Public Comment Now Open for LEED-ND

CNU calls on urbanists to comment on the latest draft of the rating system before June 14, 2009.

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It is clearer than ever that green building and community form shouldn't go it alone. A 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. In response, CNU has partnered with U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to create LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND). This new rating system will certify the leaders whose projects integrate the principles of smart growth, new urbanism, and green building into the design and development of communities.

As the rating system approaches completion, the partners are opening it up for public comment beginning May 1, 2009. The public comment period will close June 14, 2009. Later this summer, the final rating system will be balloted by USGBC and CNU members and, if approved, is scheduled to go into effect in early fall.

"New urbanists voiced their support as well as their concern on specific components of the rating system during the first public comment period. We have revised significant portions of the rating system where possible and we now ask new urbanists to review this work and support the gains made," stated Doug Farr, CNU Board member and LEED-ND Core Committee Member.

This comment period follows on the heels of an intense editing process in response to over 5,000 comments received during the first public comment period earlier this year. The prerequisites and credits available for comment will be limited to those that have been significantly updated based on the advice of the public and the experience from the pilot projects.

"CNU is a relatively small organization of skilled designers and community builders; that is why it is important for members to comment and make sure their voices are heard," explained CNU President and CEO John Norquist. "Incorporating the knowledge and experience of our members who are designing and developing complete and connected neighborhoods is vital to the success of LEED-ND."

USGBC will be hosting the online comment form on its website. After a simple sign-in, members of the public can comment on the specific prerequisites and credits open for comment. The core committee will be reviewing all comments submitted—the more targeted and concise the recommendation, the better.

CNU brought a number of leading planners and architects from the New Urbanist movement to help shape the new rating system to reflect the environmental benefits of compact development that supports walking, transit, and bicycle use for everyday trips. New Urbanism promotes compact neighborhood form, a wide range of urban housing types from multi-unit buildings to singe-family homes, a vibrant mix of uses within close proximity of each other, humane public spaces and well-connected streets and blocks serving users ranging from pedestrians and cyclists to transit riders and drivers.

For more details about recent changes to the rating system, check CNU's LEED-ND Initiative page. In addition to the latest draft, pilot projects, and information on how to comment, the website highlights specific credits and explains a bit of their evolution.

About LEED for Neighborhood Development
CNU is working with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) (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.

About the Congress for the New Urbanism
The Congress for the New Urbanism is a 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 and creating tools that make it easier to put New Urbanism into practice around the world.