LEED for Neighborhood Development Pilot Launches

New rating system shifts focus to sustainable development in green urban neighborhoods

Tags for this image:

With the release of the LEED-Neighborhood Development pilot rating system this week, it is clearer than ever that green building design and community form shouldn't go it alone. The most powerful strategy for achieving environmental sustainability is incorporating high-performance buildings in compact, mixed-use neighborhoods that reduce driving by making walking and transit attractive options for commuting and other trips.

A joint venture of the Congress for the New Urbanism, the US Green Building Council, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, LEED-ND acknowledges that more than a third of greenhouse gases and a similar share of other environmental impacts are generated by buildings (primarily heating and cooling them) but another third is generated transporting people and goods to and from those buildings. Through a multi-year research and review process, the LEED-ND partners have identified draft criteria that will guide developments to achieve significant improvements in sustainability on both of these fronts, as well as related ones such as water management and habitat preservation. That pilot version of LEED-ND was released this week and is now available for download (warning: large PDF).

During the pilot phase, the LEED-ND rating system is tested against real world projects in order to improve the system and its applicability in the marketplace. In addition, participants in the pilot program have the opportunity for their development to be among the first projects to be recognized with LEED-ND certification. New Urbanist practitioners -- with their expertise in developing compact, complete, and connected neighborhoods -- can help in the refinement of the LEED-ND rating system by participating in the pilot program.

"Just as other LEED systems have improved building efficiency and energy performance, LEED-ND will reward efficient use of land and the building of complete and walkable communities," said John Norquist, President and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism. "It is helping to reinforce a more complete understanding of sustainability that extends all the way from the individual building to the neighborhood and community."

Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council said the expanded focus on green communities is important. “The future of green building is to think beyond just buildings, by addressing important issues like density development, community infrastructure, resource availability, and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. LEED for Neighborhood Development is an important and exciting step towards transforming the marketplace to create a healthy and sustainable future.”

How to Apply
The LEED-ND pilot application process closed on April 6, 2007. Several hundred applications were received and are now being processed. We will continue to keep CNU members updated on the pilot process and when new drafts of the rating system are made available.

Download the LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating System Pilot Version.

Approximate Development Timeline
2007: LEED for Neighborhood Development pilot program launches
2008: Public comment periods begin for post-pilot version of LEED for Neighborhood Development
2009: LEED for Neighborhood Development ballot and launch

The pilot program is expected to conclude in 2008. Based on feedback gathered during the pilot, the rating system will be revised to improve its applicability to the marketplace. The revised rating system will then be balloted according to USGBC's consensus process and undergo approval by CNU and NRDC.

Response to Public Comments
The LEED for Neighborhood Development Core Committee completed a preliminary draft in September 2005 and immediately afterwards held a 45-day comment period for the corresponding committee. Over 4,000 comments were submitted, and the core committee greatly appreciated the depth and breadth of responses that the corresponding committee took the time to submit. With the help of consultants, the core committee reviewed all of the comments received, and assimilated many of them into the pilot draft rating system. The response to comment document summarizes the committee’s responses to the public comments. Sincere thanks to all of you who took the time to submit comments to help us refine the rating system.

About LEED for Neighborhood Development
CNU is working with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) to lay the groundwork for a more coordinated and powerful environmental strategy: sustainability at the scale of neighborhoods and communities. The new joint venture known as LEED for Neighborhood Developments or LEED-ND is a system for rating and certifying green neighborhoods. LEED-ND builds on USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) systems by expanding the project’s scope beyond individual buildings to a more holistic concern about the context of those buildings.

CNU would like to thank the EPA Development, Community, and Environment Division, the EPA Office of Brownfields Cleanup and Redevelopment, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Blue Moon Fund, and the National Endowment for the Arts for their support of the development of LEED for Neighborhood Development.