April 29--The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) today kicked off its initiative for green community planning, LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND).
 
The new national standard for neighborhood design integrates the principles of green building, smart growth, and land conservation, and aims to reduce urban sprawl and automobile dependency by encouraging development within or near existing communities or public infrastructure. LEED-ND projects will include facilities such as schools, businesses, residences, shopping, dining, and entertainment.

“LEED for Neighborhood Development projects are strategically located in or surrounding metropolitan areas—often times revitalizing brownfields, infills, or other underutilized spaces, opening new revenue streams, creating jobs opportunities, and helping to drive the local, state, and national economies,” said Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC president and CEO, at a press conference announcing the launch.

Because of the scale of neighborhood development, LEED-ND projects will be measured on acreage, the first LEED rating system to use a measurement other than square footage. Projects seeking  LEED-ND certification must achieve points in three major environmental categories--Smart Location & Linkage, Neighborhood Pattern & Design, and Green Infrastructure & Buildings--across a 110-point scale.

Two-and-half years in the making, the new rating system is endorsed by USGBC partner organizations: the Congress for the New Urbanism and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

“Half of the buildings we will have in 25 years are not yet on the ground,” said Kaid Benfield, director of the Smart Growth Program at the NRDC. “Where we put them is even more important to the environment than how we build them.”

With the launch, professionals can register projects for LEED-ND and download forms for the Smart Location & Linkage Prerequisite Review to assess a project’s location against the prerequisites before paying for a full certification. To learn more about LEED-ND, click here.

More than 200 projects across the country and internationally participated in the LEED-ND pilot program, and 68 were certified as of March 1.

Meanwhile, the USGBC  announced that it has launched the LEED Accredited Professional ND credential for professionals involved in the designing and developing of neighborhoods.