Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

Leadership in energy and environmental design

Leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) is a widely-used rating system that provides project teams a framework of prerequisites and credits for a variety of sustainability measures that can be incorporated into the design and construction strategy for a building to achieve greater energy efficiency and responsible material usage. Projects achieve different certification levels based on the number of credits they satisfy out of 110 points. For more information about LEED please visit the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) website.

LEED requirements

New construction and certain additions and alterations to existing buildings within the Bayfront (Office (O), Life Sciences (LS), and Residential Mixed-Use (R-MU)) zoning districts and in the El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan area (SP ECR/D) are required to be designed to meet LEED standards. Please contact the Planning Division or see the City’s zoning map to determine if your project is in one of these zoning districts.

Zoning districts with LEED requirements

All projects must comply with the applicable green and sustainable building requirements.

District Green and sustainable building requirements
Office District (O) Municipal Code 16.43.140
Life Sciences District (LS) Municipal Code 16.44.130
Residential Mixed Use District (R-MU) Municipal Code 16.45.130
El Camino Real/Downtown Specific Plan (SP ECR/D)
E.3.8.02 of E - Land Use and Building Character(PDF, 9MB) (Page E41)


Project applicants will have the option to select whether they wish to pursue LEED certification or demonstrate LEED-equivalent performance through the LEED performance program (LPP). For projects that undergo LEED certification, the Green Business Certification Institute (GBCI) is the official reviewing body and project teams will follow the steps outlined by LEED to submit documentation for review and certification by GBCI. The LEED checklist, proof of registration and a letter from the LEED AP for the project outlining their experience, intent and strategy to certify will need to be submitted to the City. Proof of payment for certification review will be required prior to building permit issuance. Documentation of certification will also be required.

For project applicants that elect to use the LPP, a City-approved reviewer will confirm compliance with the LEED certification level by reviewing the LEED online portal and required documentation. The LPP is modeled off of LEED, but includes inspections during the construction process. Applicants would be required to register their projects to use the LEED Online platform, but LEED certification would not be required.

LEED performance program

Applicants that choose the LEED performance program (LPP) will be required to provide documentation throughout the application process that demonstrates the project is compliant with the LEED standards, though LEED certification will not be required. This documentation will be reviewed by the City of Menlo Park in parallel with the typical review of the project application. Please review the LPP webpage for additional information regarding the LPP.

Overview of requirements

Bayfront zoning districts

The table below shows an overview of the LEED requirements within the O, LS, and R-MU zoning districts. Please review the chapters in the links above for the complete requirements. Where "Designed to meet LEED standards" is required, applicants must submit the appropriate LEED checklist with a cover letter from the project LEED AP with the project application and complete all applicable LEED certification documents prior to approval of the final inspection for the building permit. The LEED certification documentation is to be reviewed either for LEED certification or for LPP verification by a third party approved by the City for which the applicant will pay for review and/or certification. Project teams should refer to the USGC guidelines to determine the appropriate rating system. For additions and alterations building owners may upgrade the core and shell of the entire building to the current energy code, and opt-in to purchase 100-percent renewable energy to exempt addition and/or alteration projects within the building from the LEED requirement for three building code cycles. Speak with a planner for more information regarding this option.

New construction
Additions and/or alterations
10,000 sq.ft. - 100,000 sq.ft.
100,001 sq.ft. and above
10,000 sq.ft. - 25,000 sq.ft. (affected area)
25,001 sq.ft. and above (affected area)
Certification level required
Designed to meet LEED Silver BD+C
Designed to meet LEED Gold BD+C
Designed to meet LEED Silver ID+C
Designed to meet LEED Gold ID+C
Alternative path for compliance to update core and shell of entire building to Energy Code and meet 100-percent renewable energy purchase requirement or other offset as outlined in section16.43.140(2)(B),16.44.130 (2)(B), or16.45.130(2)(B)


El Camino Real/Downtown Specific plan area

The table below shows an overview of the LEED requirements within the SP ECR/D zoning district. Please review the chapters at the links above for the complete requirements.

New construction
Additions and/or alterations
Group R buildings (SFR, duplex, MF); and Group B & Group M buildings (office, retail, etc.) 5,000 sq.ft. and above Larger development projects with two or more buildings on a lot one acre or larger in size First-time build-outs of commercial interiors 20,000 sq.ft. or more in buildings of Group B and M occupancies Major alterations 20,000 sq.ft. or more in existing buildings with Group B, M and R occupancies, where interior finishes are removed and significant upgrades to structural and mechanical, electrical and/or plumbing systems are proposed
Certification level required LEED Silver
LEED Silver ND
LEED Silver
LEED Silver


How to get started

Visit the links above or contact the Planning Division to discuss the details of the proposed project. Project applicants pursuing compliance through the LPP will receive links to the LPP#2 (Document Map) and additional information from Planning staff.