LEED-ND garnering tremendous interest

Over 5,000 comments received on public draft; final launch planned for mid-2009

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[More on the web: USGBC's press release]

Once again, the public has demonstrated its enthusiasm for green communities with an outpouring of enthusiasm for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) rating and certification system. Over 5,000 comments were received during a six-week public comment period on a recent draft of the new rating system, with nearly one in nine comments coming from CNU members. "This tremendous response demonstrates that thousands of people around the world are excited by the mix of new urbanist, smart growth, and green building ideas behind LEED-ND. CNU is heartened to see that so many people are as committed as we are that LEED-ND launch as a truly effective tool to build better, greener communities," said John Norquist, president and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU). "Our members have demonstrated their enthusiasm for LEED-ND by offering hundreds of comments, more than the members of other organizations several times our size."

A partnership between CNU, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the US Green Building Council began development of LEED-ND in 2002. LEED-ND has already surpassed expectations in the marketplace several times -- most recently when 238 projects, hundreds more than expected, registered for the system's Pilot Phase in 2007. The rating system is due to formally launch in mid-2009, after further rounds of reviews including a second public comment period and formal approval by all three organizations.

About CNU
The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) is the leading organization promoting walkable, neighborhood-based development as an alternative to sprawl. CNU takes a proactive, multi-disciplinary approach to restoring our communities. Members are the life of the organization – they are the planners, developers, architects, engineers, public officials, investors, and community activists who create and influence our built environment, transforming growth patterns from the inside out. Whether it's bringing restorative plans to hurricane-battered communities in the Gulf Coast, turning dying malls into vibrant mixed-use neighborhoods, or reconnecting isolated public housing projects to the surrounding fabric, new urbanists are providing leadership in community building. Our relationship with our members allows us to do more than just talk about the problems of the built environment. Together, we are creating tools that make it easier to put New Urbanism into practice around the world.

LEED-ND is a new rating system that builds on the US Green Building Council's well-known LEED® certification programs to verify that a development meets high standards for environmental responsibility, incorporating best practices that manage the neighborhood's environmental impact. LEED-ND integrates the principles of new urbanism, green building, and smart growth into the first national standard for neighborhood design, expanding LEED's scope beyond individual buildings to a more holistic concern about the context of those buildings. Ultimately, LEED-ND's standardized benchmark will encourage and measure existing trends toward revitalizing existing urban areas with walkable neighborhoods, reducing the number of automobile trips and preserving threatened and sensitive lands.