Make Calculating FTEs Less Confusing


Calculating Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) may seem a little daunting at first. If you think through the process and follow the 2009 LEED Reference Guide — it’s really not as hard as you might think. The most difficult part of the process is determining how many people will actually be in the building at which times and for how long. For these numbers, you will probably have to rely on information gathered from the owner.

Before we start calculating FTEs, it’s probably best to get some definitions out of the way:

Full-Time Equivalent (FTEs) – FTEs are the regular building occupants who spend 40 hours per week (8 hours per day) in the project building. Part-time or overtime occupants have FTE values based on the number of hours they work per week. Multiple shifts are included or excluded depending on the intent and requirements of the credit.

Transient users – These are occupants who do not use the building on a consistent, regular or daily bases (visitors, delivery persons, students, etc.)

Ready to figure out your project’s FTEs? First you need to identify the total number of building occupants:

    Full-time employees (in the building for 8 hours/day)
    Part-Time employees (in the building less than 8 hours/day)
    Peak transients (students, customers, visitors, etc.)

(If you have multiple shifts, use only the highest-volume shift in the calculation but consider shift overlap when determining peak building use.)

Next calculate the full-time equivalent (FTE) occupants based on a standard 8-hour day. Each full-time occupant has a FTE value of 1.0. A part-time occupant has a FTE value based on the hours worked per day divided by 8. ( Here’s the formula: Total FTE Occupants = Total Occupant Hours ÷ 8 )

As an example, let’s say you have 126 full-time employees. These occupants would represent a FTE of 126 (126 full-time employees x 8 hours per day = 1008 ÷ 8 = FTE 126)

If you have 80 part-time employees that each work one hour per day, you would have an FTE of 10 (80 part-time employees x 1 hour per day = 80 ÷ 8 = FTE 10)

Your Total FTE Staff = 136

For transient occupants (students, customers, visitors, delivery people, etc.) you would take the number of transients that are occupying your building during your PEAK period. If you have 15 “transients” in your building at your busiest time – say 1:30 p.m. – your transient FTE = 15.

Your Total FTE Transient = 15

For this project you would have a TOTAL FTE of 151.

HERE’S THE KICKER: Not all FTEs are used the same way in the credit calculations. It’s important that you carefully review the 2009 LEED Reference Guide as you’re completing your submittal templates. The Reference Guide offers you very detailed information on how to correctly use your FTE numbers to complete each credit’s calculations.

For instance, multiple shifts and transient FTE are included — or excluded — depending on which credit you’re trying for – or your FTEs may need to be divided differently based on facility usage or on your project’s rating system (New Construction, Homes, Schools, etc.)

Sounds confusing, I know, but it makes more sense once you refer to the Reference Guide. Take a look at the calculation information for SSC 4.2, WEP 1 as examples.

Also, here’s another tip. Make sure that you and your team are consistent with your FTE numbers throughout all of your LEED templates. If there’s any discrepancy in these numbers, the GBCI reviewer will catch this during your review and ask you to clarify. And belileve me, I learned from personal experience that it’s just not worth the confusion. (Read “When it Comes to LEED Submittal Templates, Consistency Counts” below for more information on the importance of consistency in the LEED process.)

Good luck with your project! I would love to have some feedback about how you are calculating FTEs and what issues you encounter.

Sherry, LEED Green Associate


  1. Thanks for the explanation, great site.

  2. I’m a llitle confuse with that, because in the LEED MPRs is written “calculated as an annual average in order to use LEED in its entirety” so , for annual average, yours calculates should be multiplied by 52(weeks per year) or am I wrong?

  3. Is the FTE count the same between SSc4.2, and WEc3.1? I was under the impression that this number is universal across the credits that require the calculation?

  4. The FTE number you come up with needs to be the same and used throughout all credits. Thanks! — Sherry

  5. As I know, for LEED CS, there is some criteria to calculate FTE number such as Gross square feet per employee. So, i am wondering that LEED NC has a similar criteria.

  6. Is this still the case in LEED for Schools 2007? SSc4.2 says to use only students above the 3rd grade level should be counted in the FTE calculation. Should we use the same number for WEc3 so that it is consistent across the credits? Or is the number different for WEc3 (counting all students?)

    Thanks in advance for any clarification you can provide!


  8. Chris:Thanks for the mitenon. As always, great article from you. After years of waiting, finally a show of some interesting green building problems. All the better to help plan future projects.Douglas Reiser recently posted..

  9. Need some clarification on determining the FTE for multiple shifts from statement below:

    “If you have multiple shifts, use only the highest-volume shift in the calculation but consider shift overlap when determining peak building use”

    Is this mean FTE calculation for multiple shits is determined from the highest-volume shit. For example, there is two shits a day, shit A & B in a building operation. Shit A consists 40 employees that work for 8 hour per day and 5 day a week and shit B consists 60 employees that work for 8 hour per day and 5 day a week. In this case, the FTE of this building will be 60? Or 100?

  10. Hi,

    I have a slight confusion in calculating FTE to monitor energy consumption.

    Totally 500 people.
    200 people are working in two projects general shift of 8 hrs.

    The remaining 300 are working in a same project but a 24*7 project.So each 100 works for 8 hrs.

    How do I arrive at FTE when I know only the total value as “500” also I have hourwise maximum head count value for a day for the entire facility .

    Kindly seeking your support.

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