Mother Earth Living

Green Neighborhood Watch: LEED Neighborhood Development

Sustainable neighborhoods are hot, and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) wants in on the action.
By Laurel Kallenbach
January/February 2008
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Sustainable neighborhoods are hot, and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) wants in on the action. In conjunction with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Congress for New Urbanism, the USGBC is launching the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Neighborhood Development (LEED N-D) project later this year.

To qualify for LEED N-D status, neighborhoods must earn points for measures such as:

• “Smart growth” locations within or near existing communities

• Restoring already-developed land

• Eco-friendly, energy-efficient building with low-toxicity, recycled-content materials

• On-site renewable energy (solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biofuel)

• Recreational parks and open spaces

• Reuse of historic buildings

• Wildlife, plant and ecosystem protection

• Water conservation

• New Urbanist philosophies: compact neighborhood, housing diversity, mixed-use facilities, public spaces

• Transportation routes that promote walking, biking and public transit.

• Variety of economic housing opportunities

“The LEED for Neighborhood Development pilot program is the next generation of green building thinking,” USGBC president Rick Fedrizzi says. “By applying what we’ve learned about individual green buildings to entire neighborhoods, we’re linking urban planning and environmentally friendly design and construction in a new, beneficial, healthy way.”

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