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The construction, operation, and maintenance of urban buildings accounts for more than one third of greenhouse gas emissions in America today. An additional one-third, however, comes from transporting people and goods—and that share is growing. Today, architects and builders are beginning to understand that homes, stores, and offices—even with energy-efficient design and infrastructure—cannot be truly sustainable unless they exist within a high-quality, walkable, compact neighborhood context.
In 2007, CNU created the LEED for Neighborhood Development system (LEED-ND), working together with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Building on the success of USGBC’s industry-standard LEED ranking system, LEED-ND recognizes new developments that achieve true sustainability and energy efficiency through building in a compact, walkable, accessible urban context.
The LEED-ND system rates neighborhood development according to four categories: smart location and linkage, neighborhood pattern and design, green infrastructure and buildings, and innovation and design process. Critical prerequisites like wildlife habitat protection and great public streets, along with dozens more sustainable characteristics, are required to achieve any of the four levels of LEED-ND certification: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
Over eight years, LEED-ND's standardized and highly coveted benchmark has strongly accelerated the pace of high-quality infill development, green-context planning, and revitalizing existing urban areas with walkable neighborhoods. The resulting shift is reducing the number of automobile trips per capita, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, restoring vibrancy in American downtowns, and preserving critical undeveloped open space.
For current information and new publications on LEED-ND, visit the USGBC LEED website.