR's and the errata sheets as well as to correct an error for SSc7.2.

  • SSc2, Development Density and Community Connectivity
    • The project itself must have a density of at least double that of the average density within the calculated area OR
    • The average density within an area twice as large as that for the base credit achievement must be at least 120,000 sf/acre. To double the area, use equation 2 but double the property area first. The project must not lower the existing average density of the area.
  • SSc4.1, Alternative Transportation, Public Transportation Access
    • Project located within 1/2 mile of TWO rail lines OR within 1/4 mile of TWO or more stops for FOUR or more bus lines AND
    • At least 200 transit rides per day are available at these stops. Combining bus and rail rides is allowable
  • SSc4.1, 4,2, 4.3, and 4.4, Alternative Transportation
    • Project must include a "comprehensive transportation management plan that demonstrates a quantifiable reduction in personal automobile use"
  • SSc5.1, Site Development: Protect or Restore Habitat
    • Restore or protect 75% of the site area
  • SSc5.2, Site Development: Maximize Open Space
    • Option 1 - Exceed zoning requirement by 50%
    • Option 2 - Provide open space equal to double the building's footprint
    • Option 3 - Provide open space for 40% of the site area
  • SSc7.1, Heat Island Effect: Non-Roof
    • 100% of parking under cover or "a minimum of 100%" of non-roof impervious surfaces meet requirements (high-albedo, open grid, or shaded within 5 years)
  • SSc7.2, Heat Island Effect: Roof
    • 100% of roof (excluding mechanical equipment) is a vegetated green-roof (not just high-albedo)
  • WEc2, Innovative Wastewater Technologies
    • 100% reduction in potable water use for sewage conveyance or 100% treatment of waste
  • WEc3, Water Use Reduction
    • 40% reduction in potable water use for regulated fixtures, or 10% reduction in process or other non-regulated water use
  • EAc1, Optimize Energy Performance
    • New buildings must exceed ASHRAE 90.1-2004 by at least 45.5%
    • Existing buildings must exceed ASHRAE 90.1-2004 by at least 38.5%
  • EAc2, On-Site Renewable Energy
    • Renewable energy generated on-site must be 17.5% or greater of total energy used.
  • EAc6, Green Power
    • Double the amount of REC's purchased either by amount (70% of energy consumed) or time period (4 year contract). NOTE - this exemplary performance option was not listed in my hard-copy 1st edition manual, but is in the second edition.
  • MRc2, Construction Waste Management
    • Divert 95% of waste from the landfill
  • MRc3, Materials Reuse
    • 15% of materials must be reused
  • MRc4, Recycled Content
    • 30% of materials must be recycled
  • MRc5, Regional Materials
    • 40% of materials must be regional
  • MRc6, Rapidly Renewable Materials
    • 10% of materials must be renewable
  • MRc7, Certified Wood
    • 95% of wood must be FSC certified
  • EQc8.1, Daylight and Views, Daylight 75% of Spaces
    • Daylight 95% of spaces
  • EQc8.2, Daylight and Views, Views for 90% of Spaces
    • Eligible for exemplary performance, but there's no real guidance on what you need to do... "Projects will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis."

So there's 20 points you have to work with, though you're only allowed to use a max of four, and those are even fighting for space against your other innovation credits. The new LEED 2009 draft reduces you down to 3 exemplary performance options instead of 4, though overall there are now 6 Innovation and Design points available. They want to encourage actual innovation, so you will be limited to 3 EP points, 1 for having a LEED AP, and 2 others for innovation credits. You could have 5 innovation points and no exemplary performance, or 4 innovation and 1 exemplary, or 2 innovation and 3 exemplary, but not 1 innovation and 4 exemplary... There's more clarification on this issue in the comments below...

Did I miss something? Should I have checked the errata sheets before I posted this? Probably, but then again that's why blogs have comment sections!


Julie Janiski said...

According to the rating tool checklists proposed for v3.0, there are now 5 points for IDc1 in NC, CI and CS, and EB:O&M and Schools allow 4. I think the 3 point statement in the "Vision Summary" was a typo.

joelmckellar said...

Thanks for calling me out! I should have been clearer in my post...

Looking only at the LEED NC draft, there are indeed 5 IDc1 credits available, but they are supposedly limiting those available for "exemplary performance" to a maximum of 3. Reading back over the actual draft they don't make any mention of this in the credit, but it is listed in the Vision Summary.

Remember, it's possible to get IDc1 points that aren't for exemplary performance by actually doing something innovative. The vision statement mentions that "This step [limiting exemplary performance points] was taken in order to return to the original intent of the credit, to encourage projects to pursue innovation in green building."

I could see them tucking this requirement into the reference guide instead of listing it in the rating systems themselves.

Julie Janiski said...

Aha - I see what you were saying now!

Anonymous said...

The current NC Errata adds 4 more Exemplary Performance options for the following credits for a total of 20:

rrmgreen said...

I have a question regarding Exemplary Performance Credits. I have a project that has already gone through a design submittal and review. In the Construiction Submittal Documantation, I realized that the project will earn the Exemplary Performance Credtit for SSc 7.1. WHen I went down to the ID section to document this, all of my ID Credits were locked form further editing because they are considered Design Submittal Credits. Have I lost my chance to earn this exemplary Credit? What should I do different next time?

joelmckellar said...


I made extra sure this was the case before I accepted my last final design review! The LEED certification coordinator on the project (aka person sending you emails from the USGBC) assured me that if I had any problems re-opening denied ID credits that she would be able to resolve the issue. I would suggest contact that person for your project and asking what to do.

Hope that helps! - Joel

rrmgreen said...

Thanks, that did help. I called and they figured it out for me. Silly me, I was trying to document credits ID Credits that I had not assigned to anyone yet!

jeffreydelsordo said...

our buddy roger a was recently turned down for an exemplary performance for ss7.2 heat island roof...the exemplary performance is not simply a percentage increase -75 to 100, it states that exemplary performance can only be achieved for 100% green roofs - it does pay to read the exemplary performance text very carefully...good discussion...jd

joelmckellar said...

Thanks for all of your comments! I just updated the post to include all of the changes you pointed out...

Unknown said...

Here's an odd twist: from NC 2.1 to 2.2 they lowered the MRc6 requirement from 5% to 2.5%. You would think that exemplary performance would then also be lowered from 10% to 5%.

The NC 2.1 reference guide didn't list the exemplary performance level as far as I could tell, so it seems odd that for 2.2 it would be listed as 10%.

Anonymous said...

I'm documenting my first LEED project and we are attempting a number of Exemplary Performance ID credits.
To attempt them do I need to provide the ID credit with a
Title, narative for intent and requirements then provide the same documentation as for the original credit.
Or can I simply state which credit and that we are attempting and reference the existing documentation.
Thanks in advance

Kelly said...

Some of the v3.0 exemplary performance requirements have changed. An updated post on v3.0 would be very helpful.

Marta said...

Thanks so much for your useful blog! I'm exploring the green development field in school and your work- and the contributions of those commenting - has been very insightful.

John Olson said...

Great information! Dated somewhat today, but still a great resource, thanks!