According to the Marcus and Millichap 2018 US Multifamily Investment Forecast, the strong employment market, rising wages, and elevated buyer confidence levels could unlock accelerated household formation, particularly by young adults.

And as developers work to fill the rising demand by these young adults, they’ll also be expected to address the market’s expectations for sustainable, resilient, and healthy multifamily projects.

Some developers battle it out in the amenity wars, while many others are also pursuing a LEED BD+C certification.

The LEED BD+C certification is appropriate for multifamily projects that are four stories or taller (per guidance on October 20, 2016). LEED BD+C gives developers and their design teams maximum latitude in their design approach, and validates sustainability achievements to the satisfaction of customers – and often regulators.


Over the course of Paladino’s considerable work with multifamily developers seeking LEED BD+C certifications, we have unearthed several requirements that are specific to residential projects that might have slipped by less experienced LEED project managers. Notably:

  • Bicycle Facilities – The standard for LEED BD+C is that the development must include storage for at least 30% of building occupants, but when pursuing LEED BD+C for residential buildings the project must include a minimum of 1 bike storage per unit, which will likely add up to be more than 30% of occupants.
  • Water Use Reduction – All residential clothes washers and dishwashers must be ENERGY STAR labeled.
  • Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance – There are new requirements for residential projects, which mirror some requirements from LEED for Homes:
    • Radon – confirm if you are in EPA zone 1 using the EPA guide Building Radon Out for a list of counties in zone 1 and details of radon resistant construction.
    • Carbon monoxide monitors are required in all units regardless of appliance type (gas or electric).
    • New requirements for any indoor fireplaces, space, and water heating equipment that involves combustion that address enclosures, testing, and venting.
    • Gas ranges must have hoods that exhaust air directly to the outdoors.
  • Interior Lighting – LEED v4 BD+C requirements for mid-level lighting include bedrooms. A task light or overhead light with manual dimmable control meets the requirements.

The USGBC reports that more than 1.5 million multifamily residential units were participating in the LEED program as of March 2018, and the number is expected to keep rising. A LEED BD+C certification is the proof that developers and operators need to confirm that the development is healthy, sustainable, and competitive.

Working with the right sustainability consultant should make the process simple, and the experience we bring means every project can get every LEED point that it deserves!

sustainability career

Want to learn more about our approach to multifamily sustainability?



Share this Post


  1. […] In addition to our on-the-record perspective on the multifamily amenity war and the changes that multifamily developers are seeing in LEED, we surveyed our team of client development managers, architects, engineers, and building […]


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.