LEED-ND Background


More than one-third of greenhouse gas emissions are produced by buildings (primarily in heating and cooling), but another third is spent transporting people and goods to and from those buildings -- and transportation emissions are growing much faster. Workplaces, shops and residences -- even energy-efficient ones -- in remote, auto-dependent locations generate vastly more transportation-related emissions than locations in urban places where transit-use, walking, and bicycling are viable options. Simply put, no building can be considered truly green unless it’s in a green urban neighborhood -- and the principles of traditional city and town design as promoted by the CNU are essential guidelines for creating and supporting these neighborhoods. By focusing on traditional neighborhood design principles -- such as density, proximity to transit, mixed use, mixed housing type, and pedestrian friendly neighborhoods -- LEED-ND is recognizing the environmental benefits inherent in New Urbanism.

LEED-ND aims to encourage development teams, planners, and local governments to construct sustainable, compact neighborhoods. The new program rates neighborhoods according to four categories: smart location and linkage; neighborhood pattern and design; green infrastructure and buildings; and innovation and design process. Like other LEED systems, this one identifies core prerequisites -- such as avoiding critical wildlife habitat and having streets open to the general public -- as well as dozens of additional characteristics, which projects must meet to gain any of the four levels of LEED certification: certified, silver, gold, and platinum. Ultimately, LEED-ND's standardized benchmark will encourage and measure existing trends toward revitalizing existing urban areas with walkable neighborhoods, consequently reducing the number of automobile trips and preserving natural, undeveloped lands.


LEED-ND 2009 Ballot Version

Second Public Comment Version

First Public Comment Version

Pilot Version

General Information

Contact information

Heather Smith, CNU Planning Director, 312/551-7300, hsmith {at} cnu org

Photo: Excelsior & Grand in St. Louis Park, Minn. has been Registered for the LEED-ND Pilot. (Photo credit: Alec Johnson, AC Johnson Photography)